Retractable leashes offer dogs and their owners more freedom than traditional leaders. Dogs can move at their own pace, stop and sniff, run and check something out, or use the bathroom in a bit of privacy. Owners like them because they can walk without having to stop every three minutes while their canine companion stops to smell the roses. Retractable leashes can make walks more enjoyable by allowing the dog and owner to do exactly what they want. They do, however, require a bit more care and proper usage to ensure the safety of you, your pet and others around you.


While concerns about retractable leashes are valid, it is generally human error that leads to any accidents. Knowing how to properly use a retractable leash can ensure you and your pup enjoy the newfound freedom.

First, you should train your dog on a traditional leash. Retractable leashes are not for beginners, and they should not be your everyday leash. Teaching your dog to walk properly on a regular leash will instill him with the good habits he needs to be a retractable rascal.

Second, you should know when it is appropriate to use a retractable leash and when it is not.

  • DO use your retractable leash on long walks in open areas.
  • DO NOT use it in closed, confined spaces like the vet's office.
  • DO NOT use it in crowded or urban environments.
  • When in doubt, leave the retractable leash at home.

You should start using the retractable leash slowly. Try going to a wide-open space without other people or dogs around. Stand in one spot and let your dog sniff around, exploring his new sense of freedom. Make sure your pup is able to listen and respond to commands. If he is getting too far away, call him back to you. Don't let him get all the way to the end of the lead, as the snap could injure his neck. Once you are comfortable with your dog's behavior on the retractable leash, you're ready to take it to the streets.

Walking with your dog on the retractable leash takes practice, for dogs and owners alike. Make sure to keep your dog close enough to stay out of harm's way. You need to be able to pull him away from oncoming cars, unseen animals or from other people. Make sure there is little to no slack in the cord. Slack in the cord is when it can get tangled and accidents can happen. When you are reeling your dog back in, be sure to use the pause button on the handle to keep the slack from occurring

Finally, and most importantly, you must remain vigilant when it comes to walking your dog on a retractable leash. You must pay especially close attention and be aware of your pup's whereabouts and surroundings. Be on the lookout for dangers, obstacles, and distractions that may cause your dog to take off unexpectedly. Retractable leashes aren't dangerous. Careless retractable leash owners can be.

If you want you and your furry friend to have more freedom on your daily walks, a retractable leash is a fantastic way to get it. It must, however, be used with care. If you and your dog feel like you are ready for the responsibility, try one out and see what the world has to offer.


  1. Keith, Christie. Mastering the art of the Flexi: The Pros and cons of the retractable leash. Your Whole Pet. SFGate, 7 Aug. 27. Web. 04 March 2015.
  2. How to Properly Use a Retractable Dog Leash. Snapguide. Web. 05 March 2015.
  3. Keith, Christie. Mastering the art of the Flexi: The Pros and cons of the retractable leash. Your Whole Pet. SFGate, 7 Aug. 27. Web. 04 March 2015.

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