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I'm trying recall games in our fenced backyard with Cleo using a 20-ft long line. Basically, we're playing ping pong --i toss food away, she goes to get it, and then I call her back and toss again in another direction. So far so good. But, I've never used a long line before, and i'm confused about how to keep both of us from getting tangled up and tripping, especially Cleo, when she's running back and forth. Even if i take up the extra length, what's left is dragging on the ground (and in my yard right now that means a lot of dragging through mud...). I can't really gather it up more because i'm having her run away and then quickly run back to me from different distances. I have the line attached to her harness, and I have been attaching it in front, like her leash, but maybe i should attach it on the back for this kind of thing? I feel like there is probably a simple answer here than i'm missing because of my inexperience. Any suggestions?
 

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If your yard is fenced then you shouldn't need a long line since they can get tangled and make more problems than they solve. If I felt the dog didn't have a reliable recall then for something like this I would use a flexi and hold it high above the dog as she returns. You can play that game over very short distances in the house before taking it outside. After that if you have a deck or patio play the game there over slightly longer distances at first.

This is a great recall game and my training assistant and I teach it in our focus and attention workshops.
 
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I bought a 20’ long line and it was a fiasco. I got the line so twisted and it was completely unnecessary for training recall. Ian Dunbar’s method of recalling for check-ins with treat bonanzas worked best for my food motivated guy. If I didn’t have a fenced yard, I might have had to get proficient.
 

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I ended up with a flexi for the very reason you are having. Even worse, my long line was bamboo that soaked up all moisture and acted like velcro for leaves and sticks. What a mess.

With a flexi you have to be very, very, very careful and very aware of using it correctly when you use it. I don't have a fenced in backyard so it was my only option other than the long line. Even if I had a fence, at the beginning she needed a little pull on the leash to get her running back to me to get a treat. Once she learned she got treats, I didn't need tohat reminder.
 

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Oddly - I don't usually have these issues with my spoo and her 50' line. We usually drag it, and there's usually a long loop behind us. I keep it attached around my waist. Maybe the extra length is helpful? I also do attach to her back clip, not the front clip on her harness. I also love our flexi (10') for shorter distances, but probably wouldn't buy a 15' flexi.
 

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I ended up with a flexi for the very reason you are having. Even worse, my long line was bamboo that soaked up all moisture and acted like velcro for leaves and sticks. What a mess.

With a flexi you have to be very, very, very careful and very aware of using it correctly when you use it. I don't have a fenced in backyard so it was my only option other than the long line. Even if I had a fence, at the beginning she needed a little pull on the leash to get her running back to me to get a treat. Once she learned she got treats, I didn't need tohat reminder.
Is a flexi the same as a retractable leash? ?
 

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Is a flexi the same as a retractable leash? ?
Yes, flexi and retractable leash are the same, however there are different types. My daughter's friend lost a tip of her finger using a retractable, flexi leash. Dogs have had serious injuries too - when you retract the leash, it retracts quickly and can get tangled around a dog's leg or owner's hand. If you get one, use it without your dog at first to get a feel for it. Always use it with your full attention so you can control it's retraction. There is a good brake on them so if you see a problem about to occur you apply the brake.

The one that I bought is a cord so it works better with my training.



There are ones that are thin ribbons or tape.

 
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Yes, flexi and retractable leash are the same, however there are different types. My daughter's friend lost a tip of her finger using a retractable, flexi leash. Dogs have had serious injuries too - when you retract the leash, it retracts quickly and can get tangled around a dog's leg or owner's hand. If you get one, use it without your dog at first to get a feel for it. Always use it with your full attention so you can control it's retraction. There is a good brake on them so if you see a problem about to occur you apply the brake.

The one that I bought is a cord so it works better with my training.



There are ones that are thin ribbons or tape.

Okay, thank you, very much! Oh, no! I'm sorry that that happened. I've heard of people and dogs being injured. I forgot what website it was, but there was a Golden Retriever that got hit by a car after lunging at it on a retractable leash ?

thank you for the links! I might get one just for recall training. I already have a 30' leash
 

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I've experienced two related problems with a flexi. These are not the flexi's fault.

I have a hard time keeping a grip on it and have frequently dropped it. It then became something very scary to my poo, already startled by the drop, as the handle comes skittering on it's own towards them at a rapid pace. I ended up having to always keep it locked, but that defeats the purpose, and, I still couldn't keep a grip on it.
 

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I very rarely use one, because I hate how it soaks up all the moisture in the grass. But there are some places I have her drag it as a safety precaution—when there are no cars or immediate dangers, but she's not 100% contained (such as at our favourite beach, which is in a cove).

That said, our trainer did encourage us to let Peggy figure out how to untangle herself rather than constantly trying to intervene, and we've seen steady progress.

I used to be able to say to my mini "You're twisted!" and she'd immediately stop and untangle herself. I didn't intentionally teach her that, just reinforced the behaviour over time.
 

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I use my flexis so I can give corrections at distance in training things like dumbbell and glove retrieves to make sure the dog returns to me. When the dog is returning you need to hold it high so it is above the dog's back and head. That takes care of most of the potential problems for the dog. I also prefer the tape style since I think it reduces the finger amputation concern for the person. All that said then of course the handle for a 23' tape flexi is very bulky and you do have to make sure you have a good grip on it. Otherwise it will go flying at your dog! I was working retrieve over the high jump with Javelin a few months ago and had just that happen. He went flying so hard and fast over the jump that he pulled the handle away and it went flying right at him with a small stop on the way to hit the jump. He looked up from his pick up when he heard it hit the jump and then get broad sided himself. He was startled and my friends and I were pretty convinced he was going to refuse the jump and not be able to collect to go back to that exercise for a good long time. However my resilient fearless boy was right back on the retrieve within about 10 minutes.
 
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Before I had a big yard to do recalls in, I used a long nylon clothesline type cord. I tied knots in it about every three feet to give myself some leverage when reeling it in... and always wore leather gloves. I doubt I have the coordination to run backwards while reeling in the cord anymore. With Wilson, I managed to avoid my bad habit of calling the dog for baths, and other bad things. His recall is better because of this forced change in my own behavior. My daughter was very good at stopping me and yelling at me for committing the "horrible breach of contract". The "contract" being that I will only call my dog for good things, as viewed by the dog. I made sure that when I called him in from playing that it was for a quick "check in" and then, he was allowed to go back and play. Ha-ha, I knew what I should have been doing, but it was easier said than done.
 

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My girl uses a long line wherever we play in an area that is not fenced in. I just let it drag behind her. I've typically use a 20-30 ft line, it drags between her legs. If the ball goes past the length of the line, I drop the end of the line, to allow the additional space to get the ball. I've never had any issues. I throw the ball to the left, she runs and gets it, brings it back, then I toss it to the right, back and forth. The line typically stays straight that way.
 

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On a semi-related note: How dang smart are these poodles of ours?? Jeez!

Peggy walked around a tree yesterday, pulling her leash taut. She looked at me like, "Hello? Please help."

But I didn't.

So....she dutifully walked back around the tree to free herself.

I've seen some very clever (and much more mature) pooches get stumped by this predicament!
 

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On a semi-related note: How dang smart are these poodles of ours?? Jeez!

Peggy walked around a tree yesterday, pulling her leash taut. She looked at me like, "Hello? Please help."

But I didn't.

So....she dutifully walked back around the tree to free herself.

I've seen some very clever (and much more mature) pooches get stumped by this predicament!
I'll have to try that with Sisko!
 
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