The Retractable Leash

The Retractable Leash

Retractable leashes, sometimes referred to as flexileads, are pretty common to find in a dog owner’s stash of dog items.  Leashes play a very important role in training your dog and sure, they may sound like a good idea as you can control the length of your dog’s leash from moment to moment, but just like any training tool, proper usage is key.  Listed below are some potential hazards that are associated with these types of leashes.

  • Severe rope burn can occur if the leash gets caught around your ankle or if you try to grab the chord using your hand as your dog bolts away.  Yes, this can happen with any type of leash but due to the thin and rounded construction of many of these types of chords, the potential severity of rope burn is increased, both for you and your dog.
  • Retractable leashes don’t really allow for a structured walk.  Too much leash (as well as tension in the leash) allows the dog too much freedom during their walks which can contribute to leash reactivity when seeing another dog or animal.  Yes, you sure can give the dog a shorter amount of leash if you choose to, but how many owners actually do this?
  • Retractable leashes make it very difficult to teach your dog about leash pressure and encourage pulling on the leash.
  • As responsible dog owners, it’s important to be considerate of others when out with your dog.  I have seen countless owners on many of Austin’s Dog Trails who give their dog about 15 feet of leash on a trail that is only 10 feet wide which means there is a leash that spanns the entire trail width and joggers, bikers, and other dog owners have to figure out how to avoid your dog’s leash.

Alright so clearly I’m not a fan of using a retractable leash, so what should you use?  I prefer a simple leather leash that is 6′ in length, about 1/2″ – 3/4″ wide.  Regardless of what type of leash you are using, going for a walk with your dog should involve keeping your dog next to you in a control position, there should be slack in your dog’s leash, and he should generally be looking in the direction you are traveling.  Just like most things we do with our dogs, structure is key!  If you would like to learn more about how to add structure to your dog’s walk, please contact an Austin Dog Trainer to show you how!

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