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Discussion Starter #1
My husband is a huge fan of retractable leashes; I hate them for a multitude of reasons. I've been trying to explain that dogs on retractables have a more difficult time learning loose leash walking, but he says retractables don't have enough tension for it to matter.

I've done some searching, but have only found vague opinions on the matter. Does anyone have a good source for "retractables are bad for loose leash training"?

On a more positive note, he did find a source that said his plan for training our pup on the interior steps (basically flooding) was a bad idea and mine (desensitization and counter-conditioning) was the preferred method. Baby steps for both of them :)

Many thanks!
 

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Well I don't know of anywhere to find it printed about the retractable leashes, but I will agree with you in that I HATE retractable leashes.... both using them and other people using them as well. I can't even tell you how many dogs I've had lunge at me (even just to say hi) simply because they weren't being restrained and could just pull as far as they wanted to. You're basically telling your dog "do whatever the hell you want, I'm not gonna stop you".

But for a stronger opinion for your husband, you could take him to pretty much any dog trainer and ask them their opinion on the matter... they'll tell you
 

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Well I am any dog trainer and not only are they not a good training system for anything, they are also an invitation to an injury for dog or person that gets the lead wrapped on a body part, usually an ankle.

If I've learned one thing traveling through life it's that sometimes people have to learn these silly things themselves. So good luck and happy learning.
 

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They have their uses. Not everyone wants their dog to be well-mannered. Or rather, not everyone cares to commit the resources to teaching manners to their dog. If you have a small dog whom you don't believe in correcting, and you just want to drag it around the neighborhood barking and lunging at everything that moves, it's perfect for you.

It's kind of annoying when you're trying to teach your pup not to bark at every dog you meet on the street, and along comes some random neighbor chatting on a cell while her unmannered french bulldog is running every which way and yapping at the top of his lungs and she can't be bothered. Or the other lady picks up her still-barking schnauzer, saying with a smile, "you know how terriers are," knowing full well by the westie sitting calmly at your feet that you do in fact know exactly how terriers are. oops, sorry about the rant.

Walks are more than just great fun and exercise. They're an excellent bonding opportunity, they set the tone for your relationship with your dog. If you won't pay attention to the dog, don't be surprised when he doesn't pay attention to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I must use retractables in a different manner than most. Unless we're playing / running in the yard, the leash is locked at an appropriate length: longer (5-6' if we're walking around the house or down the drive; much shorter if we're on the street - so she can't stray into the path of cars).

Well I don't know of anywhere to find it printed about the retractable leashes, but I will agree with you in that I HATE retractable leashes.... both using them and other people using them as well. I can't even tell you how many dogs I've had lunge at me (even just to say hi) simply because they weren't being restrained and could just pull as far as they wanted to. You're basically telling your dog "do whatever the hell you want, I'm not gonna stop you".

But for a stronger opinion for your husband, you could take him to pretty much any dog trainer and ask them their opinion on the matter... they'll tell you
I'm still researching trainers, but this will be one of the first topics we discuss.

Well I am any dog trainer and not only are they not a good training system for anything, they are also an invitation to an injury for dog or person that gets the lead wrapped on a body part, usually an ankle.

If I've learned one thing traveling through life it's that sometimes people have to learn these silly things themselves. So good luck and happy learning.
Thanks for your thoughts. I've been nearly injured with standard leashes, but I suspect that's due to my own failings.

They have their uses. Not everyone wants their dog to be well-mannered. Or rather, not everyone cares to commit the resources to teaching manners to their dog. If you have a small dog whom you don't believe in correcting, and you just want to drag it around the neighborhood barking and lunging at everything that moves, it's perfect for you.

Walks are more than just great fun and exercise. They're an excellent bonding opportunity, they set the tone for your relationship with your dog. If you won't pay attention to the dog, don't be surprised when he doesn't pay attention to you.
Not sure what part of my original post implied I that I'm not interested in a well-mannered dog. The whole reason for my question is to convince my husband we need different training techniques / equipment.
 

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It really depends how it's used.

