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I walk Blue—my 8 month old smooth coated male—twice a day in a nearby public park where he has amassed an embarrassingly large fan club. Most of the time, I walk him on what started out as a 16’ long retractable Flexi Leash.

 

Blue loves to play with the leash while we walk. This involves wrapping it around his snout, his legs, and his body all the while nipping at whatever part ends up close to his apparently razor sharp teeth. I know it’s not the best behavior and we do have obedience laps on a short lead from time to time but, frankly, it is cute as hell and he really enjoys it. Needless to say, this activity often results in the lead being severed in the middle of our walk.

 

After taking the Flexi assembly apart and reattaching the bolt snap to the remaining webbing a couple of times, I started doubling the webbing up and putting it inside a section of heat shrink tubing on the section nearest his head to protect it from his teeth. Pretty soon, he learned to pirouette a single turn catching the lead under his tail and bringing the unprotected part in range of his treacherous fangs.

 

Not to be outdone by a mere stupid dog, I purchased an inexpensive six foot lead from my local big-box pet store. I cut it in half and fastened a bolt snap to one end and a D-ring to the other end of each half thus creating two “sacrificial” sections I could fasten to the end of the Flexi and simply replace when his teeth had done their job.

 

This morning, in a first real-world test, I fastened one end of the sacrificial section to Blue and the other end to the Flexi and loaded the whole affair into my car for the five minute drive to the park. After arriving at the park, I opened the back door of the car, reached in and grabbed the Flexi handle, and watched Blue go streaking through the parking lot before making a victory lap around his waiting and delighted fans. He had chewed completely through the “sacrificial” link in the space of a five minute car trip and was still proudly wearing the tag end of it fluttering from his collar.

 

I’m new to Border Collies but am very much of the opinion that this whole leash thing is a game Blue has devised to keep both of us busy. I spent the rest of my morning investigating high tech webbing material like Kevlar® and Dyneema®. I think there is just a little bit of goat in both of our DNA.

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Blue sounds like a smart puppy - and his behavior does sound cute at this stage, if that is something you enjoy. But I think you would be better served to spend time teaching him how to walk properly on the leash than trying to outwit him with space-age materials. (Just saying. ;) ) On the other hand, maybe you will come up with a cool new leash that you could market. You sound extremely creative.

 

Have you considered giving him a chew toy in the car to distract him from his leash chewing? Or how about a crate for car travel?

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But I think you would be better served to spend time teaching him how to walk properly on the leash than trying to outwit him with space-age materials.

 

Have you considered giving him a chew toy in the car to distract him from his leash chewing? Or how about a crate for car travel?

 

We do 1/3 to 1/2 of our walks on a short lead, strict heal and sit basis. It's in "free" mode when his leash wrangling behavior comes out. I also run short distances with him and he is all business in that mode. In the car, he normally has his forepaws on the armrest between the front seats and supervises my driving cheek to cheek. I don't know how I missed his lack of "supervision" this morning.

 

Ditch the flexi, get a 6-foot leather lead and train, train, train. Is there some reason you need to leash up before arriving at the park?

 

I take him the 30' from the front door to the car. It's been a while but he has been known to try to herd a passing car or two. The park is less than 1½ miles away so I just leave it on him for the 5-10 minute ride.

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6 foot chain leash and a separate tug toy? I know some people dislike them/think them macho but I have found them useful for dogs who liked chewing leads- not because they were difficult to bite through, but because the dog didn't like the feel of the metal and thus didn't bite. Obviously if the dog bit then you'd want to stop using it so as not to risk the dog's teeth. If you like the flexi game, it could even just be for the car park.

 

I (shaaaame) leave dogs loose in the car or crate instead of using a leash or safety belt. I walk a small dog who has a habit of being able to hang herself in the most unlikely ways from various contraptions, I've yet to find a safety belt she can wear safely in the car, so she got a lot of training on being able to sit in the back of the car without causing trouble or moving anywhere she shouldn't.

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Completely aside from the frustration of a leash eating puppy, are you aware of the damage that retractable leads can cause? If they can slice open a person's calf or amputate a finger (yes, these things have happened to people), your puppy runs just as great a risk if he's wrapping it around his muzzle and other body parts.

 

I'm with the others. Get a regular leash and teach him how to walk properly with it. Find a good trainer for help if you can't figure out how to do it yourself.

