Monday, October 6, 2014

Confessions of a Flexi Lead User - National Walk Your Dog Week!


I have a secret to tell you!! I use Flexi Leashes!!! OMD!!! I know...

There's a lot of hate going on regarding these zippy leashes and the name "Flexi Leash" can be a dirty word in the Dog Community. I will be the first person to tell you that Flexi Leashes can be dangerous and that they are not appropriate in most situations. I have a confession though, I hate and I mean HATE my long lines. They drag, they get dirty and wet then they smell bad. I seriously dislike using them, they are so heavy and I hate rolling them up. I will only use long lines if I absolutely have to.  Enter the Flexi Leash. The thing winds itself up and in the process can take your finger off or seriously injure you! So if you do decide to use them, proceed with caution.

 
We have two 23ft XLong Flexi Leashes. I don't use my Flexi leashes every day but I do think there are some situations where a Flexi leash is useful. I feel that it's extremely important to have solid training on your dog before you attempt to use one, though. It's really important that your dog is under control and able to follow your cues. My dogs have solid "wait" cues and they also know how far they can go on their Flexi leash but I can also cue them to "wait" and they will stop. They also know how to follow cues at a distance, so I can cue "sit" "down" "heel" or "come". I've also done a lot of "giving into leash pressure" or "silky leash" training with them so the lightest pressure from me and they turn right around.

I really recommend that if you are going to use a Flexi that you attach it to a harness, not the dog's collar. That way if something does happen and they end up hitting the end of the leash they won't hurt their necks. Flexi Leashes should never be attached to flat collars, front clipping harnesses, choke collars, prong collars or head collars. I have personally witnessed a dog getting flipped over when they hit the end of the Flexi leash and it was attached to a front clipping harness. The only place that's appropriate to attach the Flexi lead is to the back of a harness.

So when do I think using a Flexi Lead is appropriate?
  •  I like to use mine on hikes out in the middle of nowhere, especially in areas where dogs are not allowed off leash or areas that have a lot of prey animals running around. Zoe will sometimes get into hunting mode and when that happens it would be unsafe to let her off leash. I like the Flexi leash because it gives her more freedom to explore and she can't take off.
  •  The beach! If I'm going to a beach that is "on leash only" then I will use the Flexis. Or if it's extremely foggy and visibility is low, I'd prefer to keep the girls on leash but the Flexi allows them to explore and run around a bit.
  •  Wide open spaces. Open fields or soccer fields, the dogs get some freedom to roam and sniff but they can't take off. 
  •  Quiet neighborhoods, where you won't run into other dogs and there is no traffic. I also do not allow my dogs to go around corners ahead of me. I will cue them to come back to me and walk beside me when we get close to corners and especially when crossing streets. 

When are flexi leashes inappropriate? Most every day situations, IMHO. I don't think they should be used at the vet, in pet stores or in high traffic areas like crowded places or events. They should never be used on dogs that are not trained.

I also feel it's important to handle your Flexi lead with caution, as I said above when they retract they could potentially take your finger off, I've also seen some nasty wounds on bare arms and legs. This is where having a dog that's under control and able to follow cues is important. Also, if you drop the leash and the dog gets startled and takes off, the leash will "chase" them and it can be even more scary.

So with a little bit of common sense, a trained dog and appropriate situations, I think it's okay to use a flexi leash.

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow for Phoenix's Gotcha Birthday!!!

Do you have any retractable leash stories? What's your favorite leash? Mine is my 6ft. Cotton Beach Dog Leashes.



30 comments:

  1. Oh, the flexi debate. We use them often, but that is because we can't be trusted off leash unless the area is fenced and we use them where we are really on our own on trails where we rarely see another soul, not in heavily traveled areas. They are wonderful for us to be able to explore on walks, but the problems come with those that don't use common sense. They are not for crowded areas, cities, untrained or wild behaving dogs. Thanks for joining the hop.

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  2. Many years ago, I tried using one. I couldn't make it work for me, and I've found they're too dangerous for me and my dogs, but I certainly see why you use them. I think everyone has to find what works for them.

    Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats.

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    1. Yep, for sure! Most of the time I don't use them either. :)

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  3. We agree, they are fine if they are used correctly and in the proper setting. Mom had a very bad experience with another person who was walking her teacup chihuahua with a flexi leash. She decided it was ok to let her dog drift across the street to come say hi to us. We got so excited, mom went crashing to the pavement.

