You might not like to hear it, but most trainers hate the retractable leash, including myself.
Walking Berlin is the highlight of my day. It is a stress reliever for me, exercise for both of us and great bonding time with my best buddy. Berlin easily heals by my side and in turn I let her periodically have the reigns and sniff freely, no more than the length of our 6ft nylon leash or Litey Leash of course. Where she wants to sniff (with in reason), we go. When the walk needs to resume I say, "leave it", she listens and we're off.
We never leave the house without our leash..but I would never use a retractable leash. Why?
Control. There is a significant lack of control. This is first illustrated in the "retractable" element. How do you recall your dog if you have allowed him/her to explore at the length of the leash? Some are up to 26 feet long! The leash does not retract unless there is slack, and yet owners often use these leashes to allow their dog freedom to explore farther..and..farther away from them. The second is illustrated in the handle. It does not allow to securely hold the leash. There are grip alternatives but, like the other versions, you would not be able to grip the spaghetti sized retracting leash element in an emergency without risking injury.
DANGERS OF THE RETRACTABLE LEASH EXAMPLE ONE:
Your dog is significantly in front or behind you and a car is coming out of the driveway. Will you try to wrap the leash around and around your arm, frantically pulling the handle above your head or will you start to run in the opposed direction to get them out of harms way?
DANGERS OF THE RETRACTABLE LEASH EXAMPLE TWO:
Your dog is more than 6 feet in front of you and a dog comes around the corner just ahead. The dogs want to sniff and since you can't loop the leashes handle with your thumb to gain more control, you accidentally let go when your dog pulls forward unexpectedly. What if that other dog is aggressive? What will you do? What can you do?
There are endless examples and the risks definitely out way any advantages. Watch our video on how to hold your dog's leash and if you'd like to gain control of your walks, consider some private dog training sessions with us (find out more at http://feetandpaws.com/services/private-dog-training/ :