I have to admit that up until now, I haven’t been a fan of the Flexi-lead concept. I’ve been right behind the author of this blog which carries a detailed critical analysis of the fine-corded, spring-loaded, large-plastic-handled dog leashes. I’ve seen too many people with dogs out of control at the end of Flexi-leashes, while they’re left frantically clicking on the button of the plastic cassette trying to draw their pet in.
If somebody wanted to have a dog leash that they can let out to give their dog a bit more freedom, I’d generally suggest a broader, thicker type of bungee-type leash, such as the Ruffwear Roamer Expandable Dog Leash.
So when I came across the new Vario Flexi Leash, I was ready not to like it. And I was surprised that when I took it through its paces, I found it surprisingly useful for certain situations. And if I want a leash for an evening walk with one of my dogs, I’ve found myself reaching for it.
It’s all about the design and there are half a dozen new features that make it appealing.
- The new plastic cassette handpiece is now adjustable, allowing you to make it fit your hand properly.
- There’s a clip on container for poopsacs that fits snugly into its contour on the underside – I don’t like having these stuffed into my jacket pockets, so I appreciate this convenience.
- There’s a stick-on LED light that attaches to its side: this shines a white torch-like beam ahead of you so you can see where you’re going on a dark path, and a red LED is lit up on it’s rear side, so that a car approaching behind you is more likely to notice you.
- The lower 50cm of the leash – which the dog is clipped onto – has a special inbuilt red LED strip, so again, passing cars are far more likely to spot your dog at your feet.
- The lead is available in a variety of lengths – my one is five meters long, but you can buy one with up to eight meters of leeway.
- It’s available in two leash-types – I have the classic nylon cord, but a tape-leash version is also available, which is a handy alternative for anyone with memories of skin-burns from contact with a fine nylon cord.
So my conclusion:
If you have difficulties controlling your pooch, stay away from the spring-loaded leash concept: you need a sturdy leash that you can hang onto tightly without getting cord burns on your hands. But more than that, you need to do extra dog training classes with your pet: you should be able to walk your dog peacefully, with the leash just there to give you extra control when needed.
On the other hand, if you do have a well-behaved, biddable companion, the Flexi Lead Vario might just be for you, allowing you to give your dog extra sniffing freedom in areas such as local parks where you are not allowed to let your dog “off the leash”. The handy poop-scoop bag holder, torch and safety light features are useful extras that can work well for the right dog owner.