Almost Home Foster Kennels

Dianne Snater
Almost Home Foster
MN LIcense #132328

Are Retractable Dog Leashes Good or Bad? Pros & Cons

Are Retractable Dog Leashes Good or Bad? (Pros & Cons)

ByBrooke Billingsley

Last updated:Feb 07 2023

Few things can divide the dog world as much as the discussion surrounding retractable leashes. These leashes are made to extend in a way that allows a dog far more leash length than the average dog leash. However, there are some concerns that people have about these leashes as well. It’s essential to understand both sides of the conversation, but it’s also important to note that there are appropriate and inappropriate environments for retractable leashes. Here’s what everyone should know before they use a retractable leash.

Pros of Retractable Leashes


  •                 Improved Independence – Using a retractable leash gives your dog more independence on your walks. It allows them more leash length and the ability to walk at their own pace. For some dogs, this can provide a feeling of independence and improve confidence, but for others, it may increase anxiety, so you’ll need to be familiar with your dog’s personality type before using a retractable leash to improve your dog’s independence on walks.
  • Increased Enrichment Opportunities – Enrichment can be provided to your dog in many ways, and one way is by going for more interesting walks. A retractable leash can increase the opportunities for enrichment for your dog by allowing more access to more things. Some dogs enjoy going for a “sniffari,” or a walk focused on sniffing and enrichment over exercise, and a retractable leash can allow your dog to access more areas to sniff.
  • Supports People with Disabilities – For people with disabilities, a retractable leash can increase their independence and help them keep their dog close in public places while still allowing the dog to get further away when needed to perform tasks or take a potty break.


Cons of Retractable Leashes


  •                 Training Issues – A retractable leash should not be used for a dog that is not thoroughly leash-trained since it can interact easily with other people and animals. Retractable leashes are not a replacement for leash training or recall training. Some people make the mistake of using a retractable leash in place of appropriate training techniques, but this leads to more problems.
  • Accessibility Risks – When your dog is on a retractable leash, it can access more places. This has its benefits, as previously mentioned, but it also means that your dog has increased access to dangerous places. If your dog picks up food or objects on walks, then a retractable leash can increase its access to these things. Sometimes, this can be extremely dangerous, especially if your dog picks up something toxic. It can also increase the risk of your dog encountering other animals, dangerous plants, and streets. The further your dog is away from you, the less control you have over what they do.
  • Injuries to Dogs – There are a considerable number of ways your dog can be injured while using a retractable leash. Most of these injuries are related to picking things up on walks or getting into fights with other animals, but another risk of retractable leashes comes from dogs that tend to bolt. If your dog bolts and suddenly hits the end of the leash, it can lead to neck, throat, and back injuries. There is also a risk of your dog becoming tangled in the leash, leading to cuts and even choking.
  • Injuries to People – Having your dog on a retractable leash isn’t just risky for your dog; it’s also a risk for you. Retractable leashes are made with thin, strong cords that can lead to burns and cuts if they rub against the skin. It’s not uncommon for people to become injured when a dog wraps the leash around them, especially if the dog is excited or fearful and attempting to get away. There is also a risk of shoulder and neck injuries for someone holding a retractable leash when their dog bolts and hits the end of it.
  • In Conclusion
  • While retractable leasheshave some benefits, they generally carry more risks. They are typically misused with dogs that have not been properly trained to walk on a retractable leash. The cons of retractable leashes outweigh the pros in most situations, but there are some times when they are appropriate. It’s essential to consider the benefits and risks of using a retractable leash, not only before getting one but every time you pick it up to use it.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top