Over the many years I’ve run with a four-legged friend by my side, I have tested several hands-free running leashes and certainly have my favorites. Iron Doggy is a small company based out of Austin, Texas that makes dog running leashes specifically with the runner in mind, and has become a new go-to option for our leashed runs.
I’ve strayed away from traditional bungee leashes in the past because they don’t generally allow me to easily manage my dogs. Since I tend to have reactive dogs, I need to have 100% control over them at all times when we’re running or hiking.
The innovative design of the Iron Doggy Runner’s Choice leash clearly had the runner and reactive dog in mind. There are several points along the leash that enable easy reigning in of your pooch.
I also appreciate that the leash is not all one long bungee. The separation allows for easier control of my dog while still providing enough shock absorption during sudden stops or lunges.
Another feature I can get behind is the brand’s commitment to helping shelter animals. With every Iron Doggy leash purchase, the company donates a portion of every sale to animal welfare associations. You all know how much I love companies that give back!
Below, I tell you all about this leash, including my favorite features and those I’d like to see improved upon.
About Iron Doggy
When Iron Doggy founders began to take their energetic dog Zola running on the trails outside of their Denver home, they quickly learned that they needed to tame her squirrel-chasing addiction. Meaning, she required a leash.
After testing several different leashes for running, none were ideal. Either they felt too bulky, not durable, or just weren’t comfortable to wear, so they decided to make their own.
Designed to accommodate sudden pulls, lunges, and changes of direction, the Runner’s Choice bungee system can handle 215 pounds of force. If you’ve ever run with a non-bungee or handheld leash and have had your dog pull, you know that dogs can pull with some serious force.
Iron Doggy currently makes two different leashes:
- The Runner’s Choice, designed for dogs that tend to pull or who are given more freedom during runs
- The Sidekick, made for runners whose dogs are trained to heel or whose handlers want them nearby at all times
The leashes are handcrafted in Denver, Colorado.
Unique Features Especially for Runners
I’m impressed with the thought that went into Iron Doggy leashes. The Runner’s Choice includes two bungee sections separated by a traffic handle located in the center of the leash.
Since the bungee in many running leashes runs nearly the full length of the leash, it can be nearly impossible to bring your dog closer to you or away from something if necessary. This is one reason I have avoided bungee leashes in the past.
The Sidekick is essentially the Runner’s Choice leash cut in half, so there is one bungee with knots at either end.
Iron Doggy leashes tackle this problem with a series of knots located at each end of both bungee sections. These allow me something easy to grab onto if I need to pull Sitka back for whatever reason or guide him toward me.
This is a sturdy dog leash that was obviously designed by someone who actually runs with their dog. The multiple handles and knots are great for added control when passing other dogs or crossing busy streets, and the bungee has a great amount of force on it for my 40 lb dog.~ Effie
The Runner’s Choice leash features three adjustable length settings: 54″, 46″, and 30.” Users can shorten the leash simply by hooking one of the two D-rings located at different points on the leash to the trigger snap attached to the waist belt.
The ability to shorten the leash in such a way is genius and I love that the waist belt adjustments slider doubles as a stay to prevent your dog from crossing in front of you. This also keeps the “bunching” from hitting your leg (if your dog runs on your left side, just flip the belt upside down).
The longer length is great for dogs who pull or to be able to give them a bit more freedom.
Personally, I prefer the Sidekick for both trail and road running, as I want my dogs to be closer to me so I can better manage them and practice good trail etiquette around other dogs and people. I have taught Sitka not to pull when we walk or run and the length is a bit long for how we run.
The waist belt adjusts easily to fit by sliding the bar strap to size. Designed to remain in place while you run, it won’t loosen as you move around. The belt adjusts from 28″ to 48″.
The Iron Doggy team went all out in the design of the Runner’s Choice, choosing durable materials that will last for years. The bungee is marine grade and can withstand up to 215 pounds of force, as mentioned above (132 lbs for the Sidekick). They also went with military-grade webbing for the leash material.
5 years and still going strong!I purchased the Iron Doggy Hands Free Leash a full 5 years ago to run with my 65 lb. German Shorthaired Pointer. I’ve used it at least 3 but typically 4 to 5 times a week for that full period. While it’s a little worn from the active use, it’s in great shape still! The bungee remains strong and prevents Bogart from bolting after squirrels and birds! The modest investment for this quality product is worth it.
Right off the bat, I notice the quality of the materials used. While they do make the leash heavier than other similar designs, this will last longer and the bungee won’t wear as quickly, which is very common depending on how much your dog pulls.
I do wish that they had opted to use lighter trigger snaps to keep the weight down a bit, but it’s not a deal breaker. I’d rather have a long-lasting leash that weighs a bit more than one I have to replace year after year.
That said, the Sidekick is not heavy at all, due to its shorter length.
The Iron Doggy Runner’s Choice is a great addition to my hands-free running leash collection. The smart design allows for better dog management on the trail and better safety should your dog suddenly veer off in one direction or stop suddenly.
Though the Runner’s Choice is significantly heavier than others I use, I know that the weight lies in the selection of materials used and means the leash will last for years. The use of high quality materials also reflects in the price, however I am a big proponent of spending more to buy less. This leash will last a long time.
Iron Doggy is so convinced that you’ll love their leash, customers can send it back if it doesn’t work for you and they will issue a full refund.