Here comes a “Rant”; this won’t take long!

Retractable Leash

Photo Credit:

The Flexi-Leash (AKA: Retractable Leash) is a popular, but dangerous “tool” for taking a walk with your dog. We had our foster dog on lead (known to be dog reactive on leash) walking around an outdoor shopping center. We knew our surroundings and had control of our dog with a slip lead.

Out of nowhere, a Chihuahua darts Shasta.  Yes, her owner was on her cell phone and not paying attention. The retractable leash extended the full length with the Chihuahua barking and lunging towards Shasta. Our good girl walked around the little Chihuahua and trotted away.

No reaction, THANK GOD!

[irp posts=”44″ name=”Travel Like a Pro With Your Dog”]

But let’s rewind:

Shasta CAN be dog reactive on leash. Her calmness and non-reactivity proves her substantial progress with training, BUT what if she HAD reacted?

An out-of-control Chihuahua along with an owner’s inability to “reel in” the leash could have caused a nasty scene.

Boy with Retractable Leash | Flexi-leash

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

If the unthinkable happened the blame would fall on Shasta, but it was the Chihuahua that was out of line and the owner totally clueless.

The “Special Precautions” insert from Flexi-leash shows that injury is likely with this leash.

Potential injuries listed on this informational insert are: burns, scrapes, amputations, cuts, falls, fractures, eye and face injuries and even injury to bystanders. I wonder how many people who use these leashes read this insert?

Retractable Leash precautions

Photo Credit: Flexi-Leash

[irp posts=”49″ name=”Fences make good neighbors”]

In addition, sighthounds and other dogs with sensitive necks can suffer severe injuries to their spinal cords when the retractable cord reaches its capacity and jerks the dog’s neck back. The injuries involved with this sudden action can cause serious problems with mobility and spine.

Any dog that has a tendency toward neck injuries or already has spinal and neck issues should NOT use this leash at all!

Another reason not to use this “tool” is that you are encouraging your dog to pull on his leash! Yes, the spring loaded mechanism that causes the strap to extend and retract makes your dog pull on the leash to move forward. By pulling forward, they gain more distance from their walker. If you were to stop using the retractable leash and start using a regular six foot leash your dog would pull, and pull hard as that is the way that has always worked in the past.

Another very unfortunate part of these leads is that the big, clumsy, bulky handle can easily slip out of your hand. The bumping, loud sound and bulk of the grip “following” the dog, who is running at full speed towards something he saw, freaks the dog out, which makes the dog run faster and longer to “get away” from this monster behind him.

In conclusion, while many owners who use a retractable leash believe they are valuable because their dog has room to roam; there are many other dog lovers who know they don’t belong in crowded public places.

Man walking dog on without retractable leash

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Limiting use of these extending leashes to rural environments, a quiet street or other uncrowded space is my wish.

Using a Retractable Leash causes injuries to you, your dog and unwitting passersby.

So, while many owners who use retractable leashes think they are great, many other dog lovers think they don’t belong in crowded public places.

This picture shows the kind of environment I believe they should be used in. You’ll notice it’s not crowded, there is plenty of room to roam and explore the area without risk to other people or dogs.

The Use of the Retractable Leash causes injuries to you, your dog and unwitting passersby.