You may look at the retractable leash and think, wow what a great idea! My dog can roam around while we walk and I don’t have to worry about him pulling me or the leash getting tangled. I admit, I fell victim to this thought when we adopted our first dog many years ago.
But wow, was I wrong!!! The fact is, the retractable leash is dangerous.
A retractable leash puts your DOG in control, NOT you. The purpose of a leash is to keep your dog under your control, not to give him free roaming rights while on your walk.
There is only one situation to use a flexi retractable leash, and that is when training a dog the recall. As long as it is used properly.
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I realize there are plenty of people that use the retractable leash for daily walking. I personally know a few, and they love the freedom it gives their dog.
But your daily walk should be structured and not about your dog having the freedom to go and sniff every tree or dog that you walk by. Your walk should be about you and your dog building a relationship, a strong bond between pack leader and her dog. That bond is not created at the end of a 20-30 foot leash!
A friend of mine recently took her dog out for a walk, she stepped outside and the dog saw a squirrel. The dog took off running while pulling the owner down the stairs. The woman ended up with broken ribs!
My personal story is about my daughter and I walking our dogs, Ginger and Bear. It was during our nightly walk when we had a very scary situation that I will never forget. We had our dogs on a 6ft LED light up leash because it was dark, when we noticed a couple walking their two dogs coming from the opposite direction.
With two dogs and two people, I would usually cross to the other side of the street, but this was off a busier street and there was no place to cross safely. So when the other couple moved off the side to let us pass, I figured it was safe to continue on and walk by. Umm, NO! Because of the dark, I didn’t see that they had their dogs on retractable leashes.
One of their dogs lunged and started to bark at us. I think it startled the lady as much as it us, but because the dog was on a retractable leash, she couldn’t pull her dog back. We froze, not knowing what to do. We panicked, she panicked, her husband was yelling at her to pull her dog back. The dog broke the leash and was now loose. Oh my it was a scary situation. Somehow the husband was finally able to grab the dog and we were able to continue to walk by. Looking back, we should have continued walking by instead of freezing. But in the heat of the moment, we were scared and didn’t know what to do.
Hopefully, this is enough to convince you not to buy that retractable leash! But let’s continue…
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Ask yourself these questions:
Long story short, you have absolutely NO CONTROL over your dog with a retractable leash. Even with a heavy duty retractable dog leash, there is no way you can pull your dog away from a dangerous situation quickly enough.
I always recommend getting high quality 6-foot leather leash. You will hopefully have your dog for the next 10-15 years so your leash is an investment.
We bought two leather leashes over 20 years ago and they both are still in great condition. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) the leather leash has out-lived several of our dogs.
Yes, you can buy a designer leash with bright colors and patterns. But honestly, those nylon leashes will not last more than a year or so.
The leather leash will give you a nice comfortable feel when you walk your dog. They are extremely durable and will last a lifetime. This one from Leatherberg, even comes with a 100% lifetime guarantee, you won’t find that with any retractable leash or nylon leash!
Leave a comment below to tell me if you love or hate the flexi retractable leash. I always reply to comments, so let’s start a conversation… it could help someone else with the same problem or question. Then hit the share button to let your friends know!
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Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, two dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.