10 Reasons Why Retractable Leashes Are Dangerous

10 Reasons Why Retractable Leashes Are Dangerous

By Dr. Becker

A retractable leash is not so much a leash as it is a length of thin cord wound around a spring-loaded device housed inside a plastic handle. The handles of most retractable leashes are designed to fit comfortably in a human hand. A button on the handle controls how much of the cord is extended.

Retractable leashes are popular primarily because they aren’t as confining as regular leashes, allowing dogs more freedom to sniff and poke around on walks. But unfortunately, there are many downsides to this type of leash.

10 Reasons Not to Use a Retractable Leash

  1. The length of retractable leashes, some of which can extend up to 26 feet, allows dogs to get far enough away from their humans that a situation can quickly turn dangerous. A dog on a retractable leash is often able to run into the middle of the street, for example, or make uninvited contact with other dogs or people.
  2. In the above scenario, or one in which your pet is being approached by an aggressive dog, it is nearly impossible to get control of the situation if the need arises. It’s much easier to regain control of – or protect — a dog at the end of a six-foot standard flat leash than it is if he’s 20 or so feet away at the end of what amounts to a thin string.
  3. The thin cord of a retractable leash can break – especially when a powerful dog is on the other end of it. If a strong, good-sized dog takes off at full speed, the cord can snap. Not only can that put the dog and whatever he may be chasing in danger, but also the cord can snap back and injure the human at the other end.
  4. If a dog walker gets tangled up in the cord of a retractable leash, or grabs it in an attempt to reel in their dog, it can result in burns, cuts, and even amputation. In addition, many people have been pulled right off their feet by a dog that reaches the end of the leash and keeps going. This can result in bruises, “road rash,” broken bones, and worse.
  5. Dogs have also received terrible injuries as a result of the sudden jerk on their neck that occurs when they run out the leash, including neck wounds, lacerated tracheas, and injuries to the spine.
  6. Retractable leashes allow dogs more freedom to pull at the end of them, which can look like aggression to another dog who may decide to “fight back.”
  7. The handles of retractable leashes are bulky and can be easily pulled out of human hands, resulting in a runaway dog.
  8. Along those same lines, many dogs – especially fearful ones – are terrorized by the sound of a dropped retractable leash handle and may take off running, which is dangerous enough. To make matters worse, the object of the poor dog’s fear is then “chasing” her, and if the leash is retracting as she runs, the handle is gaining ground on her – she can’t escape it. Even if this scenario ultimately ends without physical harm to the dog (or anyone else), it can create lingering fear in the dog not only of leashes, but also of being walked.
  9. Retractable leashes, like most retractable devices, have a tendency to malfunction over time, either refusing to extend, refusing to retract, or unspooling at will.
  10. Retractable leashes are an especially bad idea for dogs that haven’t been trained to walk politely on a regular leash. By their very nature, retractables train dogs to pull while on leash, because they learn that pulling extends the lead.

If your dog is well trained, gentle mannered and smart enough to master a regular leash and a retractable leash without being confused, you could be one of the rare guardians that can walk your pooch on any kind of leash without increasing risks to either one of you.

* Please note that I am not the author of this post. It was written by Dr. Becker for Healthy Pets.

Naughty Pet Campaign – 6 Top Training Tips #naughtypets

Direct Blinds invited us to take part in a Naughty Pet Blogger Campaign. They are trying to find the UK’s naughtiest pet… I love the idea but I am glad my pets aren’t naughty any more.

I have no knowledge on training parrots, hamsters or rabbits but I am a pretty good authority on how to deal with dogs. I know that with a lot of work, patience and treats you can turn even the naughtiest dog into an obedient companion. You will notice that my last sentence featured treats… yeah that’s right… treats are the key to your success… but they are not everything.

Every dog owner knows that most dogs are food obsessed and they will do everything… or almost everything in order to get some… but not everyone knows how to turn this simple fact to their benefit.

It is never to soon to start training
It is never to soon to start training

Dog training is an art; an art that we all can master given time, willingness and opportunity. Dog training is not an option when you decided to become a dog owner; it is a necessity in order to keep your pet in check but also to give him/her a clear understanding on its role, which is needed for healthy development. Dogs are pack animal and they need to know who the Alpha dog is… without it they are just lost and confused… they need to have someone to follow in order to thrive.

A lot of dogs, especially puppies are naughty because they are bored or lonely… they do not know that shoes are not for eating or that that part of your garden where you just planted a load of lovely flowers is not for digging… this is something we, as a pet owner, have to teach them.

Every pet is different and every pet will take differently to training but there are some rules which we have to follow no matter what in order to succeed. Very often this naughty pet you see on the walk is naughty because it doesn’t know any better; it is naughty because no one taught it a different behaviour. So instead of sharing with you my naughty pet stories I would like to share with you few tips on how to successfully train your dog so it isn’t naughty any more.

Is this cookie for me?
Is this cookie for me Mum?

Pick clear commands and stick with them

I see this most days… owners get confused when things go wrong and they mumble something under their nose or shout. You have to pick clear commands and keep repeating them. There is no room for changing your vocabulary. If you are teaching your dog to “stay”, ask him to “stay” not to “wait” for example… it may not make a lot of difference to you but it does to your dog – he/she knows what “stay” means but may not have a clue what to do with “wait”.

Do not repeat your commands

If you want your dog to “sit” tell him once (not three, four or five times… just once). If there is no reply, wait a moment, move closer and repeat the command.