 

Blue sounds like a pistol. He wouldn't be the first border collie to outwit his master. You've got to be smarter than him to teach him how to behave. ;)

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I adopted my BC as a 2 year old, but raised my doodle from a puppy. When raising a puppy, I was constantly asking myself "will this still be cute 2 years from now?" If the answer was no- I redirected the behavior. I'd stop with the flexi-leash and cut the leash-chewing immediately. It may be cute now, but the payoff really won't be worth it. And as stated above, flexi-leashes are dangerous.

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I get how sweet it is to drive cheek-to-cheek with your pup. Now, close your eyes and seriously envision in Technicolor detail what he'll look like if you have to slam on the brakes and he goes flying forward into the windshield.

 

And I agree about dumping the Flexi-lead. It is not suited for anything bigger than a toy dog. If you want to let him roam out a bit, just get a regular long line and get a little used to managing it. It doesn't take much, and the leash will be more secure and allow you to exercise some control once you've got the hang of it.

 

Blue does sound like he's got good, mischevious spirit. My kind of dog. You'll have a handful soon if he doesn't learn boundaries from you, though. I think the Flexi-lead thing is leading him in the wrong direction.

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Not to pile on, but as I read your original post, all I could envision was the flexi cord wrapping around some body part belonging to Blue and amputating it. I second the suggestion to get a long web leash (like a lunge line for a horse) and use that for additional freedom. In addition to the risk of Blue amputating his own body parts, he could do the same, including some really bad rope burns, to you or an innocent bystander (i.e., his many fans).

 

If he is a car chaser, I'm sure you know it's especially important that he not chew through leashes. For regular walks, I'd use a really fine chain leash--something that's just not that pleasant to grab. I've had many a youngster go through a chain leash stage before becoming trustworthy with any sort of leash that could be chewed through.

 

As others have said, behavior that's cute now might not be when he's an adult, and once it's become a habit it will be much, much harder to break. It's probably already something of a habit, but changing the lead and working on better behavior when on leash now could save you a lot of heartache and frustration down the road when he's an adult. There are plenty of cute things you could teach him to do that won't risk life and limb. Also, if the park is just a mile and a half away, any way to walk him there? That would burn off some steam, avoid the risk of him becoming a projectile should you slam on the brakes, and be extra exercise for both of you.

 

I'd love to see a picture of Blue.

 

J.

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I'm not a stockholder in Flexi-leash... but I used one for ten years with my old dog with not one problem. He wasn't a puller or bolter. The leashes come in a tape version now that doesn't pose the same danger of laceration as the cord leashes do. When taking a meandering walk with a well-controlled dog, a Flexi-leash is an easy way to keep walking in a nice straight line while letting the dog sniff a bit to either side. I will likely use one with my new dog once she's mature and stable on walks.

 

Mind you, I wouldn't use one with an out-of-control dog or poorly trained one. (And yes, with this pup it sounds like not the best choice.) But they are quite pleasant and useful, and very simple to work with, in my experience. I've read all the horror stories, but I know lots of walkers who use them, and we don't run into any trouble. ::Shrug::

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Ahh, my puppy was similar and we have made great strides since last summer. I always transported her in a crate in the car and no leash on while in the crate. I would leash her up once we arrived at our destination while she was still in the crate. I bought the extra thick braided cloth leashes and also used a shorter size of 4 feet. It was important I still kept an eye on her as once when I was visiting with her trainer she chewed through it. Now she can use a longer 5 or 6ft leash, but I have stayed with the thick braided ones. If she puts the leash in her mouth I immediately remove it with a "no" and redirect her attention. I bought the thick leashes on line, but then found some cheaper ones at both Petco and of all places, Walmart. The only time I used a retractable leash was with my very senior dog who had earned some freedom on our quiet walks. Even then, the retractable leash was a gift from a neighbor, or I never would have tried it. Good luck. Leash manners are very important as it is a safety issue if the pup gets loose.

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Of course flexis are fine with good dogs and owners who are paying attention, but I see too many owners letting their dogs wrap flexis around other people, dogs, etc., and that's just not cool If you're responsible with a flexi, I have no problem with them. Like others have said, I have used them on my very elderly dogs when out walking (especially when away at dog trials) in order to be able to keep the dog closer while still giving them some freedom.

