Why I HATE Retractable Leashes

August 8, 2014

I know, I know, hate is a pretty strong word that I don’t throw around very often but in this case I stand behind it 100%. I HATE retractable leashes! Why you ask? Let me give you just a few of the MANY reasons.

Ret Leash

  • You have little to no control over your dog. Giving your dog this type of freedom on a walk is TEACHING them to pull on leash. Something I see all of the time that drives me crazy is someone walking their dog on a retractable leash WITH a pinch collar on….These are contradicting each other. The leash is telling them to pull because they have so much slack to do so, but the pinch is painfully stopping them from doing so. If you want your dog to walk nicely on leash, get a standard 6′ or shorter one. This way you are in control and can work on training them not to pull. Not only do these leashes teach your dog bad leash manners, it also undoes much of your obedience training. Getting them to focus on you with all that freedom? Forget it!
  • They can create fear issues in your dog. These leashes are NOT very strong and have malfunctions happen to them all of the time. The mechanisms inside stop working, or the cord snaps at the end and hits your dog. This can cause your dog to associate that hurt with you, something walking by like a dog or child, or walking in general and now they have fear issues. This can also cause them to possibly run away if they get snapped with the end. Another issue is the large handle. If you drop this it will scare many dogs and cause them to run away from you. It is almost impossible to get them back because they continue to run away from the “big, scary, loud thing chasing them”.
  • They cause some pretty serious injuries. Have you ever had one of those lines caught around your wrist or ankle while your dog is running? OUCH! It causes some awful rope burn and really cuts into the skin. Not only can this happen to humans or children, but it can also happen to other dogs causing a fight. This has happened to me before when walking Nanu. Nanu generally is slightly nervous around other dogs but is so good now I don’t really worry about her meeting other dogs too much. We were on a walk last summer at the lake and another, small, dog on a retractable leash came up to say hello. This dog was circling Nanu while they were sniffing and the line got caught around one of Nanu’s legs. This was very painful and caused her to bite this dog on the scruff! Thank goodness Nanu didn’t cause any real damage because that could have ended very differently than it did. I also had to work her confidence back up to meet smaller dogs on walks as she was very uneasy for the next few months after that.

leash injury

  • Unnecessary and unavoidable tension. Your dog is running, thinks he has all of the room in the world and then BANG he reaches the end of the leash. If another dog is around and they are about to play, this can cause the dog to associate this tension with the other dog therefore starting a dog fight. Have you ever tried to break up a dog fight with a dog on a retractable leash? By the time you get to your dog, they are fighting and so tangled in the leash that it is near impossible. Not to mention the damage the leash is possibly doing to either dog or human involved.

Well, end rant I suppose! What kind of leash do you use? Let me know in the comments below!