• Raychel Hill BSc (Hons)

Extendible Leads VS Long Lines

When I say extendible leads, I am referring to those which have a mechanism inside the handle that can extend and retract the lead.

Also known as retractable/ flexi leads. They are a very popular and convenient way to allow your dog some extra freedom on your walks.

However, many dog trainers do not tend to recommend them and leave you wondering why?


Therefore, I thought I would share my view on them and why I do not usually recommend them so you can decide whether they are appropriate for you and your dog.


1 – They Encourage Pulling

Firstly, your dog needs to pull against the friction caused by the mechanism to explore further on their walk. Therefore, the pulling against pressure is being rewarded as they are getting to explore further and further away from you - so if your dog is not leash trained they don't know where the lead ends. So if you dream of having a dog that walks nicely on a lose lead - it might be worth ditching the extendible lead.

I do have a whole group course dedicated to teaching your dog loose leading skills - click here for more information.


Luckily, when using a long line, you keep the lead loose so your dog do not get into the habit of pulling to get to where they want to explore - like when you are going on a sniffari


2 – A Lack Of Control

Unlike a fishing rod- an extendable leash has no ability to reel in your dog. It’s often the case that people may use this tool as they dog does not have a good enough recall to be off the lead yet. Consequently, when your dog is too far ahead they can get into a predicament. And getting out of that often results in you needing to get closer to the problem before you can resolve it. They also have swing left and right that gives them an abundance of freedom. Great in some circumstances, but risky in others. If your dog does get too far away, and you need to get them back - walk backwards away from the situation.


Fortunately, this is not so much of a risk when you are handling your long line correctly as you are reeling it in and out to remain under control of the situation. Also, you only drop the lead when your dog has a solid recall.


3 – Maintenance

In the handle they have a lot of parts you can’t see, so you can’t tell the wear and tear until it’s too late. It does happen! It’s also really the case that these leashes are severely restricted on weight and I would never trust the weight ratings on them and always go for a size too large to ensure maximum safety. If you drop the lead - it could led to your dog running away from it, like this dog.

However with a long line or a short fixed length - you can inspect it fully before putting it on for a walk so this is not as risky.


4 – Can Be Dangerous

There’s an instinct when your dog starts running to grab the rope that’s unravelling quickly but the string ones can cause awful rope burn to the hands. Furthermore, they can get tangled around other dogs or people and cause injuries.


Long lines can get tangled so it is important to ensure you are in a suitable environment for use, but as they are available in various widths and materials to make them better to handle - such as Biothane.


If you need help and guidance with training your dog, you can check out our

GROUP OR 1-2-1 training options.

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