 

But IME many people using them aren't paying attention, and that's where trouble arises.

 

And as for the OP, if the dog is spinning around and wrapping the flexi around body parts, that's not cool. Chewing through it can certainly alleviate some of the risk, but then the OP has a loose dog who likes to chase cars. The dog at the least needs to be on a leash it can't chew through.

 

J.

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Dear Doggers,

 

Rx for accustoming pups to a leash and ensuring they never chew through it. At an early age 3/4 months, I make sure the pup's collar is tight, take it outside and chain it to a woven wire fence he can't jump over and hang himself. Then I go indoors. The pup struggles, howls and after an hour or so accepts. I return, make no fuss whatever and unfasten him. Repeat in two or three days.

 

Donald McCaig

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In addition to the risk of the dog hurting himself or the handler with a retractable leash, consider that the possibility that an out of control dog can also injure someone else. Think about what'll happen if he slices open one of his many fan's calves or amputates the finger of a small child who tries to grab the leash and gets tangled. Young kids get tangled up in leashes, even leashes of mannerly dogs, all the time. Not only will it be tragic, but it's a lawsuit just waiting to happen.

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Wow! I tried to share an anecdote about discovering my puppy was way more clever and devious than I ever expected. Instead, I’m afraid I unintentionally led some of you into the trap of believing that my perfect dog is “out of control” and that I am an inexperienced moron with a possible sadistic streak. The F word in particular seems to be a lightning rod. I’m sure all of your comments were well intentioned and many were genuinely appreciated but please let me try to set the record straight.

 

First, my perfect puppy. Blue did not initially attract his fan club by clowning with his leash. He did so at a very early age by stopping and sitting or lying down every time we passed someone walking or running in the opposite direction or were about to be overtaken from behind. I taught him that trick in about two days. I figured it was better than having him trip a runner or tottering senior citizen. Never dreamed it would endear him to so many so fast!

 

Now for the numpty on the other end of the F###i Leash. I trained my first Sheltie more than half a century ago at the tender young age of 8 (Pixie was 3). She won the state obedience championship that year. Since achieving some semblance of adulthood I have raised four more Shelties and adopted a cockapoo mix, a Lab/Chow mix and a White Shepherd. All seven of them were walked a lot—on F##i Leashes. They all died natural deaths well beyond their breed’s life expectancy. They all died with the full lengths of all of their appendages intact. I still have all of my fingers, all of my toes and no permanent scars from F##i rope burn. To the best of my knowledge, we never sent anyone else to the emergency room either.

 

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My faults are many. I think the dog should have some fun mixed in with all of the heal and sit and down and stay. I think it will still be adorable if Blue is clowning with his leash at ten but fear that is unlikely. I know it is bad for Blue to ride in the car cheek to cheek with me but I am willing to take our chances on this score during our short, low speed rides to the park. On all rides longer than 5-10 minutes (Blue has made quite a few long road trips in his short life) he curls up on the floor behind my seat and stays there until I stop and get out. He always did this on his own. Did I mention he is perfect?

 

Finally F###i. It is a well-known fact that 90% of the clueless morons who own dogs and actually walk them use Flexi brand or less expensive knock-off retractable leases. Less well known, but well established in the extensive scientific literature on the subject, is the fact that there is an inverse relationship between the length of the Flexi leash and the IQ of its owner. It is also well known that 100% of the humorless, jack booted, variety of professional dog trainer use nothing but non-retractable leads some of which run up to 50 feet long but most of which conform to the six foot standard.

 

What about the other 80% of the dog walking public who are neither clueless nor professional? While not rigorously studied as yet, from my personal observation, the vast majority of them are using Flexi leashes. Retracted and locked down, these become superior “fixed length” training leads (particularly the tape type Blue has.) Unlocked, they grant the dog the freedom to explore a bit more than six feet away in its “free” time while affording its owner the peace of mind associated with knowing they have a fail-safe recall method. Not a substitute for training. Not a substitute for judgement. But a darn good substitute for a six foot nylon or chain leash. At least that is my opinion. Thinking about this has made me wonder why I ever used a non-retractable leash with Blue. I will buy a recall lead though. Thanks for reminding me medic09 and Julie. “Perfect” Blue has some work yet to do in the recall department :unsure:.

