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Is Your Retractable Dog Leash Dangerous?

Posted by Travis Danforth on
Is Your Retractable Dog Leash Dangerous?


Why Your Retractable Dog Leash is More Dangerous than it is Convenient

Retractable leashes are on the shelves at every pet store. But are they the best option for you and your pup? In this post, we are going to break down the weaknesses of retractable leashes and why you should invest in a secure, fixed or adjustable length leash instead.

Safety First!

Your dog's safety is the most important thing while taking a walk or going on an adventure. Retractable leashes provide the opportunity for your dog to run into the street, or off a cliff's edge, in a split second. Using a fixed length leash allows you to control your pup with ease, all the while teaching your dog not to wander.

Retractable leashes have been known to snap or fail without warning, which can end in an injury to the owner or the dog. When these retractable leashes get tangled up in people and other dogs, it can present dangerous opportunities for injuries. Keeping your dog close to you during walks and adventures also keeps them safe from wildlife encounters and aggressive dog encounters.

Being a pet owner comes with a level of preparedness, and planning for all outcomes will help keep your pet safe while out and about.

dog with a collar and leash sitting on a tree branch

Training & Good Behavior

Dog training isn’t for everyone, but a lot of people own dogs. That’s why as owners, we invest in professional dog training services! One thing you always learn during dog training is that as the owner, it is your responsibility to continue to curb good behaviors and to stay consistent with your pet. Using a fixed leash will not only keep you in control of your pet, ensuring safety, but it also reminds the dog that you are in control and that they don’t have any flexibility in how far they can get away from you.

With a retractable leash, dogs learn that by pulling, or by simply moving in the direction they want, they are in control of where they want to go. This of course ends as the line runs out or you cut them short, but from the dog’s point of view, this inconsistency will produce behaviors they will repeat if they are not curbed and controlled by their owners.


New Dog & Wildlife Encounters

Aggressive dog and wildlife encounters aren’t as rare as they may sound. It could be as simple as going for a walk and seeing a bird or a squirrel. Preparedness is key. You are accountable for the actions your dog takes, and every dog owner should feel confident and comfortable taking their dog for a walk. Let’s face it, no dog is perfectly well behaved. A lot of their behaviors that we don’t love are instinct, so we can’t always place the blame on them. It is our responsibility as owners to set them up for success! Using retractable leashes on walks can lead to dangerous wildlife chases, leading your pup to reach the end of the cord and either receive a sharp pull. The leash could also break allowing your pert to run free from your hold. Check out our blog post on how we recommend using collars and harnesses to ensure a secure connection with your pet.

New dog encounters can always be a bit worrisome for owners. Just know that some dogs feel a similar anxiety! Take this as an opportunity to give your dog a comfortable and secure experience. Using a fixed leash and having had the right training, your pup is in a much more secure place to say hello while you, the owner, has control over them throughout the exchange. A retractable leash in this situation can introduce a lot of injury opportunity to either dog or the owners present, as dogs often get excited about new friends!

Please note: In some particular cases, dogs may experience leash aggression and introducing your dog to other dogs while on a leash could present unwanted behaviors. Same goes for the approaching owner and dog!

lifetime lite leash atlas pet company

Gear Failure

Retractable leashes are more likely to fail over time as they have more moving parts than a fixed leash. Using mostly plastic parts to house the cable and the mechanism for spooling, these leashes tend to stick, or fail, with the leash extended at some uncontrollable length, rendering the point of a retractable leash useless. By common design, the cord is contained inside a plastic container, hiding any imperfections in the cord. This design could leave an owner without the opportunity to predict a break or failure of the leash, since the components are mostly hidden. Safety first! Fixed leashes present you with the opportunity to see blemishes ahead of a break, keeping your pup safe and close to you. 


Lack of Design

Retractable leashes often come with poor design qualities. For example, the plastic handle is to be handheld, and handheld only. This is much more likely to be dropped, leading to a number of unfortunate situations. First, dropping the handle presents a dangerous opportunity for your pup to get away from you. Second, dropping this handle can break the leash, leaving you without a secure attachment to your pet in the moment. Lastly, this sudden sound of the leash handle hitting the ground can scare your pup, which is not something you want to train the pup to be scared of. In the event that you do drop the handle, your pup may become skittish or scared, prompting them to run away.


Next time you are in the market for a leash, don’t be duped by the conveniences of a retractable leash. The dangers they present far outweigh these conveniences. Here at APC, we only use secure fixed and adjustable leashes to ensure the safety of our pets. Check out our handcrafted Lifetime and Lifetime Lite leashes, knowing this will be the last leash you have to purchase thanks to our Lifetime Guarantee!

lifetime lite collar and leash atlas pet company



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