Retractable dog leashes are a crucial piece of equipment for any dog owner. Properly used, a leash provides safety and security for a pet. Many dog owners quickly become frustrated at standard leashes. When their pets pull on them, the leashes become tangled, and they do not give either the dog or the owner enough freedom of movement for an enjoyable walk. Retractable leashes are popular because they solve many of these problems.
Types of Retractable Dog Leashes
There are several types of retractable dog leashes, but they all share similar characteristics. The handle of the leash is plastic, often with a specialized grip or contoured shape for comfort. The cord may be between two and twenty-six feet long, though sixteen feet is the most common length. Retractable leashes come in a variety of widths - typically, narrow leashes are more appropriate for small dogs while wider lead provide sturdier control for larger breeds. Leash manufacturers give recommendations for each leash and its appropriateness for particular dog sizes.
Using a Retractable Leash
To accustom a pet to using a retractable leash, they should initially be trained using a standard, non-retracting tether. This gets the dog used to the feel and purpose of a leash without contending with the new features of a retractable model. Once both pet and owner are comfortable with using a leash, gradually switching to a retractable dog leash will be easy.
Always attach the leash to the dog's collar when it is mostly retracted, leaving a very short length of cord exposed. This prevents initial tangles and allows the owner to set the pace of the walk with greater control. With the touch of a button, a retractable dog leash can grow or shrink as needed, but it should never be used to pull or tug on the animal. Instead, the owner should approach their pet, shortening the leash as they go, decreasing the distance between them and their dog. This is particularly useful when crossing streets, approaching strange people or animals, or in other situations when greater control is needed. A longer leash gives the dog greater freedom in open spaces when their safety is not at risk.
If a retractable pet lead becomes sluggish or shows signs of fraying, the winding mechanism may be off-balance and fail to rewind properly. At that point, the owner should purchase a new item, because the damaged model is unable to perform as effectively. If the cord becomes wet, it should be left open (not retracted) until dry to prevent mildew and decay.
Retractable Dog Leash Accessories
As more communities require owners to clean up after their dogs, retractable dog leashes are beginning to offer a range of convenient accessories. Rolls of plastic bags can be attached to the leash's plastic handle, and newer models have sufficient attachment space and dispensers built in. Several models also offer buckles or hooks to attach duplicate dog license tags - the original tag should always be attached to the pet's collar. Both standard and retractable leashes come in a variety of attractive colors to coordinate with different collars, and reflective accents and patterns are both decorative and a valuable safety feature.
Though retractable dog leashes are convenient and give both pets and owners greater freedom and control, they must be used properly to be effective. With initial training and considerate use, they are a great tool for dog owners. Accessories are available for safety features and responsible cleanups, making retractable dog leashes a convenient choice for owners, particularly those who enjoy frequent walks with their pets or who visit Dog Parks and must abide by the posted regulations.