Long Lines: Why? How? Which?
EXPLORE WHY WE LOVE LONG LINES, WHAT TO USE THEM FOR AND WHAT KIND & LENGTH IS RIGHT FOR YOU
We are just like dog trainers all across the world huge fans of Long Lines for dogs! They can be used in a variety of settings where you wish to give your dog more freedom than a standard leash would give while ensuring your dog’s safety, giving you peace of mind, adhering to leash laws or helping with your training. An untrained or reactive dog off-lead is a recipe for disaster and as dog guardians we must always respect other animals' and humans' autonomy and their right not to be rushed by our unruly canine.
We recommend long lines to teach our dogs to mooch calmly and sniff a lot, to work on recall, to work on seeing triggers (exciting or scary) without running up to them, or of course for tracking, nose work and scent detection.
Please note that long lines are not the same as retractable leashes which we consciously choose not to stock. Read here a short overview why.
To keep our dogs' walks interesting we want to provide them with different kinds of walking experiences (thanks to That Dog Geek):
- During a TRAINING walk you and your dog are in the learning zone; you’re practising your loose leash walking, polishing up those obedience cues and working on your latest tricks. This type of walk is great for mental enrichment, increasing your dog’s focus in distracting environments, and strengthening your relationship. You probably want to have your normal (Training) Lead plus a Long Line for that recall training.
- A DECOMPRESSION walk is all about Zen. No agenda, no training, just some time for you and your dog to stroll about and explore together. It’s a chance for your dog to relax from the everyday little stresses that come from being a dog in a human world. The best locations for decompression walks are places that aren’t too busy, where you can safely let your dog wonder on a long line to sniff and explore where they please.
- An EXERCISE walk is designed to keep your dog fit and provide an outlet for their energy. For most dogs, plodding along at a human’s walking pace isn’t much exercise. There are plenty of ways to structure an exercise walk, like sprinting, strength training exercises, weight pulling, endurance running and more. Talk to your veterinarian about an exercise routine suitable for your dog’s age, breed and fitness level. Of course we absolutely love our Bike Rides with our dogs!
- A SOCIAL walk is an outing where your dog gets to interact with other creatures. Not every dog enjoys the same type of social interaction; there are introvert dogs and extrovert dogs. Some dogs will prefer a quiet play date with a dog or two that they know and trust. Others like playing rambunctiously with any dog they meet. Being amongst humans counts as social time too; if your dog loves watching people an outing to a café or marketplace can be lots of fun.
In most cases for long lines we recommend the 10m length as that gives your dog the most amount of freedom without it all becoming unmanageable, but there might be certain reasons to choose a 5m one:
- The dog is reactive and it would be harder to control them being 10m away
- The handler is a bit unsure and feels more comfortable with a shorter lead, especially if the handler and dog strength aren't matched that well (petite handler on strong dog)
- The place the dog is walked is not very wide, so 5m is as much space as the dog can realistically get
- Personal preference is a shorter line
Not sure if 5 or 10m is the best choice for you? You can also get 7.5m ones. We like those for dogs that are mostly all good, but might in rare occasions show minor reactivities.
There is also a special kind of Long Line, the Dragline! If you are at the point where you feel your recall is 100% reliable, you can have your dog's lone line dragging (in off-leash areas) as a middle step between long line and fully off-lead, so you are able to react by picking it up or stepping on it if needed, even if your dog is 5 or 10 meters away. You can have any long line dragging theoretically, but the Dragline comes with a removable handle, so nothing can get stuck anywhere and you can easily reattach it and use as a standard long line.
Whatever you do: always have any long line attached to a backclip harness rather than a collar to avoid injury!
A long line can give you so much more peace of mind and your dog so much more freedom while reinforcing good behaviours, not just for recall training but also for teaching appropriate manners and greetings around other dogs and humans and any other distractions.
We never go anywhere without our long lines, even for dogs that are good off-lead, we are always mindful that we might be headed to new places or to places that require them to be on-lead. We always start off on a long line at a new place to see what the place is all about and give our dogs a chance to acclimatise calmly and safely.
We stock these high quality affordable Polyester Long Lines which are great for all occasions and get great feedback. They are of the absolute best quality, being made to last and are great value to money. However, if your dog is a REALLY strong puller or constantly drags their long line through the water, you might want to consider our Biothane Long Lines instead as they might be nicer on your hands and easier to clean in those cases. They are pricier but feel very nice. And of course the Draglines as explained above.
They all come in XS/S and M/L which refers to the thickness of the line and therefore their heaviness as well as the size of the clip which makes the bigger ones heavier and sturdier than the smaller ones. The dog weight recommendations differ between Polyester and Biothane, so please click on the Sizes & Break Strength chart to check for your dog's weight.
Finally, watch this great explanation video from Battersea to learn more about how to handle a Long Line: