Walk into any pet store and there are an almost overwhelming number of leash options for your dog. There are standard leashes, slip collar leashes, Martingale leashes and more. And that doesn’t even begin to cover the different materials, colors and prices! Though most have their pluses and minuses, at Train Pro Dogs we strongly recommend that you avoid retractable leashes. Here are just a handful of the reasons why:
Lack of control
It’s tempting to give your dog a little more freedom to wander while you walk but some retractable leashes extend up to 26 feet. In the blink of an eye, your dog could be in the middle of the road or jumping up on a passing runner not allowing you enough time to activate the lock button. Having control of your pup while walking is essential to ensuring their safety.
Laceration and other dangers
The thin line of a retractable leash can easily cut through skin. If you, or even worse a child, get between an excited dog and a retractable leash, the result can be extremely dangerous. We’ve seen first hand everything from minor burns to severe gashes across fingers and legs, and limb amputations are not uncommon. Here’s a story we found on the Consumer Reports website. If a retractable leash can amputate a human finger, imagine what it can do to a dog whose leg skin is much thinner than ours.
Picture your dog running full speed ahead as your retractable leash grants him freedom. Faster. Further. Then, suddenly, the leash runs out and jerks your dog’s neck backwards. With any luck your dog just gets knocked off his feet because the alternative could be severe neck injury including a lacerated trachea.
Put a large, powerful or excited dog on the end of a retractable leash and the thin cord can easily snap. This isn’t just another danger for your dog and whatever he may be chasing, but the cord can snap back and injure you.
Loud and clunky
Retractable leashes are housed within a large, bulky plastic handle that can easily be pulled away by an excited dog. This presents the obvious danger of your dog running away but add in the noise caused by the handle thumping along behind him and your dog could spook and try to run away further.
They reward bad habits
Retractable leashes teach your dog that it’s ok to pull away from you. When your dog wanders further and further away on a retractable leash, they are rewarded with more freedom. So essentially you’re teaching your dog that it’s ok to leave your side and do their own thing.
There are no benefits to using a retractable leash and the potential risks far too serious. At Train Pro Dogs we never use a leash longer than 4-6 feet in length when walking our own dogs or our client’s dogs. Learning to safely and calmly walk on the right leash is by far one of the most valuable skills to teach your dog and we can help.