When it comes to choosing a leash for your dog, there are plenty of different styles to choose from. At Presidential Pet Care, we understand that some types of leashes are more convenient than others, and some may be more comfortable in your hand than others, but there is one style of leash we believe dog owners should avoid. 

Retractable leashes are attractive, but not all that practical

Retractable leashes may be convenient in bad weather if you take your pet out and can stay under the awning of a porch or building while your pet ventures out into the elements to do their business. They can be useful in training a dog to heel. But, there are bigger issues that the use of a retractable leash can encourage or even make worse. Here are six reasons you may want to rethink that retractable leash.


Reasons not to use a retractable leash:


  • They can make it harder to control your dog. Not only is this dangerous to you and your pet, but it can become a problem if you’re in a highly-populated area and your dog likes to be social and visit people.  Pulling on the leash that’s extended anywhere from 6 to26 feet doesn’t give you control over the dog, it just gives them something to pull against.  


  • Over time, your dog will pull, even if you use a different style leash. If you’ve trained your dog to walk mostly on a retractable leash, you may have taught your dog to pull when you walk them on a leash, even if you swap out a retractable leash for a standard leash or an adjustable one.  The tension on the leash gives your pup something to pull against, and if you let that become a habit, they’ll associate ANY leash with the pulling activity.


  • Your dog (and the person walking the dog) could be injured. Injuries from tangles can range from rope burns to falls, and in worst-case scenarios, even broken limbs or cases for amputation if your dog gets wrapped up too tightly in the nylon leash.  If something happens and the leash is detached from the collar around a dog’s neck, you may not have time to react as the leash itself snaps back and retracts. The walker could be injured too – you could get tangled up in the leash and fall, or get rope burns from the nylon, or the broken bones or potential amputation, for the same reasons a dog might face those issues: getting wrapped up too tightly in a leash.


  • Dropping a leash could spook your dog. Unlike other common styles of dog leashes, retractable leashes don’t typically have a loop that you can wrap around your wrist to make it easier to hold on to. If a dog pulls hard enough or something happens and you drop the leash, the clatter of the hard plastic handle hitting the ground could spook your dog and cause them to take off running. What happens next? The leash handle continues to drag behind them, creating more noise and encouraging them to keep running because they’re spooked and can’t get away. 


  • Retractable leashes can make it harder to protect your dog from an overly friendly (or not so friendly) dog that does not have good leash walking etiquette. Or worse, if the dog is not leashed or controlled at all.  Dogs that don’t have good leash walking etiquette and are uncontrolled by their owners are always a danger. But, if you’re walking your dog on a leash that’s been extended the full 6 feet or more, you may not be able to protect your dog or pull them back if an uncontrolled dog is too enthusiastic with your well-behaved dog.


Presidential Pet Care is a force-free dog walking and pet sitting company located in Northern Virginia that facilitates harmonious relationships between people and their pets. To learn more about our dog walking, pet sitting, field trips or overnights, check out our services page, call us at 571-730-7730 or use our form on our contact page! You can also check out our online store that has a variety of pet products that your pet will love!

Lauren Heath
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