A owner uses a retractable leash on a walk.

Many of us who are dog owners probably use retractable leashes because they’re so convenient. They let your dog roam around up to 26 feet away, but not be completely off the leash – it’s great! However, there are dangers to the device. And here is why many dog experts and trainers warn against using these specific leashes:

Reasons to Not Use Retractable Dog Leashes 

  • They don’t provide much control over your dog. If you’re out walking and there is an incident where your dog gets into trouble, the retractable leads don’t provide any control so you may end up experiencing difficulty handling the situation. For example, if your dog runs into the road or encounters an unfriendly dog, it’ll be that much harder for you to get them out of the situation than if you had them on a standard 6-foot leash.
  • The cord can break. Particularly a problem for larger dogs who have the weight and strength behind them to snap a cord. This can result in injuries to others, like the 2008 case of 13-year-old Dereka Williams who was partially blinded after a retractable dog leash snapped resulting in the metal clasp swinging back to hit her in the face.
  • The cord easily gets tangled around other dogs or people. Therefore you can face injuries like severe rope burns, cuts, and even finger amputations! And these aren’t just dangers to yourself and your dog, it can happen to others around you as well. Some of the dog injuries documented have been awful things like lacerated tracheas and spinal injuries!
  • Retractable leashes don’t teach your dog good behavior, therefore they’re not a good idea for puppies or untrained dogs since the lead always gives way and teaches them that it’s ok to pull rather than to heel. Because of this, the risk of injuries increases if the dog is not well-trained.
  • Children should never walk a dog on a retractable leash for all the reasons stated above.

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