Should you use retractable leashes to walk your dog? 

Going for a walk with your dog is one of the best times for you two to connect. It’s a time to exercise and play together. More literally, there’s also a physical connection between you two: a leash. There are so many options when you look at the leash market, but one has caused a great deal of debate.

Retractable leashes are marketed as safe, freer options for your pooch, but others see it as a danger. So, should you be using retractable leashes when walking your dog?

What are retractable leashes?

Retractable leashes are designed to fit comfortably in your hand while giving your dog freedom to not just walk right next to you. The plastic handle has a button which releases and retracts a cord, making the length of your dog’s leash more versatile. You can even lock the leash at a certain distance. Depending on the brand, some retractable leashes can extend 16 to 30 feet.

Why do some owners use them and what are the benefits?

As the saying goes, no one wants to be kept on a short leash. Many owners think this is true for dogs as well. Retractable leashes give dogs the option to roam a wider area. By nature, dogs are inquisitive about the world around them and want to explore as much as they can. Retractable leashes give them the option to have more interesting, lively walks that are not confined to your hip.

When walking your dog, you give them the option to get out of the house for the first time in hours. You want them to have as much freedom and have as much fun as they can, and these types of leashes enable that to happen.

What are the dangers of a retractable leash?

It’s important to note that with great freedom comes great dangers. The wider you make your dog’s circle, the more hazards they will encounter. Not only will they encounter these hazards, but they will encounter them with you 20 to 30 feet away!

For example, your dog can turn the corner before you do because they are way ahead. Since you’re far behind, you have no idea what’s on the other side. There could be an aggressive dog or other hazards waiting around the bend. It’s important to stay close to safeguard your pet.

There’s also the mechanic aspect to consider because retractable leashes often break. You may not be able to retract the leash at a moment’s notice, or the lock button may not work and the leash will unspool without your control.

Lastly, but probably most importantly, retractable leashes can hurt your pups. Other dogs and even other people can get tangled in the lengthy cord, creating an unnecessary hazard. Additionally, there have been instances where dogs run at full speed just as you’re pressing the lock button. This will jolt them back and can cause injury to their neck and head.

Verdict: Should dog owners use the retractable leashes?

The dangers greatly outweigh the positives of using a retractable leash. If you’re interested in giving your dog more freedom on your walks, that’s great! But, a retractable leash is not the answer. Instead, bring them to an open and enclosed area that you know and trust. Letting them off the leash here is safer than giving them freedom in an unfamiliar area tied to your retractable leash.

There are many other leashes on the market that will help you better connect with your pup in a safer, happier way. Your dog will thank you in the long run!

Frank Olito

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