Retractable leashes have been around a long time. They seem like such a great idea to give your dog more freedom on daily walks. The concept is simple: a retractable leash gives your dog the chance to roam farther and allows you to reign them in easily when you need to. However, since being invented in 1972, retractable leashes come with a wide range of dangers to both you and your pooch.
8 Dangers of Using Retractable Leashes
The following are among the most obvious dangers when using a retractable leash to walk your dog.
1. Leash Malfunction
When a traditional leash begins to show wear and tear, the worst that can happen is that it will snap and momentarily go free. When a retractable leash malfunctions, it can get stuck in one position and unable to retract. This can cause a host of problems and hazards that can harm your dog and whoever is walking them.
2. Bulky Handle
The handles for retractable leashes are large enough to fit the retracted leash and the mechanisms inside. This makes for bulky control and allows it be yanked from your hand, injuring your dog or forcing them to flee away from you after being frightened by the motion and the sound.
3. Thin, Breakable Cord or strap
The cord or strap that retracts up into the handle is thinner than the leash. When the cord becomes frayed with wear and tear over time, it can break and snap back toward you at alarming speed. It will also release your dog from your control and allow them to run away frightened by the sound of the handle chasing them.
4. Extension Can Put Dog in Unseen Danger
Some retractable leashes can extend up to 26 feet, allowing your dog to roam away from you and get into trouble with other dogs or walkers, or wander into the street before you can stop them.
5. Sudden Stops Can Injure Your Dog, and You
When you hit the stop button or the cord hits its maximum length with your dog in mid-stride, it can jerk them and cause lacerations, or serious neck or back injuries. This can also result in shoulder, elbow and hand injuries to the human holding the handle.
6. Cord Can Cut, Burn
If you grab the cord as it is in motion or it gets tangled along the way, it can result in severe burns, cuts or other serious injuries. When the cord is at full extension as your dog pulls, it forms a hazardous line that can injure other people or pets around it.
7. Tripping Danger
As your dog darts back and forth from patches of grass to the nearest tree or shrub, or in a pet store, it is easy for the cord to get tangled at your ankles, or wrapped around others causing someone to trip and fall.
8. Teaches Lazy Walking Skills
Retractable leashes teach your dog that it is okay to pull on the leash and that they will be rewarded for it. They control the pace and path, with you being dragged along for the ride. This results in sloppy and lazy walking skills that will lead to a lot of frustrating walks for you.
The Lesson: Stick with a Traditional Leash
The bottom line is that retractable leashes are not worth the risks of injury to you, your dog, and anyone around for the potential reward of giving your dog a little more control and space on their walks. Many in the industry have called for them to be outlawed and most pet shops will not let you enter their store with a dog on one unless it is in the locked position. If you want to put some distance between you and the pooch, get a longer traditional leash and retract it manually when needed.