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Title:
RETRACTABLE PET LEAD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/098275
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The retractable pet lead (100, 300) of the present invention is provided with a spooling mechanism (130, 330) which automatically provides a cadenced resistance to the unspooling of the lead (100, 300). The resistance provided to the unspooling of the lead (100, 300) may be incorporated into a training device, which may be used in the training of a pet. The resistance to the unspooling of the lead (100, 300) may be configured to be present in all instances of unspooling, or only when a certain type of unspooling takes place. For example, the cadenced resistance may only be engaged when a certain speed of unspooling takes place, which corresponds to the pet on the end of the lead (100, 300) running away from the owner or user at high speed. Audible feedback may also be provided.

Inventors:
ALLISON ANTHONY (GB)
Application Number:
PCT/GB2016/053902
Publication Date:
June 15, 2017
Filing Date:
December 09, 2016
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
ALLISON ANTHONY (GB)
International Classes:
A01K27/00; B65H75/44
Foreign References:
US20110126778A12011-06-02
DE102013013463A12015-02-19
US4202510A1980-05-13
US20140041598A12014-02-13
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WITHERS & ROGERS LLP (SE1 2AU, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A retractable pet lead, comprising:

a lead;

a spool mechanism arranged to allow unspooling and retraction of the lead, a handle arranged to be held by a user;

wherein the spool mechanism is resiliently biased to retract the lead to a retracted position, and is arranged to provide a cadenced resistance to unspooling of the lead.

2. The retractable lead of claim 1, further comprising a resistance member arranged to provide cadenced resistance to unspooling.

3. The retractable lead of claim 2, wherein the resistance member is movable between an engaged position in which it provides cadenced resistance to unspooling and a disengaged position in which it provides no resistance to unspooling.

4. The retractable lead of any preceding claim, arranged to provide audible feedback to a user during the provision of the cadenced resistance.

5. The retractable lead of any preceding claim, wherein the spool mechanism further comprises one or more protrusions arranged to cyclically contact the resistance member during unspooling of the spool to provide the cadenced resistance.

6. The retractable lead of claim 5, wherein the resistance member is deflectably mounted on the handle in a first position, and the protrusions are arranged such that rotation of the spool causes the protrusions to deflect the resistance member from the first position.

7. The retractable lead of claim 6, wherein the protrusions on the spool mechanism are teeth and the resistance member is a gear having teeth arranged to engage the protrusions.

8. The retractable lead of any of claim 7, wherein the spool mechanism comprises a first gear having an outer circumference including a tooth formation with at least one resisting region having teeth, and a non-resisting region having no teeth.

9. The retractable lead of claim 8, wherein the spool mechanism comprises a second gear having a different tooth formation to the first gear, and the spool mechanism arranged such that only one of the first or second gears may engage the resisting gear concurrently.

10. The retractable lead of claim 9, wherein the retractable lead comprises a gear selector arranged to select which spool gear engages the resisting gear during unspooling.

11. The retractable lead of claim 8 or 9, wherein the resisting gear and the spool gears are movable with respect to each other in order to select which spool gear engages the resisting gear.

12. The retractable lead of claim 11, wherein the resistance means is an elongate member, biased in the first position against the deflection of the elongate member during unspooling.

13. The retractable lead of any of claim 12, wherein the protrusions on the spooling mechanism are rigid portions arranged on an outer surface of the spool mechanism.

14. The retractable lead of claim 13, wherein the lead is arranged such that unspooling the lead causes the cyclical deformation of resistance member from the first position and return to the first position by the resilient biasing means.

15. The retractable lead of any of claim 5, wherein the resistance member is a ring gear.

16. The retractable lead of claim 15 wherein the spool mechanism comprises a pinion gear arranged to engage the ring gear. The retractable lead of claim 16, wherein the ring gear comprises an inner surface with at least one resisting region having teeth, and a non-resisting region having no teeth.

