A while ago, I wrote about a dog attack near my home involving retractable leashes.
Here’s what Dogster has to say about them:
…Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics of 16,564 hospital-treated injuries associated with leashes in the previous year. Nearly a quarter were finger injuries. The leashes aren’t broken down by type, but as the article states, such amputations were likely the result of retractable leashes.
From personal experience, I trust canvas leashes more; if the dog pulls and gets away, you have a millisecond in which to step on the end of the leash to reel him in. With a retractable lead, you’re screwed, possibly with a few fewer digits.
If your dog is not well-trained to obey verbal commands, I’d stay away from retractable leashes.