Working in the veterinarian field, we see all types of collars and leashes used. Carriers — they come in all forms too, though this article is just going to be able those awful retractable leashes.
I understand the point of them. You can allow your dog to roam farther away from you, than if he or she was on a short leash. However, I don’t believe that makes up for all of their downsides of them. And I have seen a lot of bad things happen with retractable leashes.
Here are some things that can happen when you use a retractable leash.
The leashes can go out so far, and then they break. At this point, your dog is pretty far away from you, and you may struggle to catch up with him or her. If your dog chases after a rabbit or other animal, you may have no chance of keeping him or her close to you.
Your dog could also jerk against the leash and hurt his or her neck. Stopping suddenly while running could really injure your dog’s neck. He or she may become stiff and unable to move easily, though it could also severely injure his or her spinal cord or break your dog’s neck. Some dogs have become paralyzed due to the jerk that occurs at the end of the leash.
These leashes can also hurt people. Many people have gotten wrapped up in retractable leashes. This can trip them. Others get rope burn due to the rubbing of the leash on their legs.
Even worse, the leash can keep on going, which could make the whole situation deteriorate quickly. Some dogs will wrap themselves around a person multiple times without realizing it!
Because the leash just keeps going, you don’t really have control over your dog, and he or she may get into another pet’s personal space. When out walking, your dog might get into another dog’s face, before you can even react. Then, when you try to pull him or her away, it isn’t very easy. You will have to pull and pull, just to get the leash shorter, before you are able to get your dog under control. If he or she is in a fight, you are just wasting valuable time fighting with the leash.
When you take your dog to the veterinarian, your dog may get into the face of any number of other animals in the clinic. He or she may get a cat all wound up, simply because your dog is too close for comfort.
Your dog may also get away from you easily. He or she may jump into the street or run right into another person because you don’t have any control over your dog.
Retractable leashes, though the concept is a good idea, really aren’t the best for any type of dog. They often break, once your dog gets to the end of the leash. Your dog could take off after something, and you could lose him or her. Your dog could also hurt him or herself with a retractable leash. Many dogs have hurt their neck when they jerk at the end of the line. Some even become paralyzed by them!
Also, since the leash just keeps going, you don’t really have any control over your dog. He or she can run away from you, get into another pet’s face, and even pull you over. Your dog could also wrap it around another person, causing him or her to fall. Rope burns are also common with these leashes.
If you are a serious dog owner, you need to get a good leash and throw away your retractable one for good! When I was training my dog, I used a simple six-foot leash like this one.
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Previously published on Vocal and Medium.