When my dog Ollie arrived in our household, I had very little notice as he was a rescue dog. With just a few hours to get ready for his arrival, I rushed out to my local pet store, Partners Pets and grabbed a few essentials.
One of the items that I knew I definitely wanted was a retractable lead, although I had no idea about lengths or manufacturers. The friendly store manager guided me around the dog section, recommending food, treats, bowls - and talking me through the lead options. He showed me several different types of retractable lead; the most basic one had a black handle and a selection of lead lengths. The sales person told me that this would be a perfectly adequate lead for any dog, but if I wanted to upgrade I could buy the Comfort flexi lead.
My decision was entirely based on colour; the Comfort lead came in purple - my favourite colour, and I bought it for £17.95
The sales person told me that the Flexi 2 was the right lead for a medium sized dog like my Cocker Spaniel. It certainly felt like a good quality lead when I held it and the difference between this and the cheaper lead was obvious.
The lead has a black, rubberised handle which is very tactile and gives a good grip. The handle is ergonomically shaped with a satisfying bulge that fits into the palm of your hand when you are holding the lead. This prevents cramp or any discomfort if you are walking a dog which pulls a lot. The retracting wheel sits in the rounded part of the handle, and this part is a lovely purple colour and made out of a solid, smooth plastic casing.
There is a 42cm short purple flat lead made out of woven fabric - this attaches to the cord of the retractable lead with a strong rubber end and a rubber washer. On the other end is a leather tab which attaches a steel clip so that the lead can be clipped on to the dog's collar.
I chose the 5 metre lead rather than the 8 metre lead, as this was the recommended length for my dog.
~~How does it work?~~
There are two buttons on the handle, and these are placed very comfortably so that they can be used without changing the grip on the lead.
The largest button is what I call the brake. It is indented so that the ball of your thumb fits nicely into it without slipping. Pressing this button clamps the lead so the retraction wheel stops; taking your thumb off the button releases the lead. Using this button, I often haul Ollie back to me as if I was a fisherman bringing in a fish - pulling and clamping, pulling and clamping. It is very efficient in emergencies.
Above this button is a ridged button that locks the lead. To use it you press the 'Brake' button and click the lock on. This locks the lead to a specific length, but I do not often use it as it means that the lead lies slack rather than whizzing back into the handle, and Ollie often gets his legs tangled up in the slack. It is much more work to keep on depressing the brake button, but I find it a much more efficient and enjoyable way of using the lead.
The lead is a German made product, and I usually associate German products with good quality. I think that this does apply to the Flexi lead. The lead has really had high intensity use since I got it - Ollie pulls hard on the lead and tends to run ahead around brick walls. This traps the cord of the lead in between the bricks where the mortar has disappeared, and every day the cord of the lead is scraped hard inbetween the bricks. Ollie is such an active dog that the lead is whizzing backwards and forwards at huge speed as he runs ahead and runs back to me again.
After 8 weeks of intensive use, the rubberised black handle is almost untouched. The purple part of the handle has some small scratches and scrapes, due to the lead being on the ground if I tie Ollie to a post while I go into a shop.
The buttons on the lead still function very well, but I have noticed that the retractor mechanism has got a little slack and does not snap the lead back into the handle with the same speed as it did when it was new.
This could be because the cord has frayed a little, due to the daily brick scraping. There is no risk of the cord wearing out or breaking, but it is a little frayed and I notice that the places where it is frayed catch on the wheel as the lead is retracting.
Having said this, the lead still functions very well and I am sure that it will last for many months to come.
I find that the 5 metre lead is just right for Ollie - any longer and he would run to far away.
There is only one downside to this lead - the way that Ollie runs round and round objects. He has wound the lead around lampposts, trees and elderly gentlemen, effectively wrapping them up like a parcel as he runs round and round them and winds them up. With trees this is a minor delay to our walk - with elderly gentlemen it is very embarrassing. I have often had to spend a long time on my knees unwinding the lead and releasing them, although I had the feeling that they did secretly enjoy the experience!
On the plus side, I have found the lead excellent for recall training. I let Ollie go to the full length of the lead and then call him back, giving the lead a small twitch if he doesn't return immediately.
The other obvious advantage is the extra exercise that Ollie gets when we are out walking; he can run around all over the place while still on the lead and sniff to his hearts content.
I bought this when i had my German Shepherd puppy, she was already pulling hard on the lead at 5 months, so in order to get used properly to the lead, i purchased one of these to help the training. It is handy, as you can have it at whatever length you like and it will remain there. The longest is 5m, but the catch dosn't always hold the lead, it takes one strong pull and it will tend to extend when you don't want it to. One not very pleasant example is if you are walking your dog where you don't want it to and they have the urge to take off, the lead will then unlock and you are pulled with it. But if you have a dog who is gentle and not prone to pulling on a lead, then this is ideal. The dog will have the freedom of not being restricted by walking next to you, but they are being controlled by being on a lead.
