Tools such as a Flexi leash are supposed to help us accomplish something either in an easier or more efficient way. The Flexi leash has been around for a while and I would argue that its use is quite popular. Most folks that use a Flexi leash to walk their dog might do it for one of two reasons:
- Their dog pulls on leash constantly and they are tired of struggling with this so they just choose to give their dog as much leeway as possible. And the Flexi leash provides them with this opportunity.
- The second reason might be that a longer leash gives the dog the opportunity to cover more ground and more sniffing opportunities. In this manner, the longer leash can provide some of the benefits of being off-leash.
But are there any drawbacks to using a Flexi leash?
I personally have never used one in my private practice or with my own dogs. And I do not recommend their use. A couple of things to consider:
If you are walking your dog on a Flexi leash because she pulls, the Flexi leash will only encourage the pulling, not prevent it. The longer a dog gets to practice any behavior the more solid the behavior will be so more resistant to change. As to giving the dog more freedom while being walked on leash, this might a good reason to use a longer leash. Ideally, dogs get ample opportunities for off-leash romps. However, not all dogs can do this or should be off-leash. There are dogs that have not learned to come back and having them off-leash can be a really problem. Dogs that are afraid and aggressive towards people or other dogs are also not good candidates, for the most part, to be running off-leash. Dogs that chase wildlife might be a liability off-leash when wildlife is present.
One of the main drawbacks of the Flexi leash is that if for some reason the person needs to get the dog back from a fully extended leash this might not be easy to do. I known of people that have hurt their fingers badly by the incorrect use of the leash. Flexi leashes when not used appropriately can really injure someone should the leash wrap around someone’s hand, legs or even the dog’s extremities. Unfortunately most people walk their dogs mindlessly, without putting full attention on what their dog is doing.
This brings me to the second issue I find with dogs being walked on long leashes. Often these dogs are allowed to approach other dogs (or people) and most dogs will not want this type of encounter. As I have written elsewhere, it is bad news for dogs to meet while on leash. Dogs do not greet face on. As a matter of fact, this is considered very “rude” behavior. Most people allow their dog to approach another dog in this manner. When on a Flexi leash, the leash is seldom retracted thus allowing the dog to encroach into another dog’s “personal” space.
As with any tool, the Flexi leash is no exception – how used makes all the difference. So if you want to walk your dog on such leash, I strongly suggest you remain vigilant of dogs in the proximity, neighborhood cats that might not be able to outrun your dog should your dog express some interest in the cat.
Practice retrieving the leash not by holding onto the leash (cable) itself but by using the mechanism that would allow you to shorten the leash. Practice at home first to make sure this is working properly. Also keep in mind that if your dog is medium to large in size, it will not be easy to have the dog return to you just because you are retrieving the leash.