New River, AZ
It all started when our son, then aged 8, joined our local 4-H Dog Care & Training project. Carmella, LTD Leathergoods owner, became project leader comprised of 8 children and their dogs. The most amazing leashes walked into the first training class, all unsuitable.
One of the parents had a great idea – a friend worked at a local leather shop so set up “Make A Leash” night where, for a nominal fee, we would teach the children to make their own leather leashes. Small children, heavy leather, cutting with razor sharp tools and how do we make leashes anyway? After a few hours, the kids were beaming & the leashes they made were outstanding!
Our son used his leash all the time. An obedience trainer saw his leash, asked him where he got it, and wanted to know where she could get them for her students. “I made it,” he replied. She told him that if he made more, she would sell them to the students in her classes. A leash making business was born & soon we were buying leather hides to make into leashes. Years later, we still held make a leash nights for the 4H Dog Project kids, but by then held in our own workshop. And, for the curious, we only had one cut in over 200 kids!
A good friend, who was lure coursing her Borzoi’s, suggested that we should figure out how to make leather slip leashes for her dogs. She had been borrowing slip collars and needed slips stronger than ones she was using. She also encouraged us to run our basenjis so we too needed slip leashes. As our son says, “Next thing I knew, my mom was going to lure trials in Southern California & people wanted to buy the slip leashes we used.”
Before we decided to take our little business to the rest of the world, we spoke to lure coursing enthusiasts from many breeds to learn what they wanted in a slip leash. We then went to a world class saddle maker who set us straight with our construction methods. We found hardware suppliers that carried only the best in welded, stainless steel and solid brass fittings. Most importantly, we decided early on to use only All-American Latigo leather of the highest quality for our leashes.
We still make our Obedience / 6′ leashes featuring an equine style pinch snap & made this choice years ago because of the 4H kids. We learned, at that very first class, that the standard leash snap clips were difficult for little fingers to open and secure to their dog’s collars. However, they could open the equine snap quite easily. Since we knew that they were strong enough to hold a horse, they would work just fine with dogs.
After seeing our leashes used over the years, by countless numbers of children and adults, we’ve not changed our six foot leash design at all. Matter of fact, we still have some of those first leashes still in use & over 15 years old. Are they still beautiful & functional? Yes, they are!