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.

164 thoughts on “10 reasons not to buy a Flexi leash”

  1. Um yeah, anything that allows someone to be lazy with their dog is not good in my book. Plus these are so dangerous! I see people losing control of very large animals all of the time on these and wonder what the problem is…can you say “clueless”!

    Apryl DeLanceys last blog post..5 Questions With Fathead

    1. I think flexis are great. They are made to last. Um everybody on here acts like the pet owner has no control with a flexi. The flexi has a push button for stopping the leash and a lock button to keep it that length……Durr!!!

  2. I totally agree…and have you ever had an excited dog on it’s fully extended lead run in circles around YOU after your dog (who is off lead) winding the lead tighter and tighter around your legs?! Believe me it hurts and don’t look to pretty after…!

    Emilys last blog post..I Remembered The Camera!

    1. Ppe works long pant, socks, shoes. Dont be stupid use it. When other people dont use them properly I would sue. The controltake dog out of control very seriously. A dog running on a long leash is out of control! When I am lung lining I dont do it in a crowd.

      My niece has huge scars where her dog did a fast run by on a flexi leash.

      I have raised 3 dogs on a flexi love them used proplerly. If you have ever used a fishing rod you know a flexi is the same thing. I never walk towards my dog (any of them) I reel them in.

      The herd dogs I have I use a flexi to lung line (they run circles I turn slowly) If the dog is large enough I use a halter that hooks in the front of her chest. When the dog hits the end she falls on her side, much safer than jerking on her neck.

      Ii get my puppies young prefer 6 weeks, I prefer to meet them at 2 or 3 weeks so they get used to being handled by me. I start training the day they come home. My 3 month puppy border collie pup came home at 8 wks. She sits, downs, rolls over, recall is good (not excellent) if the door is open she goes out to potty if not she asks if I am fast she goes out (she’s just a baby) I crate train it keeps the pup out of trouble and makes house breaking easier. I allow my pup out often I need her to herd when she is old enough she is going to be my other bff (I already have 2 others). My Bff doesn’t belong outside on a chain.

      I am 67 with RA. My dogs are really good. I have never had a dog for anything but a bff before. I need a work partner and a bff with this one. I am raising a grass calf that isnt afraid of me. I need my bff to have my back. I also need my bff to be comfortable enough with other people so when I die someone worthy of my bff will want to take her home and love her. If I die all of my pets go to the same home; with my house and all my assets. My dogs are important. Personally I love all of my flexi leashes and ALL of my flexi leash trained dogs.

  3. Thank you so much for this post, Lindsay. I’m one of those people who uses these things. I don’t consider myself lazy, since I never stand and always walk briskly along with my dog, but what you say about the pulling is so true! And I’m always so afraid of one day my dog being hit by a car. I’ve been thinking about getting a short leash for some time now, so I’m glad I read this today. What kind of leash would you recommend for a golden retriever? I use a harness because my dog once hurt his windpipe because of pulling.

    Mayra Calvanis last blog post..Brillante Weblog Premio-2008

    1. Hi Mayra, I would try the gentle leader or halti, they are great and discourage pulling. Your dog won’t hurt his neck or windpipe with it.

  4. Lindsay Stordahl

    Mayra, I recommend a 6-foot leather leash. They are easy to grip, comfortable on the hands (especially after a few months), sturdy and a good length for controlling the dog. I still think you should get a Gentle Leader if you haven’t tried that. If you can’t find one there, try eBay. Or I’ll mail you one! Ha.

  5. I HATE HATE HATE flexis! They are awful! Have you ever had a dog run in cirles around you with one of those damn things and burn your legs? I had a pair of min pins get away from their owner and run around my legs. The leashes burned the backs of my legs and now I have scars from it. The owner just laughed nervously and said i dont know what to do with them.. blah blah blah. Min pins!

    There’s no control with one of those stupid things either. I personally think they should be banned.

    Saint Lovers last blog post..Rainbow Bridge Angel Art & BFF Award

    1. Luz GonzalezDupre

      I agree,…..your dog shouldn’t be that far from you anyway.. people just don’t know how to use the Lexi leash. People use your common sense!!!

  6. Hi! New commenter but I’ve been reading for a while.

    I hate FlexiLeads too! There are a lot of narrow country lanes in this area, and I once saw an owner walking on one side of the road with their dog on the other side due to the length of the FlexiLead. A car came around the corner and drove over the Flexi line, and the poor dog was nearly throttled — I was horrified! I was thankful that the car had only run over the lead, I can only imagine how much worse that could have been.

    Leannes last blog post..New Layout

  7. GREAT post. I think it may save some dog’s life or limb… people are just not aware of how badly you can be burned on the leg by one of those things. And we have all seen dog walkers try to grab the flexi line itself, rather than push the button to stop the dog from lunging out, only to scream in pain at the burns on their fingers. Can burn dogs pretty badly too. Anyway, I do use one but I’m happy to say it’s in just the manner you describe, alone in the country with no hazards nearby, no cars. She can’t jerk me off my feet since she’s only 12 pounds. I use the Flexi to keep Pepper from racing into another ZIP code after a squirrel, but I don’t have to hassle with adjusting the leash while swinging my arms during a hike/workout. But if there will be cars or other dogs around, I reach right for my 6′ leather leash. Pepper sure knows the difference. Thanks Lindsay! PS: I used to spot a HUGE Cane Corso dog, must have weighed 120 pounds, being walked on a Flexi by a tiny 90 pound woman. Needless to say I could see that recipe for disaster coming. I’d always reroute to avoid getting within a football field of that pair.

  8. Lindsay Stordahl

    Thanks, Bonnie. Glad to hear from someone who uses the Flexi responsibly. I am surprised by how many people have been burned by these leashes.

  9. Thanks, Lindsay! I’ll go to the pet shop tomorrow. Are gentle leaders the ones that tighten around the neck as the dog pulls? I had one of this, but it didn’t help with the pulling. Thanks for your tip about the length of the leash. That helps. I have a leather one just as you describe but it is from when he was a puppy, about half the size, so I need to get a longer one. I’m glad I’m finally doing something about this. Thanks again.

    Mayra Calvanis last blog post..Review of Janoose the Goose, by J.D. Holiday

  10. Lindsay Stordahl

    Gentle Leaders fit around the dog’s muzzle, so they do not choke the dogs, but they eliminate much of the pulling. Plus the dogs can still pant and bark and drink of course. I suggested a Gentle Leader because you said choke collars were ineffective with Amigo.

  11. Lindsay, this is a great post. I hate flexi-leads too. We have one in Vermont, but I never let it get beyond 6 ft (the length of our nylon lead). I’ve found that teaching Biggie to walk nicely on a loose 6ft lead is well worth the effort, and so when we use the flexi in VT, he tends to stay right by my side anyway. If anything, I keep the flexi lead shorter!

    I so agree with you, I think the ONLY good use of a flexi is in a *controlled* environment if you are working on commands like “stay”, for example, and you want to walk farther and farther away from the dog but still have control if he runs off.

    Mayra, I use a gentle leader (the head harness that looks like a muzzle but isn’t) on Biggie, a 98-lb kuvasz. Our leash of choice is a flat 1″ wide, 6ft nylon webbing leash. I would prefer the weight of a leather lead and a softer handle, but leather is a little too stretchy for me, just my preference.

    I have some posts on my blog about using the Gentle Leader (Biggie used to call it the Benevolent Dictator and then the Kim Jong Il, but I think he’s gotten over that!)

    Biggie-Zs last blog post..Training Momma

  12. I agree, flexis in general are misused by most people. In defense of the flexi though…they can be a good training tool when used properly. For example: in teaching skills like a retrieve over a jump they can provide a means to help guide a dog without the problems that a regular leash has of getting caught on the jumps. That doesn’t mean that I think that they should be used at all times though, just that they do have some useful purposes.

    Maries last blog post..Wordless Wednesday 08-20-08

  13. Well, I like flexis, in their own way. I like them with Chase, my BC, who is a nasty puller and I have to have him on a halti or a harness or a flexi or he’ll pull my arm off. We did the whole ‘be a tree’ thing and he can stand there and stare at the enironment for hours without even glancing at me. =P So I gave up with him. I admire anyone who can take a rescue dog, who has learned that clipping a leash on the collar is the cue to pull and be a nut. Me.. I haven’t had the patience yet to train that out of a dog, and I don’t want to leash pop!

    Angel, our 12 year old girl, loves to potty out in the front yard, at her own pace, and we take her out on a flexi. Her pace is pretty darn slow, mind. 🙂

    I jog with flexis, too. Mostly because of Chase, again. Though I do keep control of my dogs when they are on flexis. I just can’t drop one behind Tatum, or she panics because something evil is chasing her. =P

    Cynthias last blog post..Happy Birthday Boys

  14. Lindsay Stordahl

    Hey, thanks for your input Cynthia! Sounds like the Flexis do work for your dogs. I know you are responsible, unlike so many others.

  15. If you’re walking an untrained animal these 10 reasons make sense, otherwise this advice is a bit draconian.

    1. Lazy people? Is that honestly what you see, people standing still? I walk my pup 2 times a day, 45 mins each time and I run or jog the entire time. The pup enjoys running and discovering along the roadside of our mountain community or along the trails in our public parks.

