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.