« Back

Retractable Leads

27/06/2021 - Equipment

Usually when we ask people why they use extendable leads the answer is one, or all, of the following:

  • To give my dog more freedom while having some control
  • Because my dog has rubbish recall
  • It’s not safe to let them off lead

Retractable leads can encourage dogs to pull - dog pulls and the person holding the lead lets it out a little more. This isn’t teaching your dog to walk nicely, and you are actually rewarding your dog for pulling.

Unless your dog is walking calmly beside you and the retractable lead is relaxed (which is difficult, almost impossible) there is always tension on the lead which also encourages your dog to pull as you are creating a reflex action.

The huge clunky handles are awkward to hold and can be dropped easily. Imagine if you have a nervous dog and you drop the handle which, if the dog continues running, is bouncing along behind them, making a noise and scaring them even more, encouraging them to run further and faster. A vicious circle develops and can potentially be fatal if a dog runs out into a road.

Once you’ve got used to them, the locking mechanism on most retractable leashes is supposed to be easy to use, but they can lock, break and if you panic and don’t react quickly enough you will find yourselves in all sorts of trouble - lead wrapped round your leg, or someone else’s, especially if your dog has reacted to anything, and your dog is too far away from you. In short, they’re still harder to manage dogs than a standard lead or training line.

Dogs are fast and can switch from mooching to running very quickly, which means a retractable lead will yank your shoulder more and you could easily burn yourself or even lose a finger if you try to grab the lead to stop them.

It’s unsafe to let your dogs be too far away from you in busy places and along roadsides. We’ve seen dogs on retractable leads 20 feet ahead of their human.  What happens if they see something the other side of the road and darts to get across to it. You have no time to react and your dog will either end up injured or dead.

We’re not going to post graphic images, but if you want to go and find them, just google retractable leads.

“I’ve used extendable leads in the dim and distant past. Two in fact. The first was the typical cord type. I managed to slice my fingers on it when my dog suddenly lunged (actually he was a puppy, but he was an older German Shepherd puppy so not tiny), the brake button thingy either wasn’t engaged properly or failed, he shot out, I did what many people would when they want to stop the dog – I grabbed the line with my other hand. Sliced through 3 fingers across the seam of the inside of my knuckles so it took ages to heal. Didn’t successfully stop my dog lunging to whatever it was he was interested in (I don’t remember it being a complete disaster so no doubt it was just something interesting rather than anything else).” www.tailswewin.co.uk

As you probably realise by now, we don’t like them, and they are banned from our classes and workshops.

Below are some of our favourite things to use -

Perfect Fit from www.dog-games-shop.co.uk or Touch from www.tilleyfarmshop.co.uk

Halti double ended training leads
Inexpensive and come in two widths for large and small dogs, available from most pet shops and online

Long training lines
nothing longer than 10 metres

Biothane lines
Soft Horse Lunge Lines
Clix Training Lines

One of our favourites are the Mendota Training Lead - 5 meters from LeadingDog.co.uk

If you need any help or support choosing equipment for your dog, or need some help with lead walking techniques then get in touch - [email protected]

#dogtraining #trainingtails #leadwalking #puppytraining