It's the only leash I use. Dexter gets three walks a day. A fast paced walk where the leash is locked at short length so he stays right by me, a relaxed walk where the leash is mostly unlocked (unless someone walks by) where he can explore around, a really fast paced walk with a friend where the leash is locked again.

Bascially, it's used as a normal leash 2 times out of 3. I use it anyway, since the handle is comfy. Especially in winter, if caribous are all over town and it's -50 and Dexter can forget his manners. If something happens and he pulls, it doesn't cut off circulation in the cold. The other time where it's used as a long leash, I simply stay aware of my surroundings and make sure no stranger can feel intimidated (hahah it's funny, but it happens) or he can't go see his favorite people in town unless they invite him to.
 

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Aside from the loose leash training problem, I have seen too many retractable leads break to consider them sturdy enough to walk anything bigger than a Yorkie. The little lock mechanism just doesn't seem to be able to stay locked against a strong and sudden pull. So you're walking along with it locked at a nice length, the dog lunges at a rabbit and pop, its broken.

If I see a dog on a retractable leash, I give them a very very wide pass, as all too often, it turns out the owner doesn't have the leash locked and there is suddenly a dog running towards mine.

I think the tension IS enough for them to know they are pulling. Maybe not if it were attached to a harness, but definitely on a collar.

If you want a comfortable handle, there are leashes with padded handles or you can get (regular, 6 ft) leashes with sturdy plastic handles like this (just an example, not an endorsement)
 

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Not sure what part of my original post implied I that I'm not interested in a well-mannered dog. The whole reason for my question is to convince my husband we need different training techniques / equipment.
Sorry, I see I was unclear on this -- your post didn't imply anything even close to that. Although I realize you were asking for reference material, I was just offering an opinion on the tool itself, and how I've witnessed its use in my neighborhood. You've described a perfectly valid use for it.
 

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There was a thread on here this year a while back.....cannot find it....where a dog fell over a cliff into a ravine and broke it's back and was severely injured, due to a retractable leash that malfunctioned and broke. Ever since that thread I have long retired my retractable leashes. The article really freaked me out!
 

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Aside from the loose leash training problem, I have seen too many retractable leads break to consider them sturdy enough to walk anything bigger than a Yorkie. The little lock mechanism just doesn't seem to be able to stay locked against a strong and sudden pull. So you're walking along with it locked at a nice length, the dog lunges at a rabbit and pop, its broken.

If I see a dog on a retractable leash, I give them a very very wide pass, as all too often, it turns out the owner doesn't have the leash locked and there is suddenly a dog running towards mine.

I think the tension IS enough for them to know they are pulling. Maybe not if it were attached to a harness, but definitely on a collar.

If you want a comfortable handle, there are leashes with padded handles or you can get (regular, 6 ft) leashes with sturdy plastic handles like this (just an example, not an endorsement)

Dexter can perfectly make the difference between when the leash is locked and when it's not. He doesn't pull at all on our regular walks, unless there's something too tempting for him (the exceptional cat, caribous or foxes). And even with the most motivation, the lock as always resisted my 65 pounds sled dog.
 

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Dexter can perfectly make the difference between when the leash is locked and when it's not. He doesn't pull at all on our regular walks, unless there's something too tempting for him (the exceptional cat, caribous or foxes). And even with the most motivation, the lock as always resisted my 65 pounds sled dog.
I'm glad it has worked for you. I've seen it break with a 50 lbs border collie. And a 6 lbs Yorkie. They are plastic and plastic wears out, especially if it gets a lot of sun (like if the leash is left on the seat of the car during the day)

It also is useful to consider the locations when deciding if its a good tool or not-- if you are someplace rural and without many other dogs and people around, then it is much less a potential problem then if you are on an urban sidewalk 5 feet from traffic or walking through a city park passing many other dogs etc.
 

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I'm glad it has worked for you. I've seen it break with a 50 lbs border collie. And a 6 lbs Yorkie. They are plastic and plastic wears out, especially if it gets a lot of sun (like if the leash is left on the seat of the car during the day)

It also is useful to consider the locations when deciding if its a good tool or not-- if you are someplace rural and without many other dogs and people around, then it is much less a potential problem then if you are on an urban sidewalk 5 feet from traffic or walking through a city park passing many other dogs etc.
I've tested a few before finding a solid one. And yes, I'm definitely not in an urban area.

