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A”Longline” – The Best Tool In Your Dog Training Kit!

The humble Long Line – not to be confused with a Flexi-Lead or Retractable Lead – is one of the most useful tools in your dog training toolkit. A Long Line can quite literally transform your dog’s lead walking from arm puller to calm companion and it’ll make recall training a breeze. Here’s how....

(Loose!) Lead Walking

Does the loose lead walking in this video feel like a distant dream? It doesn’t have to be! Using a longer lead means your dog can move more freely and can therefore express natural dog behaviours eg sniffing, peeing and exploring ... without a sudden neck-jerk from a (short) lead. Imagine how you’d feel if every time you wanted to look at something your partner yanked your neck, pulling you away? You’d get pretty frustrated pretty quickly. But by giving your dog a longer line you enable him to do the activities he enjoys ... which keeps him calmer ... and makes training easier. Happy dog, happy human.

Dog with longline

Shy Dogs

And, for shy dogs, using a longer lead encourages exploration which can help a nervous dog build up a little more confidence in the environment. You – the human – are there to support your dog without restricting. This can be a really powerful element of a shy dog’s development.

Distraction Training

Longlines also allow you to teach your dog more complex behaviours like distraction training: Look at this lovely Labrador puppy learning to look AWAY from a distraction (other dogs playing) and “bounce” his attention back to his human. Well done pup!

For more information about distraction training AKA “The Bounce” read this article. And, check out our squirrel training video here!


Does the word ‘recall’ make you want to run and hide? Have you got a dog that LOVES the company of other dogs so much he goes deaf when you try to call him back? Sounds like you need a magic wand...or, better still a longline!

This video shows 3 puppies doing Recall Training in their “Puppy Starters” course with Joyful Dogs. These awesome pups did brilliantly ... particularly given there were 3 other dogs just a few metres away .... A-Maz-Ing!!

Dog Recall

2 Key Advantages Of Using A Longline In Recall Training for your dog:


Running off can be dangerous, especially near roads, or livestock. If Rover is on a line he can explore but you have the reassurance of knowing he can’t go too far. Think of it as your safety line.

Rover can’t ignore you!

He’s literally attached to you. So as distractions come into view you have a management tool to guide Rover’s attention back to you in a calm, gentle way, just like the dog in this video. The longline meant the handler could set the dog up to make a good choice and be reinforced for doing so!

Goldilocks! How To Choose The Right Long Line For Your Dog

Not all long lines are equal! Good quality ones will have a small, lightweight d-clip (the metal thing that clips to your dog’s harness); the fabric will also be lightweight; and importantly, quick drying! Choose a slightly chunky fabric – rather than flat webbing – so it feels soft/comfortable in your hands and avoids chaffing.

Clix is our go to brand. They have a lightweight version for puppies or smaller dogs as well as their standard version. The 5m length (rather than 10m) works well. Always clip a longline to a harness rather than your dog’s collar to avoid Rover getting nasty neck/shoulder injuries.

Start off in an environment with few distractions – to set Fido up for success – and also to give you time to practise how to handle the line effectively (a skill in itself). Better still, contact a professional Dog Trainer who can coach you in lead management techniques so you get the best possible result with your dog.

If you’d like help training your dog or puppy contact Joyful Dogs. Our one to one training sessions get you better results, faster!

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