If you use a retractable leash for your dog, this may be helpful information. Here are five reasons not to use a retractable leash.
They break easily when medium and larger dogs get up speed and reach the end. The thing is bulky and often dropped. This turns into the leash chasing the dog and the dog now running from the big block in fear. It will either slam into him or wrap around something with the chance of neck injury. Either way, your dog will fear any leash in the future.
There is no consistency in training. Your dog is usually trained to stay by your side on walks and follow your commands. They look up at you for direction and can easily be corrected. If you are giving him 20 feet to run ahead and do what he wants, he is not in your direct control. You can yell, "leave it" all you want but it will fall on deaf ears because he is way ahead of you in freedom mode.
There are many reports of injuries from these types of leashes. The cord wrapping around your legs and arms causes burns. They also cause people to trip and fall. Not just you but other pet owners in the path. Once your dog is wrapped around a tree or picnic table, they are prey to any other aggressive dog. They cannot run away. They may feel threatened and get aggressive themselves.
You have much less control over your dog when they are 20 feet away, as stated. You can't see what they just picked up in their mouth. You can't see any snakes or alligators before they do. Other wildlife such as coyotes or large birds swoop down looking for the small dogs as dinner. You will be completely helpless if your dog is not right by your side. This way you can turn around quickly and run or be their shield and then run.
Dogs can also run in front of joggers, cyclists, and traffic with too much leeway. They are safest by your side where you have complete control. Remember, you are responsible if someone else gets hurt. Not to mention how awful you will feel if your pup is injured. The dog is just following your lead. Literally.
So, when is the right time to use a retractable leash? Let's say your dog is already leash trained. You take them to the lake or beach with "dogs must remain on leash" rules. The dog will be free to roam and you will still be following the rules. Now, you and Fido go out there and have fun and be safe.