Etiquette & Safety tips for Retractable Leashes

Incorrect Retractable LeashIMG_9691-001

Retractable leashes have gained popularity in recent years. Many pet owners like the ability for their dog to have more than six feet of room to roam, but retractable leashes are specialized tools that should only be used under certain circumstances and guidelines.


In order to keep Buddy and you safe while using a retractable leash you should:


  • Only use a retractable leash on a dog that has a reliable vocal recall, meaning that they come when called. If your dog is prone to bolting and/or pulling at the sight of other dogs, people, etc., you should work with him on a 6-foot leash until this behavior has been modified.
  • Use a retractable leash in a wide-open space where you will not block the pathway for others, such as on a trail, sidewalk, path or narrow space. Be especially aware of cyclists since a dog on a long leash can veer suddenly into the path of someone and cause serious injury.
  • If you must use a retractable leash where space is limited, be sure to have it on the shortest length and in the locked position. Remember that not all strange dogs (and people) want to say hello.
  • Always be aware of how much length of leash your dog has and if they may get entangled on something, including your own legs. There have been many reports of injury due to dogs wrapping the line around their owners’ legs.
  • If possible, carry a standard 6-foot or shorter leash as a backup in case your retractable leash breaks.
  • If you are more interested in learning about different types of leashes or collars and how to properly walk your dog, our team members would be happy to offer more information at any of our stores. You can also check out our events page to see if any stores have upcoming Dog Walking seminars or leash/collar>

– written by Heather Ratynski