My New Favorite Long Leash
Bobby is an adorable dog with a gentle soul who cannot get enough cuddles in a day. He loves being outside all day long (except when it rains) so whenever I can I go out with him for a nice walk I do it. Recently I bought a new long leash to give him that extra bit more freedom. He walks quite well on a regular leash but I can’t let him off leash when walking in the forest or in a rural area. The moment he spots a cat, rabbit or roe he is gone. Therefore, a long leash enables me to let him walk more freely without losing direct control over him. It is also a great and easy way to train recall.
I started training with a long leash a few months ago but stopped because I wasn’t happy with my current leash. The leash was too long for my taste (10 meters) and was made out of nylon. Long leashes made out of nylon do not only can hurt your hands when you try to grab them whilst your dog is not listening but also your dog when the leash accidentally gets wrapped around his/her ankle leaving nasty cuts. Nylon leashes are not suitable for wet weather because they absorb the water and are difficult to clean, too.
After doing some “research” in some of my training books I stumbled upon long leashed made out of biothane. I already own a regular biothane leash but did never looked for a long leash version. Biothane is a strong, rubbery, waterproof material which does not absorb water and is super easy to clean. In the beginning, biothane feels a bit stiff but this feeling will disappear after using it several times. Biothane leashes are a bit on the pricey side but I got lucky and found one on sale (50% off). I ordered a 5 meters leash right away despite its quite dominant colour. Now, after having used the leash outside I think that the color isn’t so bad. At least other people can see the leash dragging on the ground behind him.
When using a long leash I always put Bobby in a harness. It just feels safer to attach a long leash on his back rather than around his neck. He loves walking with a long leash because it gives him more freedom to sniff every tree and under each leave. However, this also means that he can easier get tangled in tranches etc. By securing the leash on his back he will not immediately hurt his neck. Additionally, the leash keeps out of his way (most of the times) without hanging between his legs. The fabric also has a big influence on how the leash is dragging on the ground. With the nylon leash Bobby still sometimes had to pay attention how he walked and had to step over the leash so he wouldn’t tangle is a leg. With the much stronger biothane leash, however, we hardly have any problem with that.
I also prefer long leashes with a handle. You can easily hold the leash whilst walking the dog even if he would pull. The advantage of long leashes without a handle is that you can cut them to any length you would like. You can shorten them by just cutting off a bit and that way accustom the length to your own needs. I have never tried that but I can imagine that some people like to have that option.
I noticed that Bobby behaves very differently when walking on a regular leash compared to a long leash. With the long leash, I can engage so much more with him. I can call him, play and train with him without being attached to a leash myself. I have both my hands free and can focus more on him than our walking. Bobby seems to enjoy his freedom and almost never gets in my way whilst walking. Usually, when walking with a regular leash he suddenly stops right in front of me forcing me to stop immediately to prevent me kicking him.
He does his thing but still listens very well (not always of course but I am very happy with the progress). He enjoys walking in front of us following paths and rejoining us again. It makes me so happy to just observe him being a dog.
So, if you are planning on using a long-leash I can highly recommend the biothane fabric. You can find biothane leashes online and maybe in specialized petshops? Personally, I have never seen a biothane leash in a regular pet store but this might differ per region and/or country.
Julia & Bobby