What’s the best retractable leash for my dog?

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I’ve been playing around with different leash lengths because my yellow lab likes to weave back and forth when I’m walking her. Even the longest leash doesn’t seem to be long enough to let her get to the smells and sights she wants to explore (without yanking me off the sidewalk), so I’m thinking about investing in a retractable dog leash. However, given the size and weight of the dog, I’m wondering if the leash will be sturdy enough. What is your guys opinions’? Any recommendations on the best retractable dog leash?

-Sally J

Answer

Good news Sally! We have written an entire article dedicated to finding the best retractable dog leashes. It includes winners in the following categories: best overall, longest leash, with light, dual leash (for two dogs), and large dogs. We also cover factors to consider before making a purchase, and have a video illustrating leash use.

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CatsPlayPoker
I own a husky, and she’s no exception to how much huskies pull. They are definitely very sturdy. While walking her, I don’t fully extend the leash, but when I take her out into the backyard to go to the bathroom, I do fully extend it to allow her to run around. Always use a harness if you have a dog that pulls. My leash extends, I believe, 16-20 feet. It’s very useful when having to get your dog close to you quickly, as there is no slack in the leash and you can lock it. Do not lock it when it is fully extended, as it will just get tangled around your dog. Retractable leashes are definitely worth it.
Michael M
I may sound like a buzz kill, but please don’t let the leash extend beyond just a few feet. At longer lengths, your control over the dog is limited or nearly gone (other than pulling back). This might not seem like a big deal but if the dog manages to get into an unsafe space you may not have time or the ability to get the dog away. I have seen 2 “accidents” due to overly long lengths being used with retractable leashes. One was a dog that got hit by a slow moving car (dog was okay other than bruised) because he started out in the street to cross it unbeknown to the owner and the other was truly sad, small fluffy mutt was actually grabbed by a coyote. The latter didn’t end well.

Dogs are packing animals, you can keep a dog on a limited leash and they still can get sights and smells along the path/sidewalk. Issues have less to do with dogs and more to do with training and consistency.

CatsPlayPoker
It’s not the retractable leash that’s the problem. It’s the people who use the leash incorrectly. Used correctly, it’s a very useful and fun tool.
Alex Schenker (Admin)
Great question. While we haven’t conducted a review specifically for retractable leashes (yet), there’s some good candidates on Amazon with relatively high reviews. For example, the TaoTronics (leash extends up to 16 feet, supports dogs up to 110lbs).