5 reasons to ditch the retractable leash

Retractable leashes seem to be all the rage lately, but they carry many downsides and even hidden dangers for both dogs and their owners. The idea behind them is sound – give your dog freedom when it's safe to do so, then reel in the leash when your dog needs to return to your side. Unfortunately, that ideal is far from what actually happens.
Before you buy a retractable leash, take a minute to understand the risks these leashes carry. Your dog's health and safety could depend on your choice. Although these leashes might seem convenient, the benefits aren't worth the risks they carry.
Too little control
Some retractable leashes extend up to 25 feet, which gives your dog a lot more freedom than you'd find with a standard leash. Unfortunately, this freedom isn't always safe, and dogs on retractable leashes can dart into traffic or interact with other dogs. Reeling them in takes time, and your dog could end up in a dangerous situation before you're able to regain control.
Thin cord means trouble
A retractable leash needs to have a thin cord for it to function, but this very design can spell trouble, too. A thin cord could break or get worn down, potentially resulting in a loose dog. Plus, if you get tangled in the cord, it can cause burns and cuts.
Bulky handles
The handles of retractable leashes are large and bulky, and they're not terribly easy to hold onto. It's possible for your dog to pull the handle right out of your hand, getting loose in the process. If this happens, the sound of the handle hitting the ground and following behind can scare dogs, causing them to run and putting them in danger.
Potential injury to dogs
When dogs hit the end of a retractable leash, they can receive a significant jolt. This sudden jerk of the leash could cause injury, particularly if your dog is a smaller breed, an older dog or a dog with existing spinal issues.
Poor training
The leeway a retractable leash provides encourages a dog to pull against the leash. This is particularly bad for dogs still learning how to walk on a leash. Plus, if you encounter another dog while your dog is on this type of leash, the other dog may interpret your dog's pulling against it as aggression.
Other leash choices
Even though retractable leashes aren't a suitable choice for many reasons, there are other safer leash options. Standard 4- or 6-foot leashes work well for most dogs. Choose a leash made out of quality materials that is large and strong enough to match your dog's size and strength.

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