Did you know that your dog’s retractable leash is not just a poor training decision for most dogs, it’s also downright DANGEROUS?
If your dog is already prone to pulling on a leash, a retractable lead will exacerbate that problem. The mechanics of it teach them that if they pull at the end, they will be rewarded by getting to walk further away from you. This encourages them to pull when on walks, even if they’re back on a standard leash.
Many retractable leashes can extend over 20 feet! While some owners feel that this gives their dog additional freedom on walks, it can also allow your dog to get away from you and get into a dangerous situation. Imagine that your dog is at the very end of a long retractable lead, and a stray animal takes you both by surprise by running out of some bushes and starting a fight with your dog. Not only are you 20 feet away from where this is happening, but you also can’t control your own dog because the cord is too thin to pull them back without getting some SERIOUS rope burn on your hands.
Can your dog be a bit skittish sometimes? Imagine that you trip on a walk and accidentally drop your retractable leash, and that plastic housing that stores the cord clatters on the concrete. Your dog runs a few steps away, hearing that thud behind them… and now they take off, because the dragging of that plastic housing on the pavement is making a terrible scary noise right at their heels and they think they’re being chased! This is a shockingly common tale when dogs go missing.
Last, but certainly not least, they can be dangerous for both the dog and the human on the other end! Dogs have been known to be severely injured by running full speed until they are out of lead, and the resulting trauma to their neck can cause burns and wounds, collapsed and lacerated tracheas, and even permanent spinal damage. These leashes are known to break down over time. That thin cord can break pretty easily and snap back to injure the handler at the other end. As a dog owner in that situation, it’s often your first instinct to grab at the cord to stop your dog from taking off, but that can cause deep lacerations and even complete finger amputations!
While SOME owners use them for training (i.e. working on a dog’s recall), the risks almost always FAR outweigh the benefits of using a retractable leash, especially on your daily walks. Play it safe for your dog and yourself and opt for a traditional leash or slip lead!