Leashes come in a variety of colors and styles, allowing you to select one that speaks to your pet’s personality. If you’re the owner of a curious pup, then you may be looking at getting a retractable leash to let them roam while still keeping your pet at hand. Here are some important things to know before getting a retractable leash:
Retractable Leashes Can Cause Injuries
The sudden stops created by retracting the line or reaching the end of the length at full sprint can give your dog whiplash. There is also a risk of injuring their neck where the collar is worn. Some other possible incidents could involve the cord tangling with other dogs or around your pet’s legs. In addition to being confusing, this could cause the cord to cut into your pets skin if it tightens enough.
Retractable leashes can also cause injuries to humans. If the cord breaks, it can snap back and hit the handler, sometimes at high speeds. Another common injury to handlers is severe rope burns or lacerations from trying to manually stop an extending leash when their pet darts for something exciting. Cord controls aren’t that intuitive in a moment of panic.
Loose Leashes Promote Poor Training
Due to their nature, retractable leashes give dogs more freedom to roam. However, this freedom can be counterintuitive when training a dog. For example, if something were to excite or frighten your dog, they could take off running and ignore your commands. Additionally, the distance they give your dog may likely be too great for you to maintain control.
Retractable leashes also promote poor training in humans. They aren’t exactly good for multitasking, and it can be easy to forget that you still need to control the dog at the end of your retractable line. Getting distracted - as we humans do - can create issues with tangled cords or a sudden case of whiplash or neck injury in your dog if the line were to suddenly snap back.
Retractable Leash Safety
While all of the above are reason enough for some dog owners to swear off retractable leashes, we know other owners find great success in using them. If you are interested in using a retractable leash with your dog, follow these safety tips:
- Do not use a retractable leash with a young, untrained, or anxious/aggressive dog.
- Do not use them in busy or heavily populated areas, as this increases the likelihood of entanglement or injury to bystanders.
- Take your dog’s size into consideration. Larger breeds such as Great Danes, Mastiffs, or just a hefty golden retriever can easily overpower most market retractable leashes.
- NEVER use retractable leashes with a choke collar. To prevent the neck injuries we described above, we recommend using a dog harness instead.
As you can see, a lot of the mishaps that occur with retractable leashes aren’t guaranteed to happen and can be prevented. However, we urge you to think critically about your dog’s behavior as well as your own capabilities as an owner before purchasing one.