Flexi leads can be a controversial tool among dog trainers. While some see the value they offer, others point out potential pitfalls. So, let's dive into the reasons behind both perspectives.
Cons of Using Flexi Leads:
- Quality Concerns: Some flexi leads, especially wire ones, can be of questionable quality. They can be trip hazards, especially if they're difficult to see. This is why bright-colored variants, like yellow, have gained popularity.
- Misuse: The common issue trainers highlight is misuse. For instance, allowing a dog full freedom on a flexi lead by a busy road poses clear safety hazards. It's crucial for owners to understand the lock function and when to use it to ensure safety.
Pros of Using Flexi Leads:
- Convenience for Toileting: For dogs that dislike short leads, flexi leads can offer the space they need to find the perfect spot, especially during road trips.
- Training Tool: If a dog doesn’t have a solid recall, flexi leads can be a temporary solution. They give dogs a feeling of freedom while still offering control to the owner.
- Safe Exploration: In unfamiliar areas, such as holiday spots, flexi leads can allow dogs to explore while ensuring they're not completely free.
- Visibility: Bright yellow leads are particularly useful in rural UK areas, where livestock might be present. From a distance, farmers can ascertain that your dog is on a lead, preventing potential conflicts.
- Safety: The visibility also reduces the trip hazard, especially for children or cyclists.
Recommendations and Safety Tips:
- Only use tape leads as opposed to wire ones due to the injury risk associated with the latter.
- Avoid grabbing the tape of the lead; instead, always hold the handle.
- For dogs with a tendency to play or avoid toileting, a flexi lead can help redirect their focus. After successful toileting or redirecting behaviour, reward your dog with praise or treats.
- Understand your dog's movement. If your dog tends to bolt, a flexi lead might not be suitable. In cases where they do, brace the handle with both hands to prevent injury.
- Get familiar with the lock buttons. A brief tap can interrupt a behaviour or encourage recall.
- Always keep the lead short and locked when near roads or in potentially dangerous areas.
The flexi lead can be an excellent tool for specific situations and dogs. However, understanding its limitations and correct usage is vital. Like any training tool, it's not one-size-fits-all, and what works for one dog might not for another. Always prioritise safety and be attentive to your dog’s needs and behaviour