    2. Controlling you dog? When did controlling your dog with a leash become a replacement for command training. My pup returns to my side immmediately when I issue a “walk” command. He stays there until I “release” him.

    4. Flexi’s cause accidents? Yes they do, but are you being sincere when you imply that people are being killed by Flexi’s. I wonder how many more accidents occur by unleashed dogs than dogs on a flexi.

    5. Dog in Control? A well trained dog will never be confused with who is in “control” regardless of what leash he happens to be/or not be wearing.

    6. Flexi’s not for big dogs? A dog has at least a 3:1 lb for lb strength advantage over a human. An unruly uncontrolled 80lb German shepard would be a handful even for a large 250lb man regardless what leash he is using. Point here is regardless if you use a 6′ leather leash or a 20′ flexi, controlling your dog isnt a question of his leash. A well trained German Shepard police dog would be much safer on a flexi than your average yapping 20lb lap dog.

    8. The dogs in your apartment complex sound untrained, bored, insecure, and their owners are utterly confused on who is in charge.

    9. Regarding proper “heeling” position. So are you saying your dogs is always at a “proper heeling position” when you walk him? The proper heel position includes a loose leash…so why would it matter how long the leash is? Whether its a slack 6′ or a slack flexi retracted to 6′?

    Flexi’s can definitely be dangerous, but so can bicycles, roller blades, skateboards, and everything else folks enjoy using. If you want a well controlled dog then train it.

    I appreciate your passion for the topic, but honestly the one salient point of your post that I accept on face value is that irresponsible people should not walk dogs in public. I’ll add that I’d advocate responsible folks who chose not to train their animals to only use 6′ leashes.

    Hey I just realized that between Cynthia and myself we represent at least 50% of the world wide population who use Flexi’s responsibly.

    “there are three or four people in this world who are responsible”

    1. I just think you’re delusional or outright blind if you don’t see the numerous people out there who do not know how to use FlexiLeads. I work at a dog spa where we have a sign on the door saying dogs must be on leashes, and Flexis kept short. I can’t tell you how many people disregard this rule and let their dogs free from them when they are in the store.
      We tell people that it is for the dogs’ safety because you never know when an unfriendly dog could walk in the door. It’s true! And it just so happens that people who have FlexiLeads have the least behaved dogs. I can’t say whether or not there is a correlation between an owner’s willingness to train a dog and their choice of leads, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were one.
      Also, in the case of a large dog being hard to handle on a Flexi, it is very true. They are not meant for durability, and a big, ill-trained dog with the right amount of momentum could definitely get away easier than a dog of smaller stature.
      I agree with Lindsay that people who do not know how to properly use a Flexi, or train their dog for that matter, are OF THE MAJORITY. I would only use it if I were training my dog return commands or something similar.

      1. Lindsay Stordahl

        Alyssa, we are totally on the same page 🙂 I’ve gotten a little more tolerant of the Flexi retractable leash because I do see a FEW people who actually train their dogs to walk nicely on them. I just don’t see a reason for them except maybe, as you said, to train a recall. A long rope still works better for that, in my opinion.

  16. Lindsay Stordahl

    Sounds like the Flexi leash works well for you and your dog and that you are using it safely. I wish other Flexi users would do the same.

    When I allow my dog to run and sniff away from my side, he is off leash. He comes when I call him, so I have no use for a Flexi. It’s awkward to hold, and I don’t want to risk someone coming around a corner and getting caught in the slack. When a leash is necessary, Ace is safely on a loose leash in heel position, so I don’t know why I would ever need a Flexi. Maybe they would help when teaching a dog the recall, but they are too flimsy for a dog over 20 pounds.

  17. Thank you Brook for your very fine and detailed rebuttal. You expressed so elequently exactly what I was thinking. I too am a Flexi user and I love it. It’s not the leash, it’s the owner. I walk my dog. I don’t stand there and let her run around me in circles. I agree that some people are lazy, but it’s not a characteristic shared by all Flexi owners. I have a Cairn Terrier and I live in a townhome community with a lot of common grassy areas. Our walks are meant to be an enjoyable and socialable activity for both of us. I have neighbors who walk their dogs in heel position and don’t allow them to sniff the grass or approach other dogs. Over time, they become anti-social and nasty. The Flexi enables my little girl to vere off to the grass or bush to take a sniff or do her business with a little distance and privacy, which she prefers. She doesn’t pull because I don’t let her.

    The point about them causing rope burns is legitimate and for that reason I only use the all belt model. That eliminates that problem.

    I never walk her without my finger permanently fixed on the break mechanism. A push of the thumb keeps me in control and keeps the leash taught so there’s no slack tangling around her feet or legs.

    My Flexi extends 12 feet, not 20 and is never fully extended. On average, she has about 6-8 feet of leash, at the most, at any given time since knows she is to stay close to me while on walks.

    Nothing is black and white. Just as with bicylces, skate boards, roller blades and anything else controversial, the Flexi is not a dangerous tool in the hands of the right person.

    1. Bill,
      Of all the people who tried to defend their take on the Flexi leads, yours is by far the most legitimate. You not only sound like you use it responsibly, and have weighed the options by going to training school, but you put it in a thoughtful, intelligent light. Not just “well /I/ don’t do that! Huff huff huff!” 😛
      I appreciate your input and conversation. Like Lindsay I am sorry to hear of the loss your little one. 🙁 But I am at least glad that you are using this opportunity to be the responsible owner of another dog. Lucky girl. 🙂

  18. Lindsay Stordahl

    Thanks, Bill. I can tolerate a Flexi leash when it is used by a responsible owner and a small dog like a cairn terrier. I disagree that 6-foot leashes and proper “heel position” make dogs antisocial. Proper training is what allows dogs to become more social because they are able to be out more and experience more situations.

  19. Lindsay,

    Thanks for responding and for starting this interesting discussion. It’s always good to hear both sides.

    Point taken about the heel position. Corey and I went to obedience school and we learned all that, but I just found it too regimented for a nice evening walk around the neighborhood. In the end, it depends on the dog. My Corey just isn’t a problem on a leash, so allowing her to explore within reason works for us. I found the same to be true with crate training. She’s never chewed or got into anything, so leaving her sleeping on the sofa when I leave the house is fine and she sleeps in bed with me. Some people find that unnacceptable, but it works for me. She’s a family member and putting her in a cage when I don’t need to bothers me. She’s almost 15, so it obviously worked for us. My next puppy could be an entirely different experience.

    It’s a great topic of discussion. With dog owners, I find there are people who either really hate the Flexi or really love it. I always feel a little on the defensive when I hear “people who use Flexis are lazy” or that they kill people. It’s hard not to take it personally.

    Overall, I think we live in a culture of alarmism today. Do this, don’t do that or else something horrible will happen. I can’t live my life like that. People die in car accidents everyday, yet the vast majority of us drive and do it responsibily.

    The Flexi will work for some people and not others. There are benefits to it over a standard leash just as there are benefits to a standard leash over a Flexi. Just as there are cars with automatic transmissions and cars with manual transmissions, it all comes down to the end user and personal preference and responsibility.

    Thanks again for starting this discussion.

  20. Lindsay Stordahl

    I appreciate your points, Bill. Sounds like you and Corey are getting along great. I wish the people around here would be more responsible with their Flexi leashes, then it would be easier to consider the benefits of a retractable leash.

  21. Lindsay,

    Thanks Lindsay. I wrote those posts in the present tense so as not to confuse the situation, but my precious Corey passed away in November from complications of kidney failure. She would have been 15 next week. What a devastating blow that was. I had to euthanize her and that was heart wrenching. She was my baby and I miss her with all my heart, but I can’t live without a dog, without a Cairn. A few hours from now I’ll be picking up my new puppy. She’s a cousin to Corey which makes it very special. Her name is Lacey. They’re all different, so I don’t know how she’ll differ from Corey or how she’ll be similar. All my arguments about the Flexi and the crate might go right out the window. Two years ago I bought new leather furniture. If it comes down to the furniture or the crate, the crate will win out. I’ve met her a few times and the breeder has told me that she is the most mellow of the four, hopefully she’ll have those Corey genes. Her three sisters are little rips.

    Thanks again,


  22. Lindsay Stordahl

    I’m very sorry to hear about little Corey. I’m also excited for you and your new dog. Best of luck with Lacey. What color is she? My grandpa has a tan cairn and my uncle has a black one. They are smart, cute little dogs.

  23. I’m sorry to hear of your loss, Bill.

    Just wanted to chime in here that what struck me about your response was this paragraph:

    “I never walk her without my finger permanently fixed on the break mechanism. A push of the thumb keeps me in control and keeps the leash taught so there’s no slack tangling around her feet or legs.”

    Here in NYC I have yet to run into a Flexi-user who does that! As you can imagine, that can wreak havoc on a busy city sidewalk, not just for the dog owners but for the innocent bystanders.

  24. Lindsay Stordahl

    Yeah that’s the problem with the people I encounter with Flexi leashes. The dogs always manage to charge all the way to the end of the Flexi. The owners always seem to be embarrassed, too. You’d think they’d learn.

