Retractable Leashes

A retractable leash is not so much a leash as it is a length of thin cord wound around a spring loaded device housed inside a plastic handle. The handles of most retractable leashes are designed to fit comfortably in a human hand. A button on the handle controls how much of the cord is extended.

Retractable leashes are popular to some because they are not as confining as regular leashes, allowing dogs more freedom to sniff and poke around during walks. Unfortunately, there are many downsides.

  • The length of retractable leashes, some of which can extend up to 26 feet, allows the pet to get far enough away from their humans that a situation can quickly turn dangerous. A dog on a retractable leash is often able to run into the middle of the street, for example, or make uninvited contact with other dogs or people.
  • If pets approach one another and one or both have aggressive tendencies it is nearly impossible to get control of a pet on a retractable leash. It is much easier to regain control of, or protect your pet if you are using a 6 foot standard flat leash. A pet running on a retractable leash can look like aggression to another dog who may decide to protect their human and result in a dog fight.
  • Often the thin cord of a retractable leash can break. These cords are thin and can become brittle with age. Our hot humid climate can effect these cords most often when left in the heat of a car or patio. When a pet pulls quickly to chase that squirrel at full speed the cord can likely snap.
  • Retractable leashes have a lock button to stop the releasing of the cord. These locking buttons can break quite easily and if they are not secure in the lock position this can result in the humans getting tangled up in the cord of the retractable leash. These cords can include injuries such as cuts and burns to the human and neck wounds, spinal injury as well as trachea issues in your pets.

Since retractable leashes are not recommended in the basic training of your pets they should not be used on dogs that have not already been trained to walk politely on a regular leash. By their very nature, retractable leashes train dogs to pull while on leash, because they learn that pulling extends the lead.