10 Benefits to using a Long Line when Hiking with your Dog

  1. Give your pup extra length to explore and sniff.
  2. Play a running "leap-frog" by continuing your walking pace and letting your dog stop & sniff, then run ahead to stop and sniff again - added exercise for your pup!
  3. Less hazardous when ascending or descending an incline - let your pup get to a good stopping point and wait for you to catch up.
  4. Follows most park rules for requiring dogs to be leashed (check if your park specifies a maximum leash length!).
  5. Safer than off-leash! If your dog doesn't have a solid recall - don't be "that person" and allow your dog to be rude to other dogs, people, or wildlife!
  6. Safer than a retractable leash! What is the break strength of a retractable leash if your dog takes off chasing wildlife? Is your grip strength able to hold on to the leash housing if they do?
  7. An adjustable long line allows you to change your leash length based on trail conditions and how popular the trail is with hikers and other dogs.
  8. Easily unclips and can be tethered to a tree, bench or picnic table while you're taking a hike break.
  9. Using a hands free leash belt and long line allows you to use hiking poles if needed - but don't forget to train your dog first for the safety of you both!
  10. I've used my long line as a double-ended leash in an emergency with a loose dog (thankfully it was only short term and the other dog was friendly!)



Other Frequently Asked Questions:

Why should I leash my dog while hiking?

Not all dogs or people appreciate another dog coming up to them and getting in their space - if your dog doesn't have a solid recall, please keep them leashed for everyone's safety.

I can't count the number of times an off-leash dog has approached mine with the owner saying "my dog is friendly", only to have their dog growl at mine or snap in my dogs face! And after Rowan has been attacked multiple times by loose or off-leash dogs, neither he nor I assume that another dog is going to be friendly.

What kind of leash is good to use for hiking?

First, does your dog have a strong prey drive that you need to account for if you encounter wildlife on your hikes?

Second, determine if you want to go handheld or hands free for your leash. Going hands free can be great as long as you and your dog practice before using the system on hiking trails, especially if your dog is larger and/or has a strong prey drive.

Third, research whether the places you are hiking have a leash length stated in their guidelines, this will frequently be a 6' or a 10' maximum leash length, if any. 

My favorite hands free systems for hiking is a 15' adjustable long line or an 8' leash, either of which I use on the heavy duty waist belt. Reach out if you want help determining a good system for you and your pup!

How long should a dogs leash be for hiking?

"It Depends" can be a frustrating answer, but it really does depend on the level of difficulty of your hikes, how busy your trails tend to be, and if you encounter obstacles and having a longer leash makes it easier to navigate them. 

One of the benefits to using a paracord leash is that they easily double back on themselves, so an 8' leash can quickly be shortened to 4'.

But the question of "how long for a leash" is why I designed the adjustable line, that way you can adapt on the fly!

What are the benefits of a longer leash?

"All the better to sniff with, my dear" as the wolf in granny's clothing said to Little Red Riding Hood...or something! 

I find that my dog pulls on the leash less when he has a bit more room to explore - even switching from a 6' to an 8' leash saw a significant reduction in his pulling!

A longer leash can also be great to practice recalls with, while keeping your pup safe.

Why are long lines better than a retractable leash?

The adjustable long lines that I make for The Exceptional Dog Shop have hardware rated for a 290lb working load limit - which is much greater than any of the retractable leashes that I've found on the market. My dog has literally thrown himself into a ravine chasing a rabbit on the other side - imagine what would have happened if he was on a retractable leash!

Retractable leashes only work if the dog pulls, which defeats the purpose if you're trying to train your dog to walk on a loose leash!

And because they require your dog to pull, they can also cause your dog's body language to be more tense than on a regular leash - which can cause other dogs to interpret your dogs body language as more confrontational and potentially aggressive. Rowan is an example of this - he's been attacked by loose dogs multiple times, so now interprets tension in another dog as the precursor to a potential attack...

And how can you check if the retracting components of the leash are working if you can't see them? You can visually inspect the full length of a leash for wear & tear so it doesn't fail on you in the middle of a hike...

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