These days I see more poor examples of dogs being walked than I see good ones and this is often when owners are using a Flexi-Lead.
Most dogs are either too far in front, or too far to the side from the person on the other end of the lead. Not only does the owner have little connection with their dog, but also the safety factors are shocking in such cases. The worst piece of equipment to walk your dog with is a Flexi-Lead.
The evidence is clear to see as on numerous instances I see dogs walking on a pavement, then suddenly veer into the road because they are distracted by something on the other side. Their owners have no idea that they have not shortened the distance, and sometimes the mechanism becomes loose anyway. I have also seen such equipment snap when a dog has decided to quickly move and the tension cannot take the force.
Just imagine the scene, you see a dog moving towards you that is on the end of one of these leads and you have no idea of its intentions, whether it might be aggressive, or overly excited there is potential for a problem. You are already at a disadvantage as the dog is out of control and the owner has too much distance to be able to safely get their dog away from its intended interest.
When holding any type of lead, I always recommend that there is as less tension as possible from the handlers body. If you are ‘Flexi-Lead’ your hand is already in the shape of a fist, which is a position of tension. Dogs can feel tension, and you are already starting at a disadvantage if you are not relaxed and in control of your own body.
There is also another factor to be considered, injury to people, and to other dogs when your dogs runs across them, especially with the very thin almost ‘fishing-line’ type products. All you need to do is search online to see the severity of such injuries, and they are not nice viewing.
When I work with all my clients, one of the first things I consider is how their dog behaves on the walk. The equipment used is very important for you to have the best start to the walk, which begins in your home when you apply the walking apparel to your dog. By all means allow your dog more space when there is adequate room for it to move freely, you can use a simple ‘Long-Line’ to maintain a connection to your dog which will be far better than using a ‘Flexi-Lead’. I advocate walking your dog to your side, or even better slightly behind you in the traditional ‘Heel’ position’.
If you are taking your dog to open land, begin the walk in the best way you can by being in control as much as possible, then if your dog is well behaved it can have the free ‘off-lead’ time to explore and run in an appropriate place of course.