  25. Thank you Lindsay and Biggie-Z for your kind thoughts about Corey. It was a tough decision, but the right one in the end for her.

    The break of the Flexi is everything. Having control of that button is what made it ideal for me. Corey almost never had full run of the lead unless we were in the appropriate setting. I wouldn’t use it if I lived in an urban setting such as Manhattan. I agree with you on that.

    Lacey is a red brindle. She’s very brownish red. Corey was a grey brindle. She looked just like Toto. They are smart and cute little dogs. The first night went very well. She slept in her crate by my bed and never cried once. Yes, I decided to give the crate another try since the breeder, an excellent quality breeder, trained the litter to be crate trained.

    Thanks again.

  26. Amanda Steiner

    Obviously I am a few months behind on the Flexi leash topic. I just wanted to say that I am a Flexi leash user, and I feel that I use it appropriately. The leash only has a few inches of slack because my dog heels beside me when we walk. I live in an apartment, so it is nice to go to the grassy areas (without side walks) and have my dog fetch a toy with the extended leash. I acutally feel that it is more comfortable to hold when walking (when I ride my bike I use a standard leash). I think you are simply seeing a lot of irresponsible dog oweners. I have seen my share of them on regular and flexi leashes. I can understand how when used irresponsibly they are dangerous, but that doesn’t mean that ALL dog owners with Flexi leashes are irresponsible.

  27. Lindsay Stordahl

    Amanda, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog on a Flexi leash heeling. So just that fact alone shows you use the leash responsibly. When you said you are able to bike with your dog, that said a lot, too. Anyone who can safely bike with their dog has obviously managed loose-leash walking.

    Perhaps I only notice Flexis when the dog is out 15 feet. When the dog is actually heeling on a Flexi leash, it’s possible I don’t even notice what kind of leash it is on.

  28. I was recently burned by a german shepard puppy being walked on a Flexi leash. I walk the same path everyday with my dog and I have never encountered such a bad dog owner. The german shepard darted at my dog, then wrapped himself around my legs and ran back towards his owner. My legs are now very burned and I’m furious and upset at the scars that I will have to live with due another to a careless dog owner. I fully support all 10 reasons not to buy a Flexi leash! I wish I could post the picture of my legs to prove a point.

  29. Lindsay Stordahl

    Oh wow. Thanks Lauren for sharing this information. Flexi leashes are an accident waiting to happen! I hope your legs are OK!

  30. I thought I’d join the discussion again after 8 months. I’ve been busy raising my new puppy. I’ve had Lacey now for 8 months and so far so good. She’s all Cairn and I love her. I’m still a die hard Flexi user, but I only use the all belt models. The cord models are the ones that burn. Sorry to hear about your legs Lauren. I had the inside of my palms burned this summer trying to prevent someone elses cord model from wrapping around my legs. As a responsible Flexi user, I know there are plenty of people who don’t use them properly. If you’re going to use it, getthe all belt model. It costs a little more, but it’s worth it. Everytime I see someone with a cord model and I’m wearing shorts, I get nervous. Ocassionally, I have neighbors who will come in to walk Lacey if I’m having a long day at work. I only trust a few of them and they all know that they are to use th regular leash and NOT to use the Flexi. I only trust myself with it. I still believe in it, but in the hands of the right person. I totally understand those who don’t like them.

    was burned by

  31. Lindsay Stordahl

    Thanks, Bill! You make a good point that there is a cord version and a belt model. I totally agree with you that the belt model is much, much safer. Glad to hear you and your pup are doing well, and that you use the Flexi leash responsibly!

  32. Just a quick question. I welcome your thoughts! I recently adopted a black lab, 2 years old, who we lovingly call Rosie. She is pretty well mannered, quiet and very teachable. She doesn’t really have any “red flag” behaviors so we are not sure how she ended up being put up for adoption.

    The only thing that concerns me is I see potential for her to be a “runner.” When she gets nervous (not crazy anxious but a little skittish) she disappears. She wants to get away, and quick. We are thinking this may be why she was in the shelter. Perhaps she ran away and got lost? Who knows…

    She hasn’t tried to bolt out the door and we are working very diligently on having her sit and go through the door after us, walking with a slacked leash, and other basic obedience techniques. One of our top priorities is teaching her to do a very dependable recall and making it really fun to be around us and paying attention to what we are doing. She is good in the house, and I would like to practice with more distractions but still have control. We live in the city and have no fenced in yard. We have a flexi and I am very comfortable using it in a safe way (grew up around well trained agility dogs and have good manner…and a brain…which some dog owners lack). Do you think using a flexi would be a good way to provide some extra support in working her recall? We could go to an open area as to not put others at risk, but I am very aware that she is NOT ready for off the leash, nor is it allowed in most parks here. It would be nice to give her more exploring freedom at the park after a heeling, working walk. I also don’t want to give her a command that I cannot follow threw on and it seems like a flexi would in fact give me an extra bonus of security.

    Thanks! Any other ideas are welcome! I want her to be safe, attentive and confident as she transitions into our pack 🙂

  33. Lindsay Stordahl

    You know, the Flexi would probably work OK for training the recall since you know what you’re doing. But why not use just a long lead or rope? I prefer a long rope for better control and because you can buy one that’s even longer than a Flexi leash. One problem with the flexi leash is if she for some reason decides to bolt or run, it would be harder to get her back under control. I just hate how flimsy they are.

  34. This wasn’t a very fair-minded post. It was very sarcastic, negative, and full of hyperbole.

    Commenter, “Brook”, did a pretty good job of refuting most of your list point by point, so I won’t do the same, but I don’t understand why you assume that people who use Flexi’s are lazy. I walk my two 75 pound labs with Flexi’s every day. In a typical week we walk at least 20 miles together, though some of that is off-leash. We also play hours of fetch. I really doubt that there is any correlation between leash preference and laziness!

    My dogs are very safe on their Flexi’s because they respond to my verbal commands. So you’re wrong about dogs not being safe on them.

    The problem with a regular 6 foot leash is that every time the dog wants to stop and sniff the human either has to stop as well, or the human forces the dog to keep moving, which deprives the dog of a chance to do much sniffing. With a Flexi, however, a dog gets much
    more opportunity to explore and sniff without forcing me
    to be right on top of him. I can keep walking at a fairly normal pace while the dog gets the opportunity to stop and investigate interesting smells for a few seconds.

    I suggest that you save your negativeness for people who don’t bother to walk their dogs at all. Those are the ones that really bug me! Much better to walk your dog with any kind of leash than to sit at home watching TV!

  35. Lindsay Stordahl

    You’re obviously able to make the Flexi leashes work for you and your dogs. I’m sure you’re able to recognize the difference between yourself and most of the other people who use retractable leashes.

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  38. The flexi leash has, and will continue to be a very important tool in my dog’s ongoing recovery from TPLO

    The leash allows me to give Lars some freedom, but also allows me to have control over him if he decides to test his limits. +1, in my opinion.

  39. I’m using flexi and I love it!!!I see people pulled by their dogs all the time and usually these dogs are on short leashes.You CAN control flexi, it’s not that hard.Dog has freedom,I have control,we’re both HAPPY!!!

  40. This list got just about everything wrong about this leash. I have a big dog who I skateboard, bike ride, hike and walk with all the time. This leash allows for total freedom where you don’t have to stop for your dogs every tree sniffing. I end up pulling my dog half the time, so it doesn’t teach the dog to pull. It’s very easy to shorten the leash when you need to have better control over the dog. Get it and you will never go back to the old short leashes.

    1. I agree. I find my shepherd Akita mix to be easier to control with the flexi leash. I couldn’t walk him with a short leash easily and he knows not
      To pull he’s just so excited to sniff and meet new dogs. And he even goes to the dog park. He’s much better with the flexi leash. So much better. I can lock it and stop him from leading much easier than a normal

  41. Recently my dog Fiona and my Boyfriend were attacked by an Akita on a flexi leash. The dog was stated to weigh 130 pound and the owner had absolutely no control over it. My boyfriend not only lost time from work from his injury but had a horrible infection and damage at the site where the dog puntured his skin. There is a differance between dog owners and dog lovers. Most dog oweners are completely irresponsible and have no control over there pets.

  42. Made in Germany but broke on the 4th try, cord type. The dog is 37 lbs, well within the ratings. Good idea but badly implemented. Handle is too small for my hands.
    String ones will cut and burn at times
    Just swing your am and keep pulling in bursts to shorten the lead ahead of time.

  43. If you’re going to go fly your dog on a flexi leash, of course it must be done responsibly. They have to be trained on them and the walker needs to be aware of their surroundings. If your dog is crabby, wind them up before you get near others. My dog is on a 26 foot tape leash (the ropes will, as someone else noted, give you nasty burns behind your legs if you get tangled and the dog takes off). It’s mentally stimulating…she knows how to retrace her steps to catch up to me. I always walk with her and she can stop and smell things and explore without me stopping too.
    She’s a husky and has proven herself not reliable off leash no matter how well she performs recall exercises. Plus she decimates the wildlife off leash. Imagine the boring walks through forests and parks if she had to stay at my heal! She gets twice the exercise on our +hour walk. She rarely pulls on it, especially when wearing a harness. Yes there are risks, but there are risks having a dog off the leash too (more dire risks imo). There are risks ever leaving your house and there are risks staying home too. Life is risky. Be responsible but let your dog have some autonomy and fun.
    It’s not in a dog’s nature to walk like we do. Why make them.

