In this video, we learn how to train your dog with a long line. Using the long line is an effective way to teach new behaviors and also allow you to take advantage of distractions in order not get overly frustrated by your canine companion’s enthusiasm for playing fetch.

When training your dog, you need to use a long line. The line should be at least 10 feet long, and it is best if the line is 20 feet or more. You can also use a short line in case the dog gets distracted by something else. Read more in detail here: how to use a long line for recall.

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Dog Training on a Long Line is a terrific technique to work with your dog from a distance and may help you obtain consistency in particular actions while being safe.

The long line is a long leash that is available in a variety of materials and lengths to suit your requirements.

I used them to train my dogs until they were confident off-lead. 

I used a 20-foot long rope to ensure that my golden retriever Riley was secure when I initially performed a sit-stay or down-stay at a distance in different scenarios.


Dog Training on a Long Line - Yellow Lab in grass on a red long line

He couldn’t break the stay since he couldn’t get away. Of course, his stay was pretty strong by the time I utilized the long line in different areas. However, you never know what may happen.

So, how do you teach a dog with a long line?

In this essay, I’ll go over why you should use a long line and how to use it securely. 

When used appropriately, it may significantly improve your connection with your dog. When your dog is at a distance from you, it may help you practice some commands more effectively.

Summary of the Article

  • A long line may be used for a variety of dog activities. You may educate him to be dependable while carrying out orders from afar. 
  • When he’s not immediately next to you, you may practice his trustworthy recall, sit/stay, down/stay, and leave it. 
  • And the line may be used to exercise him, accompany him on hikes, or offer him greater freedom to investigate his surroundings. It may also be utilized to help with certain behavioral issues.

Why Should You Use a Long Line?

There are several applications for a lengthy line. It’s beneficial to teach a variety of instructions. 

Of course, before graduating to a long line, a dog must be dependable on a shorter leash while obeying orders. 

As with any training, begin without distractions in an area where your dog has previously been taught before moving on to other environments.

To prepare your dog for success on a long line, begin by physically exercising him. 

To de-stress, go for a stroll or play fetch with your dog. If you have a high-energy or high-drive dog, this is extremely vital.

Teaching Commands of Obedience

For teaching distant remembers, a lengthy line is ideal. Of course, before you use a long line, make sure your dog understands what the command “come” means. 

Work on the command without interruptions indoors first, then outdoors. You may go on to more distracting circumstances if he’s shown to be trustworthy in such conditions. 

While the long line is tied to your dog, you may also teach distance stays. You can also use a lengthy line to practice his “leave it” command.

Set-ups for Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) might also benefit from the long line. Essentially, this is a training strategy that allows the dog to make decisions in certain circumstances. 

A set of leash skills teaches reactive dog owners how to properly use a long line around their dog’s triggers, such as humans or other dogs.

The dog gains a feeling of independence by releasing the leash. Because jerking the leash may possibly exacerbate the dog’s reactivity, it is not done.

It’s also excellent for tracking dogs and gun dog training.

Other Applications for the Long Line

The long leash, on the other hand, isn’t simply for training. It may also be utilized to strengthen the link between you and your dog by doing pleasant activities that aren’t as rigid as training exercises.

A long line may also provide your dog the ability to go about and get some exercise while not being confined.

I didn’t have a fenced yard when I got Amber, my first sheltie. Despite her excellent obedience, I still used a long rope to let her to go about and play fetch. 

Her innate herding instinct may have kicked in while she was playing, making it dangerous for her to remain alone. The longer leash was not only cheaper, but it also provided her more freedom. It was a win-win situation.

You may also use it while trekking or walking your dog in regions where the long line won’t get tangled in bushes or other objects in the environment. 

You may even use a water-resistant line in the bay, the ocean, and streams. 

I had our golden retriever Spencer on a 50-foot long rope in a harness when we let him swim in the water along the coast. He could then recover his ball as much as he wanted.

Allowing your dog to explore and study the surroundings while on a long line is also a terrific way to improve your dog’s life. 

Dog Training on a Long Line

Safety comes first, as it does with any activity or training we perform with our dogs. When using the long line for the first time, you should hang on to it.

You may drop the long line and merely grab it if you need to once you’ve educated your dog to be trustworthy in a variety of scenarios. 

However, don’t hurry the procedure. Utilize it all the time till he’s reliable in the areas where you’ll use it.

