retractable leashes

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Retractable Dog Leashes: The Great Debate

March 18, 2019

A recent study which shows the rise in dog walking-related injuries sustained by older Americans has brought an old debate back into the light; Are retractable leashes a good or a bad thing? The answer, of course, is both. While retractable leashes are good for walking your dog in wide open spaces with few people or other dogs around, using them in urban areas is frowned upon by most vets and professional dog walkers.

The Pros:

Retractable leashes can be a good training tool when teaching your dog to heal, sit and stay. Most vets will only give retractable leashes their blessing if the dog is already well trained and used when walking in open, unpopulated areas where there is less risk of becoming tangled up with people or other dogs.

The Cons:

When not used properly, retractable leashes actually teach your dog to pull, which is the exact opposite of what you want. Walking in an urban area rarely goes smoothly when a dog is on a retractable leash. On a good day, your dog will only get tangled with a tree or another dog once or twice. On a bad day, someone could get hurt. I still have a scar on my leg from years ago when a friend's big dog got his retractable leash wrapped around my leg before he tried to dash away after a squirrel. It wasn't the dog's fault, of course. My friend wasn't paying attention and it happened so fast. 

The Take Away:

If you're going to use a retractable leash, ask your vet for advice on best practices. 

Here's a great article about how to get the most out of a walk with your dog. 


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