The Dangers Of Retractable Leashes

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I guess you could say I have a love/hate relationship regarding retractable leashes.

They are great training tools in some of the advanced areas of dog training, but they become very dangerous when used irresponsibly.

Here are some examples of the wrong way to use a retractable leash. I am sure you have seen people walking down the street with a dog at the end of the retractable leash, pulling like a mule. Depending on the length of the retractable, the dog may be anywhere from 16 to 26 feet away from the owner. Or, maybe you have been in the waiting room of your vet’s office. Someone walks in with their dog at the end of a retractable leash, letting the dog get in the face of every dog it passes as the owner tries to make his or her way to the counter. Or, maybe you have been at a craft show, in a pet store, or at any outdoor public event and been almost run down by a dog at the end of a retractable leash dragging a child that weighs less than the dog does.

There is a button on all retractable leashes that, when pressed, stops the feeding out of the leash. In other words, the dog cannot move any farther away from the person when the button is pushed (the button also locks in the “stop” position). The problem is, most owners don’t use the “stop” button, and the dog ends up being all the way out at the end of the leash. A dog shouldn’t be that far from the owner out in public. The owner has no real control over the dog with it 16-26 feet away and cannot prevent the dog from getting into serious trouble.

Poor use of retractable leashes can result in dog fights and injuries, people injuries when the retractable cord gets wrapped around a human leg, hand or arm (this cord cuts through human skin like a knife!). If the cord, clip or collar breaks from pulling, the person gets it right in the face!

Some people like to use the retractable for taking the dog out to potty so the dog can get a distance away to do what it has to do. And that’s not a bad idea, if you use the leash correctly. Walk the dog close to you all the way to the potty area (thumb on the button), then stand still and let the dog wander around looking for the right spot. However, keep in mind that if the dog gets distracted and bolts after a squirrel (cat, kid, car, etc.), the sudden hard pressure when the dog gets to the end of the leash can cause the retractable cord to snap, sending the cord or strap of the retractable leash flying back in your direction at a very fast speed. It hurts and can cost you an eye!

But there is a good side to the retractable leash. It is a wonderful tool to work on the “come” command. It lets you be at a distance from your dog, and as the dog comes back to you the leash is winding itself up, not getting all in the way like a long line would be. With skilled, practiced use of the “stop” button, you can also play games like “fetch,” getting a really nice “come” to bring the ball back.

So there are some very good uses for the retractable leash, if it is used responsibly.

Wall of Hope

The Wall of Hope project is a fund-raising effort to offset some of the financial needs of operating the shelter as we head into the winter months. Julia Randall Elementary students have created a display with decorated envelopes. Stop by the HSCAZ shelter at 605 W. Wilson Court, and choose an envelope to donate any amount from $1 to $200. The envelopes may be viewed and chosen during regular shelter hours through Nov. 20. Envelopes may also be claimed over the telephone or through www.humanesocietycentralaz.org.

Shelter hours are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday, 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Adoptable pets

Following are just a few of the many pets currently in need of loving homes. All have been spayed or neutered and are current on vaccinations.

CHIP

Chip is 5-month-old domestic short hair. He is a super friendly young guy who is equally at home with cuddling or toy time! He is a bundle of energy and loves to play. Chip is friendly with other cats and would do well with a feline companion. Chip has an adventurous spirit and loves to explore — he’d be right at home with a cat condo or lots of nooks and crannies to investigate.

DANTE

Dante, a 5-year-old domestic short hair, is a big boy, with an equally big heart. He loves people and will rub up against you, asking for some attention. Dante has lived with cats and likes to play, but prefers a home without dogs. Dante has also lived with older kids and is very affectionate. He likes to meow and talk and isn't afraid to tell you that he wants some of your time and attention.

MAYNARD

Maynard is a 10-year-old domestic short hair. “I am 13 pounds of pure love and affection for people. I'll be your best friend the moment you walk through the door! I don’t like to play with a lot of toys, but I am great with other cats and kids. I could thrive in most any household.

BUDDY

Buddy, a 3-year-old hound mix, is an easygoing boy with a few tricks up his sleeve! He knows “sit” and “lay down” and can “shake” with both paws! He likes regular walks and gets along with most other dogs, especially friendly females. Buddy has lived with kids of various ages, but should not go home with cats or chickens.

MOJO

Mojo, a 5-year-old American Bull dog mix, is an active guy who would make an excellent hiking companion. He is friendly and playful with people, but could use some basic training and rules to improve his manners. He LOVES car rides, but has a hard time sitting still! Mojo likes to chase toys and knows how to “sit.” He is friendly with other dogs and has a rough, rowdy play style that would be best with tolerant, non-dominant playmates. Mojo should not go to a home with cats.

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