A Note About Retractable Leashes
..Many years ago, I was taught by a mentor to use retractable leashes while caring for and walking client dogs for the conformation ring. We often held two or three dogs at a time on these “cords”. Unfortunately, I was about to learn a hard lesson.
I was taking a dog out of the car when the leash was yanked out of my hand. It hit the cement-paved walkway. I am always very careful, so I do not know how it was pulled from my hand. He panicked from the sound and took off running towards the highway. It was early morning and quiet, I was alone, and the air was still.
I remember the very loud sound the handle made as it bounced and smashed the ground on the cement walkway directly behind him. I watched him run full speed in panic being chased by this loud, frightening thing. As he fled, it whipped around and even smacked into him. He could not run fast enough to escape it. I was in full pursuit, running as fast as I could, screaming his name. He was saved from the highway by deciding to duck into a corner wall. Thankfully, he saw a place he could hide.
It was the only thing that stopped the heavy handle of the retractable leash from terrorizing him. He had no idea what it was. If it had not been such a quiet morning, I would not have heard the awful noise that he heard. I caught up to him as quick as I could and took him back to the car. My heart stopped that day when I realized what could have happened. I swore I would never look at another retractable lead again, and I never did.
Dr. Ragona of Cocoa Villiage AWC recently wrote a note to her clients that I felt was important to share with you. She has kindly granted me permission, and here it is. –Marie
It is with regret that I must report yet another sad story about retractable leashes. Recently a patient was injured by running to the end of the leash with too much momentum. The patient was chasing a squirrel and received a whiplash type injury affecting all four limbs neurologically.
I am sure many of you have heard my “soap box” lecture about these leashes. PLEASE understand it is only due to safety. Many people purchase because they love their pet and want to give them the freedom to run and play. I completely understand but this freedom has caused many injuries to animals and people.
To date, my personal experience has included a dog fatally hit by a car, clients tangled and falling, tangled dogs in a fight–impossible to untangle with bite wounds to my client, and well as many neck injuries that have been correctable BUT totally avoidable on a proper leash.
Below are some reasons veterinarians and animal professionals DO NOT recommend the Flexi-leash.
REMEMBER: FLEXI RETRACTABLE LEASHES ARE ILLEGAL IN BREVARD COUNTY DUE TO LENGTH OF LEASH AFFECTING SAFETY OF PET AND HUMAN.
Reasons Not to Use Retractable Leashes: quoted from Dr. Karen Becker
“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.
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.
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.
Dogs have also received terrible injuries as a result of the sudden jerk on their neck that occurs when they run out the leash. This includes neck wounds, lacerated tracheas, and injuries to the spine.
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.”
For these reasons and more, I ask that my clients use regular leashes only when visiting the clinic.
Dr. Donna Ragona
Animal Wellness World/ Cocoa Village AWC
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I wished I had read this blog a week ago. Today I took my 5 month old on his morning walk. Yes on a retractable leash. Like most people, thinking he’s a puppy, let him have space to explore the world. On our way home a squirrel runs across our path. Of course he lunges for it. He had enough loose leash to gain momentum and the leash snapped at his collar. I’m freaking out because we are Close to a busy road. I am so thankful and grateful the squirrel jumped a retainer wall and my pup stopped. I’m forever grateful Marie @mikamar taught me the “name” game. When I called my pups name, he came to me.
LESSON LEARNED! NEVER USE A RETRACTABLE LEASH
I was blessed today my puppy listened. Thank you Marie for teaching me the name game!
Here is one more reason to add to the list…
Prior to fencing in our back yard I walked our new puppy (in our back yard) on a retractable leash to allow her some “freedom” Before using the retractable leash she walked very politely on a lead. Using the retractable leash “taught” her to pull and years later it is still work-in-progress to walk her on a comfortable leash without tugging.
PS It is interesting to note that flexi-leads are not permitted in Brevard, because I see many people around town using them.
Yes, I agree. Pulling is reinforced, and behaviors that are reinforced happen more frequently. Thank you for your comment.
It is interesting…I don’t believe it is common knowledge…and what are the consequences?