18. The retractable lead of any of claims 16 or claim 17, wherein the pinion gear is movable between a first position in which it does not engage the ring gear and a second position in which it engages the ring gear.

19. The retractable lead of claim 18, wherein the pinion gear is mounted on a movable cam, the cam being movable between the first and second position.

The retractable lead of claim 1, wherein the resistance to unspooling is provided by arrangement of magnets.

Description:
Retractable Pet Lead

Technical Field

The invention relates to a retractable pet lead or leash. Background to the Invention and Prior Art

Many examples of retractable leads and leashes to be used to restrain a pet or animal are known. Generally, such retractable leads and leashes attach to a collar worn around the neck of an animal, and the lead may be spooled and unspooled from a spool mechanism contained in a housing that is held in a user's hand. Generally, the spool mechanism is biased towards a retracted, or spooled position. That is to say that when under no resistance, the spooling mechanism will retract the lead such that it is contained on the spool within the housing.

Many leads comprise a locking mechanism which may be used to halt the unspooling of the leash or lead, in the event that the user of the lead wishes to prevent the pet or animal being walked from moving further away. Generally such a locking mechanism is simply a device which halts rotation of the spool, and is operated manually by the user.

It is desirable that a young animal be trained to stay close to its owner when commanded to do so. Various examples of retractable animal leads exist which may be used for the training of an animal, and for the most part such leads are used when taking dogs outdoors. Generally a user must restrain the dog by locking the spooling mechanism when the dog begins to move away, but this requires that the user be constantly vigilant as to the dog's movements, which is not always practical. US patent application US2011041778, is an example of a spooling leash which incorporates electricity being provided so that the leash lights up on an animal moving away. Such a leash would be necessarily more expensive than a standard retractable pet lead. There is therefore a need to provide an inexpensive retractable pet lead which may help to train a dog or other animal as to undesirable behaviour, and also which can alert the user to rapid movement of the animal. Summary of the Invention

Embodiments of the present invention aim to improve upon systems for providing an animal with feedback when behaving undesirably, such as running at speed away from its owner. The present invention provides a cadenced resistance to an animal that is running away from its owner at speed or resisting the forward movement of the owner. The resistance may be arranged to occur only when the animal is moving away above a certain speed, and different frequencies of cadenced resistance may be provided. The retractable lead of the present invention may have a user variable resistance, which can be set depending on the particular animal attached to the lead, or depending on the animal's progress in training. An audible feedback may be provided on the lead to indicate that the animal is moving away above a certain speed.

According to a first aspect of the present invention, a retractable pet lead comprises: a lead, a spool mechanism arranged to allow unspooling and retraction of the lead, a handle arranged to be held by a user; wherein the spool mechanism is resiliently biased to retract the lead to a retracted position, and is arranged to provide a cadenced resistance to unspooling of the lead.

The cadenced resistance provided by the lead of the present invention provides automatic resistance to the unspooling of the lead from the spool, meaning that a user does not necessarily have to apply a lock to prevent the animal moving away. The cadenced nature of the resistance will provide an un-natural feeling to the animal, which will help it to learn that the behaviour is undesirable. The cadenced resistance will also be felt by the user, alerting him or her to the movement of the animal.

The retractable lead may further comprise a resistance member, arranged to provide the cadenced resistance. The resistance member may be movable between an engaged position in which it provides cadenced resistance to unspooling, in a "training mode" and a disengaged position in which it provides no resistance to unspooling. In this way the user can select to have the device in a training mode or not.

The retractable lead may be arranged to provide audible feedback to a user during provision of the cadenced resistance. This will alert the user to the cadenced resistance, and also the animal. The spool mechanism may further comprise one or more protrusions arranged to cyclically contact the resistance member during unspooling of the spool to provide the cadenced resistance.

The resistance member may be deflectably mounted on the housing in a first position, and the protrusions may be arranged such that rotation of the spool causes the protrusions to deflect the resistance member from the first position. The resistance member may be resiliently biased towards the first position.

