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How to Use a Retractable Leash Safely with Small Dogs

While retractable leashes work for dogs of any size, in many cases, they work especially well for small dogs.

A retractable leash affords your dog the freedom to explore their environment, become more confident and get exercise, and for a small dog, these are exceptionally important things!

A good quality retractable leash will also help you feel more confident when you’re walking your dog, creating a good experience for both of you, and leading to more, and longer walks.

Learning how to choose the right leash for a small dog is important, but so is knowing how to use it properly.

This post will explain how to pick the right leash for a small dog, and how to use it appropriately to ensure that both you and your dog remain safe at all times.

What to Look for in a Retractable for a Small Dog

The needs of a small dog are unique from a bigger dog when it comes to retractable leashes.

You want a leash that has safety and comfort features and that meets the specific needs of both you and your dog.

When you find the right leash that’s the perfect fit, your dog will look forward to your walks, as will you.

Here are the main factors you’ll want to consider when choosing the right leash.

Small Weight Limit

When you’re shopping for a retractable leash, one of the first things you might notice is that a weight limit will be listedfor each leash. This is the single most important thing to look for as you compare leashes.

There’s a reason some leashes are rated for small dogs and others for bigger dogs. You want a leash that’s going to provide enough strength and durability, particularly if your dog tends to bolt.

At the same time, you don’t want a leash that has too high a weight limit setting. This can end up being too strong for a small dog.

Clip Size

When you’re choosing a retractable leash for a small dog, look at the clip size and design.

You want a clip that’s small enough so that it’s not going to be uncomfortable or burdensome for your dog.

For example, a clip that’s too large is going to be difficult for a small dog to wear comfortably. Eventually, subtle discomfort can turn into pain.

The clip needs to be not only appropriately sized, but it should swivel as well. When the clip swivels, it prevents the leash from wrapping and twisting around itself or knotting.

Look a clip design that’s easy to open yet stays securely closed when your dog is on its leash.

Tangle-Free Design

Look for retractable leash designs that prioritize a tangle-free design.

The ribbon or tape should have a design preventing it from wrapping around mechanisms in the handle.

Cheaper retractable leashes tend to leave these design features off, putting you and your dog at risk.

Easy Brake Control

The premise of a retractable leash that makes it superior to a traditional leash is the flexibility.

With that in mind, brake control is an important design element to focus on when choosing a leash for a small dog.

Brake control refers to the ability to set a limit on how far a leash can go. Most retractable leashes have some tension, so then if your dog stays closer to you than the limit the leash is set to, it will automatically retract. This is valuable because it prevents tangling and wrapping of the leash.

A top-quality retractable leash is going to operate smoothly, and you’ll be able to make changes in the length of the leash quickly and easily.

There’s also something called lock control, which is different from brake control. Lock control lets you set an exact length instead of a maximum limit, but this isn’t always a good idea. You might be giving your dog too much roaming room, increasing the risk of tangles.

Safe Leash Style

A nylon cord leash is something you should never use, because they tend to be far more dangerous than the other types of retractable leashes.

While all retractables began with the nylon cord design, this is outdated and should not be used under any circumstances, as they’ve been proven to be far less safe than more modern leashes.

Nylon cord leashes are completely obsolete in the world of retractable leashes because they aren’t as durable, are more likely to get tangled, wrapped around things, and to lead to burns, cuts and scrapes.

Simply put, nylon cord leashes aren’t as safe as ribbon or tape-style leashes, and should thus be avoided at all costs.

How to Use a Retractable Leash Safely with Small Dogs

Some people have concerns that retractable leashes aren’t as safe as a fixed-length leash, but this simply isn’t true.

While you can find a ton of internal articles talking about how dangerous retractable leashes are, this sentiment stems from people refusing to take responsibility for their own actions.

Retractable leashes are every bit as safe as fixed length leashes, when used appropriately, so next, let’s explain how to use a retractable leash safely.

  • Make sure you’re always paying attention. If you’re ever walking your dog and you see people absorbed in their phone and unaware of what’s going on around them, they’re putting themselves, their dog, and others in a dangerous situation. Whether you’re using a retractable leash or not, you need to be alert and mindful, particularly if you’re walking in a busy area. When you’re alert you can react quickly and avoid risks.
  • Don’t give the leash too much slack. You want your dog to have a sense of freedom, and that is the point of a retractable leash. However, as your dog gets closer, you want the leash to reel itself in.
  • Don’t let the leash get tangled. This goes hand-in-hand with making sure that you’re watching out as far as what’s going on around you. Keep an eye on any upcoming obstacles and the behavior of your dog as well.
  • Be calm if something does happen. Even the most responsible dog owner can have situations arise such as a tangled leash. If that happens, don’t panic. Instead, stay calm. Untangle the leash and set the brake. Move yourself and your dog away from any aggressive dogs or people, and sort the situation out from there.

What Retractable Should I Get for My Small Dog?

Every dog is unique, and you should keep that in mind when you’re trying to choose the right retractable leash.

The biggest things to make sure you keep in mind when you’re shopping for a leash for your small dog include quality design and appropriate sizing.

To make it easier for you to pick the right leash, we recommending a leash from Pet & Cuddle, where we design our leashes to provide maximum support and comfortability for both you and your dog.

Our top-rated retractable leashes are safe, comfortable and affordable, and designed to suit the needs of 99% dog owners.

We offer leashes at different weight ratings, so you can find exactly what you need for your dog. Whether you need a retractable leash for a small dog, or a retractable leash for a big dog, we’ve got you covered.

Shop for your next dog harness and retractable leash at Pet & Cuddle!