Retractable Leads Versus Long Lines

The retractable dog lead

Retractable leads are no good for teaching the dog loose lead walking

Due to the way that  A retractable lead works mean that the lead is always under some tension. As a result, the dog gets confused when learning that they shouldn’t pull on the lead.


Retractable dog leads are dangerous when not use right

Because retractable leads are essentially easy to use, people become lazy. This often results in people not paying. attention as to what their dog is up to and what is going on around them

This means that both dog and owner can get into all sorts of trouble. For example, the extended leads, usually thin rope, can easily cause friction burns to your hands and legs. I’ve also seen some very nasty cuts that have required stitches. This has been due to the lead getting wrapped around the finger and the dog suddenly pulling it tight

I have also been sent flying when the dog wrapped the lead around my legs and took me out due to the dog owners being on the phone and not paying attention  (I know this could happen with an ordinary lead but not as easy)

They have very bulky handles so easy to drop

Again if a dog suddenly sees something because the extended lead allows them to buildup sped, they are far more difficult to hold onto. As a result, you can end up with a big lump of plastic hurtling towards the dog. This is enough to make anyone scared (including dogs), so they are likely to bolt.

However, I do see how they can be an advantage in strange places, but it is imperative to keep an eye on your dog, the led and the surroundings, and if you are uncertain, make sure the lock is on (although it can fail), and they have a short lead.

Long training leads/line

These, in essence, generally offer better control and will be recommended by a dog trainer. As the name suggests, it is a very long lead and makes the owners pay more attention as they have to manually let the lead out or bring the lad n shorter and would be my preferred choice.

These types of lead take more skills and require more engagement with your dog to use. But that is an advantage when you are out on a dog walk?

It should be noted that because these can often be made of rope that you can still get burnt, so work gloves may be advisable.

As your dog starts to get better at recall and better behave, you can let the lead trail on the floor, so he has freedom. BUT you can still stand on the rope in an emergency.

I would suggest when using a long line that you tie knows every foot or so to make it easier .to stand on the lead quickly.

Of course, having a rope trailing around the floor can be a trip hazard. Care still needs to be taken.

Safety first

Whatever lead you use, I would always recommend a harness. This makes it far safer and more comfortable as you are not causing sudden jerks to the dog’s neck.

Another helpful thing to use with long lines is a bungee attachment. Attaching the bungee between the long line and the harness. This has the advantage of absorbing some of the shocks when the dog comes to the end of the line

Our article on Dog Walking Tips Everyone should know is worth a read along with Exercising dogs on a lead

Please note that as a professional dog walker in the Finchley and surrounding area offering dog walking services I do not encourage the use of retractable leads.