5 Dangers of Flexi-Leashes and Retractable Dog Leashes | Scott Goodwin Law

5 Dangers of Flexi-Leashes and Retractable Dog Leashes

by / Friday, 05 March 2021 / Published in Dog Bites
Dog walker holding the handle of a retractable leash.

When you own a dog, a good leash is essential. In the state of Michigan, there is a statewide leash law which states that, with few exceptions, it is unlawful for a dog’s owner to allow a dog off their property unless it is properly leashed. Some cities have additional leash ordinances which can apply to things like how long leashes need to be. But there are lots of different types of leashes on the market and it’s important to find the right one for your dog so that you can keep them under control and avoid problems like dog bites and attacks. Not only are there many different leash lengths, there are many different leash styles, such as flexi-leashes or retractable leashes.


Retractable dog leashes have become popular because they can give dogs the ability to roam around and explore while still being leashed and because they can put less strain on the owner’s shoulder if the dog tries to chase something that catches its eye. But compared to other styles of leashes, retractable leashes can pose some serious risks for the dog and for other people.

Retractable Leashes Don’t Replace Training

Being outside can be very exciting for a dog. With so many people around, cars going by, and birds and squirrels around, there’s no shortage of things to catch their eye or to want to chase after. Because of this, lots of dog owners have experienced the arm and shoulder pain that comes with having their pet suddenly start pulling on their leash. But while a retractable leash can take some of that strain off of your arm, it doesn’t solve the root problem of training a dog not to pull on the leash in the first place. If this behavior isn’t addressed right away, the behavior will only get worse over time and if a dog pulls hard enough on a retractable leash, the leash can break.

It’s Harder to Protect the Dog & Others

Retractable leashes give dogs more freedom to explore, but the trade-off is that it’s harder for you to protect them if something goes wrong. For example, if your dog has approached an unfriendly dog, if they’ve approached another person in an aggressive way, if they’re getting too close to the road, or if your dog is getting into any other kind of unsafe situation, it’s a lot harder to bring them back to safety when they’re further away from you. It’s also harder to prevent them from getting into a potentially dangerous situation in the first place.

Handles Can be Easy to Drop

Sometimes, it’s not always easy to keep a good grip on the handle of a retractable dog leash. They can be bulky and difficult to hold onto, especially if a dog starts running. Or, if you’re standing still while letting your dog explore the area, it’s easy to let your mind wander. If the dog suddenly starts running while you’re distracted, there’s a chance that the handle could slip right out of your hand.

Retractable Leashes Can be a Trip Hazard

The leashes on retractable leashes can be significantly longer than traditional leashes, sometimes over 20 feet. With all that potential distance between you and your dog, keep in mind that your leash may be posing a trip hazard to other people walking around in the area.

Retractable Leashes Can Lead to Injuries

Not only is there a chance that someone could potentially trip over a long leash, there are other ways you or your dog could be injured while using a retractable dog leash. Many dog owners have stories about getting hurt after being tangled up in a retractable leash or getting cuts and burns because the dog took off running and the cord of the leash was touching their skin. In some severe cases, retractable dog leashes have led to amputations.

It’s also important to keep in mind that dogs don’t realize that retractable leashes have length limits. If they reach the end of the leash and try to keep running, it could injure the dog’s neck.

Get Help from a Michigan Dog Bite Lawyer

If you’ve been bitten by a dog in the state of Michigan, there is a strict liability law that holds owners responsible in almost every situation. By contacting a dog bite lawyer, you’ll be able to learn more about your legal options and how the law applies to your situation. At Goodwin & Scieszka, we’re experienced in handling dog bite cases, as well as dog attacks and injuries caused by dogs knocking people over. Contact us and find out how we can help you.

Image: iStock / K Neville