This summer I was able to test out a brand-new retractable leash from ThunderWorks called the Dial-A-Distance. Now, full disclosure, this is a retractable leash. I know many people have different opinions about these types of leashes, but with proper leash safety (see my tips below), and used in appropriate situations, these leashes can be a great product that can safely be used on walks.
The Dial-A-Distance leash eliminates the need to have multiple leashes of different lengths by allowing you to adjust the maximum length of the leash based on what you think is a safe distance. For example, if I’m walking in an empty park, I can be farther away from my Mom so I can explore, but if we are walking down a busy city block in New York City, I need to be as close to Mom as possible so I don’t get stepped on. Once the maximum length has been set (from 0 to 15 feet) on the leash, it will only extend to that length. When your dog reaches the maximum set distance you have selected, the brake will be activated preventing the leash from extending any further.
The Leash Test Walk
I loved the idea, but I told Mom we needed to test the Dial-A-Distance leash out on a walk. I picked a park in my town down by the river because I knew this would be the perfect test location. One part of the park is usually very busy due to the picnic tables and playgrounds, but the other side is just walking trails. We started on the walking trails and Mom set the leash to the maximum length so I could explore. Well, and also to give me some privacy because nature called … hehehe. Mom said she liked how easy it was to adjust and that it was clearly labeled how long she was making the leash. As we moved closer to the play area, Mom adjusted me down to four feet. One thing we figured out is that if I was already past the shorter distance Mom set, (like if I was at six feet and Mom wanted me back at four feet) the leash doesn’t pull me back to the shorter distance. This means your dog will have to come toward you and get closer than the shorter distance set to reset the brake. To help with this, we suggest calling your dog toward you so you can create some slack in the line and allow it to retract before you change the leash to a shorter distance.
The only downside we saw to the Dial-A-Distance leash was that it is kind of bulky and quite large, especially if you have a smaller dog. With that said, I understand it has to have some room for all the braking components and the fifteen feet of leash rolled up inside.
Retractable Leash Safety
If you decide to try out the ThunderWorks Dial-A-Distance leash, please keep in mind the following retractable leash safety tips:
- Only use this type of a leash with a very well-behaved dog. A dog that is uncontrollable is more likely to wrap the cord around people and cause injury.
- Pay attention to your hands and don’t ever wrap the cord around your hands. The same tip goes for regular nylon leashes too.
- Look for retractable leashes that use a tape or a belt instead of a small cord. There is less chance of injury with a belt. The Dial-A-Distance has this belt.
- Always keep a good grip on the handle of the retractable leash. If your dog builds up speed and the locking mechanism activates, there will be a small jerk. If you are not prepared, you may drop the leash by accident and then your dog could get loose!
- Be aware of bystanders. Do not let your dog get wrapped up around another person or another dog’s leash.
Overall, I give the ThunderWorks Dial-A-Distance retractable leash two paws up and a walk. If used responsibly and safely, this is a great option to get outside and go walking with your dog!