One of the most common behavioral issues that dog owners deal with is a pooch that won’t stop pulling during a walk. If you’re tired of being dragged all over creation by your dog, the FIDA AutoBrake Leash may be of some interest to you.
FIDA has been making retractable leashes for 20 years, and they’re widely recognized as a leader in the industry. Their leashes are known for being safe and formidable, giving you more power over your dog without putting their health at risk.
Their newest creation looks like your average retractable leash — except the FIDA AutoBrake Leash uses ABS technology to stop pulling. That’s right, the same tech that you can find in your car’s brakes has been put into a leash!
The idea is that if your dog suddenly pulls, the leash will slowly increase resistance before locking up, so you maintain full control over your animal without putting undue stress on their neck.
It’s a good idea, and it does what it promises to do. However, not all dogs who pull do so in the same manner, and the FIDA AutoBrake Leash may not be perfect for every single pulling style. Also, it’s several times more expensive than a standard leash, and we can’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll get your money’s worth from it.
- Related Read: 6 Steps to Stop a Dog From Excessively Pulling the Leash
FIDA AutoBrake Leash — A Quick Look
FIDA AutoBrake Leash Reviewed
To put this leash through its paces, I enlisted my three dogs (Wesley, Harley, and Casey) to take it out for a nighttime stroll. I took each dog for a half-hour walk.
Our neighborhood has everything from stray cats to coyotes wandering around, and my dogs almost always come across something that they want to chase. It’s the perfect location to test out a leash like this.
It should be noted that all three dogs have different walking styles. Wesley is a dawdler and only pulls when he’s frightened of something. Harley walks normally, but she’s the most likely to take off after something. Casey pulls constantly.
Also, it should be noted that we reviewed the medium-sized leash. Harley is the only dog that would be size-appropriate for the medium leash, as the other two dogs weigh 100 pounds apiece (FIDA doesn’t currently offer a leash capable of handling dogs over 88 pounds).
Even so, at no point did I feel like the leash couldn’t handle the larger dogs, even when Casey pulled on it. Maybe it would break after several months of being used by the larger dogs, but on a short-term basis, it seemed more than capable of handling a giant-breed pup.
The Brake System Takes Some Getting Used To
The leash has a large yellow button on top of the handle that activates the braking system. If you’re holding the leash in your hand, you can use your thumb to press the button; you can also customize the length of the leash by holding the button down and engaging the lock.
This is fairly standard for retractable leashes, and if you’re used to it, you’ll likely be a quick study. However, if you’re not, you may fumble trying to lock it in the heat of the moment. Locking it is somewhat clunky, especially in the dark, and may require you to take your focus off the environment around you. That may leave you unprepared if your dog suddenly bolts.
The ABS brake, however, is completely mindless. If your dog takes off, it will gradually slow them down before bringing them to a halt. That gives you a fair bit of warning, which reduces the risk that they’ll tug the leash right out of your hand, and it’s also gentle on your mutt’s neck.
The Leash Is Heavy But Not Uncomfortable
If you’re used to carrying around a regular nylon leash, the FIDA AutoBrake Leash will feel bulkier than you’re used to — like you’re carrying around a large tape measure.
At no point during the walks did my hand get tired, but I never forgot that I was holding a giant monstrosity of a leash either. I often loop the leash around my wrist while I walk, allowing me to keep my hands free without relinquishing control of my dogs; you can’t do that with the FIDA AutoBrake.
That can be a pain when you need to pick up after your pup. When I’m scooping up poop, I either loop the leash around my wrist or stand on it to make sure my dog stays put. You have to keep this in your hand, which gives you less dexterity during the scooping process and increases the risk of catastrophe (touching the poop).
Still, while the leash requires you to hold it at all times, it’s comfortable in your hands. The handle is contoured to fit your grip nicely, and you can maintain control even if your palms get as sweaty as mine do. You could easily walk your dog all day with this thing without your hands hurting.
