Let’s take this time to talk about retractable leashes, and why they are one of the worst inventions on the planet. And I don’t want to hear any “but, Kelsey’s…” until you’ve read through the article.
Those seemingly great inventions you’ve been using to let your bubs have extra freedom out on walks is incredibly dangerous, to not only them but you!
Firstly, if you tell me that you’ve never gotten a burn from that little cord, I know you’re lying. Not only does it have the capacity to burn and cut you open but can also splice your dog open if they become entangled. It has the potential to cut all the way through muscles and even tendons - there are even documented cases of finger amputation. I’ll spare you the truly graphic images a Google search brings up, but check out this picture of a toddler who was accidentally injured by being clothes lined by the wire while riding her scooter.
If that’s not enough of a reason, let’s keep going.
They break, like, all the time. Imagine our foe, the squirrel, crosses your path, your dog lunges forward and the cord snaps. I can literally hear my grandmother telling you that’s how you lose an eye. Plus, then, you have to buy a new one, even if you keep both your eyes. Goodbye money you didn’t need to spend.
And, now that you’re holding one end of your broken leash and probably your face (yeah, that looks like it’s gonna bruise) – where is your dog? Running away? Towards traffic? Well, that’s not great.
While you’re holding it, let’s take a look at that big, bulky handle. Imagine you let that end go and the whole leash is just dragging behind your dog. Guess what? Your dog now thinks it’s being chased by a scary noise it can’t get away from! Well, for a puppy, already timid or rescued dog, what a terrifying experience. It can instill a fear of leashes or even of the walking itself. It can also easily get caught on something, which could be good if it stops them and you can grab ‘em quick or could be bad if they’ve disappeared and you don’t know where to find them.
It doesn’t end there. I, personally, cringe when I see a dog snap back at the end of their retractable leash. The injuries that jerk alone can cause include spinal, trachea, and other neck wounds.
And while we’re on the topic of injury – do you ever take your dog on an elevator? Ever see those videos of a dog running back in or out just as the doors are closing, followed by a mad scramble to keep the dog from being killed (don’t look it up if you haven’t, it’s super disturbing)? It’s a heck of a lot easier to avoid that situation if you’re not using a retractable leash. CBC just published an article about this scenario happening in Toronto (you can read it here), the dog’s owner told the reporter that leash will be going directly into the garbage.
Now, let’s say none of these things ever happen (best case scenario, obviously) – why am I still going to tell you to ditch this ridiculous “tool”? Lack of control. If your dog is 20 ft away vs 6 ft, where do you think you have more control? Where do you think you have a better chance at protecting them from cars or other animals? Or correcting their behaviour? This video of a guy on roller blades getting tripped up should give you a perfect visual of what I’m talking about -
So, please, before injuries or lost pets or accidents occur, let’s toss the devil's invention! If you're down here, at the end, thinking "Kels, you bring up some pretty good points, but I want the dogs to be able to run and sniff and do their own thang" then let me point you in the direction of your new favourite leash - the long line. You should still be leash training, and following etiquette out there, but the long lines are great training tools and a heck of a lot safer than the razor wire you're currently carrying around.