Walking your dog is just plain fun! It provides the highest level of enjoyment for you and your dog.
But it can’t be fun if you don’t feel like you have total control and your dog is secure and safe on a flexi-lead. Without a doubt, every dog owner should decide which leash is better for them. Will you use a flexi-leash or would you prefer a fixed length leash – 6’ or shorter?
I must say that, with the exceptions of going to the vet or some place for outside dining where pets are permitted, I enjoy the flexi-lead for walking our dogs.
Not only do they have the most fun but they get almost twice the exercise as I frequently call them back to me throughout the walk. Another benefit to frequent recalls is that they are always “checking in” with me.
Dogs love to walk and explore. The flexi-lead gives them the opportunity to do just that. We leash walk our dogs at the beach, in many state park environments and local parks and I’m convinced that they have had a better time being able to maximize their time on their fiexi-leads – all the while complying with the local leash laws.
Understand that the goal is not to get your dog to heel on your side all the time, but just to walk on the flexi-leash and enjoy the walk with you. As long as your dog isn’t pulling and you both are enjoying the walk, it’s a win-win situation.
For me it’s a highly effective and kind method for teaching your dog to walk politely on a leash. There are no special collars, no beating up on your dog and no gimmicks.
On a 6’ leash, your dog is already pulling at 3, 4 or 6 feet from you depending on where you hold the leash. This can’t be fun for many new dog owners or even veteran dog owners who still haven’t taught their dog to heel.
Of course you should teach your dog to heel next to you as this works better for you in close quarters like at the dog store, vet office or walking your dog in a retail setting.
While heeling you dog is good for certain situations, being able to flex out on a neighborhood walk, at the beach or state park and feel somewhat free has got to be the next best thing to free-flight for your dog. I know it is for ours!
Guidelines for Flexi-Leash Walking
While using a retractable leash may seem simple, it would pay you big dividends if you considered the following guidelines:
1. Make sure your flexi-leash is of the appropriate size/length for your dog.
• Check the package for recommended length and size for your dog’s weight
2. Learn how the flex-leash works and be comfortable using it in all situations.
• Know how to use the stop button which stops the dog from moving out
• Know how to use the lock button which locks the leash at a certain length
3. Go to a neighborhood park to practice out in the opening before getting into more complex situations like narrow neighborhood streets with cars.
• A small neighborhood park allows you to practice walking your dog on a flexi-leash because you have a lot of room, it’s all grass instead of just sidewalks and streets
4. If convenient, carry a back up leash just in case.
• Just in case you become uncomfortable with your flexi leash, you have a regular leash to put on your dog5. Take food treats for training on your walks – no matter where you take your dog.
• Great motivator to get your dog to come to you once he’s flexed out on the lead. Frequent recalls are important.
• This is what makes using a flexi-lead work with your dog because the training and the recalls keeps you in control.
7. Practice these commands frequently and once your dog comes, get him to sit – click/praise/treat and then release him to go explore once again.
If your dog is extremely bossy, hard to control, out of control or exhibiting behavior problems, the flexi-lead may not give you the control you need for best management of your dog in social situations.
Instead, just continue to use his 6’ leash to walk and control your dog better. Once he is under control, then you can consider giving him a little more leeway by using the flexi-lead – if you wish.
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“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8500+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.
His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step way to teach your dog how to be a great family member.