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I hope you don't see the people on this forum as mean and completely anti-flexi lead, but it is far easier to caution everyone against it than to make a huge argument for them and have to put the fine print of telling people that many people are dumb and use them for all the wrong reasons.

 

I think,most of us at least, have had that frustrating experience of an owner using a flexi lead on a dog that has no manners or self control.

 

I've been in petstores and had dogs on flexi leashes attack my dogs from 15' away while my dogs are under control on a standard 6' leash. Or on walks had dogs on flexi leashes charge my dog shy dog with the owner smiling and telling me how 'it's ok fluffy wouldn't hurt anyone' or 'he's just friendly'... Maybe he is or maybe he isn't, but I know my dog isn't friendly to strange dogs, which is why I think it's more polite to have a dog on a short leash and/or completely under your control in most settings. If you are one of the few responsible ones than you are the exception rather than the rule.

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Thanks for that Cass. I encounter bozos with all kinds of leashes. I did point out that 95% of them use Flexi's and I look twice too but I usually look at the dog before the gear :) .

 

Here is a more recent picture of Blue juliepoudrier. As you can see, he is Blue in name only after the Blue Dog of Rodrigue fame (https://georgerodrigue.com). I know his model was a terrier/spaniel mix but the paintings all look like border collies to me.

 

post-17570-0-09622200-1438654218_thumb.jpg

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I walk Blue—my 8 month old smooth coated male—twice a day in a nearby public park where he has amassed an embarrassingly large fan club. Most of the time, I walk him on what started out as a 16’ long retractable Flexi Leash.

 

Blue loves to play with the leash while we walk. This involves wrapping it around his snout, his legs, and his body all the while nipping at whatever part ends up close to his apparently razor sharp teeth. ....

 

 

I have and occasionally use flexi-leads when I'm traveling with my dogs and have to potty them in areas where they can't be off-leash. They do serve a purpose. However, if your pup is doing all the things I've italicized above with a flexi lead, you really, really do want to be careful that he doesn't injure more than the leash. If he were to hit that lead at any rate of speed, he could rope-burn himself terribly. So ... just be careful.

 

And while it's cute now, I think it's something you might want to move away from, because it might not be cute when he's full grown and he can't differentiate when it's time to be serious on a leash. ;) Cute pup!

 

~ Gloria

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I know it is bad for Blue to ride in the car cheek to cheek with me but I am willing to take our chances on this score during our short, low speed rides to the park. On all rides longer than 5-10 minutes (Blue has made quite a few long road trips in his short life) he curls up on the floor behind my seat and stays there until I stop and get out.

 

I'm not sure what it is about cars and their danger that people don't get..No one would dare put a child in the position you're putting your dog in just because the ride is short (which has absolutely no effect on how likely you are to get hit during that time) or "slow" (plenty of accidents occur at normal residential speeds), but I can bet most border collie owners would be nearly, or equally devastated to see their dog go through the windshield as they would the child...Your pup's life is in your hands. Be responsible please. It doesn't take much to send an unrestrained dog flying, and he will hurt you as well as himself.

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Even if you don't care about the safety of the dog, the fact of the matter is, if that dog decides to climb in your lap, to lick your face, or to look out YOUR window, and your view is blocked, wakes up and clamors into the front seat, wakes up and startles and barks into your ear, gets stung by a bee and bounces around the car-

 

it's going to CAUSE an accident. You are not doing a risk/benefit analysis for yourself and deciding that the risk is worth the benefit for you and you're dog, you are doing that analysis and deciding that the risk to *others* is worth benefit to *you*, and only you.

 

Seriously?

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I had a friend in high school who was a terrible driver, and we would constantly tell her she was going to kill us. In all of her genius 17 year old glory, one day she told us "Guys, if we're not dead yet, that means we're never going to die". Logic.

 

Which is to say, that just because nothing bad has happened in your years of walking dogs on Flexi-leashes or driving short distances with the dog in your face doesn't mean nothing bad is going to happen in the future. Maybe nothing bad will happen, but with the very real things that have happened to others (fingers amputated, dogs chewing through leads, etc) you're increasing your risk. I also much prefer being able to loop a non-flexi leash around my arm so even if it comes out of my hand, it's not a guarantee the dog is loose. Most flexi-leashes I've seen have plastic handles that you simply can't do that with.

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