Long Line Distance Recall Training

Today, Suzy is going to share with us some tips for working on recall training. This is something I have been working on with Rooney. I feel that it is an important training tool for all dog parents, and I wanted Suzy to share some expert advice on the subject. Therefore, I want to thank Suzy, our resident trainer, for putting together this blog post. Enjoy!

Training your dog to a long line recall takes time, so be patient.  You, and your dog need to understand the mechanics of working with a long line.

You may be wondering why we use a long line to teach recall training:  The long line is an excellent proofing tool for testing your dog’s proficiency for a distance come and still doing it safely, because they are tethered to a leash.

Start small and work your way up (Remember that if your dog does not have a clear understanding of the come cue.  This is not the place to start).


Your dog should already have a full command of the basic come cue first, only then should you move on to this long line recall.

A long line can be anywhere from 10 to 50 feet.  If this is new to your dog start small and work your way up.

The very first thing you want to do when training your dog for a recall on the long line, (and this is if you have never used a long line with your dog previously), is to allow him or her to have this attached to his collar and drag it around in the house or outside in a fenced in yard.  This will allow your dog to become desensitized to it.

While they are dragging around the long line, do not do any type of training.  This is only for desensitization of the long line.

*Be very careful when your dog is in your home or outside dragging around the long line, you do not want it to get tangled or step on it, which will startle him or her.  This can cause an adverse reaction.  We don’t want that.

Decide the length you are planning to use, and begin with that line for desensitization.  I suggest starting with a shorter one, and moving your way up.

Providing your pooch time to become desensitized to the long line will help his or her focus.  The training is about the come cue, and not about the long leash attached to their collar.

You will notice when your dog no longer cares about this long leash being dragged behind him or her.  Remember, some dogs may take longer than others.  Give your dog the time they need.

Once your dog has become desensitized, its time to prepare for your training session.

By the time you get to long leash training, you have been training your dog in all the basics, such as, sit, stay, down and the basic come.  You know by this point when they are providing their best responses, and when they do not quite understand what it is you are asking them to do.


  1. Always, begin training in an area with no distractions.
  1. Stock you treat pouch with grade A, B, and C rewards.

If you are not familiar with the treat grade rewards, I have reviewed this in a quick recap below, or you can read more in my post Dog Training Tip:  Do You Have A Reward System In Place?

Just to review the treat grading system:

All the treat rewards are accompanied with verbal praise and petting.  Except for the Treat “D”, that is verbal praise only, for a good try.

Treat A: Is for the Excellent response “best reward” for your dog.  This should be the food treat your dog loves the most.  This may not be a food treat, if your dog is toy motivated. If you dog is toy motivated, then this would be their most favorite toy.

Treat B:  Better than Average Response – second favorite treat, or second favorite toy.

Treat C:  Average Response – third favorite treat, or third favorite toy.

Treat D:  Less than Average responses get verbal praise only.  There is no petting or treat.

When there is no response, you will say “no” or “eh-eh”, then wait a second or two, and try it again.  Training is always about setting your dog up for success.

Never punish or reprimand your dog.  To build a good training system with your dog, he or she has to trust that you will not harm him or her in anyway.  Your dog just wants to please you.

Okay, so we are ready for training:

  • Your pouch is stocked with the appropriate treats
  • You are in an area with no distractions
  1. Attach the long line to your dogs collar.
  2. While holding the opposite end of the long line allow your dog to wander, but only to a point where the leash is loose at all times. We want it loose so your dog is focusing on the cue, not the leash.
  3. Bait your hand with treats, without your dog seeing it. (If your dog sees this, it becomes a bribe.)
  4. Say your dogs name and give the “come cue”. Be patient, as your dog may seem confused because of the distance.
  5. If you offer encouragement and praise, as he or she approaches you, they will begin to understand what you are requesting. Your dog will begin to get it, and understand this is the same training for the come cue just further away.

Remember when starting out, just do short distances at first, then when they are responding to your come cue at that distance, let them go a little further.


If your dog gets distracted and does not come, immediately say “no” or eh-eh”.  Start back at the distance that they did listen, giving them the opportunity to be successful and receive rewards.  Be sure to offer the appropriate reward.

Then, try the further distance again.

*Whenever your dog does not respond to the come cue from a particular distance – go back to the previous distance in which he or her did comply, and use that distance for the next few times.

This allows for rewards, and then you can try increasing the distance again slowly.

When you are practicing the recall with the long line, you need to gather the line as quickly and unnoticeable as possible, as your dog is running towards you.  We are trying to keep the focus on the cue, not the line.


When the dog notices the line, he or she will begin to think the only time they need to listen to your cue from that distance, is when they are on the long line.

This is not what we want to accomplish.  The long line is for safety only.  The training is so your dog will learn to come to your regardless if they are on a long line, or not.


Once you have accomplished the long line come cue, and your dog is complying 90% of the time, you can begin to add more distance, and work on an auto-sit when they reach you.  Then you can also begin to add distractions to the long line recall training.

We can talk about that in another post.

I hope you enjoyed this long line recall training post.  If you have any additional questions, or have a specific issue with this training, feel free to contact me at thedogtraininglady.com

If you would like to learn more about adding the auto-sit to the long line recall, or adding distractions to the long line recall training, just drop Rachel an email and she will be sure to let me know.

I would like to thank Rachel and Rooney for inviting me to guest post on mykidhaspaws.org and I hope to guest post again very soon.

Until Next Time,

Paws & Wags,

Suzanne Dean, ABCDT

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4 Comment

  1. Reply
    Fredrieka Sweetpaws
    October 18, 2015 at 2:12 am

    I got this one down pat, it is fun to play this game, momwithoutpaws takes the lead off me, walks 100 yards away and calls me, it is a trick we show our elders they love to see me run
    Fredrieka Sweetpaws recently posted…Versatile Themes for Online MagazinesMy Profile

  2. Reply
    M. K. Clinton
    October 18, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    I definitely need to get Bentley and Pierre to grasp the concept on “come.” LOL! Actually, they know but they don’t think they need to follow the rules in the fenced backyard. They are never allowed off-leash anywhere but our backyard. Still it would be nice if they would come when I called.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Lazing on a Sunday AfternoonMy Profile

  3. Reply
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady
    October 19, 2015 at 6:36 am

    Ahhhh recall training…. something I am all too familiar with! LOL!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Silly Sibe SelfiesMy Profile

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