Amputation/Cutting/Burning Hazard: Never touch leash or allow it to wrap around any part of body.
Now that’s a heavy warning for a tool meant for such an enjoyable activity as walking one’s dog. But it’s there for a very good reason and I had that wake-up call recently.
Let’s start with the fact that I am well aware that it’s not the smartest idea to walk with two small children and two dogs, one of which is still full-on in the puppy stage, in a neighborhood where cats are known to roam.
It’s not a good scene and my arm sockets can vouch for that.
On the day of the aforementioned wake-up call, I was also carrying a tired little girl and lugging said child’s doll.
Again, not saying it was a well-thought-out plan.
Then it happens. Unknown black kitty dashes out from under a vehicle and tries to take cover under another. At the same instant, the familiar and cool-as-a-cucumber tiger striped cat named Gypsy decides to saunter into the mix – then quickly retreats.
My dogs feed off each other and seemingly try to outdo one another in the berserk category.
Meanwhile, I am desperately trying to reign them in but I’d committed the cardinal sin of letting out my retractable leashes, giving my pups the maximum amount of slack at the beginning of the walk. Oh what a tangled web….
I manage to get my daughter to a safe place, and I EVENTUALLY get the situation under control and the leashes back to a manageable length.
In the aftermath, I discover the laceration in the above photo (and that was taken more than a week after the fact). My poor baby! I agree, I am at fault. I had once again bitten off more than I could chew and my daughter’s leg paid the price.
Momentary lapse of judgment aside though, these leashes really can be dangerous. I was grateful my little girl’s injury wasn’t worse, especially given the amputation hazard pointed out in the warning.
Not to mention, retractable leashes are obviously not the best way to teach a puppy walking discipline. It’s mayhem! I found some great information on PetMd.com, and one really pertinent point concerns reactive dogs – like our new little guy Dasher (aptly named).
These dogs bark, lunge, and pull toward cars, dogs, skateboards, and people. In situations like this, the use of a retractable leash is downright dangerous. Walking a reactive dog requires control and that cannot happen on a retractable leash.
— Dr. Lisa Radosta/PetMd.com
Now I keep Dasher and his big brother Jeffrey on a tight leash (literally), especially when walking through the cat hood. They still always want a piece of the action, but they are so much more controllable when they’re at arm’s length (I know, duh). Give an inch and they’ll take a mile…and quite possibly a limb or a digit! Lesson learned.