Find out the right way to use your retractable leash.
For a dog, there’s nothing more chill than a relaxing stroll on his retractable leash. He’s stopping to smell the roses, literally, every few minutes. But for his human, it’s a little more complicated. To paraphrase everyone’s favorite web-slinging superhero, with great leash lengths comes great responsibility. Not sure if you’re ready to handle it? Here’s everything you need to know.
The first thing to ask yourself is whether your dog will listen to you when he has all the room to run. Some pets have great vocal recall, which means they return when they hear their name. Others, not so much. This can lead to some pretty serious injuries. For instance, if your dog tries to take off just as you lock the leash, it can cause neck trauma. Another danger is your pet wandering into an unfamiliar dog’s path. This can end in a fight and you may not be able to retract the leash quickly enough to get them out. The takeaway? If your dog is prone to bolting or pulling at the sight of other dogs and people, you should work with them on a six-foot leash until they’re ready for more freedom.
Next, it’s time to evaluate how comfortable you feel with the area where you’re walking. Retractable leashes are truly safest in wide-open spaces only, where you won’t be blocking the path of other people or dogs. Otherwise, disaster tends to strike — people tripping, cyclists getting injured, dogs lunging at other dogs. If you absolutely must use a retractable leash where space is limited, be sure to have it on the shortest length and in the locked position.
Lastly, remember that it’s on the person holding the retractable leash to be prepared for anything. Consider them adults-only, because it’s way too much for a kid to handle. Always be aware of how much leash your dog has at any given moment and that it’s not tangled around anything, including your own legs. There have actually been many reports of injury due to dogs wrapping the line around their owner. Plus, retractable leashes can break so always carry a standard 6-foot or shorter leash as a back-up.