For many, getting their first dog is an experience that’s hard to encapsulate. It is the taking on of a responsibility for another life, and the gaining of a loyal and trustworthy companion that will stick with you through thick and thin. A dog adds to your overall safety and will even add years to your life*. It is no wonder that so many choose to get a dog as they are beginning new families or starting new lives in a new place. To that end, having a bit of helpful advice to nudge you along the way to a happy and fruitful dog/owner relationship can never hurt. In this article, I want to cover the pros and cons of opting for a retractable dog leash.
A retractable dog leash is a leash that is built into a mechanism that generally houses a spool or length of the leash. The device will automatically shorten the leash as your dog is near to you, and will allow the strap to extend as the distance between you and the dog increases. They will usually have a button or switch that lets you lock the leash so it cannot extend further than you wish it to.
This type of device has both its good and its bad side, but it definitely worth a purchase, just make sure you also have a traditional leash handy as well.
First, the upsides. A retractable dog leash allows your pup to move about with an increased amount of freedom while on your walk, making the whole escapade less frustrating for both of you. If you plan on taking your dog on a job with you, this is extremely helpful. Small dogs benefit a bit more since this increased roaming range means they can run around and job about as you casually walk down the road. For bigger dogs it is still useful of course, but to a slightly lesser extent.
The downside to these leashes is that it simply has more moving parts to a normal leash that can stop working. I’ve had a few retractable leashes break on my while on a walk, which meant the dog was able to walk away at a huge radius, and I had to grip the narrow cord to control them, which was a huge pain since we were near a crosswalk at the time and it could’ve been dangerous if there was more traffic. I always bring a standard leash in my pocket as a backup just in case now. Also, due to the nature of the device and the handle shape, they can make it harder to control larger dogs that want to tug on the rope.
All in all, a retractable leash is a must have for the average dog owner, but it can’t completely replace a reliable rope or leash for when you really not to control where your dog is going. Your pupper and you will definitely enjoy the extra bit of freedom a retractable dog leash grants.