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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
Dave T
 
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Retractable Leash Safety

Thought I would cross post this letter from Norma Jeanne Laurette to our IPDTA forum members. Like any dog training tool, some can be used properly and some can cause harm. Retractable leashes have their place but they also have problems. Here is her opinion ,and it seems to be vastly shared by most of our dog professionals.

Over the years I had numerous problems reported by my clients with retractable leashes and have experienced problems myself both in and outside of my classes. Because of this I began to document these problems. See below.

Norma Jeanne Laurette

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Retractable Leash

Drawbacks, Risks and Warnings

• There have been reports of even the strongest retractable leashes breaking, most on very powerful dogs, others on dogs not as powerful but due to poor leash construction. Breakage has been known to occur;

 where the line attaches to the clasp

 where the line attaches inside the plastic casing

 the line itself

 the actual plastic casing

 the locking and retractable mechanisms.

Reported accidents associated with the retractable leash;

• line breakage where the line attaches to the clasp, causing the clasp to snap back and detach the retina of a young girl’s eye. Other such injuries have been reported.

• accidentally dropping the plastic casing handle causing the handle to retract back to the dog, striking the dog in the head or other parts of the body causing fear and/or injury and/or superstitious cues.

• the line of the retractable leash become wrapped around a small dog’s leg and when pulled snapped the bone of the leg in two

• the dog running and as hitting the end of the leash with force causing; - neck injury

- causing the cord to break at the clasp and all the accidents associated with the breakage

- causing the handler to drop the plastic casing handle and all the accidents with the breakage

• Breakage of any kind can cause the dog to be loose in a public area causing injury due to being hit by a vehicle, causing vehicles to crash to avoid the loose animal, and other dangers associated to dogs being loose in public areas.

• The retractable leash is counter-productive when proofing the recall because of the constant pull of the leash. The dog learns that it must come when call when the leash is attached but as soon as the leash is removed, the pull is gone and the dog knows it is free to do as it pleases. A “life line”, “lunge line” or long leash is preferable for this exercise because the dog will not feel the tug on it’s collar.

• Since retractable leashes are for sale at many dollar stores, they are of extremely poor quality and have a high potential to break.

• You cannot train a dog on a retractable as it allows the dog all the freedom, allows the handler only one free hand, making it impossible to use the techniques needed to teach the dog to not pull on leash.

• Retractable leashes are extremely dangerous when used with choke chains, pinch collars or head halters as the handler has very little control over the strength of the pull and the pressure on the dog’s neck or head.

• Since there is a constant tug on the dogs collar, it actually teaches dogs to pull on leash as the constant pull is always there when walking.

• When used by bicyclists it can be extremely dangerous to both dog and cyclist because;

• - only one hand is free with which to control the bike

• - the dog can easily pull the bicycle off balance

• - the dog can easily pull the bicycle into traffic

• The retractable leash has a high potential for becoming wrapped around the dog, passing dogs or people, bikes or objects causing accidents, injuries and abrasions.

I allowed retractable leashes in my classes during my first two years in business. During that time I cannot count the number of times dogs escaped both inside and outside my facility while on a retractable leash. There were numerous incidents involving the handler accidentally dropping the plastic casing that retracts and hits the dog. I have witnessed the clasp breaking loose on a few occasions causing it to snap back at the handler. Due to these experiences, I no longer allow the use of retractable leashes in my classes.

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild

Last edited by davetgabby; 01-03-2010 at 01:22 PM. Reason: add
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 01:47 PM
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Great info, Dave. I have a retractable leash I was using on Chica, dd's jack russell. One morning it was raining and I really didn't feel up to going out with her. I had the oh so brilliant idea of standing in the kitchen door and letting her run out on the retractable leash. The results? She was fine, but I have a torn rotator cuff in my left shoulder as a result of her taking off after a rabbit.... and no one to blame but my own stupidity...

Murray & his mama, Sally~
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 02:05 PM
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I personally hate retractable leashes.
If I'm out walking and meet someone walking a dog with a one of them, I cringe. We've been tangled terribly by them, putting the dogs and people in danger of being hurt.

Nan
Chico, Cali, and Finnegan
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
Dave T
 
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I hear you Nan and Sally. Yeah I have had Molly get tangled up with others on flexi leashes . I try to avoid them when walking. Some people will shorten up when they greet you and then decide its safe to give them some slack. Can be terrifying for a dog to get tied to another dog who is then freeking out themselves. We have two trainers that have seen dogs killed by cars because of them.

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 03:13 PM
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I hate retractable leashes. My DD uses one for her Yorkie KoKo. When I have KoKo I always keep it short and in the locked position however I always worry that if KoKo tugs to hard on it that it will snap and hurt her.

Holly & Murphy
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 03:17 PM
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Maybe you should 'accidentally' break it, Holly. Then go and buy her a new leash that is a better type. Not that I'm evil that way and ever accidentally on purpose broke something belonging to one of my kids...

Murray & his mama, Sally~
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheVintageVamp View Post
Maybe you should 'accidentally' break it, Holly. Then go and buy her a new leash that is a better type. Not that I'm evil that way and ever accidentally on purpose broke something belonging to one of my kids...
Oh Sally, you are a hoot! We could be very good friends, I love the way you think!

Holly & Murphy
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 05:06 PM
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Thanks for the heads up. I think I'll get new leashes and get rid of my retractables.





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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 05:19 PM
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I was talking to a neighbor walking her dog with a retractable. The dog wandered into the road while she was distracted talking with me.
All was okay, but it reminded me why I do not use them.

Also, one really has to have to know how to use them, not pulling the thin string with your hand - you could cut yourself something fierce.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 06:20 PM
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O.k., I've always wondered why people don't use the lock mechanism on retractable leashes. I mean, it's there!! I don't understand why people have them on 'loose' all the time, constantly tugging on the dog's neck (worse if it's a tiny dog), them having no control over where the dog is going, and all those other risks Dave mentions in his post.

I use and LOVE my retractable leashes. I hold them both (as I rarely use our coupler) in my right hand. They are pretty big, but I have large hands. I then loosely hold the leash in my left hand and keep the dogs at heel position while we walk. Mine are not strings or lines, they are nylon leashes that retract and are about 1/2" wide, so they don't tangle into things like the usual retractables do. I am always controlling the nylon with my left hand and fingers, pulling Ricky forward and keeping Sammy back to a heel.

When, AND ONLY WHEN, we are in an open grassy area, like the field by the hospital, or the middle of my crescent, I let them out to half or full length and LOCK the leash once again. I hate the idea of it constantly tugging their necks. They hardly tangle because the leashes aren't taut, they are loose on the ground as the dogs sniff and wander with me holding the handles. When we leave the open area, I retract and lock the leash again and off we go.

I never, nor would want to, let the leash out with other dogs around. I want control of my dogs on leash at all times.

We sell these at the store I work at, but I'm always telling people how to use them so they aren't a danger. One must never let the dog out unless they are paying total attention to their dog and are in safe surroundings. Otherwise that leash should be short and locked, with the dog by your side. I agree that not using one properly, or using those ones that have the wiry string/cable is a hazard.




Hello. My name is marj and I have MHS.




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“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.” -Guillaume Apollinaire"

Last edited by marjrc; 01-03-2010 at 06:22 PM.
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