Many probably use retractable leashes to walk our dogs, often for convenience. But it seems that the retractable leash can be dangerous, let’s see why.
To let our dog walk a little more freely, without leaving him totally free, this accessory is really excellent. But can it hide something: is the retractable leash dangerous in use, for us and / or for our furry friends? Let’s see what the experts and trainers say about it, on how to use or avoid it, and what methodologies to apply when we take Fido for a walk, to avoid problems for him / her but also for us and other people.
Poor control over the dog
Retractable leashes greatly reduce our control over the dog. If an accident should happen while we are out for a walk, and our dog is caught in something so unexpected, this type of leash does not give us much control so we may find it difficult to manage the situation. For example if the dog runs off the street or encounters an aggressive dog, it will be very difficult for us to resolve the matter compared to how we would do with the normal leash.
In addition, the leash can break, especially with larger dogs whose weight and strength can tear the leash. This can endanger both the dog and other people or animals. But not only, the retractable leash is dangerous because it can curl around other dogs or other people. This can lead to skin irritations and grazes, cuts, and wounds. And not only for us and our dog, this can also happen to others around us.
The retractable leash does not teach our dog the right behavior, so it is not recommended for puppies or untrained dogs, as we will teach them that it is better to pull rather than keep up with us. For this, the risks of injury increase if the dog is not well trained. Obviously for all the reasons listed so far, children should never walk such a dog on a leash.
No matter how practical we are with retractable leashes and how best we use them, there are situations where it is best to avoid using them, especially in crowded places or in confined spaces. An example may be the veterinarian’s waiting room, or in areas busy with cyclists and runners. In general, it is always better to have a normal leash with you in case we need to replace it, perhaps because the retractable one suddenly breaks down.
If we find ourselves in a rapidly changing situation – greater sudden crowding, for example – it is always better to shorten and lock the leash immediately. This must be done before the dog even has time to think about doing something, because its reaction times are probably much faster than ours.
Another important behavior to follow is that of always keep an eye on what surrounds us. Maybe while the dog is sniffing a flower bed, some passersby absent-mindedly approach it causing a sudden movement of the dog, which attacks because it is frightened. If, on the other hand, we are always on the alert, we can prevent any negative behavior without even pointing it out to passersby.
Obviously the more the leash is kept wide, the more we have to be careful, because the area in which the dog can move is wider. We always consider ourselves at the center of this circle formed by the area in which the leash makes Fido move, and we understand well what is inside to keep everything under control. Obviously, we never use two retractable leashes together, it would be impossible to control two separate dogs effectively.
Finally, not all dogs are suitable for retractable leashes. The fastest moving dogs, those who run around sniffing everything, who can’t stand still, are a perfect example of a retractable leash dog, because it allows us to make them space and explore without many problems for us. In the case of a dog that wants to stay on the heel, a retractable leash with its heavy grip (which could fall off making it scare) is not recommended. But each dog has its own character, its way of moving, and therefore it must be considered on a case by case basis.