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Long Line Walks

The most versatile skill of all!

If you only have time for one new skill our top tip is loose lead walking on a 5-metre line. The extra leash can be a game-changer for frustrated or worried pups; it offers some freedom to sniff and explore, aiding calming, and the choice to curve away from potential stressors, whilst also making it easier for us to manage pulling as we can reel extra leash in and out as they change their walking pace. Used in conjunction with loose lead walking techniques, they’re a valuable tool to improve lead walking behaviour. 

They’re also a handy tool to allow access to water (rivers, the sea etc) whilst maintaining a connection for safety, and as a management tool in accommodation gardens which turn out to be not entirely secure!

This really shouldn’t be limited to special days out, holidays or for meeting ‘dogs on lead’ criteria; longer leads are perfect for everyday walks at home too. It takes time for us to master the skill of handling a longer lead well but, once we do, they can help us achieve relaxed walks without pulling and can be a more than adequate substitute for off-lead walks when recall is hit and miss or in novel environments. 

Keeping your dog on lead is absolutely the right thing to do if letting them off would be unsafe for them, other dogs, people or animals. And there’s no need to feel guilty that they may not be getting a satisfying walk when you use a long line. A study by the Budzinskis showed that on a 5 minute walk, dogs on a 5 metre line spent on average 103 seconds sniffing. Compare that to an off lead walk where 119 seconds were spent sniffing – not a lot of difference at all really! Your dog can still fulfil that most essential canine need on a long line.

Important things to note are that a longline should always be attached to a well-fitting harness, not a collar or headcollar, and it’s best to get some practice first. Scentventure Guide Helen has provided some line handling tutorials in a One Track Wonder here.