I guess what I'm saying is yes it's often badly used and a hazard, but hate the user, not the tool. It can be used correctly without issues and offers a few advantages.
 

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I absolutely love mine. HOWEVER, I use the tape style and both of my dogs are extremely well-trained, both on and off lead. I hike, and on a hiking trail, it is usually against the regulations to have off-leash dogs. So, I use the flexi to comply with the rule and still give my dogs a bunch of freedom. I use thick collars when I use the flexi so they barely feel the normal tension of flexi itself. Mine just don't pull, so if I give a tug, they just yield. I tell them to heel if we encounter people. I also carry an extra leash in my fanny pack in case the flexi stops retracting and I need to switch. I have had a couple stop working in that manner.

As far as a training tool: Flexis are probably a horrendous choice. Most folks seem to use them on degenerate pullers. That would be the last place I would use a flexi. For pullers in training, a long line is a better choice if you are trying to give them some distance to work from.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Sorry, I see I was unclear on this -- your post didn't imply anything even close to that. Although I realize you were asking for reference material, I was just offering an opinion on the tool itself, and how I've witnessed its use in my neighborhood. You've described a perfectly valid use for it.
My apologies; I misinterpreted your comment. Admittedly, I'm hypersensitive right now. Katie's only been with us 3 weeks and I'm already feeling inadequate. Sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
There was a thread on here this year a while back.....cannot find it....where a dog fell over a cliff into a ravine and broke it's back and was severely injured, due to a retractable leash that malfunctioned and broke. Ever since that thread I have long retired my retractable leashes. The article really freaked me out!
OMG! How tragic!

If you want a comfortable handle, there are leashes with padded handles or you can get (regular, 6 ft) leashes with sturdy plastic handles like this (just an example, not an endorsement)
Actually, the handle on our retractable is horrible. I like the regular loop style so I can slip it over my wrist and have both hands relatively free so that I can hold a flashlight while picking up poop. We're going out today and I may try to talk my husband into getting just a regular long leash for the yard. Something like what you've recommended.

Dexter can perfectly make the difference between when the leash is locked and when it's not. He doesn't pull at all on our regular walks, unless there's something too tempting for him (the exceptional cat, caribous or foxes). And even with the most motivation, the lock as always resisted my 65 pounds sled dog.
I absolutely love mine. HOWEVER, I use the tape style and both of my dogs are extremely well-trained, both on and off lead. I hike, and on a hiking trail, it is usually against the regulations to have off-leash dogs. So, I use the flexi to comply with the rule and still give my dogs a bunch of freedom. I use thick collars when I use the flexi so they barely feel the normal tension of flexi itself. Mine just don't pull, so if I give a tug, they just yield. I tell them to heel if we encounter people. I also carry an extra leash in my fanny pack in case the flexi stops retracting and I need to switch. I have had a couple stop working in that manner.

As far as a training tool: Flexis are probably a horrendous choice. Most folks seem to use them on degenerate pullers. That would be the last place I would use a flexi. For pullers in training, a long line is a better choice if you are trying to give them some distance to work from.
Problem is, Katie isn't trained yet and pulls horribly on the leash if she sees or smells something interesting. I'm working on it, but it's going slowly.

Thanks for all your help!
 

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I hate retractables, they are not only dangerous if they break, they are dangerous period because the dog has too much space to roam. as an example, a few weeks ago I was walking my dogs, Rusty who is a great loose leash walker suddenly freaked out when a peice of cardboard blew in the wind, he jerked to the side too suddenly for me to react and came within inches of being under the tires of a semi..that was on a 4 foot leash. had he been on a retractable? he would have been dead.

thats not to say retractable cant be useful, but I would only ever use to reccomend one for use in say a park to give more space to run.
 

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I admit I will use a regular leash when I bring my dog into civilization each summer. Just for extra control since he's not used to traffic and crowds of people (and tourists wanting to take his pictures). I don't know how much use the flexi would get if I lived someplace normal. Here, even if I walk by the side of the road, traffic is very sparse and everyone knows my dog and just slows down to say hey anyway when they drive by. I know every single dog in town and know which one will be happy if Dex roams to say hey.

