Friday, June 22, 2012

I Return To Flexi For A Leash . . . And Myah Seems To Like That!

The Good: Light, Easy to use, Durable, Fashionable
The Bad: Exceptionally expensive, Operating issues.
The Basics: A durable, dependable retractable leash, the Flexi Freedom 15' Retractable tape leash might be expensive, but it is protecting my Siberian Husky from herself, so it’s worth it!

Not long ago, I was out with Myah – my four and a half year-old Siberian Husky – and I heard the retractable leash spring inside her (relatively) new lead spring (I really should revise my review here on that because it was not nearly as durable as I’d hoped!). Moments later, as she began to trot ahead, I discovered that the lead no longer retracted and I did not want to know what would happen when it reached the end of its spool! So, in order to safeguard Myah, and not have to call my wife to tell her that I lost her precious dog, I went right out and bought a new leash.

For that, I turned to Flexi. When my wife came to me with her geriatric cocker spaniel, Mitzie, she came with a Flexi Mini Retractable Leash (reviewed here!). Given how well that worked, I decided that Myah would get a new Flexi Freedom Retractable Leash (given that I could not find anything called the Flexi Restraint or Flexi Keep My Dog From Running Away At All Costs). So, when Myah and I went to the store, I was eager and prepared to spend a couple bucks on a retractable leash. Given that the last one my wife and I purchased for Myah was only $16.99, I figured the brand name Flexi Freedom might run us about $25.00.

I was horribly, hopelessly, wrong.

Talk about sticker shock. The regular price of the Flexi Freedom, the 16 foot tape retractable leash, for Large dogs up to 110 pounds (which Myah qualifies for), was $44.99 locally! I lucked out and found it on sale for a whopping $36, which did not make me feel very lucky at all. But, given how it is black (as opposed to Mitzie’s old pink one that Myah would probably snap) and seems durable . . . and has a lifetime warranty, I decided that necessity would demand I purchase it.

Ever since, Myah has been loving her walks and, despite having to relearn the Flexi control system for the lead, I am very happy with it as well.

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 Freedom 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 Freedom is intended for large dogs, weighing less than one hundred ten pounds. The reason for the weight restriction is the length of the leash and the gauge of the nylon leash. Even bigger dogs would be unlikely to snap this cord, unless they chewed it first. So, for big dogs, this is perfect. Unlike the smaller Flexi I reviewed, the Flexi Freedom actually had more length than its promised sixteen feet! The tape in our Flexi Freedom was over 16.5’! With the hook, it added three inches. The handle is six inches long (five tall, one and a half wide), so at most, Myah can get seventeen feet away from me on this leash (which is nerve-wracking in some environments!).

The Flexi Freedom 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 Freedom's handle fits nicely in my hand and I have not felt like I could not control Myah while using this leash.

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 Freedom 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 Freedom with their thumb and the leash stops coming out of the handle. The stop function is strong and Myah has not managed to slip me when I hold the stop button down. This pleased me and I think it is a smarter design than having the “stop” button be the same as the locking button (proven by my last retractable leash; when one function broke, the other was gone as well). With the leash new, Myah feels some tension on it and when I tap the stop button, she slows down immediately, feeling the leash get unmoveable.

The added feature the Flexi Freedom 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 tab-style button designed to be flicked up when the stop button is depressed - the Flexi Freedom 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 Freedom 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 Freedom initially. No matter how much Myah 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 Freedom Retractable Leash is remarkably durable. I’ve had no issues with this leash since I bought it – other than the initial expense. But even that is not the worst thing in the world; the Flexi Freedom comes with a lifetime guarantee. So long as Myah does not chew on this leash (something she has never shown an inclination for), if anything happens to the internal components, it should be covered. Should that become necessary, I shall revise this review with notes on how Flexi honors that warranty.

Until then, Myah is secure and I am happy (if a little poorer) with the Flexi Freedom 16 foot tape retractable leash for large dogs.

For other dog product reviews, please check out:
OurPet's Store-N-Feed Pet Feeder
Millers Forge Large Shedding Blade for dogs
Millers Forge Large Slicker Brush


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

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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