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The Last Time I Would Ever Use A Flexi Lead

5 Reasons To Ditch Your Flexi Lead. Way Before I Began My Professional Dog Career as a walker and trainer, I was just your average dog owner. I had an Old English Sheepdog called Flash, he was my world and I loved him to bits. We enjoyed long walks, playing ball and meeting people together.I remember one walk very well because there hasn’t been one like it either before or after. You could colour me embarrassed by the end of it due to the events that unfolded and they were caused by of all things a flexi lead and an excited Flash.

One Saturday morning I was ready for a weeks holiday down at my parents home in North Yorkshire, I had planned to set off early from Edinburgh but I knew that Flash would need a walk before being put in the car for the 4 hour journey. It was a clear and bright morning and we walked to our usual morning spot Victoria Park.
It was a quiet morning not very many people around but it was before 8am so that was to be expected. Now Flash loved meeting people and getting attention from them, he would always get excited when he spotted someone he knew. As we neared the end of our walk he spotted a human friend with her Springer Spaniel Beauty, so he did what came naturally he took off to go and see her.
The problem he was on his flexi lead and I couldn’t prevent him from going over, he managed to get to a decent level of speed when he’d ran the full lenght of the lead. With all his power behind him the lead jolted to stop and I ended up on the floor, with my legs splayed out in front of me I had landed straight on my backside.

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I couldn’t breathe for what felt like minutes, I had winded myself like I had done many times before however when I was a child. I eventually started breathing and found myself being helped up by Beauty’s owner and another older lady, I was so embarrassed as they escorted me to a nearby bench.
Thankfully Flash didn’t go anywhere he stayed close and one of my helpers tied him to a lamppost, he was too strong for either of them to hold on to. While I was trying to get over the shock of being winded I honestly wondered how I was going to walk home. One of the ladies rang an ambulance they were concerned that I had seriously injured myself. I was ademament I was fine but my protests fell on deaf ears as they rang 999.
Cue an ambulance driving into the middle of Victoria Park with blue lights to come and get me, by this point I had rang my friend Laura got her out of bed to come and get Flash just in case. The Paramedics gave me the all clear and I walked home… I couldn’t drive to my parents that day as there was no way I could sit in a car driving.
That same day the Flexi Lead went in the bin. I literally had no control over Flash once he started running, there was no way I could grab the line as it would of cut my skin and I hadn’t fallen down due to the jolt of the lead then Flash would have been severely pulled back by his neck. He would have been the injured one.
5 reasons to ditch the flexi lead

As I have studied dog training the more I have come to realise that the Flexi Lead is a really rubbish piece of equipment for walking dogs and here’s why.
1. They teach your dog to pull yes really! I can see why many people buy one especially when they have a puppy, it gives you the sense of security when walking your dog that they are attached while still walking around their surroundings.
Flexi leads however teach the puppy or any dog walked on one that they can walk anywhere they want, they can walk side to side, lunge from one smell to another. Now pop on a normal lead the dog and they will pull because they are use to walking where they want, the dog has learned to pull due to the freedom of the flexi.
Walking a dog that pulls constantly is no fun at all, never mind the damage being caused to the dogs neck it’s also really sore for us humans, I have achy shoulders that can testify to that.

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2. They cause untold injuriesForget me landing on my backside and getting winded, Flash could have easily been pulled back and over by his neck when the lead jolted to a sudden stop. If that had happened I have no doubt Flash would have got up and carried on regardless but there would have been unseen bruising and pain.
I have seen puppies running at full speed only to end up doing a crazy cartwheel like action, land on their backs as they reached the end of the lead all of a sudden. Yes it does look comical but the reality is an injury is never far away with this behaviour.

3. They make complacent owners I know owners like to use flexi leads to walk their dogs because they find it easy, they don’t have to feel the dog pulling and they don’t have to keep too close an eye on them. For these owners they can walk and have their head down on their phone. All these owners are achieving is showing their dog that they can do as they please and reinforcing that the world is far more interesting than them. Your dog will actually stop listening to you because you’re boring and that is what you’ve taught them.
4. They give your dog control.It is really hard to bring a dog under control and close to you while on a flexi lead. They have these big chunky handles that are clumsy to use and you can’t really grab hold of the lead part as it is more or less wire. I have been there with Flash and I always ended up doing a quick panicked motion to reel in the lead and get myself next to Flash.
Imagine walking along the street you need to bring your dog in close to you to avoid an danger like glass on the pavement, avoid another dog or stop people getting in tangle around the lead you will struggle.
Or the flip side of this is your dog wants to avoid something on the flexi lead they can run off in another direction ie on to the street. When they do decide to run off it’s all too end up losing control of lead and letting go.

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5. Taking your dog for a walk is partnershipTaking your dog for a walk should be a joyful thing you do together and you can’t do this if one of you is on their phone and the other is at the end of a long flexi lead sniff the pavement. You should be walking together and interacting with each other, this strengthens your bond.
The walk is one of the best ways to connect with your dog and intimately interact.
Do me a favour put your flexi lead in the bin, pop a normal lead on your dog and walk with them. Get their attention on you, engage with your dog and show them they don’t have to pull to get what they want.
Take careSuzanne

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