on a short leash

on a short leash

or

on a tight leash

If someone is on a short leash or on a tight leash, they are only allowed a small amount of freedom to do what they want. Note: A `leash' is a long thin piece of leather or chain, which you attach to a dog's collar so that you can keep the dog under control. Refusing to comment, the spokeswoman said: `I am on a very short leash on this subject.' The government kept its troops on a tight leash. Note: You can also just say that someone is on a leash with the same meaning. He has demonstrated time and time again that he needs to be kept on a leash. Note: You can say that someone is on a shorter leash or on a tighter leash if they are given less freedom. Everybody's treated a little different. Some guys are on a shorter leash than others. These scandals have prompted boards to put executives on a tighter leash.
See also: leash, on, short