Every now and then Dog Milk huskymutts Mingus and Dottie get a chance to try out new and interesting dog products. In this installment of Mingus and Dottie Try It, we tested out a prototype of a new dog-walking aid, Lead Mate. So what’s the Lead Mate all about, and what did we think?

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[Disclosure: We were sent some prototype Lead Mate leash devices for review. All views and opinions are our own.]

Lead Mate is a simple but effective device designed to make dog-walking safer and more comfortable. If you find yourself wrapping your dog’s leash around your wrist or fingers to maintain a good grip (hands up, all you walkers-of-leash-pullers!), Lead Mate provides a convenient way to keep a secure, comfortable hold on your leash, preventing injuries and making walks more pleasurable.

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Lead Mate is lightweight yet provides a strong, secure hold. There’s a Lead Mate design to fit your favorite leash, whether it be flat mesh, rope-style, or leather. Lead Mate is designed to grip strongly while being easily adjustable (simply by screwing and unscrewing the two pieces together or apart).

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The Lead Mates we tested were 3D-printed prototypes of the product design that will go into production if Lead Mate’s Kickstarter campaign is successful. (The ridges on the Lead Mate you see in the photos, for example, are just a result of the 3D printing process for the protoype. Lead Mates available for purchase will be smooth and ridge-free.) Manufacturing plans include producing Lead Mates from 100% recycled materials and offering a variety of bright colors for ideal leash color coordination. (We all know that’s important.) We were sent glow-in-the-dark Lead Mates to try, which were super cool — and definitely a smart option for late-night walks.

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So, what was our experience with the Lead Mate? As promised, Lead Mate made gripping Mingus and Dottie’s leashes much more comfortable than wrapping the leash around my fingers and hand, which is my usual habit. I always felt like I had good, firm control of the leash while using Lead Mate, and its grip seemed equally effective on both leather and rope leashes. Lately I’ve been struggling with carpal tunnel syndrome (ugh), and Lead Mate’s ergonomic design has made holding the leash SO much easier and more comfortable for me.  And you know what they say – comfortable hands make for comfortable walks. (Actually, “they” don’t say that. I just made that up. But it’s true, right?)

Lead-Mate-6Lead Mate has other uses as well – such as coupling two leashes together (to walk two dogs with one leash), fastening a leash around your waist, or securing a leash to, say, a table at a cafe. And something else we really like? Lead Mate will donate 10% of profits to no-kill rescues and shelters. Sound good? Kickstarter backers will be able to get a Lead Mate for as little as $9. Check out more about Lead Mate’s specific specs and design as well as find out how to back the project on Kickstarter here.

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