How to use a long line for dog training and walking

How to use a long line for dog training and walking

Have you heard of a long line or long leash before? If you haven't - here's to why this should be in any dog trainer, dog walker or dog owners tool kit!


1.Use a harness to not put too much strain and pressure on your dogs neck

2. start with a shorterlong line (handling skills) 

3.actively managing your slack, so there is not too much momentum build -hurt your or dog allso hhelps prevent tangles 

4. Hold the line in a way where you can easily give more slack and could let it go if you had to

What is a long line?

A long line is a simple dog lead that can be any length from 3 meters onward.

(Here you can find soft and comfortable to hold long lines in various length.)

Different lengths are used for different purposes in the dog world and also come down to personal preference and handling skills. Long lines give our dogs a little more freedom, whilst still being safe and secure and attached to you for emergencies. Using long lines can help with training to have a dog reliably off leash, enjoying more freedom in on lead spaces, practice distance behaviours or doing reactivity training. Let's dive into the why's of long lines.

The reasons why we use long lines:

Training Purposes

Long dog lines (long leads) can be used for a variety of purposes. We got some examples for you below:

1. You want your dog to have more freedom to let them be a dog on your walk

Dogs are not made to just walk beside us on a short leash. The reason for taking them on a walk besides going to the toilet is to explore smells, sights and sounds, to play and to enjoy their surroundings. To give your dog this freedom a lead that is at least 3 meters long is necessary. The perfect long lines for neighbourhood walks are about 3 to 6 meters depending on your own preference and how busy your walk gets. You might want to consider a shorter line (3 meters long line) if you have to keep your dog a bit closer to you on a regular to manoeuvre around other people, kids or dogs. If your walks are generally quiet, don't be scared to go for a longer length as you can always hold the lead at a shorter length if you ever have to. We will get into the handling skills of long lines shortly.

2. Reactivity Training

Reactivity training is too much of a broad topic to cover this in this blog post.

Therefore, we would like to link you to a few resources:

BAT 101: Self-paced BAT Set-ups for Reactivity

You can watch an informative Video about BAT Training by Grisha Stewart here.

IMDT - Institute of Modern Dog Trainers

If your dog is reactive, you might want to consider working together with a qualified trainer. You can find a list of highly qualified IMDT trainers on their website.

3. Recall Training

Got a new puppy, rescue or just haven't taught your dog a reliable recall yet? Long lines can be a great and safe way to practice! 

Learning Planet Dogs describes a neat break down that you can easily follow

'1- Attention / Eye Contact

Offering attention and eye contact when out is an important skill for our dogs to have, to then be even capable of paying attention off leash.

I recommend practicing the 'up down' game in many many different contexts and around a multitude of distractions.

I also like to add mat work (starting in achievable environments) into this to help our dogs settle in high energy environments. If your pups brain is too aroused, a recall is going to become exceptionally difficult for them to perform.

2- Check ins

Having our dogs be able to turn and orientate towards you when moving is my next skill that is crucial to master for being able to check in when off leash.

I practice this A LOT with my Walk and Train dogs - they know if they can check in with me I will pay them well.

This one is nice to use a long line for - You can mark the second the dog checks in and start adding small amounts of distance between you.'

Ive split up our next two parts of a recall into running towards you and actually approaching you.

Has anyone ever seen those dogs who 'respond' to a recall but hover about two metres away? ☠️

Yep! I'm sure we've all either been there or watched it happen to someone else. 🙋🏼‍♀️

My favourite games for moving towards you are playing some games of chasey (human ALWAYS gets chased, NEVER other way round), and practicing lots of movement based check ins.

Here's my final breakdown slides for the last sections of a recall.

Recalls are way more complicated than my simple slides - but I think it gives us a starting point (or clean up point, if one section is lacking) to build a training plan.

My last two points are ALLOWS collar grab (I want this to be R+ CONDITIONED to be AWESOME) So much so, that they push their collar into you.

And then of course there's the adding all the bits together.

Think of working on a recall in sections - drilling the whole chain one after another is not helping problem solve specific areas, and your dog will probably get bored !'

- Learning Planet Dog

How to use and hold long leads:



    Material Considerations for your long line

    There are many different materials out there and some are better than other but also range in price. We will walk you through different materials and their pro's and con's.

    BioThane Long Lines

    Biothane Long Lines are on top of our list.

    US Biothane® is a leather-like material and is soft like leather and very comfortable to hold. It is also easy to clean, waterproof and stink proof.

    Original Us BioThane is very soft in your hand and won't cause burns if you ever have to grip the line quickly and appruptly. One of our favourite features is that they are water proof and won't soak up any rain or mud on your walk and therefore stay lightweight and are easy to clean and wipe down after your walk or training session.

    Be careful, as some shops will name their products 'BioThane' but this is not the name of the material, it is a brand name. The material itself is coated webbing. The non genuine brands will feel very different in quality and are often rubbery and stiff which makes holding and folding of the long lines a struggle.

    You can read more about BioThane here.

    BioThane Long Line features:

    • water proof - BioThane Long Line is perfect for wet conditions
    • lightweight
    • easy to clean
    • able to hold up in any terrain.
    • soft and flexible
    • looks and feels like leather providing exceptional grip and strength

    Paracord Long Lines

    Paracord is even lighter than BioThane and can be the right choice for some of you. If your dog is not pulling on lead, not jumping into the lead unexpectedly or you simply need a line that they can drag behind, this lightweight option might be for you.

    Paracord Long Line Features:

    • Light
    • Easy to wash
    • strong and durable 
    • various colours available 

    If you are interested in a custom Paracord long line you can reach out to Native Collars.

     Webbing Long Lines

    • low in price
    • light weight

    However, soaks up water and dirt easily and takes a while to dry. It also gets tangled easily.

    We hope you learned something new today Any questions - please don't hesitate to reach out!