  44. I got a flexi leash but my dog bit through the cord and now it’s stuck. I still prefer it to a regular leash. I get to pick the length of the leash and I can have it shorter if I want her close to me instead of balling a leash around my arm. When I travel to rest stops during nights, she can run to where she needs to use the bathroom instead of me trying to dodge do poo! (She can sniff it and avoid it, I can’t see anything). I plan on getting another one. I just hook it to her harness. My friend was watching her when she bit through it. I always keep it up with her collar on the wall.

  45. Hi! I have read your comments, and to an extent agree with allot of what you say! However, I have become disabled, and would find it a tragedy to hav eot get rid of my dog, just because people like your good self think it is too lazy of me to use an extending leash! I agree , allot of lazy people use them badly, and allow their dogs to get away with bad and wrong behaviours. I am not one of those. Before I ended up needing a wheelchair, or crutches to walk due to my increasing pain and reduced mobility, I would often be seen walking my dog. I refused to allow my dog to dictate to me how the leash was to be used, and therefore trained my dog to respond well to a number of comands. When she earns the freedom, she is allowed to have the full length of the extending leash, however if I call her too me or tell her to wait, she does so. The long leash allows me the peace of mind that if a cat, or other animal, or even a distraction causes my dog to want to run off, I have her under control and can prevent her or any other creature coming to harm. It is just in those moments of initial madness that most dogs are run over, accused of worrying livestock etc. I am unable to run after my dog, and would welcome a suggestion as to why I should give up this leash or what would be a good substitute for it.
    In answer to your points above, I hate lazy flexi leash owners too. they cause far too many problems.Please do not damn the product because of the lazy people who use them, damn the people, and encourage them to train their dogs to respond and for them, the owner to become more aware of their animal.
    You wouldnt say that all cars should be banned forever because of the dangerous drivers behind their wheels, you would say find a way to stop the poor drivers wouldn’t you!?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      You’re totally right! I wrote this post more than four years ago, and I do still get incredibly annoyed with the people who use Flexi leashes irresponsibly. I realize others are responsible, though. And I realize that well-trained dogs do great with them.

  46. Stumbled upon this on random web browsing, I know it’s been almost 5 years since you wrote this but THANK YOU! Thanks for reassuring me despite what people tell me that the flexi leash is dangerous for my dog (and me and other dogs) and that it is just plain wrong when you want to teach the dog proper behaviour. I am only considering buying one now for outdoor country field trips, and still I am worried about how I am gonna hold on to him on this absurdly tiny plastic grip if he spots something and turns abruplty. THANKS!

  47. i hate bicycle riders thinking they are lance armstrong in their spandex and cant slow down to let me reel in my dog on a flexi. i love the flexi it is awesome. i have a 25 foot flexi. bicycle riders riding at 20 mph on pedestrian walk ways cause accidents. people that ride their bikes to walk their dogs are lazy. you cant keep up with your dog because you are lazy. riding your bike while the dog has to continually run is unfair and dangerous. i see people riding their bike with their dog while their dog struggles to keep up and is exhausted. it is dangerous how is a dog supposed to stop or you stop you will get hit by a car you dont see because you are going so fast. i treat my dog like my best friend, like my son. i dont “own” him, he is not my commodity, he is not my slave, he is my best friend. i dont need him to be my slave and be mindless and follow my every command. he is alive he can think for himself. i go on dog walks for him, it is his time, for him to have fun, to enjoy himself, let him go smell the smells, see the sights, be social. why even walk your dog is you are going to be so mean to make them heel, that is so lame, what are you the gestapo? let them enjoy life, have fun. thats like saying that lazy fat people shouldnt have kids because they dont go play with them. why cant you be lazy and have a best friend dog? flexi leashes are just as easy to control your dog as a regular leash, if you cant hold your 120 pound leash you definitly cant hold your 120 pound dog on a short leash, the leash doesnt add muscle to you. why cant you treat your dog as an equal, why do you have to be mean to your dog and control them? is it because you have no power in your life so you have to dominate the one thing you have power over? you treat your dog like everyone treats you, controls you, makes you heel.

  48. I don’t understand the ranting against the flexi. FYI – it has a lock button! As long as it’s locked when it should be, what’s the problem? I

    1. Nobody seems to know how to use the lock button. And a larger dog can still pull the leash out even when it is locked.

  49. I think just like any tool, They can be used in the wrong way by irresponsible people. That does NOT mean everyone that uses them is lazy and it does not mean the tool is bad….just that they don`t know how to use it properly. I use it as a training tool….I would not consider myself lazy, My dog has 2 legs towards his UD(Utility Dog Title),His Junior Hunter and Working Certificate…..That`s a lot of work….and i consider the flexi a wonderful training tool.

  50. I bought one and your right Iam still fighting to get control and it did not last long. It was suppose to be for a 20 to 30 lb. dog and it broke and my dog is 16lbs maybe. They are cheaply built and expensive for the usability.

  51. Farting_Ruined_My_Date

    As a person in the dog profession and a puppy raiser for service dog organizations, I have to disagree with completely writing off the Flexi Leash. People must train a dog to the point of consistent, easy control before any product like a long leash is considered. Once that is achieved, however, the Flexi can be a useful tool for particular situations and even training. The Flexi is just one of the many walking and training tools in our supplies, but is handy – especially for training consistent stay and recall. Add in some treat or clicker work, then have your dog ist and stay while you walk away and let the leash slack out. If your dog leaves it’s stay at any point, return to him and begin again. Finally, work on “come”. With some time and patience, a dog in a fenced run that wouldn’t come on command is now at my side and ready to leave on my schedule.

    There are those that should not use a Flexi Leash. This product is not meant to take the place of actual walks that allow more engagement – sniffing, exploring… But for the right dog and the right situations, this can be a good tool.

    1. As another service dog trainer, get real!

      How many unskilled, unknowing persons are going to obedience train their dogs before putting them on a Flexi?

      They advertise and sell them to lazy or uncaring morons. They are in dollar stores! Everyone has access to them and I have seen horrific results, including small children being dreadfully harmed by mom or dad’s 90-pound Lab zipping around the child then taking off.

      I agree. I would love to see them disappear …

      1. I would love to see stupid judgmental people disappear. And that includes you. Just because you use a regular leash does NOT make you intelligent—-ALL it makes you is someone who uses a regular leash. Nothing more. I use a flex leash without laziness, abuse, or risk to myself or my dog. He is well-trained and under control at all times. He is also only thirteen pounds. Would I use a flex leash if he was 25+ pounds, probably not. (Granted, if HE was 25 pounds HE wouldn’t need a leash at all because he’d be obese and barely able to walk anywhere but to the food bowl.) If he was high-energy and/or willing to chase after every rabbit or squirrel, then no flex leash. A flex leash is GREAT—-under MY circumstances, with MY mindful use, and with MY particular dog. Judging ALL people who use a flex leash is NO different than judging ALL pit bulls or judging ALL people of one race or country. Some of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met were pit bulls and some of the most dangerous & nasty dogs were little poodles, and some of the least “Christian” people are so-called Christians, whereas I’ve met some very “Christian” people who were Muslims.

        1. Randy,
          You seem like a very charming person. I’m sure that you read Dog Laws in differing jurisdictions before walking your dog there. Many, specifically say a leash of no more than 6 feet. That does not mean one you can zip “down” to 6 feet , but an actual, six foot or shorter leash. This rule applies in ALL National Parks that allow dogs and most State and Local Parks. They don’t hate you or your dog, but safety for all Park visitors is more likely if a pet is contained to an area around the handle of 6 feet or less.
          I personally train all of my dogs to work off leash, but had no compunction about putting a leash on them if it is required or requested. I do not take it as a personal affront and gladly comply with any and all rules.
          How you have now connected racial and religious prejudices to dog walking, I have no clue.
          But having seen very serious injuries connected to the use of Flexi Leashes, I am still concerned about their use by untrained persons and children. I Have seen them marketed directly to children and was shocked, (i.e. cartoon decorated ones)>

  52. I agree with this post, however we have found that we can use the flexi in a responsible way in certain situations. I use a normal leash on our side-walk walks, and we have accomplished loose leash walking. However, when we are walking out in the fields and through the very large parks in our area (large enough for deer and coyotes to live in, but with strict no-off leash rules), I use a flexi leash and let my dog have more freedom. I love it. It works well and he seems to know the difference between the two leashes and when he gets to charge around and when he has to stay put at my side. If I can’t see what is around the next corner, I make sure he is at my side and when I see another person or dog approaching he is back at my side as well. But once we are alone again, I let use the full length of the flexi.

