FIDA (Best-Run Technology) has been providing safe and high-quality dog products since 1991. With a wide range of products, including retractable leashes, harnesses, grooming tools, and more, they strive to meet the needs of every dog owner.
Retractable leashes can be a valuable tool for giving dogs more freedom to explore while still being under control. However, they must be used responsibly to ensure the safety of both people and dogs. If you have any concerns about the safety of retractable leashes, we recommend reading our detailed article on proper usage and precautions.
The company’s founder, Will, was inspired to create a safer retractable leash after experiencing an injury while walking his dog in the park. After consulting with animal behavior specialists and conducting research and development, FIDA created the AutoBrake leash, which uses anti-lock braking system technology to resist sudden pulling and slow down the dog to minimize the risk of injury.
The FidaPet Autobrake leash is a retractable tape leash inspired by car seatbelts: it not only locks when the dog reaches the end of the leash (or when you press the button) but also automatically locks if the dog suddenly lunges or gets jump scared, and tries to run away.
This functionality meant to stop the dog immediately when they shoot out instead of waiting until they sped up and reached the end of the leash. This limits the shock on both the dog and the owner’s arm and prevents accidents from the dog suddenly jumping in front of a bike or tangling someone else with the leash. When the dog stops pulling, the tension will relax, and the leash automatically returns to normal.
It can also help to facilitate a calmer leash-walking behavior since it automatically and consistently regulates the dog’s speed while giving them more freedom when they calmly walk.
The leash comes in four sizes (S-XL) to accommodate dogs between 11-88 lbs (5-40 kg). All sizes come with a 16 ft (5 m), 1/2 inch (1.2 cm) wide high-strength nylon tape with a durable rustproof swivel hook. The handle has an anti-slip soft grip and a hook at the bottom to attach a poop bag dispenser.
The first impressions of the FIDA AutoBrake Retractable Dog Leash are great. It is not heavy like many tape retractable leashes - weighing only 0.69-0.84 lbs (312-383 grams). The handle is ergonomic, making it comfortable to hold securely on longer walks. The large brake/lock button on the top is easy to use and has never failed us.
While using it was a good experience, I encountered two problems while on our walks.
The first one relates to the auto brake feature. This worked perfectly with Zulu, who was around 26 lbs (12 kgs) and used a medium leash. She was on the lowest end of the weight range for the medium leash, and she usually walks calmly on retractable leashes, so the AutoBrake did a good job only locking sudden jumps.
However, Mia used the same leash, and even though her weight (40 lbs = 18 kg) was in the middle of the weight range, it kept unreasonably locking on her. It might be that she was a significantly bigger dog with longer legs, so she travels a bigger distance even when peacefully trotting in a park - while a dog with shorter legs would need to be running to travel the same distance.
The other issue we faced while using this leash is that the supposedly “360° Tangle-Free outlet” did get tangled regularly.
This mainly happened when we used it in the rain or when the dog was sniffing around, and the tape got pulled in and out at an angle. If you walk briskly with the dog lagging behind and going ahead of you on a sidewalk/trail, it works pretty well, and I like that the leash moves quietly - not like some other tape leashes. However, it got stuck 5-8 times every 5 minutes during bathroom breaks when Zulu was just sniffing and circling around me, which gets very annoying since you have to fix the leash and then detangle the dog who steps over the loose leash in the meantime. This could also be dangerous because you cannot reel back the dog before fixing the leash.
One last thought is that even though this leash is marketed as a no-pull solution, I don’t think any retractable leash can be a good tool to teach a dog proper leash manners. The auto lock could only be considered a no-pull solution if the owner also stops every time the leash locks, showing the dog they are not making progress. Just the leash locking while the owner keeps walking, will not be any different than a dog pulling on a standard leash. We are not a training site, so I will not go into more detail on no-pull training here.
I love testing innovative products, and I think FIDA Pet had a good idea with the AutoBrake Leash to minimize the chances of injuries resulting from a suddenly bolting dog.
However, the details of this leash leave room for improvement.
Replacing the tangle-free outlet with a different design should be an easy change and would significantly improve the user experience and safety of the product to prevent you from standing there and being unable to reel the leash back in a stressful moment.
I also feel that the weight ranges for the sizes might need to be fine-tuned to accommodate different dogs since the weight will only be one part of the dog’s features that determine how well it works for them. Maybe just having overlaps between the size ranges and providing more guidance on downsizing/upsizing for dogs close to the end of the size ranges would be enough.
Altogether, this is a new direction for retractable leashes, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more brands started implementing similar safety features in the future.
Fine-tuning the features and marketing message of the FIDA retractable leash could put it on the radar of many more dog owners.
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