October/WK12 2016/Blog – Canine Tactical Gear Series (#1)

This series breaks down Canine Tactical gear designs.  I will describe the functionality and effectiveness of each product in the field inspired by my real world experiences as a SEAL canine operator. My product line currently consists of leashes, collars, ballistic vests, handler vests, water/food bowls and medical kits.

This first blog covers leashes, specifically the ‘Handler Leash’.  We received our canine leashes, all leather, from the canine vendor. Trainers and most handlers swore by the leather, so leather it was.  As a new handler, I didn’t know any better. I soon discovered leather cuts into the skin around the thumb and when wet the dye bleeds on everything – skin, clothes etc. It was during my first canine deployment that it set in, ‘leather leashes are not practical for ‘canine operators’.  Why?

The standard 6′ length is too long for proper storage and during detection.


Notice it can and does catch on everything or you deal with the slack in your hands or raise your hand in air distracting canine. It also has no give because of friction and does not fold/give, so it’s cuts into skin. For operators space is limited on your person due to wearing multiple pieces of gear and mobility is tight. I wanted to wear my leash on my first line gear. Conducting on-leash explosive searches or any application required multiple pulls to release the leash through my 2nd and 3rd line gear.  Only space left – front pockets.  Try rolling up a 6′ leather leash in a ball and putting it in your front pocket; it is just not practical. The handle itself is wide enough to fit your entire fist through it with no give, so you have this 5 inch diameter hole that also catches on everything.

Granted there are many pioneers across the board in the canine world. However, my point of differentiation is that I have incorporated my tactical training and canine deployment experiences in every aspect of my training program at Canine Tactical, including my equipment. I have modified and adjusted each piece of canine equipment, from canine vests to simple leashes for better quality, safety, practical use and ease of accessibility during any task.

Let’s recap cons of vendors’ and most trainers’ popular leash choice – the leather 6′ leash:

*Too long for detection – leash drags and catches on everything

*Too long for storage on person – dangles and catches on everything with too much friction

*Handle doesn’t give – stays open all the time

*When wet – it bleeds

*Rolling it up for quick pocket storage – too long and doesn’t give

The Handler Leash by Canine Tactical of Iowa 


Tubular nylon material with a 3,000 pound tensile strength. The handle is reinforced to stay open for your thumb, ease for thumb-to-thumb transition, is frictionless and gives. It can be stored under any part of your gear with easy access when you need it. After use you have the option to roll it up in a ball and put it in your front pocket. The custom length allows for perfect storage on person. It doesn’t catch on anything (tight). The hardware is medium size, not too heavy, yet rotates to keep your hardware/clasp at 6 o’clock. Finally, all Canine Tactical products are sewn with kevlar thread for longer lasting quality. Colors are Tan, Ranger Green and Black. Go to http://www.caninetactical.com/handler-leash.php for ordering.

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