Thursday, August 7, 2014

Downsides of the retractable leash

Retractable leashes are popular amongst many people, because they're convenient and give dogs a certain amount of freedom. While they can be okay for small or very well behaved dogs, there are some things to watch out for.

With a retractable lesh, you only have minimal control of the dog. Dogs are fast, and it's a matter of seconds before he or she is far enough ahead to run into traffic, bounce on an approaching person, or get into some other form of trouble.

Remember, your dog being sweet and well behaved doesn't mean that every dog - and person - you meet will love him or her. The long leash might also get entangled in trees, bushes, park benches, people, and other dogs.

It is much harder to hold on to the bulky handle of a retractable leash than an ordinary leash, especially if you have a strong dog. And, if you drop it, it might scare your dog. If you keep the loop of a regular leash around your wrist and hold on to it, the dog won't pull it off.

The cords in retractable leashes are generally thin. The cord is strong, but a strong dog who takes off running at full speed can still snap it - or hurt himself when the cord doesn't snap. If the cord breaks you might lose your dog.

A dog pulling on the end of a retractable leash can send an unfortunate wrong signal to other dogs. Your dog is just pulling, but it can look like a sign of aggression, and cause an unnecessary confrontation.

Retractable leashes can be great for well behaved and well trained dogs who walk well without pulling or taking off, but even then it's important to be extra observant since the dog might not be right by your side.

What type of leash do you use, and what do you think of it?

~ Maria Sadowski ~


  1. I have several leashes but not retractable. They are crap. I use a double stitched nylon one and a double cable leash.

    1. We too have many leashes, but no retractable. I have a hard time visualizing a world where that would work well for us. Odds are Bonnie would be running down the street with the clunky handle behind her, because I would have dropped it, lol.

  2. I find the retractable leashes so much easier to hold, but we only use them when we are in areas where the dogs can run and not interfere with any other dogs or people. I think the biggest problem is people using them in totally wrong places. If you pay attention and use them correctly where you are basically alone and your dog listens to your commands they are a good way to give them some freedom.

    1. Hi Emma, and thank you for coming over! =D

      Interesting. I have a much harder time holding on to a retractable leash than a regular - Bonnie would be able to rip it right out of my fingers when there's no loop around my wrist. She doesn't want to take off often, but some motorcycles awaken the herding instinct to a point where all training is out the door, lol.

      You're right, though. In a somewhat private area a retractable leash could be great to give the doggie freedom without letting them run completely loose. =)

  3. Yeah, retractable leashes are pretty bad no matter what kind of dog you have. I mean, they can be "good enough" but if you have a choice, get something else!

    - Sarah