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10 reasons not to buy a Flexi leash

I have written about how much I hate Flexi leashes before. But lately, I keep seeing more and more of these things. Flexi leashes are those flimsy, retractable leashes (like a tape measure) that allow a dog to pull ahead 20 feet or so.

I don’t know who is encouraging people to buy Flexi leashes, but they are a big problem. If you are considering buying a Flexi leash, it is a bad idea. Here’s why:

1. Flexi leashes are for lazy people.

These “leashes” allow you to stand there while your dog runs around you. Let’s face it, the majority of Flexi users do not train their dogs at all.

2. You can’t control your dog on a Flexi leash.

You just can’t. Sunday morning I was biking with Ace at my side. A block ahead of us, a German shepherd mix on a Flexi charged us, almost getting away from her owner who actually yelled at me to “hold on” as though Ace and I were the problem.

We just quietly continued on our way. Ace barely lifted an eyebrow as the shepherd barked and pulled. Her owner was unable to pull her back. I was so proud of my mutt for being calm through the whole thing.

I’ve seen even worse situations where the biker actually has his dog on a Flexi leash! Please, if you are going to bike with your dog, buy a hands free bike leash.

3. Flexi leashes teach your dog to pull.

The more the dog pulls, the more leash it is given. What a great idea. And if the owner is reluctant to allow the leash to extend, the dog pulls even harder until the owner gives in. How wonderful.

4. Flexi leashes cause accidents.

More than once, I’ve been biking, only to approach someone with a dog on a fully extended Flexi. Usually the owner just stands there with 20 feet of tight leash and a yapping dog on one end, unable or unwilling to pull his or her dog in. It’s hard to go around a 20-foot radius when you’re dealing with traffic and other pedestrians.

5. Flexi leashes put the dog in control.

When the Flexi leash is tight, the only way to shorten it is to walk toward the dog. This teaches the dog she doesn’t have to come to you. You will instead come to her. But that’s OK, because people with Flexis don’t want control over their dogs.

6. Flexi leashes are not for big dogs.

I would never buy a Flexi for any dog, especially a dog over 20 pounds. Every day I see people in my neighborhood walking German shepherds, labs and even huskies on Flexis. I think my favorite is the harness/Flexi leash combo.

7. Flexi leashes are awkward to hold.

I’d rather run or bike with my dog without holding onto a big hunk of plastic (that’s what the leash retracts into).

8. The dog can easily get away on a Flexi leash.

It doesn’t take much for a dog to pull the leash out of her owner’s hands when she has a 20-foot head start. When I let Ace outside at my apartment complex, we have to walk around a corner to the grass he uses.

I always make sure to keep him close to me because when we get around that corner there are often dogs on Flexis that lunge at us.

These owners are always embarrassed to have their arms nearly ripped out by their dogs. No wonder on one picks up after their dogs around here. If they stop to pick up the poop, their dogs will get away!

9. Flexi leashes are the worst tool to walk your dog with.

In a proper heeling position, a dog should be at her owner’s side on a loose lead. Flexis are always tight and the dog is almost always several feet in front of the owner.

10. Dogs aren’t safe on a Flexi leash.

With that much slack in the leash, they can get hit by a car or bike, bit by another dog or just plain get away. They are a danger to themselves, their owners and others.

Of course, there are three or four people in this world who are responsible when they use Flexis.

They use them to exercise their small dogs in an area where the dogs will be safe and under control, like out in a quiet field in the country. The problem is, the majority of Flexi users are careless and don’t use common sense.

If you think Flexis are great and want to prove me wrong, feel free to leave a comment.

How do you stop a dog from crying on walks near other dogs?


