Friday, September 12, 2014

Intractable retractable? A "restrained" word on leashes...

For 18 years and 3 Basenjis, I have used retractable leashes almost exclusively.  I am fortunate enough to live in an exceptionally dog-friendly neighborhood with an abundance of green space. On those days when we can't get down to the park, I can pull out the 26-foot retractable leash and Clover Four Leaf can run around like a heathen in the open field behind my house. While the retractable gives her a wee bit of controlled freedom,  I suppose I really enjoy the freedom the retractable gives me: if you've ever developed a bad case of "sweaty-itchy-red palm" from the constant wadding and un-wadding of a standard leash, then you know how I feel. My frustration with standard leashes is so untenable, that I limit their use to walks downtown or trips to a crowded place of business.
As practical as retractable leashes can be for certain situations, they do take some practice to master. Arguably, learning to work the brake and the brake lock can take more coordination than driving a stick shift. First-time dog walkers may need even more practice with the retractable before "road testing" it. Furthermore, using a retractable with a puppy or with a poorly trained pet is not recommended. And adding injury to insult is no joke! Rope burn and even dismemberment have occurred with retractable leashes. The potential injury risk is often cited as the main reason these type of leashes have a bad reputation.

All facts, pro and con, should be taken into consideration when choosing a leash that is right for you and your Basenji. If you decide that a retractable can fit your needs, here are a few tips and a short video to help you make the most of it:
  1.   Read all instructions that accompany the leash. Not only will they help you to master the leash more quickly, but understanding these instructions can help to prevent injury. 
  2.   Remember to engage the brake button before your Basenji is too far away. The brake lock can keep the dog at a set distance, without constantly engaging the brake button.
  3.   Practice, practice, practice. No one is good at anything the first go round. Don't blame the product for "user failure".
  4.   Some situations are more appropriate for retractable use than others. Don't give your dog 16 feet of freedom on a crowded street or in a pet store.
  5.    To thine own Basenji be true. Only you can know what's best for your dog. Stick with what works for you!

No comments:

Post a Comment