The flexi-lead is one tool I would not be sad to see die. Actually, I would be through the roof, singing, and dancing happy if the flexi-lead was never sold in another store again. Now, I will let you in on a deep dark secret of mine…I have used a flexi-lead in the past. I don’t often admit this but now you know! So I can understand why the average dog owner would think the flexi-lead is an awesome tool. What’s NOT awesome about it though? Everything! The people who buy flexi-leads often fall into one of two categories. The first being dog owners whose dogs pull incessantly and they think the fix is giving the dog more leash so they don’t no longer pull. The second type is the dog owner who thinks their dog needs more freedom and gets more exercise using the flexi-lead. Unfortunately neither of these reasons are reasons to use a flexi-lead. Very rarely does a flexi-lead fix pulling…the dog will usually still end up pulling but 15ft in front instead of 4 or 6ft ahead. As for more exercise, having your dog walk nicely by your side will burn more physical and mental energy than letting him wander all over the place. There are actually a few more reasons I despise the flexi-lead:
They have been known to break (personal experience with this one)
They constantly put pressure on your dogs neck even if they aren’t pulling because the leash is always in retract mode (unless you lock it – but then that defeats the purpose of a flexi right?)
With your dog 15-20ft ahead of you, you have no control over their actions. Dogs are getting hit by cars while on a flexi-lead because they darted on to the road to try to get to something they wanted (such as another dog, squirrel, kids etc.). Also, if your dog turns the corner 15-20ft before you, not only do you not know what is around that corner putting your dog in potential danger, but it is not fair to others who might be approaching that corner. There may be a dog who is not great with other dogs around that corner, there may be someone who is scared of dogs, or kids playing. Not only do you need to keep your dog safe but you need to offer some common courtesy to those in your neighbourhood and not let your dog rush them on a flexi-lead.
I will not allow a client to have their dog on a flexi-lead during our sessions. I only use 4 or 6ft leads unless I am training the recall (coming when called) when I use a flat nylon 20ft training leash. If you need help transitioning from a flexi-lead to a regular leash please give me a call!
Happy Training!
Canines In Balance
Hamilton, Ontario