  53. Talk about lazy….you’ve said the same thing about 5 times here…Flexi leashes work GREAT for all dogs. My Rotties love them and they’ve never pulled one out of my hands. Our Smooth Fox Terriers love them as well. Zero issues if you understand how to use it. People like you are too ignorant to learn about them and would rather write some lame opinion on a blog and then sit back and feel all superior when in reality it’s you who is ignorant and close minded.

    Sometimes the internet just sucks…this is one of those times.

  54. I used a flexi leash on my 10 lb mini schnauzer and it worked well but I totally agree its really not the best leash available. I want to adopt a shelter dog this time(my schnauzer passed away) and this time I’m looking for a 30-50 lb dog and I will for sure not get another flexi leash because its really not made for dogs over 20 lbs. I wanna keep my arm and honestly I like normal leashes a lot better!

      1. Thanks but after I posted I adopted an 50 lb american bulldog mix I named Leeloo ^_^ she’s a ham but we love her! Definitely didn’t get a Flexi but I did get a Kong leash and harness that have traffic loops on them to help keep her near me when we run into other dogs(she is a kind of dog insecure) so its like a great flexi alternative! Also at my apt. Complex I see way too many big dogs on flexis and it bugs me because if the owner loses their grip(I’ve seen it a few times already) and run towards leeloo it would not be good!

  55. What an erroneous review of a very good product. Obviously written by an “ankle biter” owner. I have used Flexi Leash for years. I walk a 110 pound and a 140 pound pair of Great Pyrenees Dogs. We walk overland, cross country, and in heavily trafficked event areas. Not a problem to anyone who is at least one level above wimp.
    Let’s take your 10 comments, and get my side of it:
    1. At 72 years old, and one who runs at least 2 miles, (with big dogs on Flexis), at least 3 times a week, I would hardly call myself lazy.
    2. I have a hell of a lot better control of my dogs while they are on Flexis than when they are on a rope of the same length, (15 ft, on the Standard 3 large leash), able to maintain them wherever I want them to be.
    3. As the dog walks out, the leash unreels. If the dog “pulls”, a slight drag on the brake feature will stop that.
    4. 20 feet? Really? Find a Flexi Standard 3 large, with 20 feet of lead and I will buy it.
    5. When the leash is tight, one can, by simply moving one’s arm, bring the dog back in closer. Not a problem at all.
    6. Flexi Leashes are GREAT for large dogs, I have much more control over my Great Pyrenees Dogs while they are on their Flexis.
    7. I find the handle of the Flexi very easy to grip, even while having something else in the same hand. Much better than a mere leash loop.
    8. I like the reel feature of the Flexi, because when the dog wants to try to run, I need only apply the brake, stopping the dog at whatever length I care to have it, from 1 foot to the full extension of 15 ft.
    9. Flexis are a great tool to walk a dog with because when they are close in, you can pull a few inches/feet out of the rectractor reel and lock it, giving your dog a “loose lead”.
    10. I feel that myself and my 2 Great Pyrenees Dogs, are much safer while I am walking them on Flexis. Part of our daily walk is alongside a 60 MPH rural highway. With the Flexi, I can “reel them in” when I see danger coming.
    So much for the 10 reasons not to use a great product.
    Perhaps, the author who finds his such a despicable product doesn’t really know how to control even a small dog.

    1. I have 3 large dogs, (a 90-lb plott hound, a 60-lb Akita mix and a 60-lb pitbull) all of which have been professionally trained to walk on a standard 6-ft leash, Flexi lead (I have one that is 26 feet by the way) and supports up to I think 210 lbs. I also have a 7-lb Chihuahua that walks on both types of leashes. I love them. The problem is the lack of training on the owner’s part, not the Flexi leash.

  56. Laughing at all the people going, “OMG No! I love my flexi-leash!” I’m wiling to bet a lot of them are the very culprits who annoy the crap out of responsible dog owners around them. My dog got attacked at a pet store once by a standard poodle on a flexi leash. The poodle’s owner, by the way, was in the next aisle owner. I guess the dog was TECHNICALLY on a leash…

    I see people jogging with little dogs on flexi leashes all the time. The dogs end up dangerously close to traffic with no way for the owner to regain control.

    I could see using a flexi leash on a well trained dog with a great recall in a scenario where you’d like to have the dog off leash, but can’t. My dog goes hiking with me off leash regularly (only where off leash is allowed). I have thought of getting her a flexi leash to allow her more freedom in places where leashes are required… but ONLY because she has a great recall, doesn’t pull, and has no aggression towards any living creature large or small.

    I am sure that there are people who use flexi leashes successfully and properly. I also think those people are few and far between and the MAJORITY of people who use this product DO fall in the lazy, ignorant, and/or irresponsible category.

  57. Flexi leashes are only as good as the handler. Appropriate size must be used for size of dog. Appropriate distance extended must be based on situation. If not for you (whomever), don’t use! Obvious conclusions . . .

  58. They are dangerous and they teach dogs to pull. Why are they dangerous? Just ask the many people who have lost fingers because the lead basically becomes as sharp as a razor and can slice and sever body parts. And the people who lost digits also thought their flex lead was “great” and they were using it “correctly”.

    Don’t trust a dog trainer who tells you a flex lead is a good tool for training!

    1. No one said as a ‘training tool’ . . . don’t even know a reputable trainer/handler that would consider using one as a training tool.

      1. Vincent Vega

        I will be using the Flexi leash for recall training in conjunction with a remote trainer. For one the Flexi leash doesn’t get all tangled up in the dog’s legs or mine for that matter as would a regular 15-foot lead. I think if used responsibly with dogs that are leash trained, Flexi leashes do not harm.

  59. I used to use a flexi leash with my Lab/Huskie mix, Was the best leas to use. I was able to keep my dog under control all the time. Kept him at a heel when needed with out keeping a tight lead and he could safely roam at leisure when appropriate, The writer of this article obviously does not know how to use a flexi leash.

    1. I think the biggest point here is that the majority of people that do use this type of leash do not use it properly. Any dog owner who choose’s this type of leash should know how to use it safely and consider other people and dogs. Any responsible dog owner would use their dog tools appropriately, and more than likely have also trained their dogs as well. I have used this type of leash in the past but not any more. Just my choice. But it’s been my experience to see dogs with too much lead dart into the road and get hit by cars or nearly hit by cars. Also one of my PET PEEVES, the responsible dog owner who walks their dog on a Flexi lead and lets the dog come into my yard a pee and crap in my yard as they keep walking and act like nothing is going on. Not saying that is you, just trying to point out that again it boils down to being a good responsible dog owner.

  60. I use flexi leashes to potty my dogs. It is not safe for my dogs to be off leash after dark or early in the am where I live, we live on 40 acres with no parameter fencing and predators who would love to lure my dogs away from me and kill them. The flexi gives my dogs some freedom to do their business. Oh and I actually my dogs to not pull on a leash and walk along mile after mile as we hike in the hills of so cal on 6ft leather leashes I might add, just about every weekend when we are not running at agility trials, so there goes the, people who use flexi leashes are lazy theory.

    1. Not sure what kinds of dogs or predators you have…

      My dog goes out on a 35 acre property. No perimeter fence. Predators in the woods. She has a recall and is trained to stay on the property. Never been a problem… to go potty or otherwise… day or night.

      1. Good for you don, I will keep using the flexi leashes to keep my small dogs safe at night and you can keep doing what you are doing.

        1. I’m not saying you shouldn’t use a flexi leash to potty your dogs. I was just curious what kind of dogs and predators you have. You answered half the question… small dogs. Luckily, my dog is a big dog and many predators who are a threat to small dogs are not a concern for me. Also, the name is Dom. Please use reading comprehension.

          1. Well D-O-M,

            I don’t need to answer your questions and my reading comprehension is just fine. I was on my phone last night, and it has a mind of its own at times.

            Now on to the topic. We all do what we feel is right for our dogs, and I take my dogs out on Flexi leashes too on the ranch after dark or early in the AM to keep them safe. I agree with others that there are places the Flexi leashes are not appropriate but they are a good tool that works well when used properly. They do not teach the dog to pull. You need to teach the dog to not pull on the leash, any leash.

  61. Frankie,
    Congratulations on having perfect, well behaved large dogs! It sounds like you have put much time into your relationship with your dogs and are being rewarded for it!
    That makes you a very rare exception. Most people put little time into training their dogs and only one in a thousand or so dogs is ever enrolled in obedience school. My experience with “Flexi leash” has been very different from yours. Most people just let their dogs roam freely while on the thing and, if they are the only people on the block, I guess that’s OK. The problems arise when there is a bicycle, child, jogger, or another dog on the same path and, say, coming around a blind corner. Proper etiquette when walking dogs in public is to have the dog heeled with maybe a foot of lead out. This ensures the dog is under control at all times. With 10 or so feet of nylon out there there is enough room for the dog to trip a jogger, tangle up a bicycle, harm a child, hog tie the dog’s owner should the dog not be as well behaved as yours, and give the dog plenty of room to start a fight with another dog. Most people just stand there, watch this stuff happen, and tell you how friendly their dog usually is. Also, I have seen a strong dog take off and destroy that reel in a bound or two.
    Again, you are an exception. A Flexi Leash is not a tool and you will not find a trainer anywhere who advises their use.

