Long Lines – the most underused tool in dog training

Using a Long Line | Online N°1 Dog Training

Long Lines – the most underused tool in dog training

We all hate it when ‘that’ dog comes barrelling across the park at 100 miles an hour and get’s right up in our dogs face. It’s even more of an issue when we are trying to train a young dog or help a fearful one. It causes frustration for us, stress for both dogs, because a calm confident and socially competent dog does not do this so even the approaching dog is under stress and embarrassment for the offending dogs human.

There is an obvious solution to this problem, training. But thats very easy to say and not so easy to do. The vital step that a lot of people miss out with young dogs is getting them through adolescence without letting them develop bad habits or teaching the right way to behave. When their confidence gets up and the puppy that once needed you for security suddenly starts to take their own decisions about who, how and what they will be greeting. Just like human teenagers they don’t always make the right decisions.

Now some people land lucky with a dog that is just not that bothered about other dogs, or kids, or bikes or whatever and naturally does the ‘right thing’ as far as we are concerned in most circumstances. They are the people who wander round the park happy as lark, wondering why other people haven’t trained their dogs because it’s easy peasy right! God bless those dogs, as someone who is living with an independent thinking and bold little Terrier I look on with jealousy as my wee man spots another playful looking dog from half a mile away and would love nothing more than to go head long into the fun, tail going at a hundred miles an hour and ready for the chase. Would I have him any other way, no probably not but it presents some challenges for a responsible person who wants to do the right thing.

Using a Long Line | Online N°1 Dog Training

The answer? A long line. (not a flexi lead, but that’s a whole other conversation) Why, why, why don’t more people use them? With my long line on I can confidently step out knowing that I have control of my dog, I can prevent him from making that mistake, from rehearsing bad behaviour and help him to learn how to behave in my world. I’ve given him no choice in being here – to let him then go about making bad decisions for himself and others on top of that would be irresponsible in my view. I can use that line to teach him kindly and fairly when he can and can’t say hi to other dogs. I can back up my instructions and prevent his failure. And all the time give him as close to off lead freedom as he can have whilst he is learning the ropes. He can meet other dogs, practice his social skills without the pressure of a tight lead and generally have great time sniffing, leaving his peemails and doing doggy stuff whilst I can observe, manage and generally ‘parent’ him through tricky situations.

Yes it takes a little bit of practice to get the hang of using one, yes you will get a bit annoyed with lines getting tangled from time to time. You will get muddy hands and have a bit of extra stuff to deal with, but training is part of the joy of having a dog. Get this part right now and you can spend the next 10, 15 or 20 years with your calm, confident and go anywhere dog. You too can be one of ‘those’ people at the park who breezes past the other dogs and distractions with a wry smile and a memory of the fun you once had!

With our best wishes Cat and Elvis.

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