I bought one of these leads from pets at home for my 8 month old husky at the time since were having work done on the house and the door gets left open alot its safer for her because when at local playing field i can trust her off the lead. Well had it for about 2 - 3 months she is 11 months old now today luckily in the house she snapped the lead. I mean she isnt even fully grown and definatly didnt get to full speed and shes definatly a medium dog and she managed to snap it and for nearly £20 definatly not worth the money. I agree that only use one of these leads if you have a small dog its to dangerous for any bigger.
Most of you know about my dog, by now. For those who don't, he is a West Highland White Terrier, called Joey, although at the moment he is more grey than white, as he is in need of a bath. Have to get round to that sooner rather than later and then when the aroma around here improves I may review his current shampoo.
Joey is eight years old but he is still a 'runner'. It's a terrible shame, but we really can't trust Joey to be off the lead unless there are several of us at hand to catch him. I am unable to run so couldn't let him off the lead if alone with him. One fact, that I suppose is fortunate is, that when Joey is out he seems much more eager to walk along by bushes and long grass just sniffing and sniffing...and sniffing. Because of his bad habits though, when taking him to our local small woodlands, we prefer to use an extendable lead.
I will say that for all these types of leads utmost care needs to be taken. I would only let a responsible person, not a child, use an extending lead.
My reasons for this:
The device has a lock which stops the cord extending but for some, including me, this isn't too easy, therefore if this lead is attached whilst the dog is in the car and then the dog jumps out, if you've forgotten to lock the lead into short mode, he can just run out of the car and perhaps, into the road, for instance.
Also a dog could run into many dangers and you really do need to be prepared and always be able to stop the release of the lead quickly.
I now have an extending lead which I like, but this Flexi Comfort Long Lead was NOT a success. It certainly wasn't comfortable for me!
I had the lead on the dog in a park but saw some dogs running towards Joey, from a distance. I wanted to lock the lead to keep him close, but he saw the adventure coming and made a dash for fun before I could lock the lead to stop the slack. In a panic I grabbed the lead with my other hand...OUCH!!! The pain! The cord cut through my hand, deeply and very painfully, removing flesh. I felt as if a cheese cutter had been used on my hand. Okay, if my husband had been holding the lead then he probably would have clicked it into position much quicker, but I don't suppose I'm the only one finding things like this a little tricky at times? It really was pure instinct to use the other hand and I probably would do the same again, except that the extending lead that we now use isn't corded and locks and unlocks easier. It worries me when I see children in charge of dogs that are on these leads whilst walking along busy roads.
If an extending lead is used, it's not recommended that the lead is in it's loose position on public highways, as this is too dangerous to pet and drivers. Also, I think they can give one a false sense of security, and the pet becomes used to having a sudden run.
Still, I'm not disagreeing with the use of these leads. In fact, Joey has a great time in the woods with the newer version. I think they are a great idea for dog training and to give 'wanderers' a fair amount of freedom. I would recommend though, that you shop for a good lead with strong, and perhaps padded fabric, and try to foress possible dangers which could be ahead. Also check before buying that you can lock and unlock the position easily, especially if you have difficulties with manual dexterity.
I purchased this lead from Pets At Home, which had a good variety of these leads.
Here are some further details as taken from the website:
8m cord lead;
Comfort grip handle;
Quick release mechanism;
Lead lock to keep your dog at an appropriate length;
Stylish red colour.
Suitable breed sizes:
Small: suitable for dogs weighing up to 12kg;
Medium: suitable for dogs weighing up to 20kg;
Large: suitable for dogs weighing up to 50kg.
Approximate Dimensions (Packaged):
Small: H 17.4 x W 3.8 x D 20cm
Medium: H 20 x W 4.4 x D 22.5cm
Large: H 22 x W 4.8 x D 25.5cm
Approximate Dimensions (Product):
Small: H 14.5 x W 3.2 x D 11.5cm
Medium: H 16.5 x W 4.2 x D 12.5cm
Large: H 19 x W 4.5 x D 13.5cm
Approximate Product Weight (for Delivery charge calculation): Small: 300gm
Comfort Grip Red Extending Dog Lead by Flexi
I wanted a lead that wouldn't restrict my collie when we went about walking but with most leads this is just not possible. This lead was the closest thing to it with a length of 5 metres it was the perfect way for our dog to get a bit of space but still be kept under control.