Do not get emotional, be consistent and confident

Dogs can sense our emotions. Whilst in training try to stay calm and positive. When things go wrong don’t get angry, don’t yell just stay calm and keep training 🙂 So often people give up to quickly… do not be a quitter… if you quit it will never work!

Do not stop your training sessions

When we decide that our dog knows it all most people tend to stop with training… but we shouldn’t. Training is something which has to continue for a lifetime. It is good for a dog to have some stimulation, they feel good that they did something to please you and we shouldn’t take this away from them.

Replace treats with praise

Treats are a key to success while training your dog but once the behaviour is learnt it is good to replace them with praise. When your dog does something you ask him to do reward him with praise or a play or whatever else they like (maybe a good head massage or a belly rub). This is important for building a healthy pet – owner relationship; we have to show them that treats are not the only thing they can get from us.

Reinforce positive behaviour

Treats work wonders but only if you are reinforcing a positive behaviour. If your dog doesn’t do what he is told… there is no treats, no praise… you simply can’t reward misbehaviour or an over excited dog… this will only work against you in the long run.


But to tell you the truth our pets were not always “angel like”. We experienced our fair share of household damage caused by them, eaten shoes or destroyed gardens… And to give you some idea how naughty our pets were when they were younger, just have a look at these pictures…

Case#1: Prime Suspect - Bunk Reason: Searching for hidden sausages
Case#1: Prime Suspect – Bunk
Reason: Searching for hidden sausages
Case#2: Prime Suspect - Bunk Reason: unknown... maybe wooden tables look like sausages to him or just taste nice
Case#2: Prime Suspect – Bunk
Reason: unknown… maybe wooden tables look like sausages to him or just taste nice
Case#4: Prime Suspect - Bunk Reason: Mum needs new walking boots (yay!)
Case#3: Prime Suspect – Bunk
Reason: Mum needs new walking boots (yay!)
Case#5: Prime Suspect - Barnie Reason: hunger / boredom / dislike of our garden taste or maybe the flowers looked at him funny (?)
Case#4: Prime Suspect – Barnie
Reason: hunger / boredom / dislike of our garden taste or maybe the flowers looked at him funny (?)

If you would like to take part in the #naughtypets competition please visit Direct Blinds Facebook page to submit your entry but hurry as you only have 6 days left.

*Post written in collaboration with Direct Blinds. We received a goody bag including some toys and treats to help us reinforce a positive behaviour.

Let your dog sniff

When you take your dog for a walk, let him sniff.

Smell is the most important sense for dogs, as important as sight is to humans.
Use this to your advantage when you take your dog for a walk. Let him really discover and explore his world by sniffing. This will not only make his walk much more enjoyable but will also help tire him out. Sniffing is an easy to do mental enrichment exercise for dogs.

Let your dog sniff

As seen on Yaletown Dog Training

K9 Kids Club at Barking Mad DTS

Whatever the weather – sun or rain – every Saturday at noon, your kids and dogs can join K9 Kids Club at Barking Mad DTS.

Our first training session with “rent a dog” a lovely black lab
Our first training session with “rent a dog” a lovely black lab

Yesterday it was our 3rd session at K9 Kids Club. The first week we had a rented dog as Bunk was blacked balled but nothing lost… Lilly took his place on the 2nd week; Lilly is smaller, much calmer and better behaved; she is also much older and simple doesn’t care for checking out every new person, dog, bush or tire on the field. E. loves these training sessions and now Saturdays are her favourite day of the week. She cannot stop talking about it afterwards to the point that she is creating a dog training presentation in power point with all the new tricks and new things that either the dog learns or she learns.  This way we are able to keep a good track and thus see if the training is paying off.

Lilly working hard for her dog biscuits :-)
Lilly working hard for her dog biscuits 🙂

Every session lasts 2 hours with a short break for some snacks and drinks during this time. Kids can join with their own dogs (if they are suitable for the class – not too big or to aggressive etc) or they can rent a dog if they don’t have one. I actually love the idea of a “rent a dog”. Just think about all those kids that want to have a dog, but having no idea what it really means to be a dog owner. This class can give them a small introduction to ownership and all the hard work which is needed in order to turn your new fluffy daft friend into an obedient companion.

Lessons are fun and well organized with the kids in mind. They teach you some basic commands like sit, stay or paw but also some funny one like speak, play dead, roll over, spin etc… This is the part where Lilly lacks knowledge a bit as she was never asked to do stuff like that before… but she is getting there. Yesterday Lilly did her own first full spin… of course dog cookies were involved so I am not really surprised.

Proud Lilly after completion of her first K9 training session
Proud Lilly after completion of her first K9 training session

In addition to learning tricks the kids have a lot of exercise as a result of hiding the ball – under the barrel, next to the barrel, inside the tires, on top of the hay stack or simply throw and fetch… there are even plans for making a ball hunt take place inside a real car… this was supposed to happen two weeks ago but so far as I am aware there were problems with the car, so we are still waiting for this one, which I am sure will be a lot of fun.

And to add to all of this there are 100s of tunnels, see-saws,  A-frames, weaves and raised walkways or other obstacles which you and your dog have to master.

It is really a great way of spending a few hours a week focused on your four legged friend.

And now with Halloween just around the corner, Barking Mad DTS are putting on a special event for kids – K9 Kids Halloween Special – 5 hours long event which will include lunch on Friday 1st of November. E. is so looking forward to this one.