    1. So, maybe it is not the Flexi leash but the handler . . . gawd forbid we’d put the blame where the blame belongs!

  62. Really have experienced any of the problems the few people are talking about. As said before there are certain ways to use every tool, when you misuse it then there are always things to complain about. No one that I know who uses a flexi leash lets their dog go 10-20 feet, they use the lock button because it is there for a reason. Anyone who knew how to properly use it would know not to let the leash out in an area with people, other dogs, cyclers, cars, etc. I have one flexi leash and one regular style leash that i use. I can control my dog with the flexi leash just as easy as I can with a regular leash. I’ve seen people with dogs on a regular leash where the dog suddenly pulled forward and the leash came out of their hand. Yes I’ve run into situations where someone has walked or rode by or have dogs approached, I controlled my dogs in those situations just as easy with the flexi as I did with a regular leash.

    And yes a flexi leash is not meant to train dogs with. My dogs aren’t that big of dog and I use the flexi on the smaller one of the two, so I can’t say I would recommend it for bigger dogs. I did use one at my brothers house while I was dogsitting his two pitbulls, they have one of those fences in the ground that come with a shock collar since they rent the house and the landlord has crops & sharp equipment further behind the house. Well one collar broke so I had to use a leash for one of them, being it was in the country and no one around I did let him stretch it out since the two dogs like to play/chase each other. He definitely chased the other dog at full speed and when it stretched all the way it didn’t break (nor did i lose control of the handle or even came close). I could see it though breaking in certain instances with big dogs, these pitbulls were young, this specific one was a bout a year old so he wasn’t quite full grown yet, but he was a decent size. In a situation like that i could see a full grown dog jolting it hard enough to break it. I however see no problem with it for medium or smaller dogs if the owner actually knows what their doing and if they pay attention. Some owners walk their dogs knowing they aren’t the best trained and still don’t pay attention to their surroundings or what is going around them, that is when this can be bad.

  63. I do use them when going for a walk in the woods. My dogs have a recall. I don’t mind them exploring. I am going for a walk with them to have them sniff around and explore, not to walk in heel position. They can go potty while I keep walking and they can keep sniffing while I keep walking.
    I do not walk them off-leash, because they are terriers. American Pit Bull Terriers. They can get their interest spiked and take off if there is tempting wild-life. This way, I have a last resort, if the recall fails for some reason. I don’t have the luxury to make ANY mistakes with my dogs. The public and the law is already against me and my dog. I don’t walk a tight-rope without a net.
    I don’t walk them in heel position, because I do that when I train for obedience or agility.. not when I just want to chill in the woods.
    If you have a better idea, please share it. If your better idea is, not to own the type of dog I own… screw yourself.

    1. now that is what being responsible is all about. Knowing when, how and why you use a particular tool to use with your dogs. This is what responsible dog owners do. AWESOME

    2. I feel your pain. I have a pit with a great recall, but there are a lot of people who are scared of her and freak out if they see her off leash (even though I only have her off leash where it’s permitted). I’m in an area that has a lot of pits and most people are reasonable about it, but there are definitely certain places where leashing her is the only option.

  64. This is just another DOG OWNER topic which will fall on deaf ear. You can not try to reason or teach an irresponsible dog owner, because thats part of what makes the irresponsible, they only care about themselves and their PERFECT (yaa right) DOG. As was stated above there are MANY tools a dog owner can use to keep their dogs safe, and under control. But there are FAR TOO MANY people that DO NOT TRAIN their dogs, or discipline their dogs. We now have a world full of bad dogs, bad dog owners, and MANY DOG HATERS. My dogs are very well trained, they walk on a 6ft leash (our town by law) never loose or out at the end of the leash unless it is a very safe place to give more lead to sniff about. If there are other people walking, riding with or with out dogs then I expect and insist my dogs be at HEEL that is right beside my legs. It is my job to protect my dogs, not their job to protect me. They are NOT in charge I am. Well trained, well exercised , and very much loved makes for HAPPY HEALTHY DOGS, not spoiled unruly dogs that make everyone miserable.

  65. When we first got our dog, an Australian Cattle Dog, I tried a flex leash. Before we even got out the door, Casey whipped around and bit the leash in two in her excitement to go for a walk. The flex leash never made it outside and I would never buy another one.

  66. I agree that flex-leads can be a great tool, BUT I have yet to see someone using it in a responsible way. I’m sure there are people out there that do, but like to author, my dog and I have been harassed by dogs at the end of the lead with no handler control. And if the dog gets away from the handler, the bouncing plastic housing for the lead just scares most dogs and makes them that much harder to retrieve.

  67. No time to read all of the hundred comments above but I have to agree with all but the first one. While I’m sure that laziness is a motivator for some, I think the majority of owners buy these leashes because they think they are good for the dog. After all, they wouldn’t sell them In pet stores if they were bad, right?
    However, I have lost count of the number of times someone at the groomer’s shop has handed the flexi over to me without locking it, and then wondered why I was having so much trouble getting the dog to come through the gate to the grooming area.

  68. I have to say I am surprised by this tirade against flexi leads. First of all, one can easily teach the dog to stop and sit when they feel the leash is taught. My boy feels a tight leash and sits. I have no problem picking up poop, and having him close by my side when other people pass us, as he sits, and I walk up to him and wait for the person, biker etc to pass. I also agree that it is not hard to teach the dog to loose leash heel. Extend the leash a few inches and done. I use my flexi at a park so my dog who likes to track a ball can have some legitimate space to play in, without risking him being off leash next to a busy street. This seems much more responsible to me than the numerous out of control off leash dogs I see at the park. At least my boy won’t get hit by a car. Finally, and here is his best trick yet, you can actually teach a dog on a flexi leash to wait, stay, and go around objects. If he goes to check out a tree and ends up on the other side of the tree, all I say is go around, and he untangles himself by going back around the tree without my walk ever pausing. I am not lazy, I just want my dog to have some space to move without the risk of being off leash.

  69. Again, you have trained your dog- Flexi Leashes in the hands of rude, stupid people are a danger to normal dog walkers- they are Illegal in National and VA Parks BECAUSE the dog is nor contained close to the owner.
    My own dogs are perfectly trained off leash- but to work w/ the Laws and to give comfort to people who are nervous around large dogs, I always have them on a 6′ or less leash when in Public.

  70. Wow, you make these statements as if they are absolute universal truths, but it shows you have a narrow perspective and cannot imagine that every dog behaves differently under different circumstances and different styles of guidance. I use the Flexi leash because I can run very fast and if my dog hits the brakes, I don’t choke him because he stops much faster than I, and then I can run in place until he is ready to continue. I would recommend against Flexi brand because they are pieces of junk. I’ve gotten the one designed for 110 lb dogs, and my 55 lb dog easily destroys them because they are weak and cheap.

    1. “I would recommend against Flexi brand because they are pieces of junk.” So would you or wouldn’t you recommend Flexi Brand leashes? Secondly if they are so cheap why do they offer a lifetime warranty on all leashes? Lastly what exactly makes it cheap?

      1. My 55 lb dog easily destroys the 110 lb leash. That is why I think they are cheap. Yes I will return it, an hopefully get my $ back, but I stand by my statement, with the defense previously stated.

  71. You just hate people that can’t control their dogs. Flexi makes leashes that are good for dogs up to 200lbs, they just cost $75 bucks! So your wrong. The leashes are great, if your dog is trained. Go take that stick out of your ass!

  72. Dear Elwood,
    You are the Poster Boy for Flexies!
    In addition,you are probably breaking laws when walking your wonder dog on a Flexie in public.
    (Also, that would be “you’er wrong”)
    You are as skilled in Grammar as you are charming…

  73. Pat,

    Actually it’s you’re wrong. Not you’er stupid. At least get your grammer right when your correcting someone.

    1. Im 11 years old, and even I know how to spell ‘grammar’!
      At least get YOUR grammar right when you’re correcting someone, stupid.

  74. I really recommend the Kong brand harness or one similar to it. It has nice soft and comfortable handle. Two on the leash because one is to keep your dog close if needed and one on the harness to just in case its needed as well. Its easy to put on and is super durable. I personally like harnesses better than just a collar and leash(although I use just that for late night pee breaks!) Because it gives me better control of my dog and doesn’t risk choking and hurting her. When other dogs are not around she is fine without it but for everyone’s safety including hers I am a big supporter of harnesses.

  75. Only wish we found this before purchasing a Flexi, which has serious safety issues and has caused serious injury of both myself and my friend. I had cuts across both my legs, and my husband had cuts on his arm. Evil dog leash – should be banned!

