A retractable leash is a length of thin cord or belt wound around a spring-loaded device housed inside a plastic handle. The handles have a button on that controls how much of the cord/belt is extended and often have a locking mechanism.
Retractable leashes are popular primarily because they allow a dog more freedom to sniff and investigate while on walks. Unfortunately, there are many disadvantages to this type of leash.
Reasons Not to Use a Retractable Leash
1. The length of retractable leashes can range from 15 – 26 feet. This allows a dog to get far enough away from their handler that a dangerous situation could quickly occur. For example, a dog can get spooked and wrap itself around a pole, tree or even worse your LEGS! I have seen some very nasty burns from cord that was accidentally wrapped around a person’s ankles.
2. With your dog 15+ feet away, it is more difficult to control a situation if you encounter an unfriendly dog. It is much easier to control a situation and protect your dog if your dog is on a shorter regular 6’ leash.
3. Dogs can run and hit the end of the retractable leash. This can cause injury to the dog’s neck AND the handler’s rotator cuff.
4. Retractable leashes inadvertently teach dogs to pull. i.e. Pulling extends the leash.
5. The handles of retractable leashes are bulky and can be pulled out of a handler’s hand, if the dog unexpectedly starts to run.
6. Retractable leashes can malfunction at any time.
7. Lastly, in case of danger, it is near impossible to get control and bring your dog close to you.
It is always best to teach your dog to walk on a loose leash BEFORE you ever use a flexi or retractable leash. In addition, it is important to have a “come” and a “with me” command so that my dog will come to me regardless of the situation. The “with me” command is important when I need my dog to stay close to me when another dog is passing by or is out of control. Walking your dog can be fun and safe if you use the proper leash!
I really like the ZippyPaws 6′ leashes. They are inexpensive yet durable.
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