View Full Version : Retractable Leashes - Dangerous?

2nd July 2007, 03:17 AM
Sometimes I get a little nervous using the retractable leash and feel it can whip in a little too quickly. If Maddy has her foot tangled in it I try to be very careful but still I worry. Recently a friend told me she read they are not good for dogs.
Any input?

Barbara Nixon
2nd July 2007, 10:01 AM
I don't like them, as one I borrowed at a class, whipped in and gashed the flesh between my thumb and forefinger. On Dogpages ( a recue site/dog forum), several people have warned that they or their dogs have been injured, usually where a second dog was involved and the line got snagged. The ones with all wide fabric will be safer, but I prefer a normal long lead, of which the Halti people do lots of variations.

2nd July 2007, 10:39 AM
i have one for each of my boys and i find them very good if u are walking one dog at a time!!

2nd July 2007, 11:20 AM
i use one but i dont like them either,sometimes alfs decides to shake the wire and it whip lashes the back of my legs.he has learnt if it gets wrapped up around his legs he stands still for me till i un wrap him.there is nothing else to use is there.

2nd July 2007, 11:53 AM
I use one on Sam cos for what ever reason he is more comfortable on it. For Sally and Toby i use the normal ones.
I have heard with the retractable leads that one of the dangers is that if u drop, the part that u hold it makes a terrible noise and can really scare the dog. Dogs have ran for ages after been frightened by this sound.

2nd July 2007, 12:27 PM
yes thats true,if its on and i have dropped it it does seem to scare him and he will start running,also when i put it on he stands there looking at it like its a monster.

Barbara Nixon
2nd July 2007, 12:53 PM
I would certainly not use one , if this happens. Dogs belonging to Dogpagers have had thier flesh cut to the bone. Others scared by a dropped handle have bolted and nearly been runover and one nearly unseated a cyclist, when the handle caught on the ground and the line went across his path.

I know that thousands use them with no mishap, but this is no consolation if it's you or your dog who gets hurt.

here are some alternatives. I have the multi-function trainer (not the head collar part)and the 5m line, both made of soft fabric, not wire.


i use one but i dont like them either,sometimes alfs decides to shake the wire and it whip lashes the back of my legs.he has learnt if it gets wrapped up around his legs he stands still for me till i un wrap him.there is nothing else to use is there.

Cathy Moon
2nd July 2007, 12:56 PM
I don't feel comfortable using a retractable leash for the same reasons stated, and in addition what if it jammed and didn't retract when needed?

But if I didn't have a fenced area for my dogs to play in regularly, I would probably use a retractable if it was just me walking 1 dog at a time in a large soccer field where safety issues are minimal. There is an art to working with a retractable, and it takes some concentration to avoid problems.

2nd July 2007, 02:31 PM
When we did obedience training, the trainer strongly advised against using a retractable leash because you dont have enough control. If there was a bad situation and you needed to get the dog beside you quickly, its hard to do so on this type of leash.

2nd July 2007, 02:47 PM
They are dangerous anywhere near traffic, IMHO. They can pop out of your hand surprisingly easily and the lock can not catch fully and you could have a dog under a car in traffic within seconds. :yikes Especially with cheaper versions of these leads, the lock can malfunction. I know several people who have also had them snap even though they were using the proper strength for their dog. :confused:

Strongly advise (like many trainers) never using them for city walks. They are nice to use in parks or the countryside though to give dogs more freedom.

Jaspar pulled unexpectedly enough even as a small puppy to cause me to drop the handle a couple of times and that was the end of ever using those kinds of leads near traffic.

2nd July 2007, 05:36 PM
I used to use one when Chester was a pup, but I threw it out when he was a year old. I found it to be annoying and dangerous and a 6' leash is just so much easier. There were a couple of times where I dropped it and it startled the heck out of Chester. Luckly he didn't bolt but he could have. I also hate them becuase so many dog owners don't use them properly and can't seem to lock them so their dogs can't lunge at me or Chester.

2nd July 2007, 05:45 PM
I use a retractable lead when were in a safe area, were there are no cars. I never allow my children to hold finn on this lead we have another lead for them when they are walking finn. :) Maybe when finn is bigger I will change my mine but at the moment he's only 5 months old, I like letting him have a little run about.

Barbara Nixon
2nd July 2007, 06:52 PM
I agree with you, Edith, that people don't have the control which they believe they have. Leaving the gadget on free run is no better than no lead at all, as the dog is only restricted when it reaches the end of the wire and that distance could just be to far eg on a road or close to another animal.

