• So, I went to my first nosework class yesterday. It was a lot of fun, and I'm excited for the next session. However, while I was there the instructors told me they would "rather not see a flexi lead being used". They gave an explanation - saying that an experienced noseworker had her dog run to the end of one while in competition. I didn't want to hold up the rest of the class, but I'm a little confused and would love further explanation as to why a flexi lead is less suitable than a regular loose lead….in nosework.

    1.) An experienced noseworker was using a flexi lead, so why wouldn't a beginner be able to use the same thing?

    2.) The other dogs were on short leads, and were literally pulling their handlers around the room. The flexi lead gave my dog enough room to not pull me before I had time to move forward. Is the point to be pulled? is the flexi lead too much pressure on the dog?

    Honestly, I would rather use the flexi lead...I trip over long loose leads, and the handle grip is wonderful. But, at the same time I don't want to appear disrespectful; especially since I have no idea what I'm doing and they do. I just need a better understanding of 'why'. For some reason their example just didn't seem that logical.


  • First Basenji's

    Hello Timesthemyth,

    I have been to my first nosework recently as well, and find it a great way to expend energy and a good bonding time too! You mentioned that the actual noseworker was using the flexi-she/he really should not have as it obviously confused the people who are used to using one. If it was not explained, they should have been the example by using what they wanted you to use so the results on the dog/handler could be readily observed with the tools required. That being said, if you have not asked the instructor, then as a trainer who has to 'teach' dog owners as well…...my input would be that MOST owners who use the flexi-lead can make many mistakes with it-namely over correction or under correction or misdirection and confusion for the other end-the dog.
    While you are in the 'search mode' with your dog, especially in the beginning, you may inadvertently unlock or lock the flexi and interrupt your dog's search. which will confuse them in what you and him are doing there. The dog is on it's own, no direction from you at all while he/she is using its nose for the treat (in the beginning). As it is, your dog relies on you for 'commands' (mostly....:)) but not in nosework, so you are only there to reward the FIND. If you are too far away from the dog at the end of the flexi, then you may not time the reward accordingly. AND, the flexi's line is too unflexible should it get caught on your or your dog's leg.
    I hope this answer helps you!!! GO HAVE FUN with more Nosework!! Yeah!!!

  • The reason why Flexi leads are discouraged or disallowed by many nose work instructors is that they can be unsafe for both dogs and humans. When dogs are in odor they often start to speed up to get to source and can accelerate to the end of lead giving at best a leash correction for going to source, which is counter productive to building value in source, or at worst injuring the dog. Flexis also pose a significant risk to humans as there have been many reported incidents of injuries ranging from things as minor as line burns to as severe as severed achilles tendons.

    It is therefore recommended that nose work handlers learn to use a long line, a 15-20 foot leash, for their dogs if they feel they to give them more space. When using a long line correctly the owner must focus on the dog's speed to feed in and out the line and tend to be better at keeping up with their dogs and preventing the leash corrections that happen on flexis. The long lines are also far less prone causing human injury.

    I have been working in nose work for going on 3 years, and work my dogs in most spaces on 6 foot leashes but mine don't pull me all over the search area. If we are working a large open space where they are more likely to want to get further away from me to work then I use a long line. It works for me and my dogs but I also have many students who work their dogs exclusively on long line and in doing so they have developed truly awe inspiring leash handling skills.

  • Thanks for the replies,

    Puts it into much better perspective .

    And, I didn't mean to imply that the instructors were using a flexi lead; they were refering to another

  • I can see where the Flexi would not be ideal for both dog or person in certain circumstances. I've seem many instances where users just can't figure them out, or are not good at using them and that is hazardous to all involved! However, I live in the country and find that the long 27' Flexi is a good way for her to burn energy on our walks where there are no people or cars around. If my dog sees a squirrel, deer, groundhog, etc. and dashes towards it as most Basenji's do, I anticipate it getting to the end of the lead and already have my arm in a back position and cushion the dog when it gets to the end by letting my arm go forward in a "shock absorber" fashion. Also, my dog has learned how long the lead is and will usually slow itself down when it knows the end of is near. IMHO, I see no harm in it if used properly and in the right areas and circumstances although one has to be very aware of what is going on around them. For where I live in the country, I don't see much sense in having my dog walk perfectly beside me. Basenji's like to run and sniff things out so I let them. It is her time to enjoy. Just my opinion.

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