This week's topic is courtesy of Brooke Taylor, animal lover and public relations coordinator for Anchorage Animal Care and Control Center.
What do you think of retractable "flexi" leashes? Do you use them? Do you despise them? Is there ever a situation where you would consider them?
Brooke read a recent post of mine here where I mentioned I was considering using a flexi-type leash on Jillie. While flexi leashes can be convenient, Brooke noted, they can also be dangerous. She referred me to a Dogster article on retractable leashes that discusses dangers of people getting burns and even the the possibility of losing a finger. There's an illustration at the end of the article that shows the concerns -- only half tongue in cheek.
I wasn't aware of the dangers, but evidently they are real. I do know that every obedience instructor I've ever had has advised against them. They give the dog too much freedom and are difficult to maintain control in many situations.
However, I still can see myself giving it a try in certain situations, like the one that came up this spring. On an unleashed walk in a vacant park, Jillie, all 4 pounds of her, ran up on some crusty snow. She'd found a chicken bone someone had dumped up there, and the chicken bone was more of a reward to her than my voice telling her to "come."
The only way I could get her was to tromp knee deep into the snow, which I did, cursing the entire time.
My thought at the time was a flexi leash might be a good alternative for her. I could give her some freedom -- she seldom walks farther than 20 feet or so even when unleashed -- but I could also have control. As for leash burns or lost fingers, I don't think that's an issue with a 4-pound dog.
Then again, if the 4-pound dog gets caught up in the flexi leash with my 90-pound Chessie, I could see bad things happening.
What what do you think? Have you used them? Do you use them? What do you think?