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    1. Oh no!! I'm so sorry your mom fell!! We've had some bad experiences with chihuahua owners, too! Zoe has been attacked twice!

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  4. I use a flexi every day for my long morning walk. I totally understand the dangers and would never use one in a situation around other dogs, crowds of people, etc. My agility trials ban them from the trial sites for good reason! Also, I bought the flexi (26 ft!) that is a belt and not that skinny cord. It is a lot less likely to give you a burn but you do still have to be careful. And I agree with you 100% it should be used with a back harness and I do.

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    1. I looked all over the place for the flexi with a belt instead of a cord and couldn't find them. My friend has one and he hasn't had any issues with it, either. :D

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  5. What a balanced post! Thank you! We stopped using the flex leash years ago. Our sliding glass door shattered when one of the kids snapped it back while it was hanging on the door handle.

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    1. Oh wow! That must of been terrifying!!

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  6. I am just not a flexi-leash fan. I didn't like them even prior to finding out the dangers associated with them. They just really aren't comfortable to hold and I have a hard time believing that the little line won't snap if one of my giants bolts at something! I know a lot of people that use them and love them, especially for the situations you mentioned.

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    1. I completely understand! I don't use them that often but have found them useful in certain situations. I prefer off leash if possible but sometimes with Zoe it's just not possible and I'd prefer her to be able to move around a bit more than what a normal leash offers and I hate working with long lines. :)

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  7. I see your point! For a well trained dog I can see how it can be beneficial.

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  8. We had a flex leash for my small, now rainbow bridge dogs, for parks etc. we used it some with Hailey in open spaces(especially our yard that is not fenced) until it broke. I would consider getting another for that situation.

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  9. For shame lol! I don't really like them but if you're using them in the middle of nowhere, that seems like an appropriate use to me. I think we have one somewhere and I've used it maybe once. There are a ton of big dogs who get walked on flexis here (urban environment) and I treat them like they're basically off-leash. Have you looked at the biothane long lines?

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    1. :D Yeah, we only use them occasionally and it's out in the forest or on the beach. Sometimes I will use them in the neighborhood if I'm just walking one dog at a time. I definitely agree with treating strangers who have their dogs on them as if they were off leash. You just never know how a strange dog is going to react, anyways. I haven't tried the biothane long lines, yet! Thanks for telling me about them!

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  10. I see your point, I just wish more people would use them properly like you!
    Most of the flexi users we run into have out of control dogs and they just run right up to us which is a problem for my Ziva who doesn't like fast approaches from strange dogs..so whenever we see a flexi users we give lots of space.

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    1. Me too!! I've run into quite a few irresponsible flexi lead users which is kind of what inspired this post! Phoenix is the same way as Ziva, she is actually wary of any dog that's bigger than her and she will bite if they get in her face.

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  11. I have a flexi, too :) I barely ever use it but when we go out to the beach or somewhere big and open (as you suggest) we bring it along. It keeps me a safer distance away from my frolicking muddy dog along the shore.

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    1. For sure!! :D I think in some situations a flexi can be really useful.

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  12. I think there'd be too much potential for horrible mishaps with Chewy. He's just too easily excited. But those regular long leashes really are such a hassle! Maybe one day someone will invent something better!

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    1. I hope someone does invent something better!

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  13. You know I'm usually a Flexi hater, lol! There was this Corgi in my old neighborhood that gave me the nastiest rope burn when it ran by me on a Flexi. Hurt like a SOB.

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  14. *GASP* you use one of.....one of.....THOSE!!! BOL!!!
    teehee :-)
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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  15. I have one of those too! HOWEVER, after Mum lost the top of her finger it was banished to the bottom of my toy box, now it comes out only when it's raining early in the mooring and I need to go potty, Mum stands under the porch and I get to go to the grass in the rain whilst Mum stays dry! :)

    I hope you're having a fun day,

    Your pal Snoopy :)

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    1. OUCH!! I don't blame your mom at all for not wanting to use one!!

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  16. My Mum uses one often and is VERY careful and has NEVER had a problem with me. I am obedience trained. Like you she only uses it in certain situations. Never in heavy pedestrian or vehicle traffic areas. She has however had problems with irresponsible dog owners using them in the wrong situations and in an irresponsible manner. I think they are much better than using a long lead which drags along the ground sometimes entangling themselves and others in the process. Used wisely flexi leads are great.

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