Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Confessions of a Dog Trainer - 1

I HATE Flexi-leads (retractable leashes) and frequently rant about them but I use one. And I actually own 3 of them <gasp>!

THERE, I said it.

BUT with that being said (aren't there always caveat's for everything??), there are only certain situations that I use them in - potty time.

Flexi-leads were originally designed for hunters who had tracker dogs.
They allowed the dog to wander a certain distance away from the handler
so that he could track unnoticed by prey, but still remain close by. I think it is safe
to assume most people using them are no hunters, and do not have tracking dogs :).

The issue is that people don't know how to use them properly, which is why I hate them in public where most people 'misuse' them. Like all 'tools', if they're misused/abused, they are just as dangerous as anything else. But they do have their place if used correctly. Unfortunately, many people don't use them correctly, and that is when you start hearing all the horror stories - dogs walking into traffic (especially at corners) and dogs getting tangled up with other people, other dogs, trees, etc. As any dog trainer (even me!) will tell you, you usually do not have control of your dog if it's on a long leash that far away from you. I cannot tell you how many times I've seen a dog round the corner seemingly without an owner, only to see the owner 15 feet later, trying to reel the dog in - yank, click, yank, click.

When I use a flexi, my thumb is ALWAYS touching the brake button, and my attention is ALWAYS on my dog and the surrounding area. Plus, I only use them in my immediate yard and neighbor's yard. I do not use them for walks, being in a public places, or training time. They are strictly for potty (especially in the rain so I can stand under the overhang, haha).

Should they be used in all situations? No. Does everyone use them correctly? No. But to say they're all bad is not the truth either. It's COMMON SENSE people! I know such a novel idea...

... it's enough to make your head hurt.


  1. Regarding that flexi lead device, just being curious, how does it work?

    1. There are various lengths of flexis, but most common is 6 feet. So the leash cord is retractable into the plastic handle. The website, http://www.flexiusa.com/operation/operation.php, has a step-by-step guide on how to use them.

  2. It seems that the flexi lead can be a bit hazardous but in an open area at least the dog has some freedom to run a bit.

    1. True, I think that the flexi (when used appropriately like anything else) can be a great tool in exercising your dogs. It's just usually inappropriate for in town walking and training, which is what most people try to use it for.

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