The resistance member may be a gear. The protrusions on the spool mechanism may be teeth which engage teeth on the resistance member.

The spool mechanism may comprise a first gear having an outer surface including a tooth formation with at least one resisting region having teeth, and a non-resisting region having no teeth.

The spool mechanism may comprise a second gear having a different tooth formation to the first gear.

The retractable lead may comprise means for selecting which spool gear engages the resisting gear during unspooling.

The resisting gear and the spool gears may be movable with respect to each other in order to select which spool gear engages the resisting gear.

The resistance member may be an elongate member, mounted at a first end to the handle. The elongate member may be held in the first position by a resilient biasing means biased against the deflection of the elongate member during unspooling.

The protrusions on the spooling mechanism may be rigid portions arranged on an outer surface of the spool mechanism. The lead may be arranged such that unspooling the lead causes the cyclical deformation of resistance member from the first position and return to the first position by the resilient biasing means.

The resistance member may be arranged to strike a motion restrictor when returned to the first position by the resilient biasing means, creating an audible feedback.

The audible feedback provided will alert the user and the animal to the undesirable behaviour.

The resistance member may be a ring gear.

The spool mechanism may comprise a pinion gear arranged to engage the ring gear.

The ring gear may comprise a circumference including a tooth formation with at least one resisting region having teeth, and a non-resisting region having no teeth.

The pinion gear may be movable between a first position in which it does not engage the ring gear and a second position in which it engages the ring gear.

The pinion gear may be mounted on a movable cam, the cam being movable between the first and second position.

The spool mechanism may comprise resilient biasing means which bias the pinion gear towards the first position.

The resistance to unspooling is provided by an arrangement of magnets.

Further features and advantages of embodiments of the invention will be apparent from the appended claims. Brief Description of the Drawings

Further features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of embodiments thereof, presented by way of example only, and by reference to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like parts, and wherein:

Figure la is a schematic view of a retractable pet lead according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

Figure lb is a schematic view of a retractable pet lead, according to a second embodiment of the present invention;

Figures 2a-2d show the mechanism of the retractable lead of Fig. la during unspooling;

Figure 3 is a schematic view of a gear arrangement according to a third embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 4a is a drawing of a first spool gear arrangement for use in present invention;

Figure 4b is a drawing of a second spool gear arrangement for use in the present invention;

Figure 5 is a simplified cut through of a spool gear arrangement according to the present invention;

Figure 6a is a schematic view of a retractable pet lead according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention with a resistance member in a first position; and

Figure 6b is a schematic view of the retractable pet lead shown in figure 6a with a resistance member in a second position. Description of the Embodiments

Retractable pet leads often comprise a spooling mechanism which is designed to bias a length of the lead to be spooled, within housing. This spooling mechanism is provided with a resilient biasing means, which may be a spring mechanism. The spring mechanism provides a tension to the lead both during unspooling of the lead, and also when the lead is in an unspooled but stationary position.

The retractable pet lead of the present invention is provided with a spooling mechanism which automatically provides a cadenced resistance to the unspooling of the lead. The operation of the lead including the resistance provided to the unspooling of the lead may be used in the training of a pet. The resistance to the unspooling of the lead may be configured to be present in all instances of unspooling, or only when a certain type of unspooling takes place. For example, the cadenced resistance may only be engaged when a certain speed of unspooling takes place, which corresponds to the pet on the end of the lead running away from the owner or user at high speed.

Further, an audible feedback means may be provided on the pet lead which may be activated when the cadenced resistance is provided. This provides extra feedback to the user of the lead/animal's owner that the animal is moving away quickly, and also to the animal that undesirable behaviour is taking place.

