Deciding to Use a Retractable Leash

When we had Budly we didn’t use a retractable leash. We had the regular, old-fashioned six foot nylon leash.

Walking Budly

I remember seeing the retractable kind of leashes when we ran across other dog owners. I didn’t trust them. (The leashes, that is. Not the owners.)

Budly was a wild walking dog. He pulled and sprinted to get to the fences behind which he knew dogs lived. And if we were someplace where there were no fences, he’d sprint just for the heck of it.

I barely had control of him on the nylon leash. I felt in my gut it’d be disastrous if we had one that let him get more leverage by getting even farther ahead of us.

Walking Murphy

But when Murph came along his walking style was much different. He pulls sometimes, but from the beginning he pretty much walked with us or only slightly ahead. The only time he ever pulls is when he spots bunnies or squirrels.

Murph also listens much better than Budly ever did. For the most part he heeds commands the first time around. Budly had a mind of his own and listened only when he wanted to. (Or when we held his tennis ball captive. That was our sure-fire method for getting his attention.)

Adjusting to a Retractable Leash

Murph’s excellent listening skills is why I broke down and invested in a retractable leash for him. For me, it took a little getting used to.

For one thing, you have to have good hands. If I want to reel him back in I have to take into consideration the little button on top that locks the leash so I can pull. In some circumstances, like when he spots a bunny or squirrel and I don’t want him to jerk me, I have to hit that button very fast to limit his leash span.

But I also have to be more vigilant about watching him and what he’s doing when he stops. Like Budly enjoyed doing also, Murph likes to taste things he finds along our walks. Some of these things are pretty gross. Like garbage and cat or rabbit poop.

Not for Everybody

If you’ve never used a retractable leash before but want to get one, my best advice is to break yourself and your dog in slowly. Pick a place away from cars and other dogs where you can walk and get the feel of it first.

Once you’re adjusted, then you can incorporate it into your regular walking routine.

Photo credit: sxc Standard restrictions apply for use of this photo.