Most people are not aware of the dangers of retractable leashes, until they suffer an injury to themselves or their pet. Retractable leashes are great if you have an extremely well trained dog that does not want to take off on you. Usually it works well on an older dog who has no need to make sudden unpredictable lunges in different directions. It is fine for dogs that just want to meander around at a distance for it’s own business. Of course owners that use these leashes need to be careful..
Many owners think that their puppy needs a retractable so it can run more and get more energy out, but puppies have high energy and they want to run circles around other dogs on meeting or chase after birds and rabbits. Retractables teach puppies that they can do what they want and eventually when the puppy is full grown the retractable has trained him to be wild and out of control; now you have a problem because it was fine when the puppy weighed 10 pounds but now you have a 70-80 pound dog that has learned it can run full speed ahead of you on a long retractable leash.
These leashes can cause major injuries. Here is a real life scenario; A child is standing on a hill playing a little way from her mom… she is playing with her own dog when suddenly another dog who is walking with his owner sees that dog and is on a retractable leash. The dog is very friendly and loves everyone, so the owner lets the dog go a long distance on the leash to say hello to the other little dog. Suddenly he gets really excited and begins to run around. Now the child is caught in the middle and the owner has no control. He can see the child is now wrapped in this leash and has no way to stop his dog from this play so he lets go of the leash , but the leash with it’s hard handle snaps around the child causing major rope burns to the child’s legs. The child then falls and rolls down the hill and breaks her arm. Sure if you are walking on a retractable you can lock the leash, but I myself have had the lock not work just at a time when I needed it to.
These leashes can also cause major injury to your dog if your dog runs full speed to the end of the retractable; he can break or injure his neck, and perhaps yank you off your feet while his at it.In many cases retractable leashes are a danger. For example dogs can run so far ahead they wind up turning a corner out of sight.. They can run into the street and get hit by a car because your leash didn’t lock when you wanted it to.The rope on the retractable can amputate an adults fingers or seriously hurt a child’s neck if they are caught in the middle.
Of course there are people that use them wisely but most responsible dog owners do not use retractables as they are aware of the the dangers and choose to use a safer leash. Speaking from my own experience on many occasions I myself have been injured by retractables and have seen others have many problems, as well as the stories that have come to me from other dog owners. So I say, If you are going to use them, then make sure you are using them wisely. All retractable leashes come with a long list of warnings. Below are just a few of the top brands warnings that are posted on their websites:
• Risk of eye or face injury, cuts, burns, and amputations to your body or the body of another person from these leashes..
• Do not use this leash with a disobedient or uncontrollable dog, since they are more likely to wrap the cord/tape/belt around people or to run off at high speeds.
• Only use this leash with a dog that does not exceed the weight limit listed on the leash.
• Leashes for larger dogs have a tape or belt instead of a cord to reduce the risk of amputations and cuts.
• Even small dogs can pull hard enough to injure you, particularly because the length of the leash allows dogs to run and build up speed. Follow all of these precautions even with a small dog.
The list goes on and on………..
by Sheri Grant
Editor of The OC Dog Magazine