Perhaps the most obvious advantage of a retractable leash is that you selectively give your dog a little extra distance while still maintaining control. But they can also be an important training aid. Like any device, a few tips from an expert can help you maximize the benefits. Here are some tips from Steve Appelbaum, dog trainer and author of ABC Practical Guide to Dog Training:
- Perfect for PROOFING. Once your dog learns a behavior, be sure to “proof” it during training. Appelbaum warns that just because your dog follows direction in the backyard doesn’t mean that they will when you add in the distractions of other people or dogs. The leashes are useful for teaching behaviors at a distance. For example, Appelbaum prefers to use a retractable leash to proof the cues “Come” and “Stay.”
- Automatic tool for housebreaking. A retractable leash allows freedom to potty train a puppy outside. Allow them to search the backyard for the perfect spot while you wait warmly and patiently near the doorway.
- Avoid tangles. A canvas leash can easily tangle and retractable is also good for elderly or physically challenged dog owners, especially those with arthritis, to maintain better control of their dog.
- Dogs LOVE retractable leashes. If nothing else, it’s important to remember that dogs love the freedom to sniff and enjoy themselves. Dogs need time to “just be dogs.” Retractable leashes give that opportunity when used responsibly in open areas.
One retractable leash brand, Flexi, is recommended by the Animal Behavior College. They have been manufacturing leashes for over 35 years and the products receive high user ratings. A selection of Flexi retractable leashes are available at a discount from Amazon.com.