We walk mainly in parks where you need to have a lead on the dog at all times. As I like my dog to feel the freedom of the great outdoors I thought this lead would be ideal.
It was one of the most expensive in the pet shop at 25 euro and there were alternative cheap versions but I wanted to get for a quality lead that would actually last through the wear and tear of a rather big collie. Right now you can get it on amazon for 23 pounds so there isn't too much of a difference, they all seem to be around this price range in all the pet shops I have been in.
The lead itself comes in a variety of colours and sizes. You can get the actual length different depending on the size of your own dog. The handle is really soft and it's easy to grip. It's a rubber texture so won't give you blisters from holding onto it hard. There is a button on top that can hold the lead in position whatever length you want it to stay at. This is really useful for a quick retreat when their are other dogs lurking about. The lead can be easily buckled onto s collar and it also stores away easily unlike pesky normal leads.
I found this lead to be excellent and after a few months of use I would certainly recommend this to any dog owner.
I bought the flexi long lead for a 20kg dog, my bouncy lab x lurcher to give her some freedom before we trusted her off lead. I has heard good things about them and finally bought one for around £20 from an online pet store.
The lead lasted a few days. One day she ran and the lead snapped completely. I had to chase after her and try to tie the remaining lead onto the collar. I was so disappointed. She is a medium size cross dog but really slender to look at and not as strong as a labrador. I managed to get another replacement lead and had a similar problem that when I put the lead on my dog had managed to chew the lead in half, as it is a nylon type material, in the space on walking from my house a few metres to the playing field.
Overall i was disappointed that i bought a lead specifically for her weight and one that was the longest length, knwoing she could run safely and it broke firstly with her running and then again after she chewed it for under a minute.
i would say this is more for smaller dogs, despite what they claim, it is not good for medium dogs.
We finally adopted a Border Collie dog from the Dog's Trust kennels in the summer. It had been a long wait, as we were settled in our new home and had been asking for a dog for a long time. My other half had finally given in after he decided that our youngest was finally old enough and responsible enough to help look after one.
Pre-adoption, we went out and purchased the whole kit and caboodle, ready for her arrival. We had beds, blankets, toys. You name it we had it. All except the collar and lead as Dog's Trust were to supply those.
On adoption day, we collected her and found that the bog standard, non extendable lead they had supplied, was not suitable for our very exiteable, hyperactive dog. Therefore, our first port of call before we even got home, was the aptley named Pets at Home store.
With our new best friend by our sides as she couldn't go very far on such a short lead, and we didn't want to leave her in the car alone, we perused along the shelves of the dog lead aisle.
My mum has a dog and the cheapest retractable leads keep breaking, she has gone through a fair few over the years, and her dog is only a Yorkshire Terrier. So with this, and our new hyper Collie in mind, we decided money was no object and go to for for quality in the first instance.
The one we chose cost us £16.99 at the time, and I believe it came with a two year guarantee against faults, so is worth paying that little bit extra for. Depending on the size you require they are now selling from £12.99 to £18.99 but looking at the Amazon site a moment ago, they are going for as little as £8.10, so take a tip from me, and shop around.
The lead is called Comfort grip, by the manufacturer 'Flexi' herein known as Flexi Comfort. Flexible because the lead is retractable, shorter and longer however you may wish to use it. Our lead goes up to five metres long, which is ample for our needs. You may also purchase leads that go upto 8 metres, but I find that if the lead is too long, and the dog is a puller, like ours, you loose control on the longer lengths, so five metres for us was perfect. Just enough for her to have a little freedom but not so much that she is uncontrollable.
It is also gentler, as it is not string-like, it is a tape, so if ever she did get it caught around her neck or legs etc, it does not cut into her. If you accidently touch it while it is retracting it is also less likely to give you a friction burn. It also just feels, stronger, and gives you a little more reassurance you dog will not become loose.
The comfort part of it's name comes from the moulded rubber handle. Some are hard plastic which can hurt your hands over a period holding a pulling dog. This is comfortable and has a nice grip to it. It's not slippery, so it never gets pulled out of our hands if Miley ever does pull too hard to try and get away (she likes to chase buses and bicycles).
This also has a handy quick release mechanism, in order that, if you have it on the shortened lead, once the danger has passed, be it another dog, or crossing the road, you are able to quickly convert it once again to a longer lead at whatever point along it's five metre length you like.
Our lead is from the Summertime range, which instead of being a deeper shade of colour, it is pastel. We chose the pink one for our dog. There were many colours to choose from and all the colours came in all the different sizes. You will easily find a colour and size of lead to suit your dog too. The mini version suits dogs (and cats?) weighing upto 12kgs,
small is for dogs weighing upto 12kg's (obviously the mechanism will be stronger on this one, and the medium, which we had, for dogs upto 25kgs.
