This lead is quite a size, with the housing being about 170mm by 140mm by about 30mm thick, with this housing containing the actual lead as it retracts back into the housing.
On the top of the housing there is the control button which, if press down, locks the lead until you let the button go. But if you press and push it back a little it locks the lead in place even when you take your thumb off the button. To release this 'lock' you simply press the button forward again.
The lead is a flat material, unlike the thin rope of the other leads I've used. This flat lead seems to handle itself well and doesn't seem to get tangled up as much as some of the rope ones I have used.
They do these leads in a few sizes, so it's all down to how big, or small, your dog is. I have the medium one, which is for dogs up to 50kg, with the large being for dogs up to 60kg. Mine stretches out up to 5 metres, which is plenty enough for my dog to go sniffing around, usually loitering behind me when he find a 'lovely scent' as I keep walking on, this saves me having to stand there with him as he does what all dogs do.
The metal catch at the end is strong, very strong in fact, even if it's only small, but has stood the test of time when my dog decides to pull a little too hard.
The handle is quite comfortable, with my fingers going through the gap with ease, gripping the entire handle in order to get a good hold of the housing itself. The control knob is in just the right place so that I can get my thumb on the button without an hassle at all.
This is a lead that allows your dog to go a few metres ahead or behind without him getting himself in any danger. It retracts quickly and safely, giving a little 'whizzing' sound as it retracts and extends.
I got mine from Pets at Home, paying £20 for it, which is not too bad considering that other shops are selling it for at least a tenner more.
I bought one of these are I was looking for a lighter flexi lead than my old faithful Flexi lead.
This stated on the box it would take a dog up to 60kg, My Rotti was 45kg so thought this would suffice.
The handle was lighter than the Flexi lead but it did not seem very stable or strong when I took it out of the box.
My Rotti needs to be on a long line purely because he was a rescued dog and after recieving no training and no exercise as a put of a young dog he was very hard to train. The only thing I could not train him to do was to come back when in full flight of an animal! He was also not socialised as a pup and so did not get on with other dogs very well.
He did not run and play with my other dogs and spent our long walks trotting beside me. I put him on a long line to be able to gove him some freedom but also keeping control of him around any wild animals or horses we met.
He generally did not pull on the line but if he saw a deer of horse before I did he would run and the line had to be strong enough to hold him.
The difference of this lead to the Classic Flexi lead was that if you lock the lead from extending and call the dog back the lead will automatically run back into the handle as the dog returns. Flexi leads dont do this and once locked and the dog runs back the line goes slack and collects on the floor.
This was the main reason I bought this as it is a pain then the lead collects ont he floor and dangerous when you then retract the lead back to the handle.
However, the flippy lead did not feel strong enough at all and was put to the test as my Rotti took off at a gallop after depositing his package!! The Flexi lead will withstand any jolts from him doing this an alhtouhg the Flippy lead did not break it made noises that told me it was not far from breaking!
I went straight back to my faithful Flexi lead as I felt it was a lot more sturdy and stronger.
The Flippy lead may be lighter and may have a very good retraction device in it but it does not feel like it would deal with the weight of dog it suggests it does.
Had I ownered smaller dogs then this could be good but not for me!
The Ferplast Flippy Controller is a robust automatic extendable dog lead with a patented control mechanism. It minimises problems commonly associated with extending/retracting leads and helps us walk our 'new' dog with greater control and safety, while still allowing a fair degree of freedom.
~~The purpose of the exercise~~
We finally lost our last rescue dog at the ripe old age of at least 17 years and it took us quite some time to choose another. By the time we did, we had very few pet accessories left, leads included. The very helpful people at the Dogs Trust provided us with a sturdy fixed length lead which was fine initially - and still has its uses - but to give the dog a bit more freedom with minimal risk we decided to try an extending lead, as we had found these handy in the past.
What we needed was something reliable, strong enough for our 'new' Staffordshire Bull Terrier Cross, Lilly. It also had to be easy to use in practice. Being a rescue dog, her background was largely unknown, and caution had to be exercised - as did the dog. Regularly!
~~Price and availability~~
Our local branch of Acorn Pets happened to be offering one third off the Controller, which brought the price down to a reasonable £17.30 for the medium-sized version. This has turned out to be a good investment. Flippy leads are also widely available online, as a search will quickly reveal. Amazon are currently asking £22.14.
We bought the middle-sized one as this suits dogs up to 50Kg, well over Lilly's weight, even though she does need to lose some. (All the more reason for the regular walks...!)
~~Design and usability~~
Being of Italian origin, the design is pretty good - but it's also solidly manufactured!
Having used a normal extending lead, it did take a couple of outings to get used to the new system. As claimed, Ferplast's 'Easy Control System' maintains tension; the cord/tape recoils automatically as the dog moves towards you, and in the locked position it prevents her/him moving any further away. Effectively a ratchet control mechanism, this works well once you get the hang of it.
The lead is quite comfortable to hold. The integral handle provides a good secure grip - which is just as well with an exuberant muscular 20Kg canine on the end! The locking mechanism is quite easy to engage, with just two positions for the locking button: free running / easy control. The only problem I find is that occasionally I have to ensure the lock has actually engaged. To be fair, though, other members of the family have not reported this, so it could just be me.
The 5m lead itself is a tough wide tape and has never snagged - a problem we had with a previous lead.
~~User guide and support~~
The box has printed instructions in English and other languages, with fairly clear illustrations. I have to say we all had to spend a little time looking at these to familiarise ourselves with the unique control system.
~~More about the patented control system~~
To quote the instructions in English on the box:
"To start the unique Easy Control System the cord/tape will immediately stop and your dog cannot move further away from you. At this time and contrary to traditional automatic leads, the tape will recoil automatically if your dog moves towards you [...]"
This is true, though you still have to retrieve the dog from in front of you, as with all extending leads.
~~Build quality and durability~~
The materials used seem high quality plastics with 'rubberised' handle for grip, a strong tape for the main cord and a fairly heavy duty metal clip for attaching to the collar. We've used this regularly now for several walks each day, for the past month or so, with no immediate signs of wear. It seems likely to last quite some time.
Not the cheapest dog lead on the market.
Good but not quite perfect. While some purists may disapprove of all extending leads, this version serves us well. It's well designed, robust and provides a high level of control and safety all round.
* Manufacturer's website [in English] : http://www.ferplast.com/default_eng.php
* Dogs Trust : http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/
[© SteveS001, 2011. This original review may appear on other review sites]