I know what you are thinking, who would do a blog topic about expandable leashes. The short answer is me - I'd take the most innocuous topic and try to make it interesting. The ordinary and make it unique. So this topic is devoted to expandable leashes.
I believe with some dogs these may be okay, but my experience has been anything but pleasant over the years we have tried to make these type leashes work for us. The concept is good but the application is marginal. Where they do seem to work is with our almost 15 year old girl, Gypsy who is pictured above. When you have 20' of leash and the dog is near the end of that leash and sees something and lunges; all I can say is have a nice run or most likely fall. Or if you have your dog on leash and meet another dog on one of those leashes and they run up to each other to meet - just hope that they get along as two dogs fighting and tangled in leashes would not be much fun. That has never happened to us as our dogs are aloof when they meet other dogs and trained to stay by our side. They are also socialized and obey our commands. If I see an owner holding back their dog or the dog lunging on the leash or leaning forward pulling I tell the owner to hold the dog back as they have an excited dog or possibly aggressive dog. I do know others who have experienced tangling of expandable leashes and dogs fighting and I'm told it quickly becomes a nightmare. It is usually the other owner who is the problem and I have no hesitation in telling them in terms they understand to keep their dog under control and back until it can calm down. Much better to have two owners duke it out that let the dog pay for its owners mistake and lack of knowledge.
Which reminds me of a neighbors dog (regretfully a German Shepherd) when I was living in Tampa, Fla. I was walking our female wolf/Husky and she was trained just like our present dogs to stand still by my side. His dog Duke, being loose, ran out and up to her and I instructed him to keep his dog back. Says he - Duke has fought every dog in the neighborhood and beat them, don't worry about him he can take care of himself. I gave him a second warning which he laughed at. At that time I didn't know it but what I thought was a Husky was in reality about 75% wolf. She never moved an inch just like she had been trained but when old Duke came up to the front of her, her legs suddenly dropped down to the ground and she came straight up with Duke's windpipe in her powerful jaws. Duke was immobilized and and in seconds he was unconscious. I finally got her to release Duke who appeared totally dead, we had to preform CPR to revive him. It was nip and tuck for several minutes and Duke was very unstable on his feet when he did come to. My neighbor was stunned, and that is just how fast something can happen when you #1, do not train your dog, #2, fail to have your dog under control. As long as we lived there when we would walk down the street, Duke would see us coming and run and hide. Even if Duke had been on an expandable leash with an ignorant and irresponsible owner that situation probably would not have been avoided. Some owners just have to learn the hard way. Incidentally, even though Duke was quickly rendered unconscious and near dead, my well trained dog never moved one inch from my side. Training is key to keeping your dog protected and is the responsible thing to do.
Or the time you get caught off guard like when I was walking down the road enjoying the peace and quiet and heard a neighbor say "watch this". They had a metal pan and something to bang on it with and suddenly went to banging away. It was done maliciously and worked. I was instantly tangled in two expandable leashes and had two very frightened panicky dogs. Their laughter still rings in my ears. As rotten as that was - what if you were in a city where there was sudden horn or noise blasts and your dogs panicked like mine did and became suddenly frantic. All I had was skinned hands when my legs were wrapped and I fell on a gravel road tangled in panicked dogs, but what if in a city you fell into traffic or something equally as bad. Out here in the wilderness it seemed the thing to do in allowing our dogs to have some additional range on walks, but I quickly observed with jerks who have their fun at others expense that even here expandable leashes are not a good idea. Had our dogs been on a 4-6' leash that would not have happened and they would have just been another idiot making noise and looking foolish.
My inclination is to have our dogs on a 4-6' leash, have them walk on heel, and have them under control at all times. A dog on a short leash is not apt to jerk you off your feet or tangle you up and you have control because the dog/s lack leverage. You may have thumb control on expandable leashes but you don't have dog control.
In defense of these expandable leashes, I have to admit for older dogs and small dogs they work ideally and do give the dog some more ranging area. Our dogs get plenty of exercise and for me those expandable leashes have a small zone of functionality. I believe the 4-6' leash is more suitable for walks and control. While expandable leashes appear nice and practical, for us they have not worked well. There, who knew someone could make a subject like expandable leashes into so much rhetoric. So did I make expandable leashes interesting or not? I got as much mileage out of the topic as I possibly could...