I once saw a horrifying viral video where a woman and her dog entered an elevator and as the doors closed the retractable leash her dog was on got caught up in the doors. As the elevator began to go down the woman realized the problem just as her dog was jerked violently upward as the snagged leash basically became a tourniquet via the dogs collar. Truly horrific scene as the woman held up her struggling dog and frantically began pressing elevator buttons to get the elevator to stop its descent. Finally, it appears the dog's collar broke loose from the leash and he fell to the floor of the elevator just as it opened. Luckily everyone seemed relatively ok but what a scary scene!
I have never liked retractable leashes mainly because it is very difficult to control dogs on long skinny leashes. From the plastic handle to the skinny rope - the design is not good from a safety standpoint, in my opinion. When walking in the city they can stretch almost all the way across a busy street or when there are other dogs on the path it is very difficult to gain control of strong dogs when holding a plastic handle (it is much better to wrap a traditional leash around your wrist and then hold it - much more control & grip). There are also waist clipped leashes which offer an extra anchor (though someone small could still become dragged by a large breed dog).
I have gotten "rope burn" on my legs from getting tangled in a skinny leash - as soon as a dog sees another dog or a squirrel they are off and running and sometimes I am just in the way, unfortunately for me.
Ever been to a park or to a patio where dogs are trying to check each other out and they get hopelessly tangled up in those skinny retractable leashes? Awkward. Or worse, if your dog accidentally gets free from you and the retractable leash is still attached and basically becomes a loud clanking moving weapon ready to take out anything.
I used to use a retractable leash just for walks in the wilderness, but after coming across a few snakes, an armadillo and possums during my short time here in Texas I have decided once again that a long retractable leash is not the best idea when stumbling upon wild animals in their habitat.
For all of these reasons I have grown to really dislike retractable leashes, so much so that I will bring my own traditional leashes with me when I am pet sitting and I have client dog walks to do.
What type of leashes/collars do you like? There are so many options these days I am surprised that retractable leashes aren't obsolete by now.
Gentle Leader leash
No-Pull Harness leash