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Retractable Leashes vs Regular – What To Choose?

If there’s one desire every dog owner shares, it’s that their pooch will behave when out in the real world. Walks are a non-negotiable aspect of ownership, after all, and your dog’s behaviour will play a significant role in how much you enjoy, or dread, this part of the process.

As you likely already know, getting on top here largely comes down to decent training from an early age. Everything, from preventing your dog running off at the first sign of fun to making sure that they walk to heel, can have significant impact. What you might not realise is that the leash you choose can also transform walks in the future.

Most notably, owners face an age-old argument between the more modern, retractable leashes, and their traditional, regular counterparts. If this is your first time buying, it can seem like an impossible distinction, and you may be uncertain which purchase would be best. 

That’s why we’re pitting them against each other for the ultimate battle of the leashes, and a conclusion that’s guaranteed to suit your pup. 

Regular leashes

dog on a lead

Photo by Amy Humphries on Unsplash


Given that they were on the market before their retractable counterparts, it makes sense to start this battle with regular leashes. As the name suggests, these leashes are…well, regular. Usually, such leashes include an unmovable straight rope of materials such as nylon or leather, a hoop for holding, and a clip that fits directly onto a dog’s collar. 


  • Safe
  • A fantastic way to train
  • Control at all times
  • An easy way to get your dog away from dangerous situations


  • Inflexible
  • Restrictive for dog and owner
  • Can cause choking if dog pulls


Retractable leashes

max and stick

By comparison, retractable leashes consist of a spooled line, typically stored in a plastic handle. Controls then allow an owner to either reign a dog closer or let that spool out for a freer roaming experience. Usually, such leads will extend anywhere between 10-25 feet, and the lock capability makes it possible to prevent further retraction past a point of the owner’s choosing. 


  • Increased freedom for both parties
  • An exercise boost
  • An opportunity to take walk training even further 
  • The chance to seek shelter, etc. while dog explores during adverse conditions


  • Less overall owner control
  • Some risk of tangling
  • Not the best initial walk training tool
  • Potentially hazardous, hard-to-see spool

What’s right for you?

As you can see, both retractable and regular leashes fight a pretty good fight, so looking at the pros and cons of each alone might not bring you any closer to your ultimate decision. That’s why, once you know what each leash offers, it’s worth asking yourself critical questions about your dog, such as – 


  • How well-trained are they?
  • What kind of environmentz do they walk in?
  • Are they likely to run off?
  • Do they respond well to other dogs?
  • How much exercise do they need?

smiler max


Only by considering the answers to these can you know, once and for all, whether retractable or regular leashes genuinely win this battle. 

Retractable Leashes vs Regular - What To Choose?


About Author

I am Sam and owner of StressedMum, I hope you enjoyed reading my latest post, I always love to read comments from my readers

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