2nd July 2007, 07:46 PM
Retractable leashes make me nervous. A man walking his dog on a retractable leash allowed the dog to run around me, and the leash sliced a razor thin, very deep cut at the back of my knee. The leash line is so thin, it truly cuts through the skin like a knife. Nowadays, I steer clear of anyone walking with a retractable leash, for my safety and for Bodie's safety.

2nd July 2007, 08:36 PM
I use a combination of retractable and standard. The retractable is the kind that is a cm wide of fabric the whole way- I used to have the cheap kind that's mostly wire, and agree that those are dangerous. To get round the falling out of my hand danger I attach the plastic part to me somehow- but since the normal lead is also attached to the plastic part, and I also hold it at the same time, that gives a certain amount of flexibility. The retractable/standard combo works for my pair as Amber needs more control (standard), whilst Holly always walks to heel (retractable). The retractable gives Holly a little more flexibility, so I'm happy with it. I tried the normal ultra long leads and found them difficult to handle.

2nd July 2007, 09:24 PM

Have you tried a coupler? That makes it easier if you need a hand free. I use it when we do our weekly "trim your nails" road walk. It encourages Oakley to walk at the same pace as Merlin which is nicely to heel (cos he's such a good boy:) unlike his rowdy brother;)

2nd July 2007, 10:01 PM
I had the most horrific and also embarrassing experience when walking 3 of my dogs on flexi-leads. My daughter and I took 3 of the dogs, Logan, Mr.Chips and Cherry up to the local woods, put them on flexi-leads so they could go a bit further ahead and explore. As we walked down the bridle path we came to a part of the woods where the track sides on to the local farmers fields, he is a pig farmer and breeds hundreds of pigs known round here as the "Packington Porkers" (Packington being the nearby village) well he had some sows and piglets on the field by the bridle path and the little piglets (Aww!!) were right up to the fence trying to look at the dogs, the dogs went mental! They were throwing themselves up the fence, Mr.Chips in particular was really having a go! The piglets merely watched in amazement!

There were leads in all directions and as we had locked them off long I was grabbing at the much finer cords in an effort to get the dogs back under control, needless to say in the fray my hands were cut to ribbons!

It wasn't until we got back to the car and I was washing my hands off with one of the bottles of dog water that I realised I had lost my engagement and eternity ring :yikes: We went back several times with our metal detector but as the fence by the bridle path is chain link it was going totally haywire!! I ended up claiming on our house insurance for my rings, and I had to ask my OH to my total and utter embarrasment "Darling, How MUCH did you actually pay for my rings, the insurance company need to know??" :oops: icon_whistling

As it turns out, they were worth quite a bit and I got a lovely new pair of rings, but I never wear them when I walk the dogs, and the Flexi-Leads? Straight in the dustbin, it was a week before I could straighten my fingers out again OUCH!!!

So learn from my experience and buy a decent training line or 6 foot long lead instead, I personnally like the Rogz range of leads, they are slightly longer, come in a huge range of designs, sizes and colours and are reasonably priced too!!

3rd July 2007, 03:44 AM
I don't like retractable leashes. The only place I have ever used them with the big dogs has been on the beach, where it wouldn't be such an issue if they got off it. I would never ever use one where there was traffic or other potential dangers.

I have never had one whip back, but then I have never used them on the little dogs. The thing I don't like about retractables, especially in urban areas is that in an emergency you can not reel your dog in fast enough. I have seen two very unpleasant situatons with them. One was a dog that ran into incoming traffic & his owner could not reel him in fast enought. The other was where a farily heavy dog took of at full speed & actuall snapped the leash at the handle.

Oh yeah, another thing I don't like is that sometimes the locking mechanism fails & all of a sudden you see your dog way off ahead when you wanted him on a short leash.

Barbara Nixon
3rd July 2007, 01:07 PM
I don't like the rigid handle, either. I like to put my hand through the loop of a normal lead, which is also wrapped around my wrist. ( Not when working Joly, or walking only one dog)

3rd July 2007, 02:32 PM
The only place Sam is on one is when we are someplace safe. Like a field . The other 2 i can let off the lead but with sam i cant cos he is deaf. That way he gets to have a bit of a run but still be safe.

4th July 2007, 02:16 AM
Kirsty, the long lead I use doubles as a coupler, but in honesty I felt less safe with it! My main safety worry isn't actually with the leads- it's with the harnesses. Which reminds me I need to order more puppias...
*off to ebay*