Dog Training

How to Use a Long Leash for Training: 11 Tips

You and your obedient dog are a well-rehearsed team, but as soon as there is enough distance between you, your pet can run rampant. A good way to prevent that is using a long leash for training.

drag line training tips
Table of contents

Almost nothing can weaken the connection between your dog and you ♡

It can happen with unleashed pets that they fizzle off from time to time while walking.

They decide for themselves under which circumstances they return to their owners. In fact, if given enough freedom, they determine where to go.

In particular, dogs with a strong hunting instinct prefer listening to their instincts in nature. They simply run at certain stimuli.

You can benefit immensely by using a long leash for training, . Thus, your dog learns that, even at a distance, you are still in charge.

➡ Thus, your dominance is still valid not only at home, but also outdoors.

Although going for a walk with a long leash for trainign is scary, with our tips and tricks about long training, you can do it! Keep these in mind when training. 😊

The Drag Leash: A Long Leash For Training

Dragline training

A drag leash is actually a normal leash. However, compared to conventional leashes, it is longer. Most often it is between 5 and 15, or even 20 meters longer. 

Drag lines do not have any other carabiner or anything similar, apart from the alternative attachment on the chest harness. 

This design avoids getting branches, for example, stuck in the carabiner.

You can train commands using a drag leash. Your pet should perform them at a certain distance from you, such as coming back to you. 

In particular, it is used in dogs that, because of their breed, have a pronounced hunting instinct. 

Thus, they are taught at a young age to listen to commands, even if they are far away from their owner.

The drag lines are also popular when there are compulsory leash norms. With it, a dog should have enough space to roam freely. 

➡  Despite its length, the drag leash enables you to stop a dog in their tracks, even from a long distance.

Training with a drag line is most effective when your dog's hunting instinct has not yet developed. 

In addition, the basic commands, such as 'sit' and 'off' can be taught while wearing a drag leash. Ideally, your dog should have leash manners to properly wear one. They have to understand that a drag leash is not a toy.

Long Leash

When Is a Long Leash for Training Useful?

1) Very Effective on Puppies

Due to their young age, puppies need to get used to long leashes before they make running recklessly away a habit.. This age is characterized by eagerness, which means they are particularly energetic during this time.

However, when sexual maturity sets in, their hormones start to go crazy. Their hunting start to show quickly. A young dog is, in essence, in a stage of testing limits. 

A dog's hunting instinct usually appears during the 4th or 5th month of their first year. However, this can vary from breed to breed and also individually. 

The goal here is to keep this drive under control at a young age and get your dog to come back when being called to.

2) Useful for Unobedient Dogs

Maybe you are at the end of your rope, because your dog just does not obey you (anymore). 

Also, in such situations, you can use the a long leash for training, too. This training will give you more control over your pet. 

Unfortunately, leash training adult and senior dogs is very challenging. You may want to use some help, like dog trainers or dog training apps.

3) A Must for Hunting Dogs

Some breeds have a pronounced hunting instinct. They instinctively chase after everything that they perceive as prey. These dogs also ignore their owners' calls. 

With these breeds, it is recommended to use a long leash for training their animalistic urges. It's key to suppress their desires from early on.

4) Leash Requirements Permit Drag Leashes

A drag leash can be a good alternative for places with a strict leash requirement. Since dogs need space to run freely and fool around, a drag leash is the perfect choice for these places. 

With a long leash, they have enough freedom to explore the area without restrictions. Your dog can run without you having to worry whether they will listen to your commands or not. 

Your pet will have a larger run-out radius while still being in control.

7 Benefits From Using A Long Leash For Training

Benefits Long Leash
  • Undesirable hunting behavior is reduced 
  • Leash training is improved 
  • Ideal educative method for puppies 
  • Dogs can run around in places where a leash is compulsory 
  • Dangers can be averted more easily, like allergies or poisoning bait 
  • Control over your pet, even at a long distance 
  • You can train your dog to come when called more safely 

How to Find a Good Long Leash for Training

Dog with leash

The most important aspects of a drag leash are material and length.

1) The Length

In the beginning, it's advisable to choose a length of about 5 meters. A higher radius would put too much strain on you and your dog. 

When your dog gets used to a 5-meter radius and can manage just fine, you can switch to a longer leash.

The optimal length after that would be 10-15 meters. You can try out even longer leashes. Remember, that the risk of injury increases in dangerous situations the longer the leash is.

You should also make sure that the leash is optimally matched to the weight and size of your pet. 

You can certainly imagine how great the pulling power of a dog can be, should it run off at full power. 

With a very long leash, it would be hard to stop them and your dog runs the risk of injuring themselves.

2) The Material

The most common materials offered in these lines are: greasy leather, biothane or nylon. 

Many owners are keen on using greasy leather due to its grip and suppleness. This prevents painful burns should the leash slip out of your hand. It also does not knot quickly. 

As long as the surface is well treated, it will not soak up too much mud and water in adverse weather conditions. Thus, the line will also not be too heavy. 

However, greasy leather has its downside

Greasy leather must be regularly maintained with leather grease and can not be washed. Grease care is essential to these leashes. 

