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Wag Leash


Gentle-Brake Dog Leash for Runners

Problem Statement

Redesign a retractable dog leash that will improve the walking experience for dogs and owners alike

Survey Research

Retractable leashes are too awkward and bulky and people tend to get tangled and jerked around



"I run with my dog, but I've never used a retractable leash. They seem awkward."


“I can’t use my leash to run because it’s too bulky to swing. I would rather walk my dog and run on my own.”


“I try to go for runs with my dog when I can, but I get tangled and pulled a lot and it isn’t the most enjoyable experience.”

Hands-On Research


Small dogs

-  Has difficulty maintaining speed
-  Easily tired out
-  Prone to distraction
+ Easily excited for walks

Medium dogs

+ Most active size range
-  Occasional bursts of excess energy 
-  Seems slightly less patient 

Large dogs

-  Has the tendency to run ahead and pull

-  More people try to avoid encounters 

-  Lack attentiveness

+ Have a calmer disposition 



Flexi Retractable Leash

+ Easily stored 
-  Doesn’t fit a pocket well
-  Grip is too small for larger hands
-  Leash is spooled around the coil
+ Extends up to 10 feet 


Pocket Leash Locket (Amazon)

+ Easily stored
+ Pocket-sized
-  Too small for larger hands
+ Compact coil and spool stack  
-  Extends up to only 5 feet

Design Objectives

The leash redesign will be a more elongated and compact form that promotes exercise and activity

- Active aesthetic

- Storable

- Elongated form

- Streamlined

- Simple grip

- Lightweight

- Pocket-sized

- Gentle brake

Prototype One

  Positive features

- Friction brake functions well
- Pocket-sized
- Spool and coil gears are successful

Negative features

- Trigger position
- Brake strength
- Overall shape
- Aesthetics and ergonomics


Elongated form

Simple grip for diverse hand sizes

Friction brake/ belay

Separate coil and spool

Prototype Two

  New form

- Tapers forward for a better grip
- Smoother surfaces for comfort
- Front extension to guard against rope burn

pro 2-30.jpg
pro 2-29.jpg

  Positive features

- Tapers for more grip
- Pocket-sized
- More natural form
- One size fits all grip

  Negative features

- Needs thumb indentation
- Sharp edges need to be smoothed
- Shape must be more uniform

* Internal components remain the same

Final Form

blue wag.jpg

- Smoothed edges for a softer grip

- Elongated form for any hand size

- Hourglass body for a natural thumb rest

- Curved trigger to prevent slipping

Belay Brake

The brake trigger rests in a compressed position when the leash has no tension, allowing for a more comfortable grip in the resting position

A pin pushes the leash into a groove in the trigger allowing friction to gradually stop the leash


When the leash is pulled the trigger is pushed out alerting the owner of the dog’s movement which allows for the application of a responsive, but gentle brake


Retracting Mechanism


  Separating the coil and spool

- Allows for 10 feet of leash
- Spool is half the size of the Flexi 10 ft spool
- Allows for an elongated handle-like form
- More leash can fit within a smaller shell

Exploded View


1. FDM Shell
2. 10 ft Leash
3. Trigger
4. Coil gear
5. Coil spring
6. Cotter Pin
7. Spool

Wag Leash

The compact design of the Wag Leash allows for free arm movement and a comfortable grip that is more convenient for runners and a gentle belay braking system that is more comfortable for their dog

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