Retractable Leashes: “Danger, Will Robinson!”


This photo from the flexi leash website illustrates just one of the reasons I hate retractable leashes. First, note how the dog in the photo is so far ahead of his person, it’s as if they aren’t even together. Second, take a look at the woman: it appears she has the brake on or the lead is fully extended and the dog is pulling her along, almost as if she’s water-skiing. What is the dog in the photo learning? I think he’s learning to ignore his owner and pull on the leash.

Below is an excerpt from the  flexi leash website listing the threats to life and limb when using the retractable leash… precautions you won’t find associated with the use of a six-foot leather leash.

Read the safety precautions below before using flexi leash.  Failure to follow these safety precautions can result in serious injury.

Safety Precautions & Directions
Because this leash is retractable, it requires special precautions to reduce the risk of injury. Read this pamphlet before using your leash and save it for future reference.

Who can use this leash?

This leash should only be used by responsible people who have read and can follow all of these precautions. Anyone who uses this leash must be able to control the dog and watch the dog closely at all times to keep it from running off or wrapping anyone in the cord/tape/belt. Keep out of reach of small children. Never let anyone play with this leash.

Is this leash right for your dog?

  • Do not use this leash with a disobedient or uncontrollable dog, since they are more likely to wrap the cord/tape/belt around people or to run off at high speeds.
  • Only use this leash with a dog that does not exceed the weight limit listed on the leash.
  • Leashes for larger dogs have a tape or belt instead of a cord to reduce the risk of amputations and cuts.
  • Even small dogs can pull hard enough to injure you, particularly because the length of the leash allows dogs to run and build up speed. Follow all of these precautions even with a small dog.

Use this leash only as intended

  • Follow the “Directions” section in this pamphlet.
  • Never attach more than one dog to the leash. Never use more than one flexi™ leash at a time.
  • Never attach any accessories to the leash housing unless they are sold or approved by flexi™.


  If the cord runs across your skin, it can cause abrasions (like a rope burn) or severe cuts. Cuts and burns are more likely if the cord/tape/belt wraps around any part of the body.   Avoid contact with the cord/tape/belt and never let it wrap around any part of your body.

  • Avoid contact with the cord/tape/belt and never let it wrap around any part of your body.
  • Do not allow slack to build up in the cord/tape/belt– you might get tangled in the slack.
  • Do not touch the cord/tape/belt if the cord/tape/belt wraps around you. Turn around or pass the handle from one hand to the other to unwrap yourself. (See “Finger Amputation and Fractures”)
  • If you want to further reduce the risk of cuts and burns, you can wear long sleeves and pants to protect your arms and legs.

FINGER AMPUTATION AND FRACTURES   If the cord/tape/belt wraps around fingers or catches on a ring, a hard pull on the leash can amputate fingers or break bones.

  • Avoid touching the cord/tape/belt when the leash is attached to your dog    and never let the cord/tape/belt wrap around hands or fingers.
  • Do not hold the cord/tape/belt.
  • Do not grab the cord/tape/belt to control your dog.
  • If the cord/tape/belt gets entangled in a bush or other object, gain control of your dog before disentangling it. Do not touch the cord/tape/belt if your dog can pull on it.    If you want to further reduce the risk of finger amputation and fractures, you can take off any rings and wear sturdy gloves.


f the leash or your dog’s collar breaks, or if the leash disconnects from your dog’s collar, the cord/tape/belt and hook can snap back with enough force to cause serious eye damage, broken teeth, cuts, and bruises. If the cord/tape/belt is under enough tension, this can happen even when the leash is locked.

  • Follow instructions for inspecting, attaching and detaching the leash in the  “Directions” portion of this pamphlet.
  • Tighten the safety collar around your dog’s neck and attach the hook to your dog’s regular collar. The safety collar prevents snap-back if the dog’s collar or the hook breaks, or if the leash disconnects from your dog’s collar.


Because the flexi™ leash is longer than regular leashes, your dog can build up more speed and pull on it harder, possibly pulling you to the ground.

  • If your dog starts running away from you, immediately press the brake button to keep your dog from building up too much speed. If your dog has already built up speed, you will be pulled when you hit the brake or if the dog reaches the end of the leash.
  • Do not allow slack to build up in the cord/tape/belt – your dog may run and build up speed until the slack runs out, suddenly pulling you.
  • Have secure footing. Do not use the leash while on wheels (for example, a bike, skateboard or roller blades).


Bystanders are at risk of all of the injuries described in this pamphlet. In particular, they can be cut by the cord/tape/belt if they contact it or if it wraps around them. They might also trip on the leash.

  • Be aware of bystanders. They might not notice the cord/tape/belt. Control your dog and keep the cord/tape/belt away from them.
  • When around other people or animals, shorten the leash and keep your dog at your side with the leash locked.
  • Avoid using the flexi™ leash near small children, including children in strollers.
  • If the cord/tape/belt gets wrapped around someone, tell them not to touch the cord/tape/belt. Gain control of your dog and do not touch the cord/tape/belt if your dog can pull on it.