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Friday, April 26, 2013

The Great Debate - Regular Leash or Retractable Leash

Whenever I go to a inhome consult to meet with a new pet sitting client, I usually ask them what type of leash they use.  If they use a retractable leash I respectfully let the potential client know that we prefer to not use them and if they don't have a regular leash we will bring one with us.

Once I get that out there, I am always asked why don't we use retractable leashes.

This blog is about The Big Debate... should you use a regular leash or a retractable leash when walking your doggies.  I am going to spell out the differences and the problems that can come from using the retractable leash.

The Good:
  • Retractable leashes are great when walking your dog in an unpopulated area (trails and parks).
  • They are great to use on dogs that are already well trained on a regular leash.
  • They can be a safe way for you to enjoy areas your dogs usually can't enjoy "off-leash". And some towns do have "leash" laws in place.

The Bad:
  • If your dog is not trained to walk well on a regular leash, a retractable leash might encourage pulling and other "bad" behavior that will make it hard for you to control.
  • Dropped retractable leashes can frighten your dog and cause them to run in fear very far and very fast with that leash trailing behind them.
  • Retractable leashes can present a safety risk to dogs. Never attach a retractable leash to a prong or choke collar or a head halter. Make sure you call your dog back before he reaches the end of his retractable leash, otherwise he could flip himself when he gets to the end of the leash at a full run.
  • These leashes can be dangerous to humans and have even caused amputations. Most retractable leashes now have "warning" labels on them.
  • If you are walking your dog and another dog approaches, which may or may not be friendly, you could be too far way to keep your dog safe from a possible attack from the other dog.
  • Your dog could approach a human being who does not "like" dogs and again you are too far way to get your dog away from that person.
  • Retractable leashes are not recommended for dogs who react to noises, environments etc., that make them nervous.
The scariest part of a retractable leash if if you are walking in an area with heavy car traffic and your dog goes out full length and the leash gets "stuck" at the full length and you have a car coming your dog now could run out into oncoming traffic and you cannot pull him back in time.

Leashes should be used to keep your furbabies safe.  If you feel that a retractable will not keep your pet safe then please don't use one.

I personally prefer the standard 6 foot regular lead... it keeps my dog close to me, out of trouble and out of harms way.

If you do choose a retractable, make sure you train your dog to walk well with one and always keep your eyes open for any problems with the leash.  If it starts to break down, purchase a new one.

I hope that helps in your decision about whether a regular leash or a retractable leash is the right choice you and your beloved furbaby !!!

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