Retractable leashes were made with good intentions of providing a freer experience for dogs and humans alike during their regular jaunts. But this seemingly innocuous leash is a treacherous creation that could put your dog (and yourself) in jeopardy and plausibly result in undesirable outcomes.
The Perils of Retractable Leashes:
1. Lack of Control
A retractable leash doesn’t offer the same amount of control that regular leashes give. With leashes that go up to 8m, the added length is most definitely not an added advantage. It doesn’t give you enough time to react if (i) your dog runs into incoming traffic (ii) your dog encounters an aggressive dog. This lack of control, too, teaches a dog to pull on the leash since they have the freedom to extend the lead, encouraging the development of undesirable walking habits.
2. Hazardous to Dogs
The repercussions stemming from the lack of control also spills over to putting your dog in jeopardy. When your dog reaches the end of the line, or if you hit the stop button, the abrupt yank backwards can cause severe lacerations and injuries to your dog’s neck and spine. In a similar vein, you may not be able to rein your dog back to safety in time during an encounter with a potentially aggressive dog. They will then find themselves in the middle of an entangled mess which can inflict wounds due to the thin extended cord from the retractable leash. A good point to be mindful of, is: no matter how well-behaved your dog is, he still has his unpredictable moments. And being on a retractable leash certainly doesn’t help.
3. Danger to Humans
The horror stories of injuries caused by retractable leashes are unfortunately commonplace. Rope burns, bad gashes, and more serious injuries like amputated fingers are just the tip of the iceberg. Such incidents happen when pet parents panic and grab the thin cords while it’s reeling out in an attempt to control their dogs. Additionally, the lines are really thin and hard to see from afar, which also poses a danger to incoming joggers or cyclists, and your dog!
Retractable leashes are notorious for their impermanence, i.e. they malfunction frequently. This malfunction can lead to an uncomfortable walk for you and your dog, and if it breaks at the wrong time, can have negative consequences. The constant retracting of the leash will cause fraying and eventually a breakage in the cord overtime. The handle’s usually bulky as well, which doesn’t pair well with easily excitable dogs as it can hurled out of your hand with just one tug.
Choosing a Suitable Leash:
A retractable leash is a novel idea but with the scales tipped in favour of the cons, it’s probably best to look for alternatives. Here are a couple of options to consider when sourcing for a new leash:
1. A Fixed-length Leash
This is your everyday leash - whether for daily walks or weekend outings. ARed Dingo fixed length leash is a great training leash as you’re able to keep your dog close to you at all times, and easily steer him in another direction. It also allows you to multitask (e.g. pick up after your pup) without worrying about him running away. Pair it with aFREEDOM No-Pull Harness for the ultimate walking equipment duo!
2. Couple Dog Leash
Have more than one dog? Then try a couple dog leash like this one fromEzyDog! A double dog walking leash will make your life so much easier as the two lines link up to the same handle, eliminating the struggle of entanglement from two separate handles. However, take note that dogs with different walking speeds and personalities may not do well on a shared leash.
3. Hands-free Leash
If you run regularly with your dog, or if you just fancy hands-free walking, then a hands-free leash, likeRuffwear’s, will be your best friend. It usually comes with a waist clip which enables the hands-free experience. Also useful for mums pushing a stroller or those who have a lot to carry. However, this isn’t ideal for dogs who have the tendency to walk on both sides of the road as they could trip you in the process. Always take your dog’s walking style into consideration!
Kim is an avid dog lover, serial guac and chips eater, and thrill seeker - all in one body. Currently chillin’ with her dogs.