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Flexi leads and small dogs

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by O2.0, Sep 12, 2021.


  1. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    This is not a "I hate flexis" thread or pro vs. con of flexis thread.
    As someone new to small dogs, I have some observations on retractable leads I thought worth sharing.

    I use a flexi with Penny, little 10 pound rat dog thing. I feel like I use it responsibly and don't endanger her or anyone else. And it's so darned convenient! They are a tool that has their place.

    That said, it only took me about a year, but I finally noticed something pretty significant about flexis with very small dogs.
    Even the lightest flexi requires some pulling to get it to extend. On a lab isn't not anything significant, with a 10 pound dog, it literally changes her stance when moving forward. This means that when she approaches another dog, her body language is altered.
    Like I said, it took me a year to figure this out, but Penny on a long line vs. Penny on a flexi is a different dog when meeting other dogs. She can still be reactive, but she is far less so on a long line or fixed leash that I let be loose.
    A flexi is harder to let completely 'loose' because it will always have that slight tension from the retraction. Unless you extend it all the way and lock it fully extended, but that sort of defeats the purpose of having a retractable leash.

    The other place I prefer a long line to a flexi is when teaching a dog off leash skills.
    A line you can drop and let the dog drag is so much more effective than a leash that keeps some tension on it all the time letting the dog know at all times that you are there.
    Example: On a long line, my dog stops, gets engrossed in a smell, perfect opportunity for me to walk on and encourage her to come when she realizes I've 'left' her. I can drop the line, keep walking and when she comes pick it up again. I can't drop a flexi.
    Same thing if she gets ahead of me and I want to drop the line and about face and get her to run back to me.
    These are all important exercises in progressing to full off-leash reliability with added safety of a line to grab if you need to.

    So... if you're dealing with reactivity, try a line instead of a flexi.
    If you're working towards off-leash reliability, try a line instead of a flexi.

    Last note: Apparently small dog long lines are not a 'thing' and they're hard to find. No problem. Buy some paracord and a clip. Penny is on a nylon paracord line. Doesn't hold water, stays clean easily, works great.
     
  2. ForestWomble

    ForestWomble PetForums VIP

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    That's interesting, sadly I haven't found a safe way of using anything other than a flexi or a short chain lead, as anything too long can easily get caught in a wheel which of course is dangerous. I'd like to be able to see if not using a flexi improves B's reactions.
     
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  3. catz4m8z

    catz4m8z PetForums VIP

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    huh...never really thought about that. Although TBH most of my lot arent interested in meeting other dogs!
    Flexileads are a pretty good bit of kit when used responsibly. I use one sometimes for Heidi and she seems to really like it. Adam and Hannah get a long line as thats what seems to suit them best (Alf is not allowed to go running around willy nilly as he would create chaos and mayhem!LOL:rolleyes:).
     
  4. Torin.

    Torin. PetForums VIP

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    I'm always aware of this, I think terrier background helps? The way terriers are stacked when showing is that same sort of leaning into it stance. It's only relatively recently that it's been changed that you don't get two stacked dogs facing each other to show their form off to the max. So I'm always hyper aware of when another small dog approaching us is on a flexi.

    Small dog lines are much easier to find in the UK & Europe than the US, it sounds like. We have a big German brand that Zooplus stock (Heim) that sells not one but two different types of longline suited to small dogs. And a couple of smaller makers sell them too. Of course that does mean owners have to be online-shop-literate, so it's over the head of most casual pet owners, but it still sounds much more accessible than North America.
     
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  5. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    It's very possible I'm just online shopping illiterate but I just gave up trying to find something, and I have plenty of paracord lying around anyway. I like being able to use a smaller clip too. A lot of small dog stuff has giant hardware which defeats the purpose.

    Absolutely, I'm not against using a flexi and I will continue to use mine. But it also has its limitations. Like any tool :)

    Yes, I can see the safety issue there.
    I wonder if you could have a dog walker walk him a day or two a week and see if they notice any difference?
     
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  6. SusieRainbow

    SusieRainbow Moderator
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    That's really useful information. Reena is defnitely happier off lead, she never goes far, but 'm constantly anxious that something will spook her and she'll bolt. I'll try her on a long line.
     
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  7. tyg'smum

    tyg'smum PetForums Senior

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    Thoroughly agree with you on long lines - we use them for recall as well as off-road walks. Flexis aren't recommended for greyhounds, but the long line is a blessing.
     
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  8. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    LOL I can imagine flexis are a no-no with greyhounds! :eek:

    We had great danes and though they supposedly make flexis for dogs that big, I never even remotely considered it. They were either on a 6 foot leash, or loose. Did enough pasture skiing with wayward horses, don't need to repeat that experience.

    No, flexis are indeed useful with smaller dogs in my admittedly limited experience. Penny comes with me to coach cross country running. That involves things like pushing a wheeled cart to the training room, filling a big cooler with ice and water, wheeling that now loaded cart back out to the parking lot and loading it in to the back of the truck to drive it down to the field. I need two hands. I have a flexi that goes around my wrist and frees my hand. Penny could technically be off leash through the hallways to the training room but I imagine the powers that be would frown on her being loose in the school. So she trots along with me on the flexi. No tangling because it never goes slack, and I can say the dog is leashed in the building.
    Then out on the training field, same thing, I can take my eyes off her and know where she is by the tension on the flexi, again leash never goes slack and I don't have to have 100% attention on her.

