I’ll be honest, I have never liked flexi/retractable/zip leashes. They’ve never made much sense to me.
I see an owner hanging on to a handle, disengaged, and a dog doing whatever they want, usually at 20+ feet away. They are relationship killers.
Over the years dog owners have tried to tell me how great they are, and I’ve listened, maybe I was missing the point? I can be open like this. But every time I see an owner use one, and see the total disconnect and lack of relationship, there is nothing that can convince me to say a nice thing about them. Not even to take a dog out to eliminate.
They sabotage loose leash walking, they kill the relationship when out and about with distractions, they encourage independent behavior, and they can be dangerous when a dog wraps around a handler or lunges. There is simply no reason, zilch, that a dog should be 20+ feet away from a handler when walking down town, in a store, on a busy sidewalk, or in a neighborhood.
Guess what happens when something hits the fan? Instead of calling the dog back, or simply being right next to them, you can reel your dog in, or better yet yank them back to you. There is no good teaching or training going on there, and it simply falls into the I have no relationship with my dog when out and about category.
We have a man who walks his border collie on what I think is a four to five mile loop every morning like clock work. I have seen him easily for three years, doing the same thing, during all weather conditions. His dog has been on a flexi leash the whole time, straining at the end of it for the past three years. They walk but there is no relationship and for sure no connection. The same the same the same every morning. Well apparently he had it this morning. As I passed by, he was jerking and lifting this dog off the ground and yelling HEEL from a good 20+ feet away. The look of confusion and fear on this dogs face was so gut wrenchingly sad. 365 days a year for a few years, the same walk, and now this? This man never prepared the dog for a heel or even a simple loose leash walk. And then this morning he decides, today is the day you will heel. I have a few other choice words for this man but I’ll spare you all.
Use your voice as your first leash, spend time teaching your dog, learn to work as a team, and build a trusting relationship. It all takes time, but honestly, you cannot expect behaviors if you have not put the time in. And by putting time in, it is a life time, just like for us. Always learning, always changing.