The bond between canines and humans is an ancient and complex one, stretching back hundreds of years to a time when humans did not have large settlements, but wandered through the wilderness. It was mutually beneficial in those times for the two species to live and work together. Since then, dogs have been used for a multitude of working purposes, and have further come to be considered excellent pets. In order to live harmoniously with humans, however, dogs must be trained.
Training lines are leads specifically designed to help train a dog to return to its owner, without running the risk of letting the dog off the lead before it is ready (in case of it running away). This guide will closely examine the features and types of training lines, as well as detailing the various advantages of using eBay, the online auctioning medium, to shop for them.
The Purpose of Training Lines
The human relationship with dogs is not one of equal power. A human owner must be in control of their pet; they must be the master. If the owner loses control of their animal, disastrous consequences can ensure, ranging from losing the dog (which can be distressing for family members) to it attacking another dog, or possibly even a human being. To this end, one of the fundamentals of dog training is commanding the dog to return to its owner.
Over the years, the training of dogs has been refined almost to the point of being an art form. There is no shortage of assistance to those who seek to train a dog, ranging from advice and tutoring to physical products. The training line fits into the latter category. It is a device designed to allow the owner to keep absolute control over the dog, whilst at the same time allowing it enough freedom to effectively train it to return from a distance at the owner’s beck and call. As such, training leads must be both long and adaptable.
The Features and Types of Training Lines
Training lines come in numerous shapes, sizes and materials. This section of the guide will look in depth at the variety of training lines available on eBay, beginning with type.
There are two primary kinds of training lines. These are as follows:
- Regular – the regular training lead is similar to the traditional dog lead, inasmuch as it consists of a handle, a length of material, and a hook mechanism by which the lead is attached to the dog’s collar. However, due to the nature of its purpose, it is necessarily much longer. This simple design is usually easier to manufacture than the other kind of lead, causing it to be priced lower.
However, since dogs can be unpredictable, and the regular training line consists of a single length of material, certain difficulties can arise, such as the lead becoming tangled, or caught on objects such as bins or trees. The use of a regular training lead requires the user to closely monitor the amount of line the dog is being given, to prevent such tangles.
- Retractable – the retractable lead is a relatively recent invention, which makes for an excellent training lead. The lead is coiled up, and stored in a plastic housing attached to the handle. This allows a lead of great length to be stored practically, using up little space.
It also prevents the lead from becoming tangled easily. When there is no pressure on the line, the mechanism inside the plastic housing causes the lead to retract into it. So when attached to the dog, the length of the line automatically adjusts to exactly the distance between owner and dog. This vastly decreases the chance of the line getting caught or snagged on something, as well as decreasing the amount of effort that needs to be exerted on the part of the owner.
The lead can be “locked” at any point by the owner, in case of needing to prevent the dog from doing something undesirable. These numerous features all contribute to the retractable lead being an excellent choice of training line. However, due to the comparatively complex nature of the mechanism, retractable leads are more expensive than their regular counterparts.
Training lines consist of the following parts:
- Grips/handles – the part of the lead held by the trainer. In regular training lines this part of the lead will often be reinforced with additional stitching, for extra security and strength.
- Hooks – the hook is the part of the lead, which clips onto the dog’s collar. It is obviously important that this part of the lead be strong and functional. There are numerous mechanisms by which the hook works; the most common is a spring-loaded length of metal, which requires fingers to operate, thus ensuring the dog cannot release the hook on its own.
- Loops – loops are for attaching the hooks to. Some regular leads will feature loops along the length of the material. These models will feature two hooks, one of which is hooked to one of the loops. This allows the length of the lead to be adjusted.
- Main body – the length of the lead. Usually made from a flexible, durable, strong material, such as webbing.
- Halit attachments/muzzles – Halti add-ons can be attached to the end of the lead. They enclose the dog’s snout, allowing greater control over the animal, as well as preventing biting (in the case of muzzles).
Training leads are usually anywhere between 20 and 50 meters in length, though this is by no means a fixed value. The length of lead required depends upon the dog’s level of training, and the size of the dog. On both cases, the relationship is proportional; larger dogs and more responsive dogs will require longer leads.
There are numerous materials that can be used in the making of training leads. The following are materials commonly used for the main body of the line:
- Webbing – webbing is tough, flexible and light, as well as cheap to produce and relatively water-resistant, which makes it a natural and practical choice for training lines.
- Cord – cord is thin and elastic, making it difficult to handle in regular leads, but perfect for use in retractable leads.
- Rope – thick, heavy and strong, rope is a solid and stylish choice, as well as a cheap one, though not as light and waterproof as webbing.
Hooks can be made from steel, nickel, aluminium or any other widely used commercial metal. Plastic is used for the mechanism housing in retractable leads.
Using a training line can be an excellent and effective way to train a dog, without running the risk of it taking off before it is in a state of readiness and responsiveness. This guide set out with the intention of exploring and examining the various features of the training line. There are two main types, regular and retractable, made from three possible materials.
Deciding which line is right for you is a highly subjective process, which depends upon the available budget, the size and needs of the dog, and the aesthetic and textile preferences of the owner. The online auctioning platform eBay is an excellent place to shop for training lines for dogs, thanks to its varied array of items, and its helpful design.