When utilizing a long line, always keep very high-value goodies on hand. These are frequently delicacies made of meat, cheese, or fish. To keep your dog from being bored, mix up the kind of goodies you give him. Treats should also be chopped or split into pea-sized pieces.

Before you use a long line, make sure your dog can consistently perform the following commands: pay attention, come, sit/stay, down/stay, leave it, and loose leash walking. 

If he won’t obey these orders while he’s on a six-foot leash, he’ll be unlikely to obey them when he’s at a distance. 

Also, before you use a long leash, make sure your dog has been taught in the distracting surroundings you’ll be using it in.

Assuming you’re ready to utilize a long line, make sure your dog is wearing a comfortable back-clip harness. 

He’ll be less likely to get his feet hooked if he wears a harness that clips to his back. Furthermore, attaching a lengthy rope to a dog’s collar is too risky. It would put too much strain on his esophagus.

You may wish to safeguard your safety as well while utilizing the long line for the first time. 

Wear well-fitting cotton canvas gloves that are comfortable to work in. You should also wear long, sturdily constructed slacks and a long-sleeved shirt (depending on the weather).

To begin, introduce your dog to a long line in an area free of distractions that he is familiar with, such as your yard. Make sure there are no impediments where the leash might become caught. 

Begin with a 20-foot length of line. Hold the leash’s loop (handle) firmly in your hand. Gather the slack in huge loops to manage the slack. 

Allow around six feet of leash to be let out at first and stroll about on a loose leash. After your dog is at ease on the line, release the remaining four feet–roughly one loop–that you’re holding. 

Allow your dog to sniff around before calling him to you. When he arrives, praise him and give him several high-value treats in a row.

Then utilize his release signal to allow him to walk away once again. Allow more leash to be released over time, calling him back to you every few minutes. 

Always thank him for arriving and lavish praise on him. He shouldn’t pull on the long line since he’s accustomed to not tugging on a leash and having slack. 

Make sure there’s approximately two feet of slack in the line every time you release a loop on the rope. 

Your dog should occasionally return your gaze and even come to you without being called. These check-ins should always be praised and rewarded. If your dog ignores you at any point, go return to a phase where he was successful.

Begin to introduce distractions once your dog responds quickly when called (and periodically checks in with you). Take him to areas where he’s familiar with large lines and where it’s safe to do so. 

I wouldn’t advocate bringing him somewhere where there may be stray dogs. Even though your dog is friendly, it is possible that another dog is not. 

Even if both dogs are friendly, the lengthy line might get tangled, causing the dogs to grow agitated and even aggressive.

Take him to wide fields where the line won’t catch on anything and practice when he’s dependable in familiar settings. 

Take him on hikes or other locations you’d ordinarily take him if he’s trustworthy. Always call him back on a regular basis. 

Take regular pauses and only allow him out six feet at a time for a few minutes of loose-leash wandering. Then, four feet at a time, allow him out to examine the surroundings. 

When necessary, untangle the leash from any tiny branches or other anything that may get caught in the long line. 

When near people, always call him back to you and keep him on a small six-foot section of the long line. This is particularly crucial if he isn’t a people person. 

But it’s equally crucial if he is, since his eagerness may knock someone over. The majority of people do not want a dog charging at them. 

Allowing him to engage in such unwanted habits will also be self-rewarding for him. He’d keep running towards people or animals because it’s so much fun when he finally gets to them. 

When practicing, do it at a distance where he won’t be able to reach the people. 

Get funny, make a kissy sound or shout WHEE, then run a few steps in the other way when he looks at you to practice him coming to you. 

It needs to be more of a party coming to you than all the other diversions in your dog’s environment. When he approaches you, praise him and give him a jackpot of many goodies in a row.

You may also practice recognized instructions once he’s trustworthy on the long line. Place him in a sit or down stay and move as far away from him as he can tolerate. 

Then go back to him and let him go, keeping the long rope on him. Before freeing him from the command, praise and reward him. 

When he arrives, do a sit/stay/come and praise and reward him. When he spots a bird or squirrel, tell him to “leave it” and call him back to you. When he does, give him praise and a reward. 

You may let your dog drag the line after you’re satisfied that he’s dependable on the long line. 

Begin in a distraction-free setting, like you did while teaching him to grow acclimated to the long line. 

Then, after he’s shown to be dependable in that setting, let him drag the long line in the more distracting circumstances you used while holding the line. 

