Gear + Gadgets: Look paw, no hands

Buddy System Hands-Free Leash System and Lunge Buster
Buddy System Hands-Free Leash System and Lunge Buster

Even the most well-behaved dog can be a handful on unfamiliar turf, just when you need both hands for other things than a leash. Now that I’ve discovered the Buddy System Hands-Free Leash System, I can’t imagine how my dog Spirit and I managed all those years without it.

The system consists of an adjustable waist belt with quick-release buckles, and an adjustable leash with a belt loop at one end and a lobster claw swivel hook collar attachment at the other. Just slide the belt loop onto the waist belt, buckle up, and attach the swivel hook to your dog’s collar ring. Voilà, your hands have been liberated.

The collar attachment is connected to the leash section via another quick-release buckle. If you want Fido to run free for a while, just unbuckle the leash from the collar attachment, which remains connected to the collar for a quick re-hook-up. The waist belt comes with an extra belt loop with a quick-release buckle at one end for hooking up the unused end of the leash until you need it.

If your dog’s a yanker, add the optional Lunge Buster, an elasticized scrunchy-like shock-absorbing extension that buckles between the leash and the collar attachment via its own quick release buckles. The Lunge Buster gives the dog some stretching leeway before going taut, gently ending the digression. A big powerful dog determined to wander could certainly yank you along with it, Lunge Buster notwithstanding. But that scenario requires canine management gear beyond the Buddy System’s mission.

The waist belt comes in three sizes in black, purple, red, royal blue, black with reflective piping or red with reflective piping. The leash comes in matching colors, the Lunge Buster only in black. A diminutively proportioned version of the entire system, for dogs weighing less than 20 pounds, is available in black only. Happy trails!

Buddy System Hands-Free Leash System is $26 in regular, large and extra-large (which accommodates up to a 60-inch waist). Lunge Buster is $12.50. Small-dog versions of each are $20, and $11.50, respectively, at