    With a long line, unless you're letting the dog trail it, you need at least one hand, sometimes two. I do like being able to drop a long line as needed. There are definitely times when it's useful to be able to drop the leash which you can't ever do with a flexi.

    This may sound weird, but another reason I like long lines for our trail hikes is that they're quiet. No whirring noise of a leash reeling in and out. When I'm out in the woods I don't want to hear anything but my footsteps and the sound of nature around us.
     
  9. tyg'smum

    tyg'smum PetForums Senior

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    There are horror stories of greyhounds having broken their necks when taking off on a flexi.

    I sometimes drop the flexi in a pub garden if the Twit needs to visit the loo or get another beer in, and I want to work on Lily's need to be a Velcro dog. And it's so much easier to control her on a flexi and harness than on a collar and lead.

    Thoroughly agree with you about quiet walking in woods!
     
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  10. Kaily

    Kaily PetForums VIP

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    I don't use flexi's, never have. When Alfie was a wayward out and out thug I had him on a long line. That in itself caused a few problems as he kept getting it all caught up in the bushes going after squirrels. One time he had to be freed by the park workman :oops:.

    I was determined to get him to the stage of being off lead, my problem wasn't about chasing squirrels which didn't really concern me, it was about his aggression. The long line would be dropped until we saw another dog.

    Cutting a very long story short, it turns out he is lead aggressive and much better off lead. Walking to and from the park or when leaded for any reason he is just on a 1 metre lead.
     
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  11. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    I do love Alfie stories :p
     
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  12. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    With any flexi that's unlocked, the dog gets more line by pulling against the spring, and that must give them incentive to pull when on a normal lead - hence making loose lead walking more difficult to achieve.
     
  13. kimthecat

    kimthecat PetForums VIP

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    Libby wont pull against it so she ends up walking by my side. The only time I use it is on holiday where I let it out and lock it so she will go to the toilet.
     
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  14. Jobeth

    Jobeth PetForums VIP

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    My Yorkie has a double ended lead so she knows that when both are attached to her harness she must walk to heel. When one is unclipped she knows that she can wander. The hardware is also suitable for her size. The only time she uses a flexi is if the garden on holiday is not secure. It is a lightweight one so would be ok if she wasn’t allowed off lead.
     
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  15. Blitz

    Blitz PetForums VIP

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    Toffee was a dreadful natural puller, the first I have ever owned. She walks on a loose lead on a short flexi or ordinary lead with no problem.

    I love flexis. I find they really help to train the dog. If you touch the locking bit it clicks slightly and every dog I have tried one on learn incredibly quickly that the noise means they have gone as far away as they can. Toffee (small dog) has to be on it when there are rabbits around so in some of the woods we walk in and she ranges around about as far as I want to with no pulling at all. I tried a long line but I hated it so as usual it is horses for courses or what works for you is the right thing.
     
  16. DanWalkersmum

    DanWalkersmum watching the world go by

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    interesting subject. I had not thought the flexi could encourage pulling, but it does make sense. I had been thinking for some time about a long line, but was worried about the logistics, the flexi is light and easy to use where it's not appropriate for offline but more freedom is appropriate, where there might be bikes, joggers or horses. I think it may be worth investing in a long line to see if it can help with the latest frustrating problem of "I'm not moving 'til you take the lead off" that the little so and so has at the moment:rolleyes:.
    I love this forum, so many good ideas and information, thank you all;)
     
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  17. Arny

    Arny PetForums VIP

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    I've never used a longline out and about (have one for the garden).
    All I think when I see people with them is how disgusting they must be to hold afterward being dragged through everything.

    I have had to stop using a flexi with Tilly as I didn't feel in control when she tries to pull toward other dogs.
     
  18. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    For whatever reason I haven't fount this part to be true. Possibly because I teach LLW based on hitting the end of the leash (no give), so the dog knows when the leash stops they stop pulling. Doesn't matter if the leash is 2feet out or 10, if they hit the 'stop' that's the cue to stop pulling.

     
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  19. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Depending on how you use the long line, it doesn't have to drag through mud and muck :)
    I hold the line looped over my finger or arm while we're moving. I may drop it to double back and encourage recall or if Penny gets distracted with a smell I'll walk on without her. But most of the time it's up off the ground.

    And many lines are very easy to wash or wipe down.
     
  20. Magyarmum

    Magyarmum PetForums VIP

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    I loathe flexi leads. Only having very small hands I find them too bulky and very awkward to use.and holding one in each hand when walking two dogs totally impossible. I'd much rather use a long line.

    All my dogs have been trained not to pull from being puppies. Both Gwylim and Grisha will stop and wait when they feel any tension at the end of the lead irrespective of the length. It's something they do even when off lead it's so ingrained in them. ( When they do pull it's because they need to have a poo and are searching for the right place)

    Gwylim on a 5 metre line.

     
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