I highly recommend this product as it takes the strain out of dog walking. Something so simple can make a such a difference to an already enjoyable experience (except in the rain LOL). I wouldn't hestitate to purchase one again, if ever the need arose.
What a fantastic invention, for which, I believe, we have Germany to thank. Retractable leads have been around a while, but I have not had a dog that required one until relatively recently. With a mad, hyperactive Whippet x Staffie bouncing about the place, I suddenly began to see why one of these leads may be useful. Being part Whippet, Lotty (name changed to protect the innocent!), often has an overwhelming desire to take off at speed in pursuit of... well, anything. With the speed of a Whippet and the stamina of a Staffie, Lotty is exceptionally fast for a small dog, and there's no telling when something will take her fancy and require her to run three miles in any given direction. Whilst this is acceptable in a large field, it's not so good when you are somewhere with lots of people and other dogs, who don't necessarily want an 11kg tornado barrelling up behind them. This is where the Flexi lead is excellent.
For a dog that needs plenty of exercise, particularly one who lives in an area that doesn't have many dog-friendly places to run freely, this lead is ideal. It's also an excellent solution if you have a dog that is prone to running off and ignoring you or worrying livestock, as you know that you have control if you need it. It's reassuring to know that your dog is getting the exercise it needs without the risk of it disappearing or bothering anyone. Lotty LOVES this lead! She feels that it is far superior to her previous (fixed-length) one.
If you are familiar with Flexi as a brand, you may know just how many options there are to choose from in terms of retractable leads. There are leads for dogs up to 12kg, 25kg and 50kg, and the actual casing (that houses the lead when it retracts) varies in size and weight accordingly. The lengths also vary and the standard is 5m, although I opted for the 8m version for that extra bit of freedom. There is also a range of colours, including red, blue, black, pink and grey, although not every combination of length, colour and maximum weight is available. Since I'm specifically reviewing the Flexi Comfort Long 2, I shall explain what this means. The "Comfort" part refers to the handle, which is slightly rubberised and therefore more comfortable to hold that the basic option. "Long" refers to the fact that this is the 8m version rather than the standard 5m; and the "2" part seems to refer to the fact that the lead is designed for medium-sized dogs, although be careful if you are choosing a lead as there are so many options and, while all the "2" leads appear to be for medium-sized dogs, sometimes this seems to mean those up to 12kg, and sometimes up to 25kg.
This lead features a reflective cord, which is a good idea for use after dark, and, although the handle looks quite chunky, it's not too heavy or a nuisance to carry around. It's clear from using the product that it is of high quality and it seems to be pretty robust. One thing I would say from personal experience is that it works best with an ordinary collar, although I do sometimes use it with a Halti headcollar. It does still work quite well this way, the only problem being that because the ring to which it attaches on a Halti headcollar is central and below the dog's muzzle area, it is necessary for the lead to go to one side or the other, meaning that the dog can sometimes get its feet tangled up if the owner is not paying attention! With a regular collar, of course, the D-ring will end up on top of the dog's neck, minimising the risk of it coming into contact with the dog's legs.
In addition to the clip that connects to your dog's collar, there is a safety strap that simply slips over its head, just in case the collar breaks when your dog is on the run. There is also a brake facility so that you can stop the lead from extending any further whenever you need to. Finally, there is a lock to ensure that the cord remains in the same position without the need to press the brake button. I would definitely say that this function is only for use when the lead is fully retracted, otherwise you will end up with a very tangled-up dog. It's worth noting that Flexi strongly advises against trying to pull the dog back towards you by using the cord; I did find myself attempting to do this a couple of times without thinking when I first used the product, but it really isn't effective! The only improvement I would suggest for this lead - and I'm not sure it would be possible without substantially increasing both the weight and the price - is the addition of an auto-retract mechanism, whereby you could press a button that would gently, but firmly, reel the dog back in, as currently, the only way of doing this is to hit the brake, hold it down and pull the dog back towards you. You then need to release the brake, move the lead away from your body towards the dog and repeat the process until the dog is back by your side.
I'm really very pleased with this purchase and, since it was on sale for around £13 (usual price approximately £16.99), I think it's excellent value for money as I'm sure it will last for several years to come. One piece of advice that I feel I must mention, however, is that if you only ever walk your dog in the woods, this may not be the idea product for you - as I found out when Lotty shot off at full speed in and out of the trees as if she were basket weaving, until she had covered the full 8m, and then stood there looking back at me as if to say, "Well, now what do you suppose we do?"