I don’t recommend a Flexi Lead

Why I don’t recommend a retractable leash

I have never been a fan of the Flexi leash. The Flexi leash is that long, retractable leash so many people use to walk their dogs. Some Flexi leashes extend out to about 20 feet. I don’t recommend these leashes because it is impossible for a dog owner to control his dog when she’s 20 feet ahead of him, they are dangerous, and they teach the dog to pull.

It is impossible to control a dog when it is at the end of a 20-foot Flexi lead. With a Flexi, a dog owner can’t pull his dog in like he would with a normal leash. The Flexi lead is thin, flexible and hard to grip. The only way to “reel the dog in” is if the dog creates slack on the leash. So, to walk his dog on a Flexi leash, the dog owner needs to be in an area where controlling his dog won’t be an issue, like an open field. Even then, it is important for him to watch out for anything his dog might take after such as birds or other dogs.

Flexi, retractable dog leashes are dangerous.

Flexis are dangerous because a big dog could easily pull the lead from her owner and either bite another dog or get hit by a car. There is a man in my apartment complex who walks his German shepherd mix on a Flexi. The dog barks and lunges at Ace and I, and the man cannot control his dog with 10 feet of slack between them. I have seen the man out running with his dog 10 feet ahead of him on the Flexi. One time the dog decided to go around some trees and tripped the man in the process, tangling them both. Another time, I was trying to check my mail at the row of mailboxes, and the man walked his dog near us. The dog began barking and pulling to get at us as usual, tangling himself up between the mailboxes.

Small dogs can get themselves into trouble on a Flexi lead, too. Let’s say a bigger dog charges at a small dog while the small dog’s owner is too far away to do anything about it quick enough. Also, like large dogs on a Flexi, small dogs can run and cause an accident for a biker, roller blader or runner. Plus, the are likely to annoy someone who is just walking. Not everyone likes dogs, and most people don’t like a dog that runs up and jumps on them.

The retractable Flexi dog leash teaches a dog to pull.

The dog owner is supposed to control how far to extend the leash, but if he allows his dog to run as far out as she wants, she will think that the harder she pulls, the further out she can go. She will continuously pull until her owner gives in and lets the leash out further. Even once the leash is extended as far as it goes, the dog will try to pull further away, because she won’t know the difference.

All that being said, I do know some people who love the Flexi. My uncle uses nothing but Flexis to walk his Cairn terriers. It works OK for him, especially in a field or the woods because the dogs can run ahead and smell for rabbits. They get more exercise this way. Others like to use this leash so their dogs can swim for several feet while remaining on a leash. Through my dog walking business, sometimes I’ve used a Flexi leash for this purpose.

Overall, I will rarely use a Flexi retractable leash for the reasons mentioned above. I would rather train my dog to walk well on a normal leash and continue training him to respond while off leash. I see no use for a Flexi.

What do you think of the Flexi lead?

7 Readers Commented

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  1. Ty Brown on April 11, 2008

    I agree. The first thing I ditch with a new client is the flexi lead. Almost everyone complains of their dogs pulling on the leash and the flexi lead is often the culprit

    Ty Brown’s last blog post..How to rehab an abused dog

  2. castocreations on April 11, 2008

    We can’t use a flexi – we tried on our first dog. But Huskies instinctively want to pull and the Flexi only encourages that. It would be impossible to use with our Malamute.

    castocreations’s last blog post..How Creative Are You?

  3. Rachel on April 11, 2008

    I don’t care for these types of leads. I don’t own a dog, but I see them all the time at my local park, and I don’t appreciate when these dogs on that lead get around the playground area. If you can’t control you dog anything could happen

  4. SewCrazyDogLady on April 11, 2008

    Hate them. . icky icky poo poo..

    my neighbor’s rottie keeps getting loose from his flexi. Not quite sure how honestly.. but he’s already attacked two other dogs on my block. Too bad.. he’s a nice dog to people.. just bad owners

    SewCrazyDogLady’s last blog post..It’s 1 AM and I’m just finishing

  5. kabbage on April 11, 2008

    I think there are times and places and dogs where flexi use is appropriate and times and places and dogs where it’s not. IMO, flexis are inappropriate for most suburban and urban walks for reasons others have mentioned. I would add the vet’s office as a place where it is totally inappropriate to use a flexi. I can see times where I might want to see one used. Someone with a young, active dog whose training is not complete might need to use a flexi if the dog needs to run more than its yard or owner can oblige. It may be possible to take a dog like that to a relatively empty park and let it play ball or something with more freedom than it has earned off-leash. If I’m taking a dog on a long car trip, I may want to let it burn off energy at a rest stop, assuming the rest stop is only in light use and the dog and I are off at the edges. I think I would use a harness in that case to avoid confusing the dog on loose leash walking.

    kabbage’s last blog post..Love is Everywhere*

  6. Bosco on April 12, 2008

    YYYYEEEEEESSSSSSSSS! We hate flexi-leads. Joan has a nice leather 6 ft leash which is fab. She says it feels good in her hands (not like the nylon ones). The other thing about those flexi- things is that the rope could easily cut into a person’s flesh if pulled taut enough and around someone’s legs or arm etc. And making someone trip – of course! People are so lazy – just take your pup to the off leash dog park or take a long walk or a run with your dog to give them exercise!

    In fact, those leashes violate most city ordinances which call for a 6ft leash. If your dog does something bad when it is extended beyond 6ft, hello law suit!

  7. Abbey on April 13, 2008

    Must admit I’m not a fan. Chels has a 6ft lead, and a lunging rein which is 3 metres for training only…

    I figure if I cant control her with a 6ft lead then a 20ft one I’d have buckleys..Its just common sense to me…i just saw them as a bit of a fad when they came out but its surprising the amount of people who use them

    Abbey’s last blog post..The Kiss..