A while back I had purchased a retractable leash on a shopping trip to PetsMart. It was one of those unplanned purchases; I had intended to buy one someday, but not that particular day. Until I got in the store and it seemed like a good idea.
I only use it on Sawyer when we walk by ourselves. Most of the time I keep it fairly short as I want him to walk for exercise benefit and not do the hound-dog-nose-to-the-ground snooping routine. If there is no one around and he wants to run ahead then I let him zoom on. But I've learned not to give him the lead and then pass him up if he stops to snoop. That's where he will wrap around a mailbox, fire hydrant, street sign, etc.! I also had an episode last week where I wasn't paying attention and we were charged at by two dogs. I was trying to quickly get him close to me while telling the two dogs to get away. Fortunately, they knew commands and their owner (who was several houses away) called them. Thank goodness for dogs that take commands, they headed home. A few minutes later a pick-up truck passed us with the dogs hanging out the windows, so I guess they escaped while loading up for a little ride! I suspect that they really just wanted to play and weren't going to attack.
I also advise walking with one of these no matter what kind of leash you use. I have a nice one that is about 3 feet long that I normally use, but I picked this one up out of the yard several nights ago when I forgot the regular stick. They come in handy for scaring off other dogs (beat it on the street for a distracting noise) and for giving your own dog a gentle nudge when they need it! Happy Walking!