The 16-foot Length Gives You Wiggle Room
You can extend the leash to its full 16-foot length to give your dog plenty of room to roam, or you can set it at any length short of that you prefer by locking it into place. Doing so won’t give you the advantage of the ABS braking system, of course, but it can still be used like a (versatile) conventional leash if you prefer.
This can be fun for both you and your pooch on walks, as you can choke up on the leash if you see trouble approaching or give your pup plenty of slack when you’re all alone. It’s something a regular leash can’t offer, and while letting my dog wander 16 feet away from me caused my anxiety to spike, it was nice to give them the illusion of freedom for a few moments.
- We reviewed the best dog collars for dogs that pull – check out our top picks here!
The Leash Can Hurt You If Things Go Haywire
The leash itself is made of extremely thin nylon. As mentioned, I never felt like it was in danger of snapping, but it is a little nerve-wracking to trust your dog to such a thin strip of fabric if you’re used to heavier-duty leashes.
However, the bigger problem is that it can cut into your skin if you’re not careful. For example, if your dog decides to chase after something and ends up wrapping themselves around your legs, you may find yourself limping home with several cuts on your shins. You also have to be careful about holding it when your dog takes off.
Now, some of that can (and should) be mitigated with proper training, but it’s still a little daunting to know that you could end up getting hurt if your dog loses their mind during a walk.
The Auto-Braking System Doesn’t Work for All Pullers
The main appeal of this leash is its auto-braking system. If your dog suddenly chases after something, the leash will recognize it and slowly grind their progress to a halt, stopping their momentum without hurting them.
It’s great for dogs that suddenly chase after something, but if your dog pulls slowly and steadily, they’ll never engage the brakes. You’ll have to do it manually, which somewhat defeats the purpose of the system.
Also, even if your dog does bolt after things, the leash will give them a few feet of slack before engaging. That could be disastrous if the thing that your dog wants to attack is close to you.
For example, when I walked Casey (the strongest puller of the bunch), he would reach the end of the leash every time without ever engaging the brake. That’s because he pulls steadily, like a sled dog, rather than tearing off after things like a hunting dog.
Harley, on the other hand, engaged the brake system on one occasion — in pursuit of an unauthorized raccoon. It put a bit of a jolt into my arm, but overall, it operated smoothly. She did manage to get several feet farther away from me before it stopped her forward progress, though.
All in all, the auto-brake system is a good idea, but it has limited application value unless your dog just chases mindlessly after everything they see.
Where is the FIDA AutoBrake Leash made?
The company is based in California, but according to the box, the leash itself is made in China.
Is it protected by any sort of warranty?
Yes, the FIDA AutoBrake Leash has a one-year warranty. However, the warranty doesn’t cover your dog chewing through it, tree branches or other sharp objects damaging it, or anything they deem “improper use.”
What should I do if my dog weighs more than 88 pounds?
I didn’t notice any issue with the leash I used, and two of my dogs tip the scales at 100 pounds each.
However, I can’t honestly say that the FIDA AutoBrake Leash would be safe for long-term use if you have a dog that weighs more than 88 pounds (and using it would likely constitute “improper use,” thereby voiding the warranty). You may just need to find another option.
What the Users Say
The FIDA AutoBrake Leash is quite new — in fact, it hasn’t even hit the market yet. You’ll have to pre-order it if you’re interested.
As a result, there’s not really any user information available on it yet, so all there is to go on is my own experiences with it.
If your dog often takes off suddenly after anything that catches their eye, then the FIDA AutoBrake Leash could be exactly what you need to bring your pet back under control. Its special ABS braking system slowly halts forward momentum, keeping your dog from escaping without hurting their neck in the process.
It’s not perfect, though. It’s large and bulky and doesn’t work well for all pulling styles. Also, using it could have a bit of a learning curve, especially if you’re not accustomed to retractable leashes.
All in all, the FIDA AutoBrake is a good leash that generally delivers on its promises. However, we’re not entirely sure that it’s worth several times more than a regular leash — and that’s exactly what you’ll have to pay for the privilege of walking your dog with it.
Featured Image: Fida