Always keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t stray too far away from you. If necessary, you should always be able to pick up the call. 

When working with your dog, use the long line consistently until he is always dependable. 

Before I train a dog to conduct off-leash work, I make sure that he is capable of handling and reliably listening to me in each scenario that he will encounter. 

When switching from a long rope to a shorter one, I add a second, lighter line that is still strong enough to keep the dog in place. 

Then I’ll show him how I’m removing the heavier long line and put him to the test. He’ll most likely believe he’s free. 

Always begin with no distractions and gradually introduce them over time–weeks or months–as he is able. If he dependably arrives, sits and down stays, and obeys other orders, he may ultimately be allowed to be untethered. 

Don’t hurry the procedure and have a lot of patience. Some dogs with high drives may never be dependable when released from a long line. It is more vital to be safe than to endanger your dog’s health and life.

Long Lines Come in a Variety of Forms

Long lines are available in a variety of conventional lengths ranging from 10 to 50 feet. If you like, you may even have a custom length manufactured. The long line is just a longer leash with a handle attached. 

The long line is also available in a variety of materials. 

A biothane long line is water-resistant and stretchy. It won’t smell if it gets wet later since it doesn’t hold moisture. Mud falls off of it, and unlike a cloth line, it does not snag on anything. This style would be ideal for trekking and field work.

Cotton webbing is preferred in other situations because it is less taxing on the hands than nylon. Nylon has a higher risk of cutting your hands. 

A flat line is often preferred over rope, cable, or other rounder materials that might cut into your hands or flesh.

In busy or forested paths, a 15 to 20 foot line is preferable. For wide-open regions where the line won’t catch on anything, a line up to 30 feet is acceptable.

A climber’s rope or similar line, or a cloth, flat, shorter-length long line, would probably be appropriate for BAT training.

What Not to Do: This Is Not Something You Should Try at Home

It takes practice to use a long line. Don’t begin working with distractions in mind. Instead, gradually increase your dog’s exposure to them until he or she can manage them and dependably obey commands–particularly come and leave it–at a distance. 

Make sure the lengthy line isn’t coiled too tightly. There should be around two feet of slack at all times so that the dog feels free. 

There is an opposing reflex with a tight line, and if the long line is taught, the dog may pull in the other direction.

Use a retractable leash instead. In certain situations, they may be harmful, and they may not be powerful enough for long-distance labor.

Allow your dog to drag the leash only if he consistently listens while you’re holding the long line.

Allow your dog no access to humans or prey. If you do, he’ll probably continue to engage in self-rewarding activities and refuse to listen to you when you urge him to leave something or come to you.

Last Thoughts

Using a long line to train a dog may be quite gratifying. 

You may train him to carry out a variety of orders from a distance. He can be taught to sit, stand, remain, and leave items when instructed. 

When he’s far away, you can count on him to come to you. It’s also suitable for certain behavioral training, such as BAT.

However, a lengthy line isn’t merely for practice. Tracking, shooting, and hiking with your dog may all be done on a long-leash. On a long line, he may exercise and play safely. And all he has to do is smell and enjoy the scenery.


What’s the best way to get started with a lengthy line?

Before utilizing a long line, a dog should know fundamental instructions such as pay attention, come, sit, down, stay, and leave it. Then, using the long line, start calling him to you from a close distance of a few feet. When he arrives, give him praise and a reward.

I’m not sure what kind of long line to use.

Long lines come in a variety of materials and lengths. For most training, a flat long line of cotton fabric is sufficient. When tracking or hunting, however, a Biothane long line may be preferred since it repels water.

When on a long line, should my dog be wearing a collar?

No! When a dog is linked to a long line, he should never wear a collar of any kind. His neck might be injured if he’s wearing a collar. He should be using a well-fitting back-clip harness instead. 


“Best leash length for recall training” is a question that many dog owners ask. It’s important to use the right leash length when training your dog, so you can have control over them. Reference: best leash length for recall training.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you train a dog with a long line?

How do you train a puppy on a long line?

A: If you are struggling with training a puppy, I would highly recommend checking out this article. There is a lot of useful information about how to train your dog on the long line without the risk of harming them.

How do you use a longline training lead?

A: This technique involves using a longline with one of the loops removed so that you can hold onto it and put your foot through. You then move towards the other end to make a loop, pull back on that line which makes slack in the line, step forward into that new loop and repeat until you exit from one side.

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