As any dog owner knows, picking the best leash for dogs is no mean feat. The selection process requires plenty of consideration, trial, and error, but the result is always worth it. For some, this means a regular lead; for others, it could be a freedom-giving extendable lead.
Extendable leads, otherwise known as retractable leashes, are ideal for dogs who enjoy roaming and owner’s who can trust them to roam! If that sounds like the right fit for you – great!
We’ve done the research and discovered what features make a quality retractable dog leash, and even found some examples along the way that we share below – enjoy! But first …
What is a Retractable Dog Leash?
Retractable dog leashes are an expendable lead option that has a long spool of cord or tape coiled within the handle. If your dog pulls on the leash, the lead ‘lets out’ as the coil unspools. On the leash handle, there’s a brake that pauses the unspooling. However, there’s no option to rewind the loop unless the leash is slack.
What this means is that if your dog is pulling, you can’t reel the lead back without hurrying to catch up or using verbal cues to call your dog back.
Why do Pet Owners Use Retractable Leads?
For dogs, a retractable lead means freedom. With a larger range to cover, they’re free to sniff, explore, and discover to their little heart’s content. For owners, especially those of particularly eager dogs, it means less friction burn, leash handle clenching, and trying to gain control of a bundle of energy.
Our Favourite Retractable Dog Leads
Should I Buy a Retractable Lead?
Underlying the win-win system of retractable leads is trust. With a regular leash, your dog is almost always within eye line or arm’s reach. And while this safe distance is achievable with a retractable lead, there’ll come a time when you ‘let the lead out.’
Suppose you believe your dog can be trusted with a little extra wiggle room, and you don’t think you’d be on edge upon lead extension. In that case, an extendable lead is a perfect choice for you and your pup! This rings especially true for pet owners with rowdy pups.
Our advice to you: If you don’t think your dog needs an extendable lead, stick to a regular lead for optimal peace of mind and safety.
Are Retractable Leads Good for Dogs?
You may have heard stories about how retractable leashes can burn, cut, and just generally be a pain for dogs. Unfortunately, veterinarians are no strangers to treating dogs with injuries caused by retractable leads.
While this issue can be caused by poor quality materials, the truth is that not all pets or owners are good candidates for retractable leashes. Retractable leashes are a particularly bad idea for dogs that haven’t been trained to walk on a regular leash. In fact, the distance between owner and pet can actually encourage pulling.
That said, used without pulling, or if the dog is fitted in a harness – retractable leads can be a walk-enhancing experience for dog and owner alike.
What is the Best Dog lead for Pet Owners?
These days, dog owners enjoy a variety of dog lead designs and styles to choose from. Standard leads, retractable leads, adjustable leads, and slip leads, just to name a few. You’ll even find chain leads for bigger breeds or multi-function leads that are often used for training purposes.
At the end of the day, the best dog leash for you and your pup is an entirely personal matter. Usually, it varies according to breed size, personality, and preference.
Note: If you find that no leash seems to suit your dog, why not try a harness for extra comfort that won’t restrict your pup’s neck.
What to Look for in a Retractable Dog Lead
- Tangle free design – Opting for tape lowers (although doesn’t eliminate) the risk of potential knots and tangles in the retractable leash.
- Reflective properties – Keep an eye out for retractable dog leashes made from reflective materials or crafted using reflective stitching so that your dog can stay visible day or night.
- High-quality materials – It’s essential to find a leash that’s made of a flexible, strong, and durable material. That way, tangles, and breaks are kept to a minimum keeping your walkies stress-free. Heavy-duty nylon, polyester, or woven cotton should do the trick!
- Ergonomic design – An ergonomic and soft grip can make walk times more enjoyable for pet owners while reducing the risk of injuries or long-term damage from holding their pup’s leash.
Reeling it in …
Retractable dog leads aren’t for every owner-pup duo, but they do work for some. And, when they do, their versatility and flexibility make for a customisable walkies time like no other. So, why not gift your four-legged friend the gift of freedom and the power to sniff wherever they see fit by switching to a retractable lead? Neither you or your precious pup will regret it!
Emma Wally is the founder of thedoggeeks.com, a website for dog owners in the UK and the rest of the world. Emma has a lifelong love of dogs and has devoted years to learning and training dogs of various kinds and ages.
Emma’s love for dogs and animals started as a child with looking after many different pets from fish, to dogs and even sheep. This love for animals led her into the world of dog training; with a real passion in positive reinforcement techniques.
Dog training specialist
Emma has completed multiple certifications in dog training, focussing on positive reinforcement techniques.
Puppy socialisation group
Emma is also the founder of 'Stony Stratford Puppy and Dog Group'. This growing community of dog enthusiasts provides weekly socialistion for new puppies and dogs wanting to integrate into socialisation, as well as giving specialist training advice for dog owners wanting to address problems... Or just wanting to give their pup the best life they can!
Kobe is Emma's current fluffy best friend. Being a Tibetan Terrier she can be stubborn at times but has the biggest personality for such a small dog.
Passionate about Dogs
Emma Wally is more than just a dog trainer; she is a mentor, a guide, and a friend to all dog owners seeking to build a better relationship with their furry companions. Her commitment to enhancing the lives of dogs and their owners is evident in every piece of advice she shares, making her a trusted and respected figure in the dog training community. Trust Emma, and you trust a true dog geek.