Many people are huge advocates of the retractable, extendable or cord leash concept for walking their canine counterparts and have happily laid out anywhere from $15. to $50. or more, depending on the size they require, to purchase one of these dog walking devices for their favorite canine friends.
The idea behind the retractable leash is that it offers (on average) a free range of 16 to 26 feet for the fur friend so that they can get plenty of exercise sniffing about and exploring while remaining safely attached to their human.
Unfortunately, while many people have been lulled into believing that they are doing a great service to their dog by purchasing one of these leads, what they’ve actually been doing is teaching their dog not to listen, to be walking in the wrong position, to drag the person walking them, to be hazardous to other dogs and humans and to be the cause of all round bad manners that can lead to behavioral issues.
For starters, a well behaved dog must be a follower, which means that at no time during the walk should your dog be romping 20 feet ahead of you, or lagging 20 feet behind you. The walk is the time when your dog needs to be concentrating on following it’s leader and this is impossible with a extendable leash arrangement.
Secondly, for every dog to be safe, they must be listening to their leader (you) so that they don’t find themselves suddenly in trouble, and this just can’t happen when the dog is so far away from you.
When you allow your dog to reel out on the extendable leash, they are no longer paying attention to you, but instead may be so totally engrossed in smells, sights and sounds that they might even forget you’re there at all.
Dogs can move at a speed much faster than the average human has adequate time to react to. I’ve seen it happen many times, when a dog who is 20 feet or more in front of it’s owner is suddenly startled by another dog, becomes nervous or afraid and before you’re able to reel them back, a fight has already broken out.
The extendable leash can also be a hazard to children, adults and other dogs because often they are often not seen and because of this they create dangerous tripping hazards, and if you’ve ever been wearing shorts and run into a extendable leash, you will know the pain of that nasty rope burn.
As well, dogs getting tangled up in an extendable leash can panic and start to fight each other or lash out at humans in an attempt to free themselves.
Attaching an extendable leash to your dog encourages the dog to pull and be in charge of the walk, which is both painful for the human as well as potentially dangerous if your dog feels that it needs to protect the following human and decides to attack another dog, person or animal.
If all of the above doesn’t give you second pause about using an extendable leash on your dog, consider that because extendable leashes give a dog a good 20 feet of running room, they could actually be struck by a vehicle if you are unable to react quickly enough, should they suddenly decide to chase a cat or squirrel across a busy street.
As well, the extendable leash oftentimes provides the human with a false sense of security that can quickly create an embarrassing situation as simply being attached to their dog becomes a substitute for not paying attention to what their dog is doing.
Most cities have leash laws in effect, requiring that we have our dogs under control, and it’s just not possible to be “in control” when your dog is already 20 feet or more behind or in front of you.
Further, many city laws require humans to pick up after their dogs and guess what? A dog can easily be doing their business at the end of a 20 foot extendable leash with the human being totally obvious to the fact. Not only is not picking up unhealthy for the environment, it could also mean a serious fine for you.
One final fact you might like to consider is that the actual handle of the extendable leash is not only cumbersome to hold, it’s easy to drop, and if you do, the dog at the other end can become scared by the noise of this large plastic handle chasing it down the sidewalk and will run as fast as it can away from you. The handle can also become a flying missile that has the potential to cause much harm and pain.
So let’s recap in bullet form what we’ve learned about the extendable leash.
• it places your dog in the wrong walking position
• it teaches your dog to pull and be in charge on the walk
• it teaches your dog to ignore you
• it places your dog in danger from approaching dogs
• it places your dog in danger from traffic
• it’s a tripping and rope burn hazard to humans
• it’s a tangling hazard to other dogs that could start a fight
• it provides humans with a false sense of security
• it doesn’t fully comply with leash laws
• the handle is cumbersome, easily dropped and can be a missile
Bottom line, while a flexible leash may be suitable in certain circumstances, generally speaking, if you truly care about the safety of yourself, your dog and those around you, get yourself a simple 4 or 6 foot leash that fits comfortably in your hand, keep your dog beside you when walking, and avoid all the problems that could be a result of having your dog attached to a flexible leash.
The helpful staff at www.PeachyKleenPets.com hope that you have found this blog post helpful and informative and that you will enjoy walking your dog every day.
Asia Moore ~ Ask a Dog Whisperer
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