Using a Retractable Lead Correctly

by Terrill Schukraft

The FlexiLead is a marvelous tool when used properly. It is especially useful for training a modest dog to do its business in your presence. Following these simple tips will make the FlexiLead as safe to use as a regular leash:

* Always use a well-made brand like a FlexiLead. The cost may be higher than some bargain brands, but the quality of manufacture ensures that the lead will function properly. Well-made leads like Flexis have been in regular use for about 20 years without ever malfunctioning.

* Learn to operate the lead without the dog at first. Learn where the brake is, how to lock it, how to slip it (like slipping a clutch, for those of you who remember manual shifts), and how to take it up without putting your hands on the cord. Don’t catch the cord with your hands; you’ll get a bad rope burn or cut if you do.

* Never use a slip, prong, or choke collar with a retractable lead. Use a semi-choke, a martingale or good fitting buckle collar that cannot slip over the dog’s head.

* Never let a greyhound hit the end of the lead. With practice while walking, he will quickly learn what the limits of the lead are and will stop his forward motion just before he reaches that limit.

* When walking with the dog in a crowded or dangerous location, take up all the slack by locking the brake at the shortest possible point (usually about two feet) and using it as a traffic lead.

* Do not attempt to let dogs play with each other on long leads. If they become tangled, they can hurt themselves badly. Usually the cord wraps tightly around some part of the dog and cuts the skin. In the worst case they could twist a limb to the breaking point.

* Hang onto the handle with your whole hand. Some people like to use a wrist strap attached to the handle in case they accidentally drop the handle. Most people do not find that to be a necessity.

Once you and the dog have learned to use the good features of the retractable lead, relax and enjoy the additional freedom. One of the great benefits of this sort of lead is that you can shorten or lengthen the cord with a touch of your thumb and avoid getting tangles. There is little danger of having the lead twist around you once you learn to use the brake properly.

CG F 99

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