Figure la shows a cut-away of a retractable pet lead 100 according to a first embodiment of the present invention. The pet lead 100 comprises a body 110, which includes a finger gripping portion 11 1. The body 110 is arranged to be held in the hand of a user. A lead 120 is mounted on a spooling mechanism 130 which is mounted on the body of the pet lead 100 at its axis 131. The lead may be formed of a strap of material, or cord or cable or the like. A spigot 131 on the body of the lead 100 may comprise a simple bearing arrangement, or simply a pin formed on the body over which the spooling mechanism 130 may be mounted to rotate on its axis around the pin. A spool 132 is provided and may be biased such that when no force is applied to lead 120, the spool will rotate to bring the lead 120 to a retracted position in which it is wound on the spool 132. A housing encases the spool mechanism in order to protect the spool from becoming jammed with foreign objects. Protrusions 135 are provided on the spool 132 of spool mechanism 130. The protrusions 135 may be in the form of fins as shown in Fig. la, although it will be appreciated that other arrangements are equally possible. For example, the spool mechanism could comprise raised portions or bumps, or recessed portions. The protrusions 135 are substantially rigid or inflexible. The protrusions 135 shown in Fig. la are arranged equidistantly around the circumference of the spool 132 of spool mechanism 130. Four protrusions 135 are shown in Fig. la. The retractable dog lead 100 is provided with a resistance mechanism 140 for providing cadenced resistance to the unspooling of the lead 120.

By cadenced resistance it is meant that the amount of resistance to unspooling varies as the spool rotates through one revolution on its axis, such that when many rotations of the spool take place, a cyclical or rhythmic resistance is applied to the unspooling.

The resistance mechanism 140 shown in Fig. la comprises an elongate resistance member or pawl 141 which is mounted at a first end to the body of the lead by a pin 142. The pin 142 attaches the first end of resistance member 141 such that the first end is located distal relative to the spooling mechanism 130. The second end of resistance member 141 which is located proximal to the spool mechanism 130 is free to move angularly about the pin 142. The resistance member 141 is connected to a resilient biasing means 143. In the embodiment shown in Fig. la, the resilient biasing means 143 is a compression coil spring. Spring 143 is mounted to the body of the lead 100 via pin 144. A snap post 145 is also provided on the body. The snap post 145 is located such that it is in contact with the resistance member 141 when the resistance member 141 is in a first position. Resistance member 141 is biased by the spring 143 to remain in first position against the snap post 145. In the embodiment shown in Fig. la, the spring 143 is a compression spring, and therefore provides a force which biases resistance member 141 towards the snap post via a pushing force.

In the embodiment shown in Figs, la and lb, when the lead is subject to a force due to a pet moving away from its owner, the spool 132 of spool mechanism 130 will turn in a clockwise direction.

During rotation of the spool 132 of spooling mechanism 130, the protrusions 135 will come into contact with resistance member 141 as is shown in Fig. 2a-2d. The continued uunnssppiooling of the lead and continued clockwise motion of the spool and protrusions 135 means that spring 143 is compressed. The movement of protrusions 135 against resistance member 141 and spring 143 provides a resistance to the unspooling of the lead.

Figures 2a-2d show the operation of the resistance means 140 in use, in the case that the lead 120 is being unspooled from the spool 132. Unspooling of the lead 120 causes the spool to rotate; in Figs 2a-2d this can be seen to be a clockwise rotation. Protrusion 135 is rotating on the outer edge of spool 132. When not in contact with a protrusion 135, resistance member 141 is in a first position in which it is held against snap post 145 by the force of compression spring 143.

Figure 2b shows that during rotation the protrusion comes into contact with the second end of resistance member 141. The unspooling of the lead causes protrusion to apply a force to the free end of resistance member 141, against the force provided by the spring.

It can be seen in Fig. 2c that the force of unspooling causes protrusion 135 to displace the resistance member 141 away from the first position. The spring 143 becomes compressed and resists the motion of the protrusion in the direction of the movement denoted by the arrow in Fig. 2c. This resistance to the unspooling of the lead will be felt by the animal attached to the lead 120, as well as the user.

