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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi fellow dog lovers!

I have been working on a personal project the past year which is basically a small ball that you attach to your standard dog leash to provide another point to hold on to.

The idea was born from wrapping my own dogs leash around my hand when I needed closer control - which works ok but after a while starts to hurt as although I consider my dog well behaved - she still gets a little excited and just loves to pull on a leash.

I've noticed people tie knots or loops in their leashes to offer something similar to what I have come up with.

leash-mate

I would love to hear your opinion and have been 3D printing prototypes to try to perfect my design before hopefully going to market. If anyone is super keen to give one a go I have a couple of extra prototypes that I could send out as well.

I hope this doesn't sound like a product plug as its really isn't - I'm a one person show and this is a project I'm working on for a new design that will hopefully help a lot of people - nothing is available for sale as yet.

Thanks heaps for any comments and I hope you're all having a great evening!

Jaan
 

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Wow! This is super cool. I have been looking for a leash that has a second hoop on it!

Are they comfortable to use? Are they squishy or solid?
 

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I don't know how I feel about it. I think I'd have to hold t in my hand to see what it was like. Some things seem ok but aren't as comfortable afterwards. There was a njce looking leash I saw with a cushioned handle but when I tried it I thought it felt really uncomfortable and hard to hold. But then again I've been told I don't hold things normally. I'd definitely check this out if I had the opportunity though. Seems like a good product to bring to dog and pet fairs so people could see it for themselves. You should look into that.
 

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This is great! Clever idea :)

I have a knot in one of the leashes which obviously isn`t as aesthetically pleasing as your solution. Please go international with these :D
 

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I love the idea! I hate long leashes and even with a 4' leash I have it wrapped around my hand a few times. I would definitely buy and use something like this if it is relatively inexpensive and comfortable in the hand.
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If you've got a dog that pulls that hard with enough regularity that you need this it seems like you'd be better off getting a leash with a handle such as this.

 

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I totally get this. Most of the time, I give my dog the full 5 feet of his leash, but when walking on crowded sidewalks, I have to rein him in by grabbing the leash about 1.5 feet from the clip. I have arthritis, and having that ball at the right place on the leash would make it much easier for me to hold the leash.

Great idea!
 

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If you've got a dog that pulls that hard with enough regularity that you need this it seems like you'd be better off getting a leash with a handle such as this.

It doesn`t seem secure enough. With a regular leash, I have the loop part of the leash around my wrist so even if the leash slipps out of my hand, I still have the loop part around the wrist ... This looks like one wrong move on my part and bam, Ella is a free dog.

I have a young dog that is more than half my weight and dog reactive. I live in a city of half a million people and half of our walks are in downtown. Yes, I need that ball.

The only concern I got is will the ball fit different leashes? Leashes don`t come with the same width.
 

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It doesn`t seem secure enough. With a regular leash, I have the loop part of the leash around my wrist so even if the leash slipps out of my hand, I still have the loop part around the wrist ... This looks like one wrong move on my part and bam, Ella is a free dog.

I have a young dog that is more than half my weight and dog reactive. I live in a city of half a million people and half of our walks are in downtown. Yes, I need that ball.

The only concern I got is will the ball fit different leashes? Leashes don`t come with the same width.
Agreed. I always have my hand through the leash loop and then hold the leash however far down I choose. I wouldn't trust holding something like this for a strong puller or someone that's dog/stranger reactive.
 

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This seems like a cool idea :)
I don't often take Sawyer to places were I would need to shorten his leash but I think this would be helpful for those occasions.

Just a few thoughts that I had,
-As some one said before me, are they squishy or soft? This I think comes down to more of asthetic for the customers, since some might like and feeling and grip of a hard ball while others might prefer something softer.
-finger grips, I think because it is a ball shape its a good idea to have places on the ball where you can get a good grip instead of something that's smooth or just textured.
-Are you going to try different shapes? again this partialy comes down to asthetics, but is it going to be easier or harder to hold a ball shape verses something a little longer or some other shapes.

This one is just a general question,
how do you get it on the leash, and how does it keep from sliding around the leash? Is it adjustable by just sliding it up and down the leash?

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi everyone and thanks for all the comments and encouraging words!

I will try answering all the questions in one reply but let me know if i missed you!

