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Reviews > Animal Companion Gear > Dog Wear > Shockles Petkeeper Pet Leash > Owner Review by Amanda Tikkanen

Shockles Petkeeper Pet Leash
By Amanda Tikkanen
Owner Review
February 20, 2014

Tester Information

Name: Amanda Tikkanen
Email: amanda@uberpest.com
Age: 32
Location: Southeastern Indiana, USA
Gender: F
Height: 5' 4" (1.63 m)
Weight: 159 lb (72.10 kg)

I have been hiking and backpacking since 2000. Always with a dog by my side, my current trail companions Ranger and Halo (both Louisiana Catahoulas) are helping me cover ground in southeast Indiana, southwest Ohio, and northern Kentucky. I've previously tramped around the upper midwest, mostly in lower Michigan and northern Indiana. My base pack weight runs around 16 lb (7 kg). My goal is to carry as little weight as possible without sacrificing comfort. My trips are typically 10-15 miles (16-24 km) per day, be it day hike, overnight, weekenders, or week-long treks. Lately I've been doing mostly day hikes, squeezing in longer trips as possible.

Product Information

Manufacturer: Shockles (now Davis Marine)
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: Shockles
MSRP: US$24.95
Listed Weight: 6.4 oz (181 g)
Measured Weight: 6.7 oz (190 g)
Size: One size only
Measured width: 1" (2.5 cm) wide
Measured length: 48" (1.2 m) unstretched and 70" (1.8 m) stretched
Measured size of Carabiners: 3" x 1.5" (7.5 cm x 3.8 cm)
Colors: Red, blue, and black.

The manufacturer claims the leash will stretch to 150% its original length. I measured this as 48" (1.2 m) unstretched and 70" (1.8 m) stretched. This length does not include the clip on the end. This calculates to 146%. I think this is close enough to the advertised claim given I may not have stretched the leash to its absolute maximum.

The leash I own was manufactured in 2009, however the design has not changed in any noticeable way since then.

Shockles Pet Leash in Red
Manufacturer image of Shockles Pet Leash (Red)

Field Use

I used this leash over the last five years with three different dogs of my own, plus a few dogs owned by friends.

With my dogs I used it while on regular potty walks in town or park roads, at truck stops, dog shows, and field trials. I hiked on rolling hills in southeastern Indiana in all seasons including rain and snow. I used this when it was dry and when it was humid. Temperature ranged from approximately 10 F to 90 F (-12 to 32 C). My hikes were 0.5 to 5 miles (0.8 to 8 km) while using this leash.

Dogs handled while I used this leash ranged in weight from my puppy Halo (46 lb/20.8 kg), my adult dog Ranger (60 lb/27 kg), and my previous dog Beau (80 lb/36.3 kg) who has since passed. All of my dogs are Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dogs. Friends' dogs were in the same weight range as my dogs, but other breeds including Catahoulas and a Belgian Shepherd Dog.

The Shockles Petkeeper Leash is a dog leash that was originally designed for dogs to be clipped in (snubbed) while boating. It's made of tubular nylon, like for climbing, with a heavy-duty shock cord inserted down the middle. The tubular webbing is bunched up around the shock cord so that when the cord stretches it is limited by how far the webbing can unfold.

At one end of the leash is a small nylon loop that connects to a keychain type carabiner that is imprinted with the company name and a warning that these are not for climbing use. This is the end that attaches to the dog's collar, harness, pack, etc. On the other end is a 9" (23 cm) loop formed by a piece of the nylon webbing folding back over and clipping to the bungee cord section via another carabiner. On the webbing loop there is a company logo with the url for their website.

The leash is sewn together with double stitching at each seam. The ends of the webbing are heat sealed to prevent fraying and unraveling.

The webbing is soft on my hands. The shock cord, while strong, extends easily when my dogs pull on it. So far it hasn't shown any signs of fraying and only slight fuzzing of the webbing. This doesn't affect the utility of the leash at all.

This leash is strong. REALLY strong. For perspective, Ranger is trained and competes in weight pull. His personal best weight pulled is over 2500 lb (1134 kg). While that is in an ideal pulling condition, it shows that he has the potential to damage a weak leash or components. The Shockles Petkeeper is tough and, even when dragging me to get to his competition area at a working instinct trial he was unable to damage the leash. Along with this, and one of the main reasons I got the leash, he was unable to strain my arm with his pulling and lunging.

I like the length of the leash. It flips up over my shoulder and I can clip the leash end to the handle to loop diagonally across my chest when not in use, such as after I load my dogs into my van and am driving somewhere. It's also handy on the trail because if I'm in an off-leash area I still have quick access to the leash instead of having it stashed away in a pack or pocket.

The leash on my shoulders
The leash crossed over my shoulder when not in use.



The loop handle is my favorite part of this leash. It easily passes around my pack's hip belt without my having to unbuckle the pack to put it on or take it off. I like this as it allows me to hike with a leashed dog while also keeping my hands free to use trekking poles. With the leash attached to my belt the dog is pulling (if it is pulling like Ranger does instead of walking politely as Beau did) I'm less likely to be pulled off balance. The shock-absorbing feature helps on hills when the dog bolts to get up the hill and I'm still plugging along behind him or her. The leash being able to extend and contract takes away the jarring I get with a fixed-length leash in a similar situation.

The leash looped around my hip belt
The leash looped around my hipbelt



The handle loop also clips around a small tree, post, bumper, etc. for a temporary tie-out while I'm using a restroom, loading my vehicle or something similar. I would not recommend this as a long-term tie-out or with a chewer on even a short break as the leash is fabric and therefore not chew-resistant.

The carabiners are easy to work with gloves on and they attach to anything in my setup--my dogs' collars, harnesses, and the assistance handles on the Ruffwear packs I used to use. They have scratched with use, but have not bent, broken, or deformed.

The leash on Ranger's harness
The leash clipped to Ranger's harness



Despite these good points, the downsides to the leash are enough to make me not use this as anything other than "oh, hey, I have a spare leash in the car!" The minor con is that there is no place to grab the leash that doesn't stretch. As it is if I need to firmly control a dog in traffic, when passing on the trail, loading into a car or something similar I need to grab my dog by the collar or harness, which is harder to control a dog than by guiding with a leash. The big failure in the Petkeeper is the carabiners. The way the carabiner on the dog's end of the leash sits on the ring on the dog's collar makes it easy for the dog to turn its head and shift the carabiner to a position where the collar ring presses on the carabiner gate to open it, allowing my dog (or in one case a friend's dog) to escape. This pretty much defeats the purpose of a leash. It's something I watch for when using the leash, but I've had it happen in seconds. Thankfully I've never had this happen in a situation where the dog was put in danger as a result, but if I were in a heavy traffic area and the dog bolted it would be a serious safety issue. I would replace the keychain carabiners myself if I could find locking carabiners small enough to fit through the tiny nylon loops that hold the carabiners.

Summary

I want to like this leash more than I do due to the good features. The main issue for me is the carabiner on the dog's end of the leash coming undone when the dog twists its collar against the carabiner. This could be remedied by putting in locking carabiners in place of the keychain clips. A small loop or flat area somewhere to allow physical restraint of my dog without grabbing his collar or harness would be a great improvement.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

Read more reviews of Davis Marine gear
Read more gear reviews by Amanda Tikkanen

Reviews > Animal Companion Gear > Dog Wear > Shockles Petkeeper Pet Leash > Owner Review by Amanda Tikkanen



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