Choosing Long Lines for Mantrailing

Now you have a harness on your dog, it’s time to look at the long line. (Check out my previous blog on harness choice HERE)

Many newbie mantrailers will select any old long line, and it can cause tangles, rope burn and potentially snap. Choosing the correct long line can make a huge difference to the quality of your trailing.

There are two types of line you can use which I have worked with which is bio-thane and rubber gripped. I’ll discuss the pros and cons of each below.

Our three top tips for choosing a long line:

  1. The biggest thing to look at is the strength of your dog when trailing. Are they a steam trains who drag you down the trail, or methodical sniffers who saunter down the trail? Every dog trails differently and you need to take them into account, over anything.
  2. The weight of the line is the next to the consider. Smaller dogs may need a lighter weight line to trail with, heavy lines could be negative to them with the weight slapping against their back. We also need to consider the weight of the line for us, we have to carry it along with us and lighter lines can be easier to handle, where as heavier may feel more secure in your hands. Heavier lines are generally considered to be more sturdy as well, with more tensile strength.
  3. Then length is the next factor. Generally lines are 5m to 10m long. Often we don’t use the whole length of line for most dogs, but dogs which cast widely in search of scent may need 10m in which to find the trail again. A short line will impede your dogs ability to trail in some cases, and could lead to you correcting the dog by over handling. Where as a line that is too long can lead to tangles, or dogs getting injured as we can’t stop them going towards hazards.

A lot of line choice comes down to your handling skills. Do you like a rubber griped line which allows you better grip, but less ability to run through your hand as the dog changes speed. Biothane lines are easier to run through your hands, but can be slippy when wet and harder to grip in emergencies. Biothane is also generally a lot lighter and easier for smaller dogs, or younger puppies.

Rubber Gripped Lines are fabulous for most dogs and my go to choice for mantrailing as I trail with stronger dogs (In this case I mean my spaniel, he goes off like a pop rocket!). If you have a particularly strong dog to trail, when investing in a pair of sailing gloves is a must for extra grip.

We never use extending leads for Mantrailing. They are highly dangerous and can lead to accidents. Long lines which we can control the flow in and out with are our own option.

I recommend rubber griped lines from Houndability – They are made form Raptorgrip and are some of the most durable lines I’ve seen, and aren’t made with cheap clips either. Use the code TrailingK9s for 10% off!

Biothane lines I highly recommend the lines from Hand Made Hound – Loads of lovely colours and well made. Use the code Trailingk9s for 10% off!

Published by Trailing K9s/Complicated Canines

Canine Behaviourist, Dog Trainer, Mantrailing UK Head Instructor, Dog Handler and Dog Collector.

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