Categories: Small Dog Safety, Small Dog Teaching and Bonding-Published On: March 24, 2024-

The Thrill of Controlled Freedom

The beauty of a long line leash lies in its simple yet effective design. It allows small dogs like Phoebe and Scout to venture almost to their heart’s content, feeling the exhilarating sensation of being off-leash, yet under our watchful eyes. This controlled freedom (there’s an oxymoron for you) is not only thrilling for them but also gives us incredible peace of mind.

Enhancing Training with Treats and Recalls

I always bring treats on these beach walks, so we can engage in real-world practice for off-leash recalls. The girls THINK they’re off the leash, but they’re really not.

There’s a safety net for us, in the form of a thin biothane string that ensures I can stop them if they suddenly become deaf to my call.

Yet, 99% of the time, I can reward them for their joyful races back to me.

Happy white small dog trotting toward camera and smiling

The Side Benefit of Long-Lines: Happy Dogs 🐶

Using long line leashes or check cords opens up a world of possibilities for our small dogs, allowing them to build confidence, taste independence, and truly indulge in the pleasures of the great outdoors. 🌊☀️

The return from our beach walks with Phoebe and Scout is always beautiful ; they’re visibly happy and exhausted from their adventures.

Two Important Cautions

  • Retractable Leashes are NOT Long-Lines: Never use a retractable leash with your small dog. This post isnt’ about that topic, but I personally experienced what can happen if you accidentally drop a retractable leash on a walk. To make a long story short, the leash handle essentially speeds up as though it’s attacking your pup, sending them running away in terror. Don’t use them.
  • Harness Attachment Only: Because small dogs can easily injure their trachea or necks, never, ever, ever attach any type of leash to their collar. Use a harness.

Long-Line Options

Photo of neatly wrapped cotton clothesline on white background

This simple and inexpensive cotton clothesline may be the best option to begin with. If you find the long-line works well for you and your small dog, perhaps you’ll upgrade to the ones below.

Lavender biothane leash artistically coiled

We’ve owned this waterproof and practically indestructible leash for over three years, exposing it 365 days a year to the New England elements. It hangs under our deck, ready for impromptu walks or teaching sessions. The hardware is touched with rust, but it’s still in great working order.

Flourescent orange, neatly coiled rope leash

I can’t yet attest to this climbing-rope long-line leash, but it checks all my boxes: it’s very light-weight, it’s only 1/4 inch in diameter, it floats, and it’s reflective. And, it’s earned 84% positive reviews on Amazon. I’ve ordered one and will test it out on our paddle-board this summer.

That’s a Wrap…Literally 😬

Long lines or check cords stand out as an inexpensive, key means to enhance the lives of our small dogs. This tool not only safeguards their physical safety but also contributes to their emotional and psychological health, ensuring that our adventures in the great outdoors (and indoors) are both enjoyable and safe. 🐾

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