Many dog owners use retractable leashes but are unaware of the hazards they pose. The devices are popular because they are compact and allow dogs the freedom to walk up to 26 feet away without being untethered. However, there are some serious downsides and dangers to retractable leashes that lead many dog trainers to advise against them.
1. they provide much less control over your dog. If your dog gets into any trouble you may have difficulty handling the situation. For instance, if your dog runs into the middle of the street or meets an unfriendly dog, it will be much harder for you to retrieve your dog safely than if you had a standard 6 foot leash.
2. The cord can break. Dogs, especially larger dogs have been known to snap the cord if they are startled or pull away suddenly. In 2008, 13-year-old Dereka Williams became partially blinded after a retractable dog leash broke and the metal clasp snapped back and hit her in the face.
3. It’s easy for dogs and people to get tangled up in the cord. The resulting injuries can be gruesome! People have gotten severe rope burns, cuts and even finger amputations from the cords. Dogs can also get terrible injuries including neck wounds (even lacerated tracheas!) and spinal injuries.
4. Retractable leashes do not teach a dog good leash manners. They are not a good idea for puppies and untrained dogs because the retractable leash gives way and because there is always tension on the dog, dogs will learn it’s okay to pull on the lead rather than heeling. Not only that, the risk of injuries may go up if the dog is not well-mannered on a retractable leash.
5. Children should not learn to walk a dog with retractable leashes. For all the reasons listed above, kids should not be taught to handle a dog with a retractable leash!
If you have one of these leashes you might want to consider switching to a standard one! Please share this important safety advice and share it with the dog lovers you know.