|Posted by lgruen56 on April 1, 2014 at 12:20 AM|
Proper Use of Retractable Leashes
By Liz Gruen
Many love the idea of a retractable leash. It gives their dog a little freedom to roam and run while still connected to you.
However, it is my opinion there is a proper way to use them and a dangerous way to use them. The proper way would be to use the one that is suited for your size dog. Another is to make sure you do not let out too much cord at one time in a populated or heavily wooded area. It is always best to keep your dog close to you on a walk as it is your responsibility to always look ahead to anticipate any problems that may arise to distract your dog. Always check that the lock is working properly and that you can easily manipulate it to lock that cord in case of an emergency, such as your dog taking off after another dog, running into traffic or chasing squirrels, bikes, skate boards, etc.
The first time you use the leash, try it in an open area so you get the feel of how to control it. When you use the retractable leash improperly, you can be in for a serious injury to you and your dog. Having spent 30 years in the medical field, I can tell you first hand of the numerous injuries I have encountered due to the improper use of retractable leashes. For example, if you let out too much cord in a populated area, such as the park where there are many people walking their dogs, you have the problem of getting the cord entangled with another. When getting two or more dogs who don't know each other too close together (invading the others space), it can cause a nasty fight to break out while you are trying to untangle them.
People have panicked and have not been able to quickly lock the cord and have grabbed the cord which has caused severe cuts and rope burns on their legs and hands, not to mention a dog bite from a panicked dog. When the dog runs around a wooded area, there is the chance of the dog choking and injuring the trachea while trying to untangle themselves from around a few trees. If the cord is too long, the the dog can get way ahead of you and turn a corner where you can't see what possible trouble may be ahead. The worst injury I have encountered is a woman who came into the office of a surgeon where I worked and had four of her fingers partially amputated while walking her German Shepherd on a retractable leash. She could not lock it in time and she grabbed the rope of the leash and the rest is history.
This type of leash should never be used by young children! Now, let's talk about the positive side of a retractable leash. The retractable leash is great for training your dog to fetch and return and recalls (teaching your dog to come to you on command.) It is wonderful for letting your dog out in your back yard when it is raining or snowing so you don't have to go out yourself. It is great to use if you are a disabled person or senior who can't walk very far and maybe doesn't have a fenced in yard and would like your dog to go out and have fun while still in your reach. Accidents do and will always happen, however with awareness we can help to keep our cherished pets a little safer.
Liz Gruen was the creator/owner and head trainer of Kamp Kanine... plus a few good cats, a doggy day care, boarding and training facility in Little Falls, NJ. Liz has developed an innovative program, Kidz & Kanines, which teaches children how to train, handle and care for their pets. Liz is now living in Florida and is the owner of Dog Training With Liz.