Most bird dog training equipment is really static and maybe even rigid in how it is used. But one piece of equipment — the check cord or long line — is as versatile as my Brittany bird dogs are.
A check cord, which is a length of rope 15 to 50 feet long with a snap clasp on one end, is perfect for training the novice dog to quarter — move in a side to side sweeping pattern in front of you — or for making the intermediate dog think he is tethered to you when he actually isn’t, or to let an old dog hunt the edges of fields and woods safely.
It can be used to teach recall, “whoa” — stopping to point a bird — or to retrieve birds. Or as a quick tie-out when away from home.
The length, heft and material of a check cord will be determined by how you intend to use it and how old your dog is. For example, a puppy should not drag around anything too heavy in order to avoid permanent damage to growing limbs and joints.
I have a lightweight, 15-foot cotton web lead, handmade in Maine, that I use with puppies. It’s long enough that I can grab the lead on its way by me if I’ve let it go, or if I decide to hold onto it while I let pup discover a live bird in the grass on his own. It’s a limited-use lead for me, but perfect each time I have a new pup.
As a longtime employee of Bangor Daily News, I have served many roles over the years, but I now have a dream job as Community Editor. I live in Hermon with my four Brittany dogs: Sassy, Bullet, Thistle...
More by Julie Harris