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Why Do Dog Trainers Hate Retractable Leashes

By August 12, 2020Dogs

Training a dog is as difficult as it sounds. Nonetheless, dog trainers have a hard time leash-training dogs, especially when they are dragging on their leash while going for a walk.  So the question we get a lot is why do dog trainers hate retractable leashes?  Though technology and modern advancements have progressed over time, it didn’t help dog trainers much. One such horrible invention in the history of dog training is “retractable leashes.” It is without a doubt that dog trainers loathe retractable leashes. So, if you’re a dog owner planning to buy a retractable leash for your dog, you should give it a second thought because your trainer would not approve of it. But why do dog trainers hate retractable leashes? Let’s find out!

What are Retractable Leashes?

Retractable leashes are the thin length of cord that is wrapped around a spring-loaded device. The spring of the leash rests inside the plastic handle that often has a button on the handle which controls the extendable cord. The plastic handle of the leash is designed in a way that fits comfortably in a human hand.

Most dog owners love retractable leashes for they provide their dog freedom to trot ahead and be happy. However, professional dog trainers consider retractable leashes as a threat to dogs and dog owners.

Why are Retractable Leashes Bad?

It’s mind-blowing that many dog owners use retractable leashes for their dogs even though they know the consequences and then get upset later when their dogs run out of control.

If you notice closely, even the smallest family dogs such as chihuahua when on a retractable leash, drag thier owners around in a rather comical way.

However, the case is different with the bigger breeds on retractable leashes. They drag their owners quite aggressively because they got the liberty to be dominant on a retractable leash.

Everything Wrong with Retractable Leashes

Though retractable leashes seem easy and your dogs would love it, dog trainers never recommend using retractable leashes because of the following reasons.

Damage Your Pet’s Neck and Throat

Retractable leashes can extend up to 16 to 30 feet in the distance. And some even extend up to 26 feet, letting your dog out of your sight for a long time.

Suppose your pet is moving around freely on a retractable leash., suddenly your dog spots a fox or a squirrel in its way and tries to chase it away. When it reaches the end of the leash, it can dangerously snap your pet’s neck causing collateral damage with long-lasting effects.

Dog Fights

Since you are too far away from your dog, it can get into aggressive fights without you even noticing.  Most of the time, when the leash is too flexible, your dog might encounter other dogs and extend into their personal space making him seem aggressive. Other pets are not always friendly and welcoming, and this might lead to deadly fights.

Leash Training is Impossible

The first thing to understand is, retractable leashes were not meant to leash train your dog. If you are aiming to leash train a puppy, it is best to use a standard leash to have full control over it.  Along with leash training, it’s almost impossible to obedience train your dogs or having control of your dog or training other behaviors because the dog is always too far away from you.

The retractable leashes teach your dogs to pull have control over you. Eventually prevents dogs from becoming completely leash trained.  Retractable leashes were created for adult dogs that already know how to walk properly and maintain a safe distance from their owners.

Dangerous for Dog Owners

The cord of retractable leashes is extremely thin that can easily wrap around your wrists and fingers resulting in severe cuts, wounds, and lifetime injuries.  Also, the cord can easily break that allows the dog to run away.

If you buy a retractable leash, you will find a warning label somewhere that reads, “It can cause hand and eye injury, cuts, burns, and even amputation of limbs (both to the owner and the dog). “


A Tangled Mess

Retractable leashes can be entangled around your dog’s neck making it furious and aggressive that leads to further destruction.  It is never a good idea to get your dog a retractable dog leash that would consume half of your time detangling it and making your dog afraid of the runs.

Leash Might Drop

Since retractable leashes are heavy and bulky and often lack proper wrist straps. The chances are you will drop them occasionally.  And the impact would be worse than anything!

When you drop a handle, the lack of tension sends the handle hurdling towards your dog. The heavy leash could either smack your dog or it might get scared and may bolt.

What Makes Retractable Leashes Decent to Use?

No matter what we say or how we react, some people are effortlessly using retractable leashes without any hitches.

So, what makes a retractable leash a decent choice?

  1. If you have a small, friendly dog
  2. Your dog is fully leash trained and composed
  3. You are watching your dog the entire time he is on a retractable leash


The #1 tip you will learn in your leash training lessons is, “The closer the dog, the more controlled distance is, the safest and the best option.”

Unfortunately, retractable leashes do just the opposite and cause immense harm to dogs and the owners.  That is the main reason why people as why do dog trainers hate retractable leashes.

The market is flooded with different types of dog leashes that would help your dog in leash training. From stretchable rubber leashes and slip leads to leather leashes and Flexi lead, there is a multitude of brands that manufacture sturdy leashes.

Though retractable leashes are quite popular among many dog owners for the feasibility they provide. Professional dog trainers discourage the use of retractable leashes for explicit reasons.

If you are serious about proper leash-training and the overall safety of your dog. Do yourself and your dog a huge favor: Invest in a durable, high-quality traditional leash that will ensure more safety and control over your dog than retractable leashes.

When your dog has fully learned to walk on a leash properly, you can try a retractable leash, if you wish. However, we don’t recommend it.

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