Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Difference Between A Good And Bad Day At The Park:The Flexi 10' Retractable Leash!

The Good: Light, Easy to use, Durable, Fashionable (?)
The Bad: Not quite 10' long, Operating issues.
The Basics: A durable, dependable retractable leash, the Flexi Mini 10' Retractable leash is a good investment, even if it is pink!

Fortunately for me as a reviewer, my wife came with a dog - and for a while she worked at a pet store - so I suspect that I will have a pretty constant influx of material to write about for pet products the foreseeable future. Today, my thoughts are focused on the Flexi mini retractable leash.

All summer, my wife and I took Mitzie - her geriatric cocker spaniel - to Chittenango Falls State Park nearby and we kept Mitzie tethered to us using the Flexi Mini Retractable Leash. My wife lets Mitzie pick out her own toys and accessories and the pink Flexi Mini won out as the preference of the dog (I would have chosen black had it been up to me). For those coordinating outfits with their pet's accessories, the pink is a bright pink that goes with the average pair of pink sweatpants. The actual leash is a black nylon cord.

For those unfamiliar with a retractable leash, the principle is simple; unlike the classic leash that is a set length, the retractable leash is essentially a handle with the leash itself coiled inside. The leash then becomes a variable length which allows one to maintain better control of their dog or allow their dog to have a little bit of free range and room to run. Retractable leashes store nicely because the spring-activated mechanism which retracts the leash pulls the leash into the housing of the handle when one is done. Virtually all retractable leashes work on that principle.

The Flexi Mini Retractable Leash is a better-than-average retractable leash as it has a few extra bells and whistles than the standard retractable leash. The Flexi Minis are intended for small dogs, weighing less than twenty-six pounds. So, our old cocker spaniel certainly qualifies. The reason for the weight restriction is the length of the leash and the gauge of the nylon leash. Bigger dogs are likely to snap this cord with frustrating ease that might irk dog owners. But for smaller dogs, this is perfect. Unfortunately, the ten foot claim for the leash's length is not accurate - at least with ours. Ours measured out at nine feet three inches for the cord when it was pulled as far as it could be. With the hook, it added three inches and the handle is only four inches long.

The Flexi Mini Retractable Leash is outfitted with a steel g-hook which attaches to the dog's collar. In fact, this style of hook is ideal for leashes as it cannot be slipped by the animal; it requires something or someone with opposable thumbs to press down the release and negotiate it out of the metal clasp on the collar one attaches it to. After the dog is attached to the leash, simply wrap your fingers around the grip on the handle and let the dog go! As someone with big hands, the Flexi Mini's handle is too small for a full grip on my hand. A three-fingered grip works best for me and the with my index through ring fingers curled around the handle, the grip on this leash is remarkably strong.

Usage of this particular retractable leash is remarkably easy and it does have a feature other retractable leashes I have tried do not; a separate locking button from the usual stop. Retractable leashes are designed for controlling the length of the leash and the Flexi Mini Retractable Leash is no exception. If one's dog begins to get beyond a comfortable length for the owner - or people in the vicinity - one need only press a button on the Flexi Mini with their thumb and the leash stops coming out of the handle. The stop function is strong and Mitzie has not managed to slip us when we hold the stop button down.

The added feature the Flexi Mini Retractable Leash has that the others I've tried do not is a locking function for the stop button which is controlled by a second button! The stop button may be held down, but the moment it is released, the dog has full reign again and the cord retracts or lets out more of the leash. But right above the stop button is a metal tab designed to be flicked up when the stop button is depressed - the Flexi Mini is brilliantly designed to allow for a very natural sliding motion for the thumb from the button to under the metal tab. When the metal tab is pushed up, it locks the stop function on and the leash will not retract or release any more of the cord! In other words, the Flexi Mini becomes a set-length leash with the touch of a button. This is a great function when one's dog begins to misbehave or one wants the dog close because other people or dogs are in the area. The dog cannot run free with the lock function on.

Equally important is that the lock function works and it is more durable than one might suspect looking at the Flexi Mini initially. No matter how much Mitzie has pulled, the cord has not snapped, nor has the lock function given up. This is a solid way for pet owners to protect their animals and not go through tons of leashes (retractable or otherwise). The "lock" function releases simply enough by pressing the metal button down again, which causes the retractable leash to go in or out again.

Despite its appearance and the housing (handle) being made of plastic, the Flexi Mini Retractable Leash is remarkably durable. We've had ours for a while, dropped it many times and it is unscathed. As well, the nylon cord does not fray or knot and the lock and stop functions have not degraded in any noticeable ways. This makes it a great retractable leash.

Well, except for the color . . .

For other dog product reviews, please check out:
Vroom Around The Room Dog Laser
Millers Forge Large Shedding Blade for dogs
Millers Forge 2-in-1 Adjustable Pet Comb


For other pet product reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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