The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Everything You Need To Know About Retractable Dog Leashes

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Everything You Need To Know About Retractable Dog Leashes

Hey Mighty Paw fam, Barbara here to talk to you about (our) retractable dog leashes. 

You've probably heard either good or bad things about this type of dog leash, and today I'll address both ends of the spectrum.

Mighty Paw retractable dog leash 2.0


Used properly and with the right type of dog, retractable leashes are a wonderful dog walking and even training tool!

However, used improperly, they can cause injuries and frustration.

That said, here's what we'll cover in this blog post:

  • When to use retractable dog leashes
  • When NOT to use retractable leashes
  • How to use a retractable flexi leash to walk your dog

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Everything You Need To Know About Retractable Dog Leashes

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Everything You Need To Know About Retractable Dog Leashes

When to Use Retractable Dog Leashes

As mentioned before, retractable dog leashes can be a wonderful tool for specific dog training sessions and relaxed dog walks. For example:

  • Recall training ("Dexter, come!")
  • Hiking in open spaces
  • Relaxed beach walks
  • Controlled freedom in areas with leash laws
  • Handling dogs with polite leash manners

The reason why flexi leashes are great for recall training is because they offer your dog a certain amount of freedom WHILE you're in control. 

Use the Mighty Paw retractable dog leash to practice the recall with your dog

So if you're working on your pup's recall and are asking Dexter to "come here", try it with a retractable dog leash! Because if he chooses to ignore your request, you can give him a gentle nudge towards your direction and reel him back in.

Don't forget to reward him for coming your way with verbal praise, some TLC and/or a training treat or a favorite toy. 

Tip: You can store both in our multifunctional dog treat pouch.

use Mighty Paw's multifunctional dog treat pouch to store training treats and toy rewards


Another great use of the retractable dog leash is when you're walking your pup in open spaces. For example, large grassy areas and trails on hikes as well as relaxed beach walks where oncoming traffic is easily visible. 


Retractable dog leashes are great to walk your well mannered dog in wide open spaces

That said, dogs with polite leash manners are the ideal candidate for walking or training on a retractable leash.

Which brings us to the next section:

    When NOT to Use Retractable Dog Leashes

    There are several types of dogs who are better off on a standard leash as opposed to a retractable dog leash. The types of dogs I'm referring to are

    • Reactive and overly rambunctious dogs
    • Strong pullers
    • Leash biters

    As a former professional dog walker, I also don't recommend walking multiple dogs together on retractable leashes.

    That's mostly because it's challenging to hold more than one retractable leash handle at once. After all, they're bulky compared to standard nylon or leather leash handles.

    Tip: If you're looking to walk two pups together without any leash tangles, check out our double dog leashes!

    walking 2 viszlas on a bungee double dog leash by Mighty Paw

    I'd also refrain from using a retractable dog leash in tight, potentially stressful spaces like at the vet's and in pet-friendly stores.

    A retractable leash danger to be aware of are leash burns if you're wrapping the leash around your wrist.

    As a matter of fact, that's something you should never do, not even with a standard leash handle. While the risk of leash burn is slim to none with nylon and leather leashes, you can still break your wrist if your dog makes a sudden jerking move and you have their leash wrapped around your wrist.

    How to Use a Retractable Flexi Leash to Walk Your Dog

    First things first, assess your dog to gauge whether (s)he is the right pup for a retractable dog leash.

    Next, know that you can use retractable flexi leashes in combination with collars or harnesses

    For example, standard flat collars, martingale collars as well as front-or back leash attachment point harnesses.

     You can use retractable dog leashes in combination with standard collars on dogs with polite leash manners

    You can use retractable dog leashes in combination with harnesses on dogs with polite leash manners

    You can also bring a retractable leash along to replace your dog's standard leash once you've reached an open space. 

    Before you clip the retractable leash to your pup's collar or harness, take a moment to familiarize yourself with it:

    • Pull the leash tape out of the handle
    • Test the button that controls the braking system
    • Make sure that the retractable leash tape retracts properly into the handle

    Once you're walking your pup on the retractable leash, make sure that you're positioning your thumb on the locking button. That way, you can easily lock it with one hand as needed.

    Tip: Skip retractable leashes that are longer than 20ft! That length makes it harder to regain control of your dog if they're too far ahead of you. That's why we designed our Mighty Paw retractable leashes to be 16' long!

    use the auto locking button on Mighty Paw's retractable leash for control as needed
    Mighty Paw's retractable dog leash 2.0 features a premium auto lock button

    The Mighty Paw Retractable Dog Leashes

    Here at Mighty Paw, we carry two retractable dog leashes - our original retractable dog leash and our redesigned retractable dog leash 2.0.

    Both are 16' long and available in 2 sizes - one "lite" size for dogs weighing up to 50lbs, and one "standard" size for dogs weighing up to 110lbs:

    • 16’ retractable tape leash
    • Premium quality nylon
    • Durable stainless steel coil
    • Heavy duty retractable dog leash design 
    • One touch quick-lock braking system
    • Easy to use
    • Tangle-free design 
    • Stress-free walking experience
    • Reflective safety ring
    • Reflective nylon leash tape
    • Ultimate night time visibility
    • Ergonomic anti-slip handle
    • Keeps hands comfortable on long walks
    • 2 sizes for dogs up to 110 lbs
    • Stylish design
    • 2 bright colors 
    • U-shaped leash guide (only on the 2.0 version)
    • Bonus D-Ring to hold poop bags or keys (only on the 2.0 version)


    retractable dog leash for large dogs


    **Did you know? We’re offering free U.S. shipping on ALL orders!**

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    Barbara Rivers writes regularly for Mighty Paw. She is a blogger, raw feeder, former dog walker and maintains the blog K9s Over Coffee.

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      • Mike

        Jul 05, 2022


        People should also be familiar with local ordinances. There is at least one town in Massachusetts that has ban the use of retractable leashes. There are other towns that put limits on the length of leash that you can use.

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