Recall Long Line Training: Stop the Dog Ignoring you
Recall Long line training is one of the key parts for teaching a dog not to ignore you. When you call the dog when it is free it has two choices. It can run back to you or it can ignore you.
The long line allows you to reduce that choice to one and make it the right choice. Therefore this gives the control back to the owner. As a Dorset dog trainer the long line plays an important part of my dog training approach.
However, it is perhaps one of the most misused pieces of training gear and correct use is essential for success.
What is a long line?
Basically it is a long length of rope or strapping with a clip on the end and most have a handle at the other end. You can buy them off the net and I have seen some at 30 meters. This is far to long and I like to work with about 6-8 metres depending what I am training. The photo shows one I made and this one does not have a handle at the end.
I have a variety of long lines depend on the dog I am working with and their size. The ones |I make are made from sail rope cord and I use a lead clip off a cheap lead. This is attached to the line and I use heat shrink to tidy the ends up.
If one of my lines has a handle then I attach this to a belt clip. This is usually used for a new dog to recall long line training. A long line without a handle is for allowing to trail on the floor. This is used for a more experienced dog to recall training.
Why is it used for recall long line training?
The basic concept of the long line is so you have a point of contact with your dog should they decide to ignore a recall command. However, and this is critical to the success, the line should never go tight. If you have to intervene and the line goes tight then you need to consider your dog would have run off.
You or the dog should never think, when using a long line, that they are on a lead. The purpose of the recall long line training is to teach the owner the techniques of dog control when the dog is off the lead. The long line allows the owner to stop the dog rewarding itself by ignoring commands or trying to run off.
All sounds complicated, but once I teach you the techniques you will soon get the idea and on the road to getting a solid recall.
Recall long line training for the puppy
Most people who get a puppy are keen to get their new dog out and running around the parks and having fun. I have talked else where we are responsible for teaching the puppy bad habits . This is a great example how we teach the puppy to learn to ignore our commands. We let the puppy off the lead and off it runs. We call it and most likely it will come back at the start. This is because you are the safe place to be. After a short while the puppy will start to get confident and go further to explore. Suddenly the puppy doesn’t need that security and you are now competing with whats ‘interesting’
Without the correct training, the ability to stop the puppy ignoring you and running off you will fail. My strong advice to my clients is the puppy should never be let off without a long line in place. It is always better to teach something then trying to undo a behaviour.
If the puppy is never able to ignore your recall command on the whistle then it is never rewarded. The puppy returning to you will become their default behaviour.
Recall long line training for the older dog
As a Dorset dog trainer this is my bread and butter request for help. Go into any park and you will quickly see owners shouting at their dog as it ignores them. Finally owners get fed up with the dog ignoring them and seek help.
Using a long line with a older dog is a different technique. We are now trying to undo a rewarding behaviour whilst trying to show the dog coming back to use is more rewarding. Done correctly recall long line training can be successful. We can teach the dog coming back is more rewarding, but it will take time.
Many owners worry about the dog being on a long line and not having any freedom. I do have to remind them that by putting the dog on a long line we are actually giving it more freedom. The alternative is to be stuck on a lead!!
Again it is critical the long line is not used as a long lead. This can be a lot harder to achieve with a dog who is used to running off. We will discuss this in the next section.