  76. While I agree with this entire post, I am one of the few responsible users of the flex leash. We walk with both types of leash so my girl knows which kind of walk we’re going on, and we train on both. I watch for people/bikes/dogs/cars and call her in to sit/wait as they pass us. Also, her recall isn’t solid and I live in the country; some days I AM lazy lol and want to let her run and sniff without tagging along for every step. Again I agree with you but feel me as a responsible user, it can be a great walk. 🙂 Great blog, btw!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Thanks for your comment, Kizzy. I have used Flexi leashes before, and I admit I can be quite lazy with them as well. Isn’t that part of its appeal? 🙂

  77. I own not one but 2 flexi leashes, we live in a college town and yes a lot of people around here don’t know how to use them but a few do.
    You need to reel your dog in you pull your arm back at the elbow with the leash locked, then the slack you get at the end of the pull you click in at that time as you move your arm out again for another pull. Never let your dog at the end of their leash, unless running from a bear or snake. And never walk out the door with less than a foot of locked lead and a German Shepard that is happy to see his parents after a two week kennel stay. The last one is a bit of a joke, but the other two are rules that I learned while working at a dog kennel. You can properly walk a dog on a flexi, and train them to walk loose lead while knowing that if you need them securely by your side for certain things while at other times you want to let them 6 ft away because your dog doesn’t like you seeing them doing their business you can. Flexi leashes are great when letting your dog swim, we have a neon yellow cord flexi 10 ft for swimming and walking on campus. A larger more sturdy reflective flat cord at 16 ft for night walks and hiking.
    Please do note that our Dorgi (Dachshund Corgi mix) wears a life vest while swimming in a slow moving river that has a D ring attached to the jacket for a leash. Never let your dog swim with out supervision, no matter what breed or how deep the water is, things can change in the blink of an eye much like they can with a child. The Flexi leash is an extra safety precaution incase he would jump in before we do and the current be too swift.
    We could use a regular leash but those don’t work clipped to our belt loops while walking on campus, or let us keep a 2 ft circle of clearance at a restaurant table hooked to a table leg. In all the Flexi works much better for our life style of having our dog go with us, though we don’t use a Flexi car leash… that would just be silly.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I have used them for allowing dogs to swim as well. Some dogs just can’t be off leash and the Flexi works great for letting them wade or swim.

  78. I’m sorry but I love the Flexi leash. It makes it so my labrador and I can both have a great walk together. I walk at a quick steady clip, but she likes to jog, stop, sniff, jog, stop, sniff. Even when she needs to pee she’ll run 10′ ahead and then finish just as the leash is almost stretched to it’s maximum length behind me. It’s perfect. I tried the long leash but it was exasperating rolling it up and back out, tangling, and the worst was when I couldn’t roll it up fast enough when she ran towards me and it got dragged in mud! Yuck.

  79. I think this is a very helpful blog and don’t see how some people can’t debate the issue in a helpful manner. I was adamant anti-flexi and now, thanks to people like Sarah and Devon, I can understand if it is used properly with a trained dog (and owner!) that it can be a very useful tool. Like Lindsay, I’ve only too often seen it used incorrectly in inappropriate locations with dogs that are not trained. This does create dangerous situations. The people who need to read this blog probably are not. Maybe flexi leash enthusaists could help educate those in need or even more— does the leash come with any directions for responsible use?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Thanks Gail! I was just walking my dog at a dog beach over the weekend where the dogs had to be kept on leashes. I was actually wishing I had a Flexi leash so I could let my dog run and swim further out.

  80. Yikes, this is a bit presumptuous. I just bought a giant flexi today for my bernese after giving up on the long line, which would pick up half the forest in its path. The flexi is excellent for dogs who are already leash trained, and of course, an owner to keep an eye on what the dog is doing.

  81. I have 2 of those leashes I love them, but I do know what you mean though. I have a neighbor who has a big lab mix who gets dragged around everytime she is out I have to go out of my way to stay away from her. I have 2 jacks one is 5ys and heals unless she is going to the rr, the other is a 6m old who is learning to heal i’ll admit he has pulled the leash away a couple times but he desnt go anywhere just runs straight back to me. but I keep them locked out just passed healing length so it stays lose when they are at a heal. I do wish more people would learn touse them right or not at all, cause it gives the leash a bad rep they are useful I sometimes take my puppy to an open area of my complex and let him run with the leash extended but I keep a normal leash attached to the flexi and my wrist just in case.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Now that I’ve moved to a more populated area with more leash laws, I can see how Flexi leashes can be useful. I can’t allow my dog off leash in most areas where I now live, but a Flexi could give him a lot more freedom. Obviously I would use it responsibly!

  82. Hi there,
    i have a one year old Scotty who has been trained (with myself) at a very reputable dog training centre and i use a flexilead.
    The reason i choose to use one is simple, i am disabled and use a walking stick so walk at a much lower pace than my dog does. I am able to control him off lead with voice commands but when he see’s another dog or child (in an urban setting) he gets so excited and i am afraid he will run across the road before i can stop him.
    At other times when walking up the forrest or in a field he’s off the lead.
    I do understand what your talking about but please dont tarr us with the same feather.
    Many thanks

  83. I mostly agree with this article. I inherited a flexi leash from a relative who’s dog had passed. I learned when another dog was passing us on the street and I struggled to reign in my excitable puppy… When the other dog started snapping at my dog and our leashes were suddenly all tangled up, I was horrified! Luckily, it ended without injury. However, I live in a neighborhood that doesn’t allow fences- so the flexi-leash is great when I’m in the side or back yard and the dog wants to run around. Also, I use the flexi-leash when it’s raining hard because I can stand on the porch and let my dog go in the yard without me getting wet… but that’s just not needed as often as taking him for a good, structured walk around the block which he seems to respond to the best. 🙂 So, a flexi-leash is nice to have for certain moments but in no way replaces a standard leash for training and walking. I actually wished I had read this article before using the flexi-leash because I might have been able to predict the problems I would encounter being a flexi-puppy novice. Thanks for the read!

  84. I agree. 90% or more of people should not have or use Flex or similar leashes. The exceptions are those who know how to fish with a rod and reel (similar to control), those that want to learn, and those who purchase the “city” models which are much shorter and less dangerous.

    I use only Flex leashes, but I have numerous scars on my legs and ankles from those too lazy to use it correctly.

  85. I love my flex lead . I’m not lazy otherwise I wouldn’t walk my dog at all , my dog is well trained I just don’t trust letting her loose in an open park ,I’m sure she would be fine, however for my own peace of mind I prefer not to

    Whoever writes this has too much time on their hands ESP for something they are meant to hate .

    Different leads work for different people for different reasons .

    If your dog is well trained using a flexi need should be no different from a normal one as they shouldn’t be pulling or think they are in control anyway !!!!

  86. Jennifer A Shields

    I disagree with you, IF the pet owner is a RESPONSIBLE PET OWNER as I am. I am totally aware of my surroundings when walking my companions. When people or other animals come into view I immediately tell my two dogs to “WAIT.” When I do this they stop and wait until I catch up to them. When I do, I lock both Flexi Leashes with about 12″ of lead out and work with them on proper behavior around people. I got them both, brothers, at the age of Two Years. The previous owners were the irresponsible type of pet owners you speak of. They did not socialize them with either people or animals and made no attempt to train them AT ALL.. They also abused them, which I why they no longer have them, what kind of person could hurt and abuse an 8 pound little dog?!?!?!?!?!?!


    I like to let my boys explore on our walks so they can be dogs. Dogs live their lives by the smells in their world. It is how they know each other and their world. My boys know what they are allowed to do, and what they are not allowed to do, because I work with them to teach them proper behavior. It is the owners that do not spend the time to train their companions in what behaviors are acceptable and those behaviors which are not acceptable that are the problem, NOT the Flexi Leashes! Please, criticize the irresponsible pet owners, NOT the inanimate object!!

  87. I have a mini dachshund. I use a flexi-leash because my dog is so low to the ground, if there is any slack in a leash (as there would be in a regular leash) it gets stepped over and wrapped around her legs. A flexi keeps the excess pulled back and my dog doesn’t get tangled up.

    As for being lazy, she’s trained to follow voice commands. Also, she loves to run and can chase tennis balls for hours. It’s just not possible to be lazy and keep her happy.

  88. You have no clue…I have had a Flexi on my red bone coonhound for over 5 years. she is WELL trained, but she loves to smell, and the Flexi allows her to go out and do what comes natural for her…smell everything…track small animals, etc. When I say “Come”, she comes, when I say “leave it” she leaves it.

  89. For years I have use a flexilead for my dog on my mountain bike. But after a month or 2 they all lose their retractability and I have to buy another. Does anyone know of a lead that is more durable?

