3 Ways Your Retractable Leash is Trying to Kill You
I’ve never been a fan of the retractable leash. There… I said it. I mean, c’mon, have you ever seen a super well-behaved dog on one of these things? Now, I’m sure in some remote corner of the world we could find one if we really tried. But as a general rule, when strolling along the beach or visiting the dog park, you most often see retractable-leash dogs, over-excited, lunging and pulling in all directions. Not a great recipe for a calm, cool day with your dog.
For those of you unfamiliar with them, a retractable leash is a long thin cord (20-30 ft long) wrapped tightly around a spring loaded device. When the dog pulls, more leash comes out. When the dog gets closer to the owner, the cord wraps back around the spring device.
From a training perspective, I can’t think of a single reason why it would be advantageous to to have my dog 30 feet away in public. Even though the dog is still attached to me, the further away she gets from, the more my magical powers dissipate.
Whenever I take my dog into a new or potentially exciting environment, I want to let her know that I’m still in charge. I’m purposely not going to let her go flying into the tornado of excitement around me until I’m sure she’s in a position to handle it.
Let’s throw the training aspect out for out now (Blasphemy!). From a safety standpoint, I find these leashes dangerous, especially around kids or others who don’t know how to use them. They’re an accident waiting to happen.
Accident #1 – You drop the leash
Who hasn’t accidentally dropped their leash when out with the dog? Well, here’s what happens when you drop the handle of a retractable leash. If the leash is not locked, the heavy handle (with the spring loading device inside) is going to fly like a two-pound missile toward the stationary end of the leash (your dog’s head).
If you grew up with an older brother, think of it like him holding the heavy end of a 30-foot tape measure and you ignorantly holding the other end. Naturally, the older brother thing to do is to let go of the heavy end and smash the younger, sensitive brother’s little hand. That happened to everyone, right?!?
Keep in mind, the reverse is true as well. If, for whatever reason, the dog’s collar suddenly comes off, expect Fido’s collar to be briskly flying back in your direction. Not a big problem if Fido is a Chihuahua but…
Accident #2 – You grab the leash
Once in awhile your dog will just take off after another dog, squirrel or leaf. When they do, it can be a little surprising, which can lead to losing your grip on the handle. Instinctively, you grab the thin cord of the leash —voila!— you get a world class rope burn. I’m not proud to admit it, but this one has even happened to me.
Accident #3 – All wrapped up and nowhere to go
An excited dog and 30 feet of leash can wreak havoc on a dog owner and anyone/thing within it’s radius. One of my favorite parts of a rodeo is the calf roping competition. A good cowboy can lasso and hogtie that calf in less than 10 seconds. I’ve seen a chocolate lab do that to his owner and a bike rack in half that time.
Go ahead and Google “retractable leash and bad”. You’ll see that many others share my view. Spare yourself the pain and embarrassment of telling your friends you hurt yourself “walking the dog.”
Get a Good Leash!
A good leash should be one of your primary tools in training and owning your dog. A simple six foot long leash is what you want, what works best, and hurts the least! Here are a couple we like.
We recommend you use a leather leash while you’re still training your pup, as it’s easier on your hands. It’s also advisable if you have a larger dog (think 80lbs +), where the sturdier construction can come in handy.
We love the PrideBites leashes because they come in 6 ft lengths, a variety of colors/styles, and are customizable with your pup’s name. These are great for your trained, small to mid-size dog. And, if you use code smilingdog at checkout, you receive 20% off your order. It’s our gift to you!