When a protrusion reaches the point at which it can pass beyond resistance member 141, and after the point at which the resistance provided by resisting spring 143 is at its maximum, continued motion of the protrusion will move it out of contact with resistance member 141. The resistance member 141 will then return to its first position due to the force provided by spring 143. When released by protrusion 135 resistance member 141 will strike snap post 145, thus producing an audible snap or crack, as shown in Fig. 2d. This audible feedback alerts both the user and the animal to the undesirable behaviour.

In order that the lead may be spooled back onto the spool 132, the protrusions may be mounted on the spool by a hinge, which allows them to be deflected when passing the resisting member in the direction opposite to that shown in Figs. 2a to 2d. In this way the mechanism does not lock up and spooling back onto the spool is not significantly resisted by the resisting member. An example mechanism may include spring-mounted protrusions held in place around a pivot point by a spring, which returns the protrusions to their undeflected position when not in contact with the resisting member.

A second embodiment of the retractable lead as shown in Fig. la is shown in Fig. lb. In this arrangement the resisting spring 143 is arranged such that deflection of the resistance member 141 through the clockwise rotation of the spool 132 during unspooling of the lead 120 exerts a pulling force on resilient member 141. The spring 143 is an extension spring rather than a compression spring. Thus, in contrast to the embodiment shown in Fig. la the resistance member 141 in Fig. lb is pulled back onto the snap post 145 by spring 143. In other respects it works in the same way as the embodiment of Fig la.

It will be appreciated that alternative resilient biasing means 143 may be provided. For example, an elastic member may provide the required pulling force in the embodiment in Fig. lb, or alternatively a rubber stop could provide the required compressive force for the embodiment shown in Fig. la. These however are merely examples, and other means may be provided whilst still remaining within the scope of the invention.

Protrusions 135 could be resiliently mounted on the spooling mechanism 130 such that they may move in a radial direction. The mounting of protrusions 135 may be such that they are biased towards a first position in which they are retracted towards the centre of spooling mechanism 130 and may move to a second position when they are extending from spool mechanism 130. In the second position when they extend from the spooling mechanism they may come into contact with resistance member 141 during unspooling of the lead 120. The resilient biasing of protrusions of 135 may be arranged such that a specific rotational speed corresponding to a fast unspooling of the lead 120 provides the required centripetal force to counteract the biasing means such that the protrusions extend from the spool. A spring mechanism (not shown) may be provided to bias protrusions 135 within a channel extending radially inwards from the outer edge of spool 132. In this way, the resisting mechanism is only engaged above a certain threshold speed of unspooling of the lead.

The pet lead 100 may be provided with a threshold speed selector to allow a user to define the threshold above which the resistance will be provided. The selector might be a spring tension selector, in the case that resilient biasing springs are included to bias protrusions 135 into the first, retracted position. The spring tension selector could be a thumbwheel tightening mechanism. Alternatively the spring might be mounted on a movable portion whose position can be set by the user to increase or decrease the load on the spring.

The resistance member 141 can optionally be mounted such that it is movable to a disengaged position in which it does not contact the protrusions, and as such no resistance is provided to the unspooling of the lead. The user can thereby select when resistance is to be provided or not. A simple latch or locking mechanism may be provided to maintain the resistance member 141 in the engaged or disengaged position.

Figure 3 shows a retractable lead according to a third embodiment of the present invention. Retractable pet lead 300 comprises a body 310 which includes a finger grip portion 31 1. The lead 320 is mounted on a spooling mechanism 330 which is mounted with respect to the body 310. The spool 332 is mounted to the body 310 at pin 331, and as in the previous embodiments, this mounting may include a bearing or other means which allows the spool 332 of spool mechanism 330 to rotate around this axis. Resistance members 335 are provided on spool mechanism 330. The resistance members 335 in the embodiment shown in Fig. 3 are teeth. Teeth 335 are provided in resisting regions 333 around the periphery of the spool mechanism 330. The outer surface of the spooling mechanism 330 is also provided with non- resisting regions 334, in which no teeth 335 are present. A resisting mechanism 340 for providing resistance to unspooling of the lead is also mounted with respect to the handle 310. The resisting mechanism 340, in the embodiment shown in Fig. 3, comprises a gear 341, which is provided with teeth 345 which are arranged to engage the teeth 335 of spool mechanism 330. The gear 341 is mounted on the body in a similar manner to spool portion 330. For example, a pin 342, which is provided on the handle 310, is arranged such that a torsion spring 343 may be provided on it in order to bias the gear 341 against the rotation induced by unspooling of the lead 320. The torsion spring is fixed to the gear 341. A high resistance clock spring could be used as a torsion spring, among other possible examples.

