Unless you are in a fenced off-leash park or yard, your dog should always be on a leash for their safety and yours! While retractable leashes are popular, you should never use one!
You see them everywhere! They are almost a “fashion accessory” for many dog owners. But retractable leashes should be avoided for one simple reason – safety! Traditional leashes are designed to keep your dog safe and close to you. But retractable leashes provide an illusion of safety and control while ultimately, they could put you and your dog in real danger.
The History of the Retractable Leash
The first adjustable leash was created in the early 1900’s for ladies to replace the “inconvenient leading device or leash” at that time. But retractable or “Flexi” leashes became more popular in the 1970’s when dog owners wanted to comply with leash laws while still giving their dogs greater freedom.
While these leashes may help reduce an owner’s guilt at restricting his dog’s freedom, this same leash becomes cumbersome and even dangerous especially when attached to a harness (which encourages most dogs to lunge and pull harder).
Retractable Leashes: 5 Reasons to Say NO!
They do NOT teach good leash manners!
In fact, they create and encourage bad leash manners. It’s simple, an untrained dog wants to go somewhere faster and a retractable leash encourages and allows him to pull without any real control or effective correction.
Sadly, retractable leashes can create and even exacerbate serious canine injuries from pulling.
- Collar burns or wounds
- Neck injuries
- Jugular vein/carotid artery injuries
- Spine injuries
- Cervical nerves and structures in the neck, chest and forelegs
- Amputations from the retractable cord or rope wrapping and then pulling on the legs and/or tail
Injuries to the dog walker
- Amputations when the leash wraps and pulls around limbs
- Burns or cuts to fingers, hands, legs and more
- Falls, scrapes, road rash, etc.
- Broken bones including wrists, elbows and hips
- Eye and facial injuries in the event the plastic handle, case or cord breaks
- Over 223,000 SlyDog retractable leashes were recalled between 2007 and 2008 due to the metal clasps from the leash to the dog’s collar were breaking while in use
Breakable and chewable cords/ropes
- The cords or ropes used in retractable leashes are breakable especially with larger dogs who lunge or jump.
- They can also be chewed through by a dog and not noticed until it is too late.
- These same cords also just wear out over time and can then malfunction without any warning putting both the dog and walker in danger.
- These cords can also completely unravel or refuse to retract, again with no warning and with even less control.
They offer no control
- Virtually no control over your dog(s).
- The inability to correct unwanted leash behaviors in a timely and effective manner.
Your dog depends upon you to keep him safe. Retractable leashes cannot keep your dog safe and closely attached to you. Leashes that are 4-6 feet are the best for effectively training your dog while also keeping him close and safe.
Make sure your beloved dog is always safe!
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Preventive Vet: Retractable Leashes – Useful or Harmful
Dr. Karen Becker: Why I Don’t Recommend Retractable Leashes
Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM: Retractable Leash Injuries are a Serious Problem
DogTime: Retractable Leashes: Dangerous and Deadly for Dogs and Humans