Saturday 2nd of November 2019

I absolutely love my Flexi leash for my 100 lb dog. Taking him for a walk when I switched to the Flexi leash was like night and day. I tried different harnesses and the gentle leader, too. But the Flexi leash gave him the room he needed to feel like a dog. We have walked him in areas off the leash and he always stays close and responds immediately to being called. He has also been through a lot of training. But he always pulled on a short leash. With the Flexi leash and can walk ahead and “scout”. He can stop and sniff, an ultimate pleasure for a dog who spends 99% of his life in a house and fenced back yard. And when he does these things, he is not jerking me around and he is not constantly pulling on the leash. He does not go to the end and keep pulling the entire time. He prances around a little, plays some, and sniffs lots of stuff like a dog should be able to do. All of this without pulling me or stopping me. So we can both enjoy our walk. Now that he is 3 and a little older, he even does better on the short leash that we have. He is a big dog so we got the big dog leash. We know how to stop it and pull it in when someone is approaching. We are always vigilant about watching for people and other animals so that we can be prepared and have him closer an more under control when we need it. I’m fact, I just got another one for our 5-month-old puppy who is 50 lbs and also loves to pull on the leash. We just took them for a second walk today, this time with the new leash and once again, it was like night and day. He had enough space to do his puppy/dog thing while we take a nice walk. Our dogs stay close regardless of whether they have a leash on or not. They don’t run off. But the traditional leashes don’t give them enough space to enjoy themselves. No matter how good dog owners are, most dogs spend too much of their lives in too small a space with too little stimuli. The least I can do is give my dogs a little more pleasure during their walks.


Wednesday 9th of October 2019

I'd respectively suggest that this article should be titled, "10 reasons not to buy a dog".

If you're lazy, if you don't want to take the time to train a dog, then don't get a dog in the first place. If you care about the dog, your neighbors and the space around you, then there isn't one tiny bit of an issue with long flexi leashes. In fact, they're really beneficial to the health, safety and training of dogs.

- They safely allow an owner to work on recall outside of an enclosed space. - They allow a dog to warm up by moving if there's a long walk to a dog park, and ample space alongside the path to get there (6 foot lead = freezing cold dog that can't run to keep his temp up if there's no safe space nearby that's enclosed) - They retract to 2 feet long, which is shorter and more in-control than someone wildly letting their dog mosey about 6 feet from them on a normal lead.


Wednesday 19th of June 2019

Sorry, but I disagree.

I've been using Flex leashes at least back into the 1990s when the company making them was only in Germany. I use the heavy duty one which is about 26 foot long and has screws so you can open it up for simple repairs if needed. They have proven to be incredibly durable and have never broken on me.

I have used them with a 125 lbs Rottweiler, a 160 lbs Rottweiler, a 165 lbs Great Dane, and my current small 60 lbs Doberman puppy. es, you do need to know how to use it and be careful around other people. But, it is very easy to bring the dog in close, shortening the leash as much as needed, when around others.

I like them because among other things, I buy one and it lasts many years. The older one I have right now I purchased mid May of 2013 and it still works fine, though it is clearly used. It allows me to let my dogs effectively run free to some extent while actually maintaining them on a hard leash for safety, something the "Law" requires, even if a number of people regularly violate this law. I also find it useful for teaching, because I can give command to sit and stay, then walk up to 26 feet away, wait, and then give the command to lay down, stand, come, to stop while coming, etc.


Sunday 3rd of February 2019

I agree about the dangers of Flexileashes. I have one that we got for our excessive pulling mix breed. We didn't know that it would be any different than any other leash. So many people around our area use them, and it seemed like a good idea for being able to adjust for play versus walking.


It wasn't long after we started using it we started seeing the downsides. It was too tempting to give in to his pulling rather than keeping him close. Second, it is a recipe for pulled muscles in the bicep and forearm, and possible sprained wrists. My daughter used it to walk him, and he lunged when she wasn't expecting it and it bent her wrist in a really bad angle due to the handle. Thirdly, but no less important, the mechanisms that stop the extention of the leash are not durable. After a couple months of use, ours will completely let go if he pulls, regardless how hard you are pushing the button, or even if it was locked. We use a regular leash now for both of our high-energy dogs, and only break out the p.o.s flexi for playing in the field across from us or in the yard where it is safe.


Wednesday 12th of July 2017

Learn how to use them people....