In use, the retractable lead provides a cadenced resistance to the unspooling of the lead 320. When a force is applied to the lead 320 to unspool it, the spool 332 rotates, and resisting regions 333 will come into engagement with the resistance mechanism 340. The rotation of the spool mechanism and movement of the teeth 333 past the gear 341 causes rotation of the gear 341, and the torsion spring 343 provides a resistance to this rotation. Thus in the embodiment shown in Fig. 3 for one rotation of spool mechanism 330 there will be 4 instances of the resistance being provided by the resisting gear 341 contacting the four resisting regions 333. The spring 343 returns the gear 341 to its initial state when no force is applied during the passage of non-resisting region 334.

The teeth 335 are provided on the periphery of the spool mechanism 330, and various arrangements of these teeth are conceivable. Figures 4a and 4b show differing arrangements of resisting regions and non-resisting regions. In Fig. 4a one region 333 of teeth 335 is provided on a spool. During unspooling of the lead, in one revolution of the spool, one instance of the resistance will be provided. In Fig. 4b two resisting regions 333 are provided, comprising teeth 335. In this spool, two instances of the resistance will be provided per revolution. Therefore it can be seen that the frequency of the resistance provided by the gears may be simply varied during construction of the spool mechanism.

The torsion or clock springs used in the embodiments described above might also be provided with a spring-load adjustment mechanism, wherein the spring can be tightened by, for example, a thumbwheel or screw mechanism in order to increase the load on the spring. In this way the cadenced resistance can be increased or decreased, in dependence on the amount of resistance desired.

In Fig. 5, multiple spool gears 332 are stacked in the spool mechanism, or alternatively provided on the outer surface of the spool. These gears may be brought into and out of engagement with the resisting gear 341, to alter the frequency of resistance provided. If the gears are stacked as shown in Fig. 5, a simple mechanism (not shown) to move the resisting gear axially with respect to the spool gears will bring the resisting gear 341 into or out of engagement with a particular spool gear, as denoted by the arrows in Fig. 5. A push button may be provided on the handle, for example, connected to the resisting gear, and a user may push the button to move the resisting gear and thereby select a different gear and frequency of resistance.

Resisting gear 341 may be provided with a clutch mechanism such that spooling or retraction of the lead 320 does not create resistance to the spooling. Such a clutch may be an over running clutch, for example. Optionally torsion spring 343 might be replaced with alternative means for resisting rotation of gear 341. For example, resisting gear 341 might be mounted on body 310 via an interference fit thus providing a frictional resistance to rotation of gear 341.

As with the embodiment shown in Fig. 1, the lead shown in the embodiment of Fig. 3 may be provided with a disengagement mechanism which allows the user to choose when cadenced resistance is to be provided or not. In the embodiment of Fig. 3 the resisting gear 341 may be movably mounted such that it can be moved into a position in which it does not engage the teeth on the spool mechanism. The user of the lead can select between engaged and disengaged, and a locking mechanism may be provided to hold the gear in either the engaged or disengaged position.

Figures 6a and 6b show a retractable lead according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention. Retractable lead 600 comprises housing 610, which has a finger grip portion 611. A lead 620 is attached to spool mechanism 630. Spool mechanism 630 comprises a spool 632 mounted at a central portion 631. The mounting 631, as before, may take the form of a bearing arrangement, or alternatively a protrusion may be provided on handle 610 around which an aperture in the spool 632 can be mounted, with the sizing of the aperture and protrusion being such that rotation of the spool with respect to the handle portion can take place.

