top of page

Are Retractable Leashes Bad? 7 Risks and Which Leashes To Use Instead

Retractable leashes might seem convenient for their ability to extend and retract, but they come with several risks that can make them unsafe for your dog.

What Is a Retractable Leash?

A retractable leash consists of a plastic handle containing a spring-loaded spool of thin rope or flat tape. The line is controlled by a button on the handle, which allows the leash to extend and retract or lock into place. The end of the leash attaches to your dog’s collar or harness with a traditional clip.

Risks of Retractable Leashes

  1. Injuries

  • The thin line of a retractable leash can cause burns or cuts if you grab it with your bare hands to pull your dog back. If the leash locks abruptly while your dog is running, it can jerk them back, potentially causing neck injuries, windpipe damage, or severe pain.

  1. Malfunctions or Breakage

  • The internal mechanism of a retractable leash can jam or break, allowing your dog to run uncontrolled. If the line snaps, especially in high-traffic areas, it can be dangerous and lead to losing your dog.

  1. Tangles

  • Retractable leashes can easily get tangled, making on-leash interactions difficult and potentially injuring your dog or others if they wrap around people or objects.

  1. Visibility Issues

  • The thin, often dark lines of retractable leashes are hard to see, creating a tripping hazard for you and others.

  1. Easily Dropped

  • The bulky handle of a retractable leash can be difficult to grip securely, leading to accidental drops. The noise of the handle hitting the ground can scare your dog, causing them to run and potentially get hurt.

  1. Not Suitable for Fearful Dogs

  • Fearful dogs can become more frightened if they get tangled in the leash or if the handle is dropped, making them feel chased by the noise.

  1. Reinforces Pulling

  • Retractable leashes can reinforce pulling behavior. When the line extends as your dog pulls, it teaches them that pulling results in more freedom, which can lead to increased frustration and pulling.

Alternatives to Retractable Leashes

  1. Standard Nylon or Neoprene Leashes

  • These leashes are thicker and less likely to cause injuries. A fixed-length leash, such as a standard 6-foot leash, is ideal for urban areas, keeping your dog close and easier to manage.

  1. Long Training Lines

  • For spacious environments like beaches or parks, long training lines are a great option. They come in various lengths from 10 feet up to 100 feet, providing your dog with more freedom while still allowing you to maintain control.

By choosing a safer leash alternative, you can ensure a more enjoyable and secure walking experience for both you and your dog. For more detailed information and advice, visit

Retractable Leash attached to a dog
Retractable Leash attached to a dog


Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page