If you used too much grease, the line can very easily slip away from your hand. Drag leashes of greasy leather are on the expensive side.

The Biothane material is more tear-resistant, flexible and doesn't require any maintenance. It doesn't absorb mud and water, either. Dirt can be easily washed off with water. 

The lines are also available in many colors. They are light in the hand, and very supple.

Here you should pay attention to the fact that some leashes made of biothane are sometimes more slippery. In terms of price, drag leashes made of biothane are in the middle level.

Drag leashes are also made of Nylon, rubber and other materials. Try to get your hands on the rubber version. 

They are very light, washable and dry quickly. However, most of them are not water-repellent. They become quite heavy as soon as they absorb water. 

The leashes are available in several colors. In terms of price, they are very affordable.

No matter what material you chose, make sure the leash is sturdy, tear-resistant and has a good grip. 

It's always recommended to wear gloves. This way you avoid abrasive wounds and other mishappens.

How Should I Use a Long Leash for Training?

For starters, a good idea is to buy a leash that is about 5 meters long. Of course, this also depends on the weight and size of your dog. 

As a rule of thumb, the bigger and stronger your pet, the shorter the leash should be. After all, you need some time to get along well with a long leash for training. 

You can hold the leash in your hand or let it drag on the ground. Either you pull on the leash or you step on it with your foot so that your dogs stops. It'll take some practice for this, naturally.

11 Tips for Leash Training

Dog harness

1) Only Use a Leash With a Harness

You should always use a chest harness when using a drag leash. A normal collar can lead to injuries in the cervical spine in case of jerky pulling. 

2) Adjust Length to Body Size

Always make sure that the length of the drag leash is also based on the weight or size of your dog. The more your pet weighs or the stronger they are, the shorter the leash should be. 

The optimal length for beginners is about 5 meters. After practicing, the length can increase to 10 to 15 meters. Again, this depends on the size and weight of your dog. 

Beware! The width of the leash is also important. For smaller breeds, narrower or thinner leashes are more suitable.

3) Choose a Flashy Color

The color of the leash should be as flashy as possible, so that the long leash can be seen by others. 

Especially in dark areas or in bad weather conditions wearing a colorful leash can be handy. So a strong orange, green or pink in neon look are good picks.

4) Wear Non-slip Shoes and Gloves

In rainy days, it's compulsory that you wear non-slip gear. 

If you need to step on the leash to stop your dog, the risk of slipping is higher without non-slip shoes.

Wear gloves, too. This will prevent abrasions and burns on your hand if the leash is being pulled on forcefully.

5) Go for a Quiet Walk First

During your first sessions with a long leash for training, walk in a quiet place without many distractions. 

Peaceful areas are preferable since your dog won't be exposed to many stimuli. This allows them to concentrate better on leash training. 

6) Improve Leash Manners

With leash training, you can boost your dog's leash manners. However, the drag leash should not be used if your pet doesn't have basic leash training already. 

Burns, joint problems or other injuries can otherwise be the result. For this reason, we recommend that you already accustom your dog to a conventional leash. 

7) Use Basic Commands

You can leash train your dog more effective if your dog already grasped basic commands. If this is not the case, it will be more difficult for you to teach them from a greater distance. 

You should also be able to safely use these commands while using a long leash for training.

8) Praise Your Dog

Praise plays an important role in dog training. It's vital for any kind of training to give praise when you want to encourage your pet. 

It is up to you whether you give your dog a treat, pet them or praise them verbally. The only condition is that it happens immediately after the action. 

9) Be Patient

Patience is always important: that is why it should always be applied during leash training. Do not pull on the leash when your dog's not listening. 

Scolding in a loud tone is also not recommended. The leash should never be used as a means of punishment. 

The communication between the two of you should be exclusively in a calm and consistent manner. Thus, you prevent your pet from building a negative connection with the leash.

10) Don't Let Your Dog Play With Other Pets

Although it may sound rather cruel, drag leashes are dangerous when two dogs play with each other. The danger that the leash wraps around them while playing is too great. 

Also, the leashes can get tangled with each other if the playmate wears a leash, too. 

11) Don’t Forget Where the Leash Is

You should be very mindful about where the leash is and what are the risks of losing the sight of it. 

Running by your dog could cause the leash to wrap around your feet and cause you to lose your balance. 

My Conclusion

A long leash for training has many advantages, reason why they use it for anti-hunting training.

Thus, your dog learns to obey your commands even from a long distance.

If you want to give your dog a wider radius of free space despite the leash requirement, the drag leash is the perfect option. This can be, for example, on a green area or in the forest.

As long as you follow the recommendations and learn from our tips, a long leash for training can go a long way in helping you to raise your dog.

It provides a good option to control your pet as well as a healthy connection between you and your dog.

Written by Anja Boecker
Written by Anja Boecker

My name is Anja Boecker and I am a dog trainer and behavior consultant (IHK certificate). With these articles I would like to help you understand your dog better and build an inseparable bond.

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1 Comment

  1. I have read the blog post and must say that it is very informative. I also liked the writing style. Keep up the good work and publish more content. Cheers!

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