    1. I have 3 years Flexi leash and it still don’t give me a problems. You choosed incorrect Flexi leash by measuring for your dog. I’ve BEAGLE and I bought for him Flexi leash L by measuring. Sometimes my dog pull really very strong but: 1) I know my dog very well because I training him each day and 2) I choosed right measure for him

  90. Excellent points, spot-on about flexi-abusers, irresponsible dog owners in general. Doesn’t matter what kind/length of lead you use, your dog shouldn’t be out in front of you at the end of it when you are walking in public and encountering other people and dogs. It’s dangerous. I don’t care how “friendly he/she is” they are not under your control and safe supervision if they are not at your side with you in the dominant position. Period. I’m glad you have softened your personal position on Flexi, Lindsay, as they do have a useful function as you have mentioned in followup, but you are spot on 100% correct about general bad leash behavior from dog owners using them improperly. Too bad those folks are unlikely to adjust their behavior. *sigh* Oh well…time to run the pooches…responsibly/respectfully/safely! 🙂

  91. PS: I was just up at the school field and was asked “What is wrong with your dog?!” by a snotty soccer mom ignoring her off-leash, unmonitored, unresponsive mongrel as it approached my on-leash dog, as I asked for it to “stop”, “no, no”, “back,” “No, “NO!” Why don’t people understand that a) on-leash + off-leash do not mix (this is not an off-leash field – all dogs inside the city limits are to be on leash except for designated areas of 2 parks which this school fiield is not one of), and b) if your dog doesn’t come to you when you call it, or stop when someone says “NO”, it should NEVER be off leash. DUH! My reply to snotty soccer mom was, “He’s on a leash, that’s what’s ‘wrong’ with him”. Yeah, she didn’t get it. And her dog still wouldn’t come to her when she called it. She had to come all.the.way across the field, poor lazy thing, to get her dog away from me. She wasn’t there -for- her dog, she was there to gaggle with her other soccer mom friends while she absent-mindedly threw a chuck-it ball (the lazy dog owners’ toy equivalent of the flexi lead – also has a well-intentioned purpose but is frequently misused by lazy owners). I was there for >my dog<, who is always on leash, and that field is the best, and most appropriate place for him to get out to the end of his flexi lead and run a bit. We don't have a fenced yard, and he is a high-energy sight hound who requires at least 4 miles of exercise a day. So, she probably thought we didn't belong there if he couldn't be off is leash, – but he comes when I call him, and her dog does not…who doesn't belong?? Grrr.

  92. Pingback: Defending Your Dog

  93. If you don’t want the leash to extend you need to use a little fine motor skills and push the button on the leash .

    If you don’t want to have the leash pulled from your hand you need to grip it tighter.

    If you are not bright enough to leash train your dog, you don’t need a dog

  94. Everything in its place. Visitor who wants to walk the dog? I give them the short leash, not trusting they’ll use the Flexi properly. Out in the woods for a run, the retractable is the ONLY way to go, not for my laziness (though I am lazy), but rather for both our safety.
    We are out there for two reasons – exercise, and for Millie to get in her sniffing time (critical for “brain stimulation” according to the vet and the aspca from whom we rescued her). If she stops for an extra sniff the Flexi gives me 15 feet in which to slow down and stop, versus the 4 foot lead which literally tries to tear her poor head off. (Or I assert absolute control, even in the woods, and she reverts to being a “correct” dog/robot, and loses half the reason for being out for her walk – sniffing.)
    I’ve run with short leads (4-6 feet), such as for dogs I’ve minded (and in races, which is a special case). It’s practically impossible to run those dogs (unless I can let them off lead or switch to my retractable). So, I don’t, they get walked. What’s worse is that those owners don’t exercise the critter, either, because it’s too difficult on the short leash.
    People need the correct leash for the situation, AND they need to Pay Attention, Be Responsible, and Be Considerate. For my situation, Flexi is the ONLY way to go, and a universal ban on the things would be seriously counterproductive for the poor dog…
    I’ve walked as many as five dogs on flexis at the same time (NOT my choice, rescues). For the road parts, I shorten the leashes to three or four feet (It would be idiotic to let them extend to 20 feet near the road; I would be down to “no dogs and five graves” very quickly.) Once on the trails in the woods, I let them out to get a little exercise, sniffing, etc. My “exercise” is juggling those leashes so they don’t get tangled (and walking – none of them would run, too old when I got them, I guess).

    Anyway, the problem is not the Flexi leash, but rather the irresponsible, inattentive, clueless users (who probably drive and conduct the rest of their lives in similar fashion…). You could replace “Flexi” with “Car” and have nearly the same article. But. it’s flawed; Flexis absolutely have their place; users just need to include common sense in their walking tools (but, you know what they say: “common sense ain’t so common”).

  95. I would never suggest training a dog on a retractable leash. Once trained on the other hand they are quite nice to use. I live in a crowded neighborhood in a major metro. there are times my dog want to wander over the parkway to find just the right place to his business. I don’t have to follow him through the mud until I have something to pick up. Most of the time he is on a 6-8 food lead and it is locked but when I can I let him play in a grassy lot near us but should a rabbit appear he is still on a lead. Most of the time he will freeze on command but sometime I get surprised. I agree with you that if you are always or even most of the time using it as a long leash you are like doing a number things wrong.

    1. First you need to teach your dog to listen you and after you can use long leashes. But most of people think that dog already born smart and lasy to use free time for trainings and improvements. Poor poor puppy if you have owner like that!!!

  96. Lindsay, You really wrote bullshit. I’m using for long time Flexi leash and REALLY don’t have problems with it.. I haveBeagle and my dog really feel safe. He never escaped from me and never hurted my dog. It hold in the hand VERY CONFIRTABLE and control dog even more easier then with another leashes ( I tryed a lot of them ). We have really great time then go for short or long walk. So before you write this kind of bullshit try product.

  97. I believe you assume from your initial post that no one can train a dog but you. It is quite presumptuous on your part. I’ve found there are good dog owners and terrible ones, The type of leash used isn’t the issue. If you prefer a short training leash, good for you. I prefer the flexibility to have a short leash when needed, and a longer one when allowing the dog to explore. When walking our dogs we generally only have issues with owners who have short leashes which they unhook to allow the dog to run. If they utilized a retractable leash there would not be a problem.

  98. I use a flexi because my dog can’t go for walks, he is missing his rear feet, chewed off at birth from the mom when the owner wasn’t there to assist. So walking on a sidewalk or path is hard for him. So, he can only be in grass and likes to run around and play and the flexi allows me to keep it somewhat tight to avoid getting tangled up in it. It’s a 4 lb Maltese and training him is VERY hard, he has severe ADD, i’m lucky if I can get him to come to me at all, let alone sit, stay, walk. I work with him daily but it’s nothing like training a larger dog. The Flexi makes his outside play time so much more fun when AWAY from other people. If I see someone coming, I pull him back, or even pick him up. So, in my opinion, it’s not even about the training of your dog, it’s about the owner being smart enough to keep the dog away from other people/dogs! So many times, with this small dog, or when I had a 120lb Pitt/Rott mix, people let their dog come up to me, and just say, “oh, it’s ok, he’s friendly” LOL, but what makes them think that MINE is friendly??? Some dogs just are NOT that social, and if i’m keeping mine in my arms, or tightly by my side, that may be a clue that you should do the same!

  99. I appreciate your thoughts although I don’t agree with all of your sentiments. I do think some of your generalizations are very unfair, but I’m not offended. I also feel irate when someone allows their dog to wrap around others or misbehave in public. Please bear with me while I give you a little background information and ask an honest question:

    I feel I have greater control with a flexi-leash than I would with a lead. I spend a great deal of time training my dog, and I walk him with the leash much shorter than I could if I had a regular lead.

    I just adopted/rescued a two-year-old border collie, and I have been using a flexi-leash for our daily walks because it is the only way I can find to keep him right beside me. I do say heel anytime he does try to pull, and I pull him back to my side. I don’t know if he is really getting it or not. I keep the leash retracted to less than a foot so he can’t go anywhere else. Most of the time, there is slack in what little bit of leash I allow him. The only time he pulls is if he sees a rabbit or another person. It is a country road, so rabbits are pretty common.

    If I use a regular 6-foot lead, he can get ahead of me. How can I keep him right beside me on a 6-foot lead? He is learning verbal commands, but very slowly. This is a rescue dog who has had no previous training. He gets two 1-mile walks per day (I walk him in the morning and my daughter walks him in the evening), and like I said, he does great, even leaving slack in what little bit of line I leave.

    The problem is, when we go out into public, he hunkers down and pulls with all his might because he wants to greet people and especially other dogs. This is even with the lead retracted to less than a foot. It is all I can do to control him. For now, I’ve given up on taking him to places like the farmers’ market or a crowded lake. He does somewhat okay at the lake around a few fisherman.

    Would the gentle leader work for him? When he pulls, it is very hard, and it takes just about all my strength to control him. What if I combine the gentle leader with a regular leash? Is there any easy way to keep him beside me in the regular heel position? The whole reason I got the retractable leash was so I could force him to stay beside me during training. Every now and then, I try to let it out a little to see if he will stay beside me, but he doesn’t, at least, not reliably.

    And how can I keep him focused on me in public, even with the distraction of other dogs and people?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I see what you are saying. I prefer a 6-foot leash because then I can hold it in both hands for extra strength/control. When I hold a flexi leash tightly in one hand, the dog is able to throw me off balance easier than if I have the leash in both hands. Could also be personal preference.

      Yes, I think a Gentle Leader could help your dog if he takes to it Ok. Some dogs will really fight a Gentle Leader and paw at it so it helps to introduce it slowly. Like, put it on, give a treat and take it right off. Then repeat a few times. Then if they rub it or paw at it outside, I just ignore that and keep walking. Most dogs adjust fine, others don’t do as well. You could also look into a No-pull harness that clips in the front and pulls them to the side if they pull. Or a prong collar. It’s really preference and trying what tool works for your dog.

      If you like the retractable leash, by all means, use what works.

  100. 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.

  101. 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.

  102. 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.

  103. 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.

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