How to use a long line lead – Transcript

Hi, I'm Chloe and I'm a Canine Behaviourist and Training Advisor here at Battersea 

Today, we're going to look at how to use a long-line lead and what it's used for 

A long-line is a long rope with a clip at the end that you can attach to your dog's harness like you would a normal lead 

Long-lines are great for giving your dog more freedom but still having control of what they are doing 

They are a safe and effective way to practise recall and give your dog more freedom before letting them off lead completely 

As with all things if your dog's recall is becoming an issue and they don't seem to be making progress, we would advise contacting a dog behaviourist for advice 

Let's take a look 

Long-lines come in a variety of lengths from three metres up to thirty and it's important to take the time to get used to holding them properly 

They usually have a handle at the end but you can buy ones without 

Long-line leads are fixed length and they're more robust than the retractable leads that you can buy 

They also come in different materials for different size dogs 

For example, a lightweight fabric long-line would be more suitable for a small dog so it won't weigh them down 

But for a larger dog you could look at a Biothane grippy material or heavy duty webbing because it's more robust 

Whatever you choose, it's important that you can hold it comfortably in your hand and if it pulls through your fingers that it's not going to hurt you 

First, unravel the line so there's no kinks or knots 

Wrap the line up loosely into your hand creating a hoop to hold 

We always recommend that you attach the long-line to a harness and not a collar  

This is so if your dog runs to the end of the line they're less likely to hurt themselves 

If your dog's harness has fastenings on the front and back we recommend attaching the long-line to the back of the harness to avoid them getting tangled 

Hold the line with two hands 

The hand closest to the dog can manage the slack of the line and slow them down if needed 

Your other hand holds the rest of the line and the handle if there is one 

With your second hand, you can pull the line in if you need to shorten the distance or bring your dog towards you 

This two handed method also means you won't stop your dog too harshly  and you have less chance of dropping the line 

Rather than just pulling the end of the long-line when you need to stop your dog, you can grip and release using the hand that's closest to them 

This will slow them down gently to a stop 

As you build up your dog's responsiveness you can work up to dropping the long-line completely and letting it trail on the ground 

This is once you are more confident in their recall before you let them off the lead completely 

Doing this allows you to keep practising their recall with the option of having them under control on the lead if needed 

Long-line leads are great in big open spaces but it's important to be aware of your surroundings 

They can be trip hazard to others and get caught up in the environment around you 

Keep an eye on the length of the line that your dog has 

For example if your dog's using a long-line that's five metres the dog doesn't need to have the whole five metres reeled out all of the time 

Too much slack can cause you to get tangled up and even lose control especially if you're in a busy environment 

Be aware of what's around you when you're giving your dog freedom on the long-line 

If your dog runs for something and you're caught off guard not holding the line properly it could run through your fingers and cause injury 

If you or your dog do get tangled try to stop your dog from moving 

If they're food motivated throw some treats onto the floor to divert them and keep them still 

while you untangle them 

If you've got to the point where you're letting the full long-line lead trail on the floor, you ideally want one without a handle 

Or if you're confident in your dog's progress you could consider cutting the handle off 

Without a handle the long-line should move more safely across the ground and avoid getting caught on things easily such as branches 

Long-line leads are great for teaching your dog behaviours like a recall in a safe controlled way 

You can find out more about that in our 'Teach Your Dog a Recall' video 

That was our advice on using a long-line lead with your dog

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