A ring gear 633 is located on a body 610. The ring gear 633 may be formed integrally with body 610, or may be formed separately and attached by suitable attachment means, such as an interference fit, an adhesive, or screws or pins, in order that it remains in position during spooling and unspooling. The ring gear 633 comprises resisting regions 634 and non-resisting regions 635. The resisting regions 634 comprise teeth 636. In Figs 6a and 6b there are three resisting regions 634 and their non-resisting regions 635, arranged equidistantly about the circumference of the ring gear 633. It will be appreciated that more or fewer resisting regions 634 could be spaced around the circumference of ring gear 633, thereby allowing for different frequencies and resistance as discussed above.

In the embodiment shown in Figs 6a and 6b, resisting mechanism 640 is mounted on spool mechanism 630. The mechanism 640 comprises a resisting gear 641 which is mounted on a moveable cam 642. The cam 642 is mounted onto the spool mechanism via a mounting pin 642a. A resilient biasing means 643 is attached to the spooling mechanism at 644a. Cam 642 pivots around pivot pin 642a and is attached at a free end to resilient bias means 643 by mounting pin 644b. Resilient biasing means 643 may be a spring, and the spring 643 pulls the free end of cam 642 towards a first position, as shown in Fig. 6a. Spring 643 pulls the free end of cam 642 until it is in contact with stopper 646 which defines the first position. When cam 642 is in the first position, resisting gear 641 is held away from the teeth 636 of ring gear.

Figure 6b shows the spool mechanism and resisting mechanism 640 in a second position which is achieved when the lead 620 is unspooled rapidly.

When spool mechanism 630 rotates rapidly due to rapid unspooling, the arrangement of cam and resilient bias means 643 is such that the centripetal force acting on the free end of cam 642 overcomes the force provided by resilient bias means 643. When the centripetal force acting on the free end of the cam is sufficiently great, the teeth of resisting gear 641 will move into the second position in which they engage teeth 636 of ring gear 633. In this way when rapid unspooling of lead 620 takes place, a cadenced resistance is provided by the engagement of resisting gear 641 with the resisting regions 634 as the combined cam and gear arrangement travels around the circumference of the ring gear 634. In this arrangement therefore resistance is only provided when the cable is unspooled with sufficient rapidity that the centripetal force acting on the cam 642 is large enough to overcome the force of the spring 643.

The force provided by resilient biasing means 643 will define the threshold unspooling speed which causes the centripetal force acting on cam 642 and gear 641 to overcome the force provided by the spring 643. Above this speed, the resisting gear 641 will engage with the ring gear 633. It will also be appreciated that a heavier cam would provide a lower threshold on spooling speed for the cam 642 and gear 641 to able to overcome the force of the resilient bias means 643.

It will be clear from Figs. 6a and 6b that the arrangement of the spring and cam is such that the friction force of the resisting gear 641 engaging the ring gear when the spool is unspooling will lead to the cam being further forced against ring gear, i.e. towards the second position, thus providing further resistance to unspooling. When the spool is rotating in the opposite direction during retraction or spooling of the lead, the frictional force of the resisting gear engaging the ring gear will act to move the resisting gear and free end of the cam away from the ring gear towards the first position, thereby lessening the frictional resistance. In this arrangement of spring, cam and resisting gear, the resistance provided when unspooling the lead is greater than when the lead is spooling, even at high speed when the centripetal force moves the resisting gear into contact with the ring gear.

As in the previous embodiments, a plurality of different gears 633 may be provided. By providing a plurality of different ring gears with different arrangements of resisting regions 634 and non-resisting regions 635 variable frequency of resistance can be provided. As before, a simple mechanism (not shown) may be provided to move the spool on which the resisting mechanism 640 is mounted along its axial direction, thereby changing the axial position of resisting gear 641, such that it engages one or other of the different ring gears 633. The axial position of the resisting mechanism 640 may be set by user, and a locking mechanism, also not shown, may be provided to maintain the relationship between the resisting gear 641 and respective ring gear 633.

As in previous embodiments, the resisting gear may be provided with an over-running clutch such that resistance to unspooling is provided by resisting gear 641, but when spooling or retracting the lead and thereby rotating the spool mechanism and gear in the opposite direction to that shown in Fig. 6b, no resistance is provided by the retractable lead.

Audible feedback means can be provided to alert the user and animal to when unspooling is occurring at a high rate and the resistance is being provided. Audible feedback could be linked directly to the rotation of resisting gear 641, or may be otherwise engaged when resistance to unspooling is being provided by resisting mechanism 640.

For example, a simple ratchet could be provided on the cam 642 to engage with the rotating teeth of resisting gear 641, such that a clicking ratchet sound is created when gear 641 rotates. Alternatively, the resisting gear 641 could be mounted on cam 642 via a mounting which provides both a resistance to rotation and an audible feedback of rotation. Such a mounting could comprise a mounting comprising protrusions on either or both of the inner part of the gear or the mounting portion, which provide added friction and audible feedback as the gear 641 rotates.

Alternatively, ring gear could be mounted in such a way that it is resiliently biased towards a first position, wherein the frictional force of the resisting gear rotating around the ring gear causes the gear to move to a second position. In the second position an electrical contact is made, which may cause an electrically activated sounder to sound. When the frictional force is removed, the ring gear is moved back to the first position in which the electrical contact is broken, or not made, causing the sounder to cease.

A mechanism may be provided to hold the cam in a disengaged position, that is, in first position in which it cannot engage with the teeth of the ring gear. The user may thereby engage or disengage the cadenced resistance at will. A simple catch, or movement restricting pin located between the cam and the ring gear, that can be moved into and out of position by the user, may be provided. Alternatively, the axial position adjustment described above could include a position in which no gear is engaged.

In an alternative embodiment, the resistance to unspooling may be provided by an arrangement of magnets. The principle is the same as for the embodiments outlined above. A fixed resistance magnet is provided on the handle, and one or magnets are arranged to move with the spool to come into proximity of the resistance magnet to provide a resistance to the motion of the spool. For example, one or more first magnets may be arranged around the circumference of a spool mechanism of a retractable pet lead similar to the arrangement of protrusions shown in the Figures, and a further resistance magnet may be provided at, for example, the location of the resistance member as shown in Fig. 1. The arrangement of the magnets is such that as the spool rotates, the one or more first magnets rotate on the spooling mechanism, and the magnetic force between a first magnet and the resistance magnet will increase as the first magnet approaches the resisting position where the magnetic interaction is greatest; the magnetic force provides a resistance to unspooling as the spool is turned so as to move a first magnet away from the resisting position. During unspooling, the repeated action of the motion of the one or more first magnets on the resistance magnet give rise to a cadenced resistance to the unspooling of the lead. The resistance magnet is located in a resisting position on the handle of the lead. A mechanism to move the resistance magnet from its resisting position may be provided, in order that the user may disengage the cadenced resistance. For example, the resistance magnet may be slidably mounted between the first position in which resistance is provided and a position spaced away from the spool in which resistance is lessened. The resistance magnet may be latched in either position by a simple latch or locking mechanism. Alternatively, the spooling mechanism may be movable to move the spool mechanism out of alignment with the resistance magnet. The arrangement of magnets may replace the resistance mechanisms disclosed above and shown in the embodiments of the figures or may be used in conjunction with those mechanisms to increase the cadenced resistance provided. Many different arrangements are possible, as will be appreciated by the skilled person, to provide different amounts or rates of cadenced resistance.

The magnets may be ferromagnetic, rare-earth magnets, or an arrangement of electromagnets. In the case of electromagnets, a suitable source of electrical current, such as a battery, may be provided.