However, when she suddenly took off down a steep hill (as I posted on 25 December), I began to realise that the extending lead didn't give me enough control.
At Dog Chat there is a discussion of the pros and cons of this type of lead. The general conclusion is that they have some use for dogs that behave well on lead, but they're not for everyday use.
The Dogster forum also has a range of responses from members about use of retractable leads and most replies are negative.
Jabari's mum told me she doesn't believe in extending leads. In one email she said:
I personally do not like extensible leads for large dogs as I feel that there is not sufficient control over the dog. I use either a long and strong nylon type lead or make my own extended lead. I use a fine leather lead with an extension made by attaching (water) ski rope to the end of it. Ski rope is great as it is waxed so it does not give rope burn should it slip through your fingers. It is water proof so you can allow it to drag along the ground behind you if you want and move it in and out as the dog moves. You can roll it up to hold the dog on short lead when needed. When it is old and dirty you can replace it. Though I have not replaced mine for about 6 years. It is also useful for making very long tracking lead.She also told me that waterski rope would be okay to use when Penny is swimming in the river up in the mountains. Since Penny gave me a terrible scare by running up from the river and across the busy highway, I haven't trusted her to swim there. If I had a long lead on her I would feel safer till I regain my confidence. Jabari's mum pointed out that this type of ski rope is designed to float.
She showed me how she makes her leads. She holds the ski rope firmly and pushes a section together so the weaving comes apart.
She then pushes the free end of the rope into the loose weave.
And, finally, she pulls the rope tight. The woven-in end doesn't come out when she pulls.