Retractable leashes are gaining in popularity unfortunately.
More likely than not, your future clients will be using retractable leashes when you meet them. When you recommend that they use a regular 6 foot leash instead, they might question why. Here are some great replies you can respond with.
Possibility for Injury to People or Their Dog
One the design feature (or rather a flaw) is that the wire is thin and light weight. This makes it easier to retract without tangles, but also means it is easier to injure yourself or your dog if it gets wrapped around a limb. We have personally experienced rope burns that are extremely painful and would not recommend a retractable leash to dog owners (and especially not novice dog owners).
They Teach Dogs How To Pull
The basic principle of the leash is that the dog gets more freedom when they pull the leash. This is inherently rewarding and teaches dogs how to pull their owners along walks. Often when a dog is put on a regular non-retractable leash the dog continues to pull because they don’t understand the difference. Clients inadvertently train their dogs to pull without know it by using these retractable leashes.
It’s Easy For Dogs To Get Loose
The handle is designed to keep an easy grip. However, as the dog pulls he can pick up momentum and ultimately yank the leash out of the owner’s hands. We have seen this happen numerous times. What happens when a client’s dog sees a squirrel across the street and takes off without notice? Dogs can get hit running across the street while on a flexi or retractable leash.
Increased Chances For Dog Fights
Dogs can easily get too far ahead of their owners with retractable leashes. This means they could turn a corner only to come face to face with an unfriendly dog. The confusion and sudden appearance without warning on both parties can cause a dog fight where the owners have no way to untangle the dogs withouth giving themselves a rope burn. This kind of experience can give dogs a life-long struggle when it comes to interracting with other dogs in the future and can even lead to leash reactivity.
Accidentally Dropping The Leash Can Spook Dogs
If an owner accidentally drops the handle, it can spook the dog. The dog could then take off running and get lost or, worse, get hit by a car. The leash only chases them as they run away making them run away even faster. This can be incredibly dangerous and traumatizing for dogs.
Educate your clients about the dangers of retractable leashes. Sure they are convenient, but so many things can go wrong. We always say, “Better to be safe, than sorry!”
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Feature image via Dr. Becker