Retractable Leashes vs. Standard Leashes: A Lesson in Safety

We’ve all seen the retractable leashes. When they first came onto the market, everyone thought they were amazing – since it would let your dog run ahead of you and you didn’t have to run to catch up with them. Over time – these items have become more of a hindrance than helpful. In fact, they can be downright dangerous not only to you – but to your dog as well.

I’d like to share with you something from my own experience – and is the reason I will no longer use a retractable leash. One day while I was working at another job with a pet boarding and daycare facility, two clients with their dogs came into the lobby. The dogs sniffed and got excited as they swirled around each other, causing the retractable leashes to wrap around each other, creating a tight twist. With this excitement came fear and one dog couldn’t get away. That fear turned to aggression – and a manager had to intervene to pull them apart. Luckily – everyone was fine and no one (human or dog) was hurt. If each owner had used a non-retractable leash, the dogs wouldn’t have been tangled up with no means to get away from each other.

Another thing to consider with a retractable leash is that it can also cause damage/harm to a person who has an overly enthusiastic dog who insists on wrapping the leash around you – causing a rope burn or bruising on the legs. How many of you have either witnessed this yourself or have experienced this? I can also tell you from personal experience, getting wrapped up in a retractable leash – HURTS.

If each owner had a regular leash (the ideal length being 6 feet), the one owner can either drop the end of a leash and it can easily unfurl itself, or the owner can still hold on to the end of the leash – unwrapping it as they go. Simple actions like this can prevent the above situation being escalated (I’ve witnessed this in practice as well). With a six foot leash – you will have more control over your dog on a walk, especially during encounters with other dogs. You will also lower or eliminate the risk of getting a rope burn or bruise on your leg if a dog circles around you.

A standard leash doesn’t have to be expensive and it can be made of any material (leather, canvas, nylon, paracord, chain etc..). If you are currently using a retractable leash, I encourage you to try a regular six foot leash and see if it makes a difference for you and your beloved pooch!

As always, I would love to hear from you! If you have a topic or product you’d like for me to cover, please let me know!