Using retractable leashes can pose several dangers and risks for both dogs and their owners. Here are some specific dangers associated with retractable leashes:
Lack of Control: The main concern with retractable leashes is the decreased level of control they offer. These leashes can extend several feet or even yards, allowing dogs to roam far ahead. This lack of control can be problematic in situations where immediate restraint or control is necessary, such as encountering aggressive dogs, approaching busy roads, or navigating crowded areas. They are also heavy and awkward making them difficult to handle.
Potential for Injury: Retractable leashes typically have a thin cord or tape that can cause injuries. If the cord gets wrapped around a person's legs, fingers, or another dog, it can lead to burns, cuts, or even more severe injuries. The high tension and sudden force exerted by a retractable leash can result in injuries to both humans and dogs. They can damage your pet's neck and throat when your pet gets to the end of the leash, the sudden force can snap your pet's neck.
Entanglement Hazards: Dogs can easily become tangled or wrapped up in the long cord of a retractable leash, especially if they move in opposite directions or around obstacles. This can lead to injuries such as cuts, burns, or even strangulation if the leash becomes wrapped around the dog's neck, limbs, or objects in the environment.
Improper Equipment Pairing: Many times retractable leashes are paired with pinch collars, slip chains or martingale collars. This allows for constant tension on your dog and becomes counterproductive for the intended use of those collars. Training collars allow you to control your dog and retractable leashes allow the dog to take control.
Reinforcement of Undesirable Behavior: Retractable leashes can inadvertently reinforce pulling behavior in dogs. The extended length of the leash allows dogs to pull and strain against it, associating pulling with the ability to explore and roam freely. This can lead to ongoing pulling behavior, even when using a standard leash.
Difficulty in Communication: The extended length of retractable leashes makes it challenging to communicate effectively with the dog. Giving commands, redirecting behavior, or maintaining close control become more difficult when the dog is far away at the end of a long leash.
To ensure the safety of both you and your dog, it's important to be aware of these dangers and consider alternative options. Traditional fixed-length leashes provide better control and reduce the risk of injury or entanglement. A 5 or 6 foot leash is recommended.
At The Clever Canine, our go to is a 6 foot leather leash. They offer amazing grip and last forever! Always choose a leash that is appropriate for the size of your dog and your hands. We are happy to help you choose the leash that is best suited for you and your pup.