Why you should stop using retractable leashes immediately!

stop using retractable leashes

Negative Impact on Dog Training

First Retractable leashes have a negative impact on dog training! Most dog trainers, myself included, recommend teaching your dog to understand the difference between when a leash is loose & relaxed, vs when a leash is tight, taught, etc. This concept assists the dog so they know when they are at the end of the lead and should find their way back to us. So how does a retractable leash affect that? Well, easy enough, the leash is always tight against the dogs neck. It NEVER loosens.

You are also teaching your dog TO PULL MORE! You’re teaching your dog that when he/she feels that leash pulling on their neck, that when they pull they get to go further ahead thus negating all dog training!

Dangerous: No Control Due To Distance

Second They’re Dangerous to you and your dog. For example: a retractable leash that can get up to 25+ feet away from you and put you and your dog in situations you don’t want to be in. Imagine your dog is 25 feet away and another dog approaches. If that dog ends up being aggressive, you ability to get and maintain control of your dog is nearly impossible that far away.

Much Greater Chance of Breaking & Malfunctions

Third Regardless of the size of your dog, retractable leashes are WAY more common at breaking and having malfunctions. Imagine your dog running at full speed before your finger can press that tiny little button on the top to stop it. Once momentum kicks in, trust me, I know the sound all to well of that little gear inside the retractable leash trying to stop but it can’t… you will not be stopping your dog. Especially if your dog is on the larger side! That noise you hear in that moment also means you’ve stripped the inside gears of your retractable leash. That’s not even considering how common retractable leashes get snags in the line and bust.

Dangerous Due To Tangles Around You or Your Dog

Fourth A retractable leash is much easier at getting your dog, you, and/or anyone else and their dogs tangled. Imagine that tiny little rope tangling around your dogs leg PRIOR to the above scenario of him running full blast at a squirrel. Feel free to call any veterinarian, I’m sure they can tell you how many visits they’ve had from the negative effects of retractable leashes. Don’t just take my word for it.

You Will Ignore Your Dog More

Fifth It’s makes you ignore your dog: Have you ever been to a pet store, walking down the aisles, only to see a dog without it’s owner walking toward you and no owner in sight? Then look up 10 feet and you see the retractable leash turned around the corner now knocking everything down off the shelves because the owner hasn’t realized the dog walked away.

Detrimental To Health (Collapsed Trachea, Spinal Injuries, Lacerations)

Sixth Detrimental to your dogs health: In addition to accident leg tangles, your dog is more susceptible to injuries from sudden jerks, lacerated trachea’s, and spinal injuries. Again, momentum of a dog running toward the end of a 6ft line, vs a 25ft line. You will cause SO MUCH MORE DAMAGE the further the dog gets.

Realistically i could sit here for hours explaining why you shouldn’t be using a retractable leash. Instead, please take my decade of training and success and just trust me. Don’t! Use! Retractable! Leashes!

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Leashes, Leads, & Retractable Leashes

FAQ: Are retractable leashes illegal in certain cities, states, or countries?

Yes! Retractable leashes are in fact illegal in multiple locations and is it’s only expanding. The following list of local laws was compiled on 1/27/2020 and IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Do not use the advice of this website as any legal advice and make sure you read up on your local laws on your own! Each city is linked to the city laws for animals.

  • Rochester NY: “That the dog is equipped with a collar or harness to which is attached a leash, both collar or harness and the leash to be of sufficient strength to restrain the dog, and which leash shall be held by a person having the ability to control and restrain the dog by means of the collar or harness and the leash.”
  • Pittsford NY: “The dog is equipped with a collar or harness, to which is attached a leash not more than eight feet in length, both collar, harness and leash to be of sufficient strength to restrain the dog, which leash shall be held by a person having the ability to control and restrain the dog by means of the collar, harness and leash.”
  • Webster NY: § 101-3 Regulations and restrictions. “No person shall permit a dog or domestic animal owned by him to be at large within the Town of Webster unless restrained by a leash or lead; provided, however, that dogs may be unleashed while controlled or contained on the owner’s premises or when on the private premises of another with the knowledge, consent and approval of such person or when hunting in the company of and under the control of a hunter or hunters upon the property of another with the knowledge, consent and approval of the property owner.”
  • Gates NY: § 62-8 Animals to be leashed. “No person who owns a dog, shall permit such dog to be at large in the Town of Gates, Monroe County, New York, unless on a leash not to exceed six feet in length, other than when on the premises of the person owning, keeping, harboring or having the custody and control of such dog or upon the premises of another with the knowledge, consent and approval of the owner of said premises or when hunting in the company and under the control of a hunter or hunters.”

FAQ: Are retractable leashes safe for puppies / dogs

As stated above…NO! Our bullet points outlined above are only a few of the reasons why retractable leashes are not safe for dogs or puppies.

FAQ: What are retractable leashes and how are they different?

A retractable leash is quiet generally a dog trainers, (or at least a good dog trainers), worst nightmare. It’s a piece of clunky equipment, spring loaded, with a very thin wire like leash. Retractable leashes attempt to maintain control over a dog using a very small gear and mechanism that is known to fail.

FAQ: What about harnesses, collars, etc for when a dog pulls?

“No pull” harnesses, gentle leaders, and all other equipment used for teaching a dog to not pull, or to make walking easier, are only recommended as an absolute LAST RESORT. I would rather you spend the time and money on training so that you can have a cohesive relationship with you and your dog that doesn’t rely on dozens of different devices… What happens what that device fails? What happens when you go on vacation and you forget that extra device? Training your dog to not pull you the whole walk, to stop lunging at other animals, etc, will all be more effective and will make your life easier.

So what type of leashes does Rochester NY Dog’s professional dog trainers recommend?

Multiple Handle Leashes

This has to be one of my newer favorite types of leashes for almost all applications! This type of leash is good to have on hand for business owners including dog trainers, dog walkers, veterinarians, groomers, etc! If it’s good for us, trust me, it’s good for you too! I have just recently started promoting this leash due to the extra layer of security and support by being able to hold onto it at multiple locations! Most other multiple handle leashes only have 2 and the second one generally is too close to the dog. This one has three and makes it super easy to adjust your grip and where you hold depending on the environment and what you need at that time.

Slip Leads

Slip leads are recommended due to having the least ability to fail. A Slip lead is both your collar and your leash combined. This adds a secondary layer of safety by then being able to have a collar on the dog that the leash is not attached to so that if he/she gets loose their collar & name tag remains intact.

Leather Dog Leashes & Collars

Leather leashes & collars tend to be made highly durable and tend to last longer then your traditional nylon leash. If you’re going to rely on the traditional method of leash and collar, then make sure you’re getting better quality!

Light Up Leashes & Collars

Only recommended for nighttime walking. Otherwise, as seen above, please go with the minimalist approach. However, if you do night time walking, light up leashes & collars can drastically increase the safety of both you and your dog.

Will you help me train my dog to not pull?

Absolutely! As stated above, we would much rather you purchase a private lesson or two and focus on resolving the issue rather then putting on a band-aid or purchasing/using items you don’t need. We have 2 options available for dog training to assist with loose leash walking, or walking politely on a leash.

Option 1: Private Dog Training Sessions: Beneficial for those who would like the guidance in the right direction for dog training. We will do private dog training lessons with you to ensure you are successful in any thing you may need or want.

Option 2: Board & Train Program: Beneficial if you want assistance in training your dog, or don’t have the ability / time to train your dog. We will take your dog for a minimum of 3 weeks for a highly intensive board and train program. Click here for more information.

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