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Later this fall I'll be taking the dogs with us on a week's vacation at a lake house. Neither dog has a reliable recall, so I'll likely want them on long lines if/when we let them swim. The long line I usually use with the dogs is cotton fabric and can be hard on my hands, especially when it gets covered in sand. I'm looking for recommendations for a new long line. What length? What material? Is there an advantage to one that floats?

I don't know if it's relevant but one dog historically hates to swim and only wades. The other is new to us (relatively recent purchase of an adult dog and breeder can't remember for sure if he's ever gone swimming), so he'll be in a life jacket until we know how confident he is or how much he likes the water...

Links to specific products appreciated!
 

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Training simple obedience would make your life a lot easier.
You can do it yourself in a few months time if you put in the effort.
 

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Honestly, I would worry about too long of a line getting snagged on something in the lake and it hurting the dog. So I honestly would probably stick to no more than 10 feet. Or whatever you can reasonably get to in the water if need be. The pool my dogs swim at used almost like a rubber leash because that’s how they train the new swimmers with vests on.
 

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I really like the biothane lines, they don’t get wet and heavy. I would definitely get something that floats. If it goes under the water it can snag on something.
 

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Later this fall I'll be taking the dogs with us on a week's vacation at a lake house. Neither dog has a reliable recall, so I'll likely want them on long lines if/when we let them swim. The long line I usually use with the dogs is cotton fabric and can be hard on my hands, especially when it gets covered in sand. I'm looking for recommendations for a new long line. What length? What material? Is there an advantage to one that floats?

I don't know if it's relevant but one dog historically hates to swim and only wades. The other is new to us (relatively recent purchase of an adult dog and breeder can't remember for sure if he's ever gone swimming), so he'll be in a life jacket until we know how confident he is or how much he likes the water...

Links to specific products appreciated!
You can try a 30ft equine lunge line. I like the nylon ones, but they can be a little rough on the hands.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Training simple obedience would make your life a lot easier.
You can do it yourself in a few months time if you put in the effort.
LOL! Actually, the older dog has advanced Rally titles and does a lovely recall... in that context. Out in the real world with fabulous smells is a whole 'nother story.... We don't have many safe places to walk her, so she rarely leaves our fenced yard and I just haven't made the time to put in the work needed for a truly reliable recall (and I don't see it happening before our vacation either...).
 

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Use a 100 foot long water ski tow rope. They float.
 

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100% recommend biothane leashes. I have two- 16.5ft (5m), and another that is 62ft (10m). I used them at the beach and for recall training and they are excellent. Honestly the 16.5 feet leash is just right for me, so thats the length I recommend.

I don't have a picture of it in the water, but here is one at the beach.
875327

The blue one is the 62ft leash ( too long to fit in the frame). the yellow one is the 16.5ft leash.
875328


You can get them on Etsy, there are many shops that sell them fully customisable ( colour, hardware etc), or Amazon might have them as well.
 

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JMO: The long line is for training. I am visualizing a possibly dangerous situation.
 

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I used long lines when teaching mine to swim. They were babies so the longest I used was 20 ft. I now own a biothane lead that I would never use for a dog without a reliable recall because it doesn't have a loop at the end. It's 10 ft long. I use it for CGC testing.
 

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Lots of good recommendations here for long lines. You might also be surprised and just find that the dogs don't want to go far from you when you are all in the water. Shala swims with us and never leaves our little group, constantly checking in on the kids to make sure they're okay. The only time she will leave the group is if someone else swims away - and she will want to follow to make sure they are okay. I leave her 4-foot nylon leash on her when we are swimming only because it gets deep at parts and I want to be able to hold on to her if I need to (like if someone does go off to have a long swim) and not risk it getting hooked on something. It also makes it easier to keep her from rolling in the sand (which is her FAVOURITE thing) when we get out! ;)
 

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I agree with sweet girl, you might not need it at all. Pic below is on the same beach day, he didn’t run off or disturb other beach goers so I removed the leash after a short while :)

One thing you have to watch out for when using the long lines is avoiding people and things as they can very easily get caught in the lead if you do not manage it well and it can easily become a tripping hazard too.

I still love the biothane leash though and would still bring them along when I head to the beach. (we cannot off leash dogs at all by law here except in dog runs so if someone tells me to leash them this is a good workaround)

Mine do have the loop handle at the end so it works like a normal leash. Just a very Long one!

 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'd love to find they'll stay close but my gut says my girl at least will follow her nose (she's the one that doesn't enjoy swimming anyway). I took Moxie to the beach a few years ago. Had her on a long line and met a bunch of friends and their dogs. She was doing pretty well staying with the group and we were in a less populated end of the beach where there were retaining walls separating the beach from the houses, so I caved to peer pressure and took her off leash. All was well for awhile... until she found a low retaining wall and the next thing I know she was up on someone's lawn, nose to the ground and headed for the road.... :oops: So... I'm afraid she's doomed to a long line or ex-pens or something while at the camp. There's more hope for my boy, Castor. He's not a fan of the unfamiliar and I think he'll opt to stay close by, as long as nothing scares or startles him. I'd just feel better to have him on a lead until I can get a feel of what he's likely to do...
 

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I would just start off with whatever long line you have while you see what he does. Nothing wrong with that.

Any time you start introducing an adult dog to "distances" and going places with them, you err on the side of caution.

My Jacks (going back a few years) - I really didn't start taking him places for swimming and hiking until he was 2+ years old. I had no idea what he would do + the places we went were kinda a mixture of wading in water + walking along docks with a steep drop off into the water.

I had him on a long line initially.

We went every week with a long line until he knew he could both stay close and have running/swimming time + I trust him to stay close and come back to me.

If you are just making a once a summer trip to the beach, I would just get a long line and play it careful.


^^^ This is the kind somebody suggested I get ages ago back with Jacks. Or it's as similar as I can find.

My pups since Jacks have not needed collars or leashes when I take them out hiking and swimming - but that's all stuff we do 1-2 x a week from the time they come home as itty bitty puppies. They are conditioned to stay close from early.

It's tough getting that same conditioning with an adult dog that full of it. Even a teenaged dog, it's still tough starting all that stay-close type training then vs when they are 7-12 week old pups.
 
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