Pros And Cons Of Retractable Dog Leashes
I have to be honest with you: I am not a fan of retractable dog leashes. I’ve tried them and I don’t know if I’d ever use them again. I don’t like the lack of control I have over the leash. I give Oscar some leeway, but that switch doesn’t pull him back to me fast enough when I want him to heel. I also don’t like when other dogs are on retractable leashes and their owners don’t have control of them, and they run over to Oscar. He’s a nervous little guy and he needs extra time to get to know another dog before he lets them smell his butt.
But there are other pet parents I know that swear by them and don’t leave home without them. They are in full control and have never had an issue. The pro and con debate over retractable leashes has been going on for as long as companies have been making them and it’s not going to stop any time soon. There are some really fancy, innovative ones on the market right now. I’ve seen them at the trade shows, and even though the look impressive, I’m hesitant to try them out. But I’d like to go over a few pros and cons of retractable dog leashes in this article and you can make the choice if this is the right product for you.
They give well-behaved dogs freedom to explore, smell interesting spots, mark new spots and run on ahead. This extra freedom can give a dog more self-confidence; they can have more fun and more exercise, all without being attached to their owner’s side. When you think of the retractable leash as an advanced tool, it’s enjoyable for both owner and dog.
If your dog is over-active or is hard to control, you can’t control your dog on this leash. You can click that switch all you want, but your dog has enough distance to possible do some damage once he sees something interesting. If this describes your dog, you shouldn’t use a retractable dog leash where you know other dogs will be and the threat of entanglement is high. That line can easily get wrapped around another dog or someone’s legs, or even your fingers, causing serious injury – I know you’ve seen all the super gross pictures on Google Images or heard the awful stories about fingers being broken or pulled off.
Retractable leashes can be used for practicing when being called on walks. If you’re having control issues with your dog, take him to a secluded, safe area and practice his recall. Let him explore the area on the retractable leash, letting him go out as far as the leash will go. Call him back to you, using treats as rewards. You always use the switch to reel him back in if he is distracted during his lesson.
Retractable leashes are not meant to be used for when training your dog to properly walk on a lead. This can lead to pulling – once your dog gets far enough out in front of you, he will start to pull. When you start training, you want to discourage pulling, so your best bet is to start off with a traditional 4- to 6-foot fabric or leather leash.
This pro is a little selfish, but in really bad weather, you can’t beat a retractable leash. If you have to keep your dog on a leash while you take him outside for a bathroom break and it’s pouring rain outside, your dog can do his business while you stay under the shelter of a porch. I’ve seen my neighbor do this as I got soaked with my dog and traditional leash. My umbrella did nothing against the sideways rain.
The long line may be hard to see, especially at a distance for someone coming at a rapid speed. You may be tempted to use it in places where you think it’s okay, but it’s a hazard to others. A good example of this would be trails that are frequented by runners or cyclists who won’t see the line until it’s too late.
What do you think? Are you for or against retractable dog leashes? I want to hear what you think. Leave your comments down below.
Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).
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