Why Retractable Leashes Are Dangerous
Retractable leashes aren't just bad for you and your dog, they're dangerous.
It's no fault of the product itself, but the way some dog owners and dog walkers use retractable leashes makes injuries and accidents more likely to happen. Hopefully, if you ask any knowledgeable dog walker or pet sitter in Atlanta, they'll tell you to avoid using them. Some states even ban the use of leashes longer than 6 feet in state parks.
So Why Do People Still Use Them?
Well, they are very convenient. You can let the dog venture further away from you without being dragged along. Because of this, retractable leashes are great for exploring expansive trails and rural areas where your dog can roam on-leash freely.
But in cities like Atlanta or even in small town neighborhoods, retractable leashes can be dangerous and counterproductive to walking a dog. Here's Why:
1) You Have No Control of your Dog
Retractable Leashes can extend up to 30 feet in length. That's a long distance between human and dog without any capability of pulling the dog closer to avoid dangerous situations such as the dog running into the road, attacking or being attacked by another dog, or grabbing that chicken bone off the ground that could injure them internally. If you think your pup would never do such a thing, just remember dogs are animals, and thus always unpredictable. It's much easier to control and protect the dog on a standard leash which are usually less than 6 feet in length.
2) Retractable Leashes Hurt People
There are so many scenarios in which a retractable leash can hurt people, and many reported incidents can be found all over the internet with just a google search. Flexi, a global leader in manufacturing of retractable warns dog owners and dog walkers: “To avoid the risk of eye or face injury and cuts, burns, and amputations to your body or the body of another person from the leash cord/tape or all belt and hook, read and follow these Warnings and Directions for Use before using your Flexi leash.” That alone is why Pack Leaders Atlanta and all of our dog walkers and pet sitters recommend against using Retractable Leashes. Still not convinced? Look at this chart.
3) Retractable Leashes are Counterproductive to a Puppy Learning How to Walk on a Leash.
Retractable Leashes are best suited for tracking and recall training, not the every day walk around the block. If your dog already knows how to walk on a leash and is very well mannered, then you may be able to use a retractable leash. But if your puppy is learning how to walk on a leash, the retractable leash is one of the worst choices you can make. In essence, a retractable leash is teaching your dog how to pull. On a retractable leash the dog can free roam. If you switch from a retractable leash to a standard leash the dog will likely pull hard in any direction as they are used to going wherever they please. No dog walker or pup owner likes to walk a dog that constantly pulls, it's no fun!
4) Retractable Leashes Can Hurt Dogs
One of the cool features of retractable leashes are that they have a "brake" switch that can stop the extension of the leash. This comes in handy when your dog gets too close to something you want to avoid. The downside of this is that if a dog is moving fast and the owner presses down on the brake switch, it locks really fast and risks jerking the dogs neck, and can cause neck and nerve injuries. Additionally, the more slack you give your dog, the more likely they are to get tangled with objects and people, making for some very unsafe situations.
We understand the convenience of having a retractable leash; if it rains you can stay in the doorway while your dog ventures into the yard or the apartment's dog park. They're also great for exploring open fields and some trails. But even then, they can be dangerous to people and pets passing by. Retractable leashes are not for every day dog walking and pet sitting. Thus we don't recommend using them. But if you trust yourself as a pet owner to use retractable leashes properly then you may have a great experience with them. Let us know your take in the comments below, and if you have a story to share about using retractable leashes, feel free to share!