Why do you need a tow line?

Increasingly, I see dogs being leashed around town. It may be great for the four-legged friend to have so much freedom of movement. For other road users, however, the tow line can be a real nuisance.

Handling such a long leash properly requires the full attention of the dog owner. But this is not always the case. Maybe you take a quick look at your smartphone or are just lost in your thoughts. And what is well-intentioned for the dog can backfire. Your animal runs, the leash tightens and becomes a tripping hazard.

The question arises whether a towline in a city makes any sense at all or whether it is intended for completely different purposes.

A towing line is used for this

A tow leash is a special form of dog leash that is particularly long. Exactly how long is not specified. It can be three, five, ten or even twenty meters long. Another feature is that towing lines have no eyelets or hand loops. You want them to be able to drag freely on the ground without getting caught.

The right length and width of a leash depends on the purpose you want to use it for, but also on the weight of your four-legged friend.


Imagine your furry friend weighs 40 kg and you lead him on a ten meter long leash. If he suddenly starts running, there will be a violent jolt as soon as the leash tightens. This jerk can injure your hand or shoulder. He can even knock you completely off your feet, which unfortunately happened to me before. The leash had unhappily wrapped itself around my legs and ripped them away. You can imagine how painful the landing on the hard ground was.

The lower the weight of the dog, the longer the leash can theoretically be. However, the length also depends on the temperament of your dog. Is he rather calm and less impulsive? Or is he constantly under pressure and finding it difficult to control himself? Also consider this aspect when making your decision.

The shorter a tow line is, the easier it is to handle. It makes a difference if you drag five meters and have to wind it up or if it's twenty meters.

Important to know:

If your dog runs into the leash at full speed and you hold the other end in your hand, your animal is also exposed to a strong jolt. Attaching the leash to a collar can cause cervical spine injuries. In the worst case, there is even a risk of a broken neck. Therefore, a towing line may only be attached to one chest harness.

Possible uses of a tow line

The purpose of a tow leash is primarily to train with your four-legged friend under controlled conditions. The controlled condition in this case is that it does not run free until it has safely mastered the recall. As a puppy, he may still follow you reliably at every turn, but from puberty it looks different for many dogs: the hunting instinct awakens! This is where a leash can be helpful to strengthen the recall while keeping your pet safe.

But a tow line is not only useful for practicing the recall. Even very fearful or aggressive dogs may need to be kept on a leash for the rest of their lives.My late dog Fine was shot in her home country of Spain and has been terrified of popping noises ever since. But how would I know in advance when a popping noise would occur? So that she could move as freely as possible, I often led her on a tow line in the forest. That way she had her space and I was relaxed because she was secured.

Where is a tow line used?

Giving your dog some freedom of movement is great! However, you should only do this where you would otherwise unleash him. Busy streets, residential areas or inner cities are therefore eliminated. Unleashed, your dog would be exposed to far too much danger in these places. If you lead him there on a tow line, it looks similar. Either you let the leash drag on the ground and can't react fast enough. Or you hold them coiled in your hand, which is quite inconvenient and requires good handling.

If the leash is dragging on the ground, it can become an annoying and even dangerous obstacle when your dog starts running. Therefore, you should only use a towline in the great outdoors, in large parks or on a training ground.

Do you use the leash to practice recall with your dog or for anti-hunt training? Then you should behave as if he were walking without a leash. The line has only the purpose of serving as an emergency backup. You can either hold the end in your hand or let them drag completely on the floor. Both require your attention when a pedestrian, cyclist, or other dog appears.

Please note:

Don't let your four-legged friend play with other dogs on the tow leash. There's too much risk of them becoming entangled and injured.

Tow line yes or no?

A towline offers a good compromise between range of motion and safety. Not only is your four-legged friend secured by the leash, but you also feel better when you have him under control.

It can take a long time before dogs can run free, especially in the case of strong hunting dogs. And with some skins this is never possible because they may have had traumatic experiences or you cannot get their hunting behavior under control.

Is your dog one of these animals and you don't want to let him run around without a leash? Then use a regular leash for walks in busy or busy areas. With this you are doing yourself and your fellow human beings a great favor.