The Bungie Leash - Does it stop pulling?

Bungie leash

Pulling is a problem that plagues so many owners, and the pet industry reflects this by having product after product that claim to help alleviate the issue. 

Enter the bungie leash, one of many products in an overwhelming sea of choice. How effective is it? Should you buy one? Does it stop pulling? We’re going to examine the anatomy of a bungie leash and break it down for you. 

Here's what you need to know about your bungie leash

If you don’t know what a bungie leash is, let me explain. A bungie leash is any leash which contains some sort of rubber/elastic portion that allows the leash to stretch when it is pulled on. These leashes are frequently marketed as training aids for pulling, but that’s the level of information any consumer is given about these leashes. Here’s a product – it stops pulling – buy now! To make matters worse, they’re generally cheap nonsense so the bungie portion will wear out, which leaves you with just a regular leash. 

The fact of the matter is that what you’re being marketed about this leash just isn’t the reality of what you’ll get.  

What bungie leashes actually do

The bungie portion of the leash, since it is stretchy, acts like a shock absorber. The leash has “give” to it. It’s not like a regular leash that has a binary pulling vs no pulling. From the dog’s perspective it’s actually allowing them to pull more comfortably, and the bungie leash will soften the yanking that you maybe experiencing from your dog. However, bungie leashes in no way stop pulling. Not in the slightest. 

In fact, since pulling is now more comfortable for everyone involved, your dog is MORE LIKELY to pull more, and they will actually try harder with it. Bungie lines are very often used in certain dog sports to encourage stronger, faster, and better pulling from dogs, and to help teach them to really focus their energy into the activity. This is NOT what you want if you’re trying to teach your dog to stop pulling and to actually eliminate the issue. And of course this is pretty much what every company who makes bungie leashes doesn’t want you to realize. They do not stop pulling, they don’t help teach your dog not to pull, all they do is change what the pulling feels like for both you and the dog. And the biggest problem is that because of the shock absorbing effect you’re not likely to realize that your dog is pulling even harder and getting better at it, until the bungie on your leash has worn out. 

Why you'll never see me recommend them for training

In one sentence, bungie leashes are terrible as training aids. Because of the nature of the leash, the shock absorbing capability renders them useless as a communication tool between you and your dog. When you’re trying to teach your dog not to pull, we need some way to communicate to them what we want and the dog needs to be able to CLEARLY tell the difference. We want to stick to binary communication if we want learning to happen. 

The bungie leash removes this as a possibility. Pulling becomes a massive gray area for the dog. The tension isn’t a simple on or off, it’s now a sliding scale with a lot of wiggle room. There is nothing that we can communicate to the dog, if we try to direct the dog with the leash, light communication is utterly lost in the stretch of the leash. It’s truly not helpful in any way when we’re trying to train. 

What to do instead

Save your money and buy a regular leash! In the long run this is a much better tool to have. 

The truth of the matter is that there is no piece of equipment that will cure pulling, there is no magic wand, there is no miracle pill. Training is how we change behavior and habits (like pulling) and there is no getting around that, although I’m sure many of you wish there was! The good news is that pulling is an extremely fixable issue, and it happens to be one that is very straightforward and that I help many people with. Learn about some basic fundamentals here!

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