Long dog leads are a useful tool you might have seen people use when walking with your puppy. Are you confused as to why they need to be exclusively long? Good that you’ve landed here then. We’ll help you understand. 

In this article, we’ll be explaining what a long dog lead is, why you should get one, what to look for and what to avoid when buying a long line dog lead. Bet you didn’t think there was so much to know about dog leads.

Now that you’re here, do you want to teach your puppy how to recall, sit, stay, walk nicely on a lead and be a well-adjusted confident dog? Download the Zigzag puppy training app. We’ll teach you through a personalised programme focusing on Life Skills, Socialisation and the emotional development of your puppy. We also have a team of great puppy coaches on hand to answer your questions. 

puppy running in harness
Photo by Andrew Wagner on Unsplash

What is a long dog lead?

A long dog lead has quite a few different names you might have heard: long line, long dog lead, recall line, lunge line, and so on. But they all mean the same thing, which is essentially an extra long dog lead. Don’t know why we make it so complicated.

Long dog leads come in different lengths, the shortest long lead being 3m which isn’t that long at all – even training leads should be 2metres in length. But you can get them made to order to any length you like. 

Long dog leads come in different materials; fabric or nylon webbing, biothane, leather and rope style are all commonly seen. Some long lines have a handle for you to hold, whereas some just have an unfinished end. Without a handle, they are less likely to get hooked on plants or trees while running along the ground, and they also give a dog more of a feeling of being off the lead. Having a handle means you can hold the long dog line more securely, and might be a better option if you’re just starting out with training your puppy, or you’re using the long dog lead in place of a regular length lead.

All dog long lines attach with a trigger, or carabiner and should be used together with a harness, never a collar. You can also think of lines with a bungee cord at the end of it. Yes, that’s right. They’re not for bungee jumping of course, but the spring will soften the jerk if your puppy runs to the end of the line. 

Why should I get a long dog lead?

There’s plenty of good reasons. Getting a long dog lead for your puppy is a great way to prevent your dog from practising behaviour you don’t want them to. 

A longdog lead will keep your puppy safe

In your puppy journey, you’ll definitely want to teach them recall, but we get that you’re feeling nervous about letting them off the lead. But have no fear – this is where your trusty long line comes in handy. With a long dog lead, you can allow them to drag it along the floor which gives them some freedom, but you still have the safety of being able to take the lead if they decide not to come back when you call them. Best of both worlds.

A long dog lead is great for distance handling

A long line can be great for teaching your puppy to send away, go down at a distance and any other kind of handling or training where they aren’t right next to you. Long dog leads are also useful when you want to do long distance training with your puppy, but you’re worried about them not listening to you as they’re so far away. Can’t blame them, it’s literally the only chance they have to get away from you.

A long line dog lead give your puppy space to sniff

Your puppy has a curious nature and an amazing sense of smell. Using a long line dog lead gives your puppy the exciting opportunity to take in the world and learn about it, one sniff at a time, and safely. 

Too often, our leads are too short or we walk too fast, so our puppy doesn’t get a chance to stop and smell the flowers in peace. We think that they get to enjoy the world around them, one sniff at a time!

Long lines are great for reactive dogs

If you have a puppy that tends to react a lot, then having a 5m long dog lead with a handle, will suit you both best. Your puppy will have space to sniff around without the lead being too tight, so you can also remain relaxed. It also means you can reel them in and still have them under control.

Long lines are especially great when you’re trying to make some improvements in desensitising your puppy if they’re particularly reactive.

Nervous dogs or rescue dogs do well on long lines

Do you have a nervous dog? Or maybe a rescue dog? A long dog lead will help out when you’re getting them to practice recall. It will also help make them secure – they’ll be reassured when there’s a (literal) connection between the two of you and you’re looking out for them. 

Long line dog leads can be used with dogs who have a high prey drive

If you have a terrier who wants to chase every squirrel they see, using a long line on walks can make things a lot less stressful. Of course, you will need to train them with lots of treats until a walk in the park actually starts feeling like one, but it will come. No worries about that.

Long dog leads are great to confirm to local leash laws

Many places have leash laws, which means that dogs have to be on the lead, or else you might get fined. This can be on a hiking trail, beach or park. If your area has leash laws, then a long line dog lead will be your best friend after – it’s the perfect loophole to still follow the rules while your dog has enough freedom to walk a bit further from you.

white puppy in grass
Photo by Xuan Nguyen on Unsplash

Looking for the best long line dog lead

When looking for the right long dog lead to use, choosing one will vary depending on what you want to use it for.

  • For recall or distance handling work, you’ll want an easy-to-clean long lead made of biothane and around 10 metres long. No handle is needed on this one as you’ll want to let your dog drag it.
  • If you’re too nervous to let your dog drag the line without a handle to hold, get a 10m nylon webbing type of long lead and tie some knots on it. If your dog were to run off you can stand on the lead and the knot will catch under your foot. Make sure they don’t swipe you off your feet though! Strong puppies can cause quite the fall.
  • When using a long line, it’s safest to wear gloves. If your dog goes to run off, NEVER pick up a long line with bare hands or you’ll get friction burns. Awful things.
  • If you have a new rescue dog or an exuberant and excited puppy, get a shorter length of long dog lead that’s around 5m and has a handle – it will be much easier for you to hold. Get one made of a soft webbing or cotton rope, so that it’s nice for your hands to hold and wind up.
small white dog in grass
Photo by Jonny Neuenhagen on Unsplash

That’s the end of our long (lead) article. We hope you’ve enjoyed it and that we’ve managed to convince you to get one. Trust us, it’ll be worth it. If you’re going to use one, make sure to attach them to a harness and consider a shock absorber at the end if your puppy is a little lively

While you’re here, why not check out our article on puppy collars or puppy harnesses? It’s part of the package after all.

Now for the million dollar question. Want more training advice, a personalised journey for your puppy, and help from a team of puppy coaches? Download the Zigzag puppy training app today, and we’ll help you with all of those and beyond.