A Lucky Dog Article
Dog owners have many choices of collars, halters, harnesses and leashes to use from when walking their dog. This article focuses on the Flexi-Lead as a tool, and discusses the pros and cons of it. The Flexi-Lead allows the human at the end of the leash to decide how much freedom to give their dog on a walk, and when to give freedom. The Flexi-Lead is the original retractable lead. With the push of a button, a dog can be given extra leash to range farther, to explore off a path into a field, without the owner having to follow into a possibly muddy field. Conversely, an owner can retract the leash and lock it in at the shortest length to help force a dog to heel, or to keep the dog in closer in tight-quarter situations, such as veterinary waiting rooms. In addition, if the Flexi-Lead is used properly, there is never any extra leash line that is so slack that the dog or walker could step or trip on.
Like any other tool, Flexi-Leads can be misused. For instance, a dog that is allowed to range in a twelve-foot circle in areas such as a city sidewalk is likely to create havoc and be viewed as a nuisance. Dog owners who allow their dogs to freely range up to other people and dogs, without first asking permission, not only can create bad feelings, but run the risk of starting a dog fight.
Other problems occur with the Flexi-Lead as well. Some owners do not have the strength to hold the Flexi-Lead handle when their dog pulls or lunges, resulting in their dog being able to run loose unexpectedly, and often at the worst time. I have seen this happen personally; a neighbor was walking her large Boxer on a Flexi-lead. When the Boxer saw my dog and I returning home from a walk, the Boxer lunged, yanking the Flexi-Lead from her owner’s grip. This left the Boxer free to charge diagonally across a street to attack my own dog, while the owner frantically tried to find the end of the unit that was skittering on the ground.
While the physical injuries between the dogs was relatively minor, that one incident caused my dog to become fear-aggressive to other dogs. I have since spent well over two thousand dollars working with behaviorists, trainers, and veterinarians to try to help bring my dog back into a normal state, and I was advised by my dog’s current trainer that the fear-aggression is so strong, that my dog may need another two to three years of consistent training on a weekly basis to help her return to her previous dog-friendly self.
There have been some reports of retractable leads snapping or suddenly recoiling, and the thin lead can easily cut both you and your dog. Often, this occurs because owners do not periodically examine the entire length of the lead, and so they don’t notice when it is beginning to degrade. With a regular four-or-six foot nylon leash, the entire leash is always visible.
Like any tool, the Flexi-Lead can be used appropriately or inappropriately. If a person does not have a strong grip, and has a dog with the potential to pull or lunge with some strength or weight, I would not recommend the Flexi-Lead as a tool of choice. If a person has wrist problems or carpal tunnel, I also would not recommend this as a leash option. However, if a person is aware of how to use the Flexi-Lead responsibly, and has the strength to hold on to the handle regardless of how hard their dog pulls or lunges, then it can be successfully used in the proper environments.DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Should you think that your pet needs medical attention, please contact your local veterinarian.