Retractable leads vs. Long lines

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The retractable lead

They don't teach loose lead walking.
A retractable lead automatically lengthens and shortens as the dog moves around so there is always some tension on the lead. This can be a bit confusing for the dog in terms of learning not to pull on the lead.

They can be dangerous if used incorrectly. 
A retractable lead is easy to use so too many owners don’t pay enough attention to what their dog is doing and they can get themselves and their dogs wrapped up in all sorts of trouble! Not only can you get a nasty burn, but if you get the lead wrapped around your finger you can get a serious cut or in some cases amputations. I’ve had a dog wrap its lead around my leg because the owner wasn’t paying attention and it hurts!

They are easy to drop. 
The large handles on retractable leads are harder to hold onto if the dog suddenly gets to the end of the lead and if you have a dog who has run off scared this will just prolong their fright.

That’s not to say that I’m totally against them, we use one for EB when we’re on holiday somewhere we don’t know or near cliffs. As long as you’re paying attention and bring the dog close if anyone else is around they can be useful.
Retractable lead
Long Line

The long line

A long line is basically just a long lead. Trainers usually recommend a long line instead as it means the owner is having to pay attention to where the dog is as they need to manage the letting out and reeling in of the lead themselves, although it does take some skills to get used to it! Generally an owner using a long line is spending more time engaging with their dog on a walk, which can only be a good thing.

It’s best to wear gloves as you can still get rope burn from a long line.

As your dog improves you can start to just drop the line and let it trail. If you need to, you can just stand on the lead to stop the dog, it can be useful to tie a few knots in it too. This is also a helpful tool if you have a dog who comes back but not close enough to grab. You will still need to watch out for a trailing lead as it can be a tripping hazard!

Safety first

With both types of lead I use a harness to avoid any potential sudden jerks to the dog’s neck. I also use a bungee attachment between the harness and the lead so it absorbs some of the shock if the dog does get to the end of the lead.
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