The use of a towline can be useful for various situations in dog training. Here you will learn what the advantages of towline training are, how to set it up and what you need to consider before using the towline.
Advantages of towline training
Especially in young dogs, towline training is advisable. Because they explore the world, show more hunting behavior or do not always respond to the commands of the owner. Through the targeted use of the towline:
- Uncontrolled running away and browsing are prevented
- hunting behavior is terminated
- Ignoring commands can be prevented
- the recall can be practiced
By controlling the dog with the towline, dog owners can prevent undesirable behavior from occurring or contain it and train it again. Another advantage is that commands can be safely practiced at a distance.
When is it useful to use the towline?
As just described, it is advisable to use the towline for anti-hunting training, for young dogs and for training recall and other signals. However, a towline can also give the owner security and the dog freedom of movement in other situations:
- If the bitch is in heat
- In dog dementia or in blind dogs
- In areas with a compulsory line or during breeding and setting times
Goal of the towline training
The aim of the towline training is to ensure that the dog pays attention to its owner during the walk, does not move too far away from him and carries out given commands. The ultimate goal should be that the dog independently maintains the radius of the leash and that the towline is ultimately no longer required.
Choice of towline: material, length and choice of harness
Tow lines are available in different lengths and materials. The diameter and material of the leash should be adapted to the size and strength of the dog. A diameter of approx. 6 mm is sufficient for small dogs. For large dogs, the leash should be at least 10-12 mm in diameter and have a robust carabiner. We recommend Biothane as material. Biothane tow lines are robust, durable and easy to clean.
The line length is usually 5 to 15 meters. It should be borne in mind that even longer leads can quickly become unwieldy and the dog can develop enormous strength. Likewise, the line should not have unnecessary loops or eyes to minimize the risk of getting caught in the undergrowth.
In any case, a towline should only be attached to a well-fitting harness to avoid injuries to the dog’s cervical vertebrae. For the owners it is advisable to use gloves, otherwise you can get burned quickly. During training, dog owners should always be focused on their dog, as it can quickly move or get tangled on a tree or bush.
Why a towline and not a flexile line?
Dog trainers usually prefer a towline over a flexile line. There are several reasons for this:
- The dog handler must always be attentive and concentrated on the towline to avoid the dog getting tangled
- On the other hand, dog owners often become careless when using a flexile line
- A flexile line is usually not sufficiently stable in larger dogs
- With a Flexileine there is always tension on the leash – the dog has to pull
- The risk of injury and burns is greater on the thin flexilines
Before the towline training: what should be considered?
After selecting a towline and the appropriate chest harness, the towline training can begin. If the dog is not yet used to a harness, this would be the first training step.
At the beginning of the training, you should create a pleasant learning environment, i.e. take a walk at places and times when there is not too much going on and the dog is able to concentrate. Also wear sturdy shoes and ensure a safe stand.
It is also a good idea to take the dog’s food outside and give it a meal for exercises and often reward the dog if he keeps within the radius of the towline. Special rewards should then be deducted from the daily ration to avoid being overweight.
Structure of the towline training
Towline training also means attention training. If the dog runs at the owner’s level, it is confirmed by words or food rewards. If he pulls forward again, a change of direction follows. With consistent training, the dog will learn that it is worth orienting itself to the owner.
If the dog is inattentive or pulls forward, the dog owner turns in the opposite direction. However, you should not jerk around on a leash. In order to avoid pulling on the leash and for the dog to independently maintain the leash radius, a leash end signal should be set up.
For this, a signal such as “stop” or “end” is given before the line end is reached. If the dog continues to run, the consequence is the pull on the leash, which the dog actually wants to avoid in the future and should therefore stop automatically after the end signal.
If the dog shows hunting behavior, such as fixing, sneaking or rushing, this must be interrupted by the owner as soon as possible. As an alternative to hunting or digging for prey, the dog can be offered a game with a food bag or toys, for example.
If the training is successful, the length of the line can be shortened slowly or replaced with a thinner line. If the training continues to bear fruit, the towline should only be dropped first and then removed for a few minutes. If the dog falls back into old behavior patterns, you take a few steps back in training.
Consequence in towline training
With towline training, it is important that this is consistently implemented. For this, the dog should be guided on the towline for at least a few weeks with every walk so that he does not have the chance to ignore commands or hunt too far away.
However, the goal is to be able to give the dog more freedom in the long term, even if this requires consistent towing training for a few months.
In summary: training with the towline
- A towline always belongs on a harness, not on a collar!
- Wear sturdy shoes, ensure that you stand securely and, if necessary, put on gloves
- Link the line in a positive way
- Build up a line end signal
- Confirm your dog frequently for attention, keeping the leash radius and recall
- The goal of the training should be free-wheeling. If you get stuck in training, you should contact a dog trainer