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The Dangers of Retractable Leashes

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Do Not Use Retractable Leashes- Ever!

If you are familiar with the Equipaws dog walking policies and procedures, you know that we do not use retractable leashes – ever! We will ask clients to provide a standard leash for our use, or use our own leashes with clients who only have retractable leashes available. Why do we avoid them so fervently? We have decided to write up this blog highlighting a few of our reasons. We understand the appeal of giving Rover space to trot around, but as pet professionals we see far more cons than pros here.  For instance:

First and foremost: INJURY. Whether it be you, your dog walker, your pup, or an innocent bystander, we don’t want anyone to get hurt! The thin cord that makes up the 15 or 30 feet of the retractable leash has been known to cause friction burns on the fingers, hands, arms, and legs of humans, and to burn or even break legs and cause amputations on dogs. It can also cause strangulation to pups or even humans (especially small ones).

ENTANGLEMENT: Because they are thin and so long in length, these leashes can easily become tangled on just about anything (and difficult to see!), including your dog’s own body, your body, trees or just about any other object, including passing runners or cyclists! This can cause any amount of injury or damage to dogs, humans, or property.

LACK OF CONTROL: Sure, your pup might be friendly and well trained, but not every pup (or animal) s/he encounters will be similarly behaved. The assumption that your well-behaved dog can roam with minimal supervision on a long, retractable leash may seem innocuous, but is actually quite irresponsible. Your dog stands to be injured, as do you, other critters, and other people who may become involved in a confrontation resulting from a reactive animal coming upon your well-trained dog. Trust us — we walk dogs every day and are pros at avoiding or handling such confrontations — but we come across these potentially disastrous situations EVERY DAY, often multiple times during one walk!

Moreover, what if your well-trained pup becomes overstimulated by something and takes off after it like a bolt of lightning? We know our pups come to feel like family, that they love us and respect our commands and stick by us, but never underestimate the power of instinct! No matter how well we have known our dogs (or for how long), we can never be 100% sure about what will or will not set our dogs off. Sometimes this can happen suddenly, before we are prepared to “hit the brakes,” so to speak. This can also happen near a busy street or in a densely populated area, which just spells DISASTER.

Having a standard flat leash guarantees that you will have your pup near enough to avoid any potential disasters, such as those covered above, at all times. You will be familiar with where the leash needs to be grabbed for a quick reaction to pull your fur pal back to you, and with a flat leash, you don’t have to think twice about any nasty cuts or serious burns resulting from an instinctual emergency tug. These are the basic reasons that Equipaws says NO to retractable leashes. Have you had any incidents with a retractable leash that you’d like to share? Have you been using one for years without incident? Tell us about your experience in the comments or give us a call: 305-794-3733 to chat about it!


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