It's my first weekend of having enough snow in the street for me to sled with Dexter (i'm so physically spent and so is he...it's awesome). I admit I do it right by the side of the street, all around town. I use the flexi and hold the loose leash just in case something happens and I need for him to wait on the side of the road, but cars slow down to a ridiculous point and give us priority. Fully aware this is not the best solution, but I'm just waiting for some extra money to buy a musher belt. I do have it easy for the flexi, considering my location.
 

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As far as a training tool: Flexis are probably a horrendous choice. Most folks seem to use them on degenerate pullers. That would be the last place I would use a flexi. For pullers in training, a long line is a better choice if you are trying to give them some distance to work from.
I would agree with you, in terms of training walking. I have found it FANTASTIC for recall training in the yard, leave it in the yard, and short distance fetch. The long line works too, but I like the retraction of the flexi which keeps me from getting myself wrapped up in the long line or tripping (yes, I am this clumsy).

We do use it for walking occasionally, but never in public places. We have our "free walks", sort of a free sniffing exploration expedition. The only real rules are no pulling and no bolting. She IS a notorious puller sometimes, but she has started to clue in that if she wants to keep up the roaming she doesn't pull and doesn't bolt. Those get the flexi adjusted to the shortest length (with no extra long line to coil up) and a quick trot back to the house, no stopping. Flexis have their uses, but are absolutely the worst for trying to train polite walking habits (I think it was a large source of some of our early troubles with polite walking!)

I can't tell the OP what to tell her husband, but perhaps indulging in some flexi "free walks" in a safe place of course with training walks on a regular leash might be a start.....Just a thought. Good luck!
 

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I love my retractable for the right time and place. I always use my 6ft regular leash for public outings, such as walking in public stores, crowded (or even uncrowded) streets, on our regular walks (even though we hardly encounter other people on our mid afternoon walks, I still prefer using a 6ft leash). I always like to bring the 26ft retractable along with me just in case a moment pops up where we can use it or may need it. When we sleep at others homes (family, friends, etc), I use it for potty breaks. He tends to like more room when he needs to do his business, lol. Or if I know we'll have a big open field to explore. I do have a 50 foot long line for him (mainly we use that on open beaches, etc) but sometimes 50ft is just TOO much, so that's when the retractable comes in handy.

With that said, my dog is not an idiot on it. He doesn't pull all the way out to the 26ft and pull and lunge and bark, etc. He can still obey commands and walk nicely and just use it to be able to sniff and walk a bit faster than me, which is sometimes nice because he can take more steps and get more exercise then he would just walking beside me the whole time. But yeah, there's a time and a place for them. It's a tool and just like anything else, it can be misused.

I will say even my 16lb broke a Flexi lead that said "up to 26lbs". Opened the door (we live on 3 acres, so he's usually on the 50ft line, but for some reason this day, he was on Flexi) and there were a ton of deer out there and he darted - the thing just snapped. I didn't even feel like he pulled THAT hard. So yeah, definitely be careful. Oh and we were camping once and this guy had a Lab on one and again, broke. Seemed to happen in an instant, the owner was like "wtf? did that just break?" like he did not even realize it happened at first. Thank goodness the dog was friendly as he came running over to Jackson and I.
 

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I've tested a few before finding a solid one. And yes, I'm definitely not in an urban area.

I guess what I'm saying is yes it's often badly used and a hazard, but hate the user, not the tool. It can be used correctly without issues and offers a few advantages.
I agree with this.

I'm not in an urban area either, and I love my retractrable ribbon leads. I did spend a good amount of time selecting for handle comfort. I walk my dogs in an urban area a couple times a month and hate the loop handles. I cannot even keep track of how many times I've dropped the loop leads. I find them much more problematic than a retractable handle, especially on days where the hands have a little arthritic pain.

My dogs rarely pull. If I had a puller I would be training first without a retractable. They are NOT the lead to use with a puller.

SOB
 
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