Flexileads – Attacked by the leash

scaredWe hear of all sorts of reasons why flexi-leashes, retractable leads or whatever you like to call them, cause problems.

But consider also what other dogs may think! How might your dog’s posture may appear to another dog.

On 4pawsu.com they suggest that the body language of a dog that is wary or ready to fight with body weight forward and possibly hackles up (like the picture on the left) is similar to the posture of a dog at the end of a flexi-lead. Mis-read signals could cause trouble between the two dogs.

To quote, “Think about your dog’s posture while he’s pulling at the end of his leash. The constant battle against the leash is pulling your dog’s head up, high and rigid, and his body weight forward”. He looks like he is trying to communicate a challenge to another dog who may retaliate.

flexileadDr.Karen Becker points out that the real purpose of using a leash to walk a dog is to keep the animal safe and under the owner’s control and that retractable leashes often do the opposite. Your dog can get far enough away from you to get into or to cause trouble. These devices, she says, are counter productive to training a dog to walk politely on lead.

The very nature of retractables trains dogs to pull on the leash to extend the lead. Opposition reflex ensures the dog will automatically go the opposite way from the pressure – and pull.

Then there are the many injuries caused. A leash cord twisted around a finger, leg or even neck can cause terrible injuries.  I myself broke my little finger years ago when the cord became wrapped around it and the dog suddenly lunged – and this wasn’t a large dog either. In 2007, according to Jonanta Benal, nearly 3,900 leash-related finger injuries sent people to the hospital in the US.

If the leash clip breaks off your dog’s collar, the tension on the extended leash can whip that metal right into your face.

Imagine how it must be for a dog if you let go and the handle whips up the string to hit the dog. That could cause all sorts of behavioural and fear issues for future walks.

Here is the story of a dog I went to a while ago where the retractable lead could well have contributed to the problem.

Here is my main site with stories of many other dogs I have been to and helped: www.dogidog.co.uk

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About Theo Stewart

I am a dog Behaviourist (INTODogs-ABTC - AAB) and trainer covering Beds, Herts, Cambs and Bucks, a 'Victoria Stilwell' Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT) and a member of the IMDT. Graduate ISCP, International School for Canine Practitioners. My main site: www.dogidog.co.uk
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