1. The ball secures tightly enough that you can hang from it so I don't think there will be any chance of it slipping or coming off. here is a little video showing me hanging from one of the prototypes:
https://vimeo.com/113131484

2. I currently have 2 prototypes - one for flat webbing type leashes up to 27 mm (about 1 inch) wide and another to suit round or rope style leashes up to 15 mm (a little over 1/2 inch) in diameter. I have done a bit of research into the available types but am by no means an expert - has anyone got a leash that one of these designs won't fit?

3. At the moment they are a hard plastic but I am considering putting a rubberized coating on them to make it even grippier and more comfortable. This also led me to the concept of a really thick rubber coating so the Leash Mate could be used as a fetch ball. There is a rendered image of this on my website leash-mate

4. You can still hold the original handle/loop in your other hand for security in case you were to let go of the ball. I think it is a lot easier and more ergonomic to grip the ball than you would first think though so the chances of letting it go are low. One advantage is if you HAVE to let it go - such as in the case that your dog is much stronger than you and bolts - is not ideal but having your wrist caught in a leash attached to a huge, bolting dog is a worse outcome in my opinion - especially for the elderly or children, etc.

5. the idea was to replace the knot that i used to use with something that was more ergonomic, adjustable and lighter than the same size knot so it doesn't swing around as much.

6. I have sent out a few prototypes to dog bloggers etc and one Vet has reviewed it here:

A Vet's Guide To Life: Product Review: Leash Mate

It is only one persons opinion though and wanted to see what other members of the dog community thought before pouring more time and money into developing the idea further and hopefully bringing it to market.

Thanks again for all the comments and please keep them coming!

:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sorry Sabina88 I just saw your post after I hit reply to the other questions -

I have actually slightly changed the design so the 'ribs' are bigger and deeper and are better sized to allow your fingers to sit down into them. there are a couple of photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/?

The photos also show how it screws together and can easily be un-tightened and repositioned. The force created is very strong and as per my previous post its strong enough to hang from!

I have tried a couple of different shapes but the ball concept seems to be the best balance between swinging around too much and easy of use. I tried a cylindrical handle as my first concept but it wanted to spin and rotate and was heavier as well.

Thanks again for the comments and questions! I'll definitely be looking at a rubber coating to make it feel nicer... I'm sure this will increase the cost though and was going to try to keep the price below $10 US if possible. What are peoples thoughts on this? Would anyone pay more to have it rubberized and feel nicer?
 

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I saw this yesterday here and thought...meh...kinda cool but not necessary.

Then I took Pax on a bike ride walk today and had to keep pulling him in around people and thought..."Man...that plastic ball thing on the leash would be perfect!"

You may have something!
 

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Cute idea :) I have used a 3D printer before, though, and I think it would be better if you made it from a similar rubber as the Kong Extreme or West Paw toys-that way you could use it as an emergency toy/for going to the park, as well as to help people shorten their leash as needed.
 

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Cool idea, I just fear my ball crazy dog would take that as something for her to hold in her mouth or go crazy for. Could definitely help though for certain people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you all for the encouragement. The prototypes have been made using a 3D printer but the production versions will hopefully be injection molded.

I am considering adding a thin rubber layer for comfort/feel but this will obviously increase the price significantly so not sure if its really an option or not. I need to determine how much people would be willing to pay for something like this..

The other concept I'm looking at is a thick outer rubber layer so it could also be used as a fetch toy - I don't think it's possible to make the entire ball from rubber as the threaded section needs to be stiff enough to engage correctly and create lots of force so it grips the leash tight. As it is the prototypes hold on with enough force you can hang from it! My website leash-mate now has a video of this in the 'DESIGN' section. :)

Thanks again for checking this out and commenting. All of your input is incredibly helpful! Happy Easter!
 

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Weight would be more of a factor than ergonomics or becoming a fetch toy. Focus on making it as light as possible. If it turns into a boat anchor that weighs down the leash or causes it to sag at the ball...that would be more of a deal killer for me.

If you make it too heavy it would not be practical for its intended use. Careful not to get too off course on creating a solution to the need.
 

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I think the big thing needs to be keeping the price low. Honestly, if it was $5-$10 I would consider picking it up just for the novelty of it. Also you could see about introducing it to some leash makers. Maybe some Etsy people. If you can sell it to them for just a little under market value (so you still make a little profit) they could add it as an up sell on their leashes, therefore giving you some more marketing.
 
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