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Best Check Cord for Dog Training

What is a check cord?

A check cord is a simple long dog training leash typically between 20 and 30 feet long.

Check cords offer your dog freedom in a controlled training environment. Their unique feature is the lack of a handle so they don’t catch on rocks, tall grass and underbrush while the dog is running.

Check cords float in water. They are lightweight but durable and made of a bright color such as orange for high visibility in different environments. This feature is particularly useful when hunting.


UPDATE: Congrats to Jessica W.!

Mighty Paw is giving away a free 30-ft check cord to one follower of That Mutt! ($30 value)

To enter, just leave a comment at the end of this article! Let us know, why does your dog want this leash?

Mighty Paw is a partner of That Mutt.

Check cord for dog training

If you’d like to order a check cord,
take 15% off with code: CHECK15

Hi, Barbara here! I write for That Mutt regularly and recently tested this check cord on my dog Wally. He’s a two year old, 40 lb Feist mix. We mainly used it to practice coming when called and “stay” at a distance.

Dog trainers highly recommend using a check cord as a line of communication between dog and handler. The check cord is an efficient way of fine tuning a dog’s ability of listening to their handler in multiple scenarios. Let’s take a look at the specific uses of check cords next.

Uses for a check cord in dog training

Training your dog to excel at a particular task doesn’t have to be overly difficult. After all, training tools like check cords help us be less frustrated and more efficient when working towards a specific training goal.

That being said, check cords come in handy when training your dog to perform a specific task, particularly in the following areas:

  • Coming when called. Long training leash to reinforce recall command.
  • Obedience work/training – “stay” with distance. Takes training sessions to the next level.
  • Off-leash training. Gently eases your dog into the concept of more freedom.
  • Hunting. Control pointing and retrieving dogs during bird introduction training, recall and retrieves.
  • Camping. Gives your dog a decent range of motion while adhering to leash laws. Add a carabiner to the check cord to secure your dog.
  • Playing fetch on land or water. Allows you to reel your dog back in from bodies of water. Great for playing fetch in a non-enclosed area, especially when local leash laws apply.
mighty paw check cord

Dog training tips for check cords

  1. Consistency and patience. It’s OK to make slow, steady progress when you and your pup are working towards a training goal that involves a check cord.
  2. Keep training short. A few 10 minute training sessions per day will go a long way in getting your dog used to a new training routine.
  3. Let him drag the check cord. Offer high value treats or a favorite toy along with praise for accepting the cord. You could say something like “Yes, good boy” or “good job” when he starts walking around with it.
  4. Start training in a low-distraction area. This could be inside your home, your yard or another enclosed area before you go to a field where the distractions are a lot more intense. The ultimate goal is for your dog to focus on you and listen to you even when he’s distracted by smells and sights.

What check cords are NOT good for

Check cords are not good for training heeling and polite leash walking. That’s because dogs drag the cords behind them, which gives them a much wider range of motion than they’d have on a regular leash.

Mighty Paw Check Cord review

check cord

Get a check cord for just $12.75 and free shipping with code: CHECK15

The Mighty Paw check cord is perfect for:

  • dog obedience training
  • swimming
  • playing fetch
  • nose work
  • hunting
  • camping

Features of the Mighty Paw Check Cord

  • 30 feet long. Trainer recommended for off-leash feel with total control.
  • Bright orange color. High visibility in water, tall grass, and underbrush.
  • Reflective stitching. Enables high visibility in low-light conditions or after dark.
  • Durable with smooth finish. Made with light-weight 1/4 inch rock climbers’ rope.
  • Water-resistant. Easy to clean.
  • Floats when submerged in water. Great for swimming and water play.
  • Strong, nickel plated iron clip. This clip won’t break.
  • Tangle-free design. Won’t get caught on rocks or underbrush.
  • USA designed and tested. Mighty Paw is a family owned business operating out of Rochester, NY.
  • Retails for $14.99. Get yours for just $12.75 and free shipping! Use code: CHECK15 on Mighty Paw’s website.

How to use the Mighty Paw Check Cord

All you have to do is attach the cord to your dog, then let him drag it behind him during training sessions.

I have my pup Wally wear and drag the check cord behind him both inside as well as outside in my backyard to get him used to the feeling. It’s always easiest to introduce a new tool and/or activity in a low-distraction environment.

What I’ll do is I simply clip the check cord to Wally’s regular flat collar when we’re inside. Once outside, I use both his harness and his doggie backpack as attachment points.

Once Wally’s dragging the check cord behind him, I’ll put him into a “sit-stay” while walking towards the other end of the cord. I’ll then call him and reward him for coming my way with a high value treat.

After a few repetitions, I’ll drop the check cord. That’s so that Wally gets to practice coming when called even when I’m not holding the cord.

High-value treats in combination with the check cord

In case you’re wondering which treats I gave Wally during our training sessions, I used Zuke’s duck and rabbit training treats a lot as he was very motivated to work for them.

Treats aside, there’s one more thing I want to mention. No one’s perfect, but it’s really important to avoid giving a command you can’t reinforce and to only give commands once whenever possible. That’s because you want your dog to listen to you the first time you ask him to do something, and not after the umpteenth time.

Check cords are perfect for this because they allow for correction and reeling back in!

Did the product help us make progress in our recall training?

Yes! Like I mentioned above, we’ve been putting an emphasis on our recall game lately. The Mighty Paw Check Cord was a welcome tool in helping us make progress, especially combined with Wally’s backpack and the single-ingredient treats from Real Dog.

Here is Wally practicing coming when called with the check cord:

I found out that tying a little knot on the end of the check cord makes handling and holding it a bit easier. Of course that means that it might end up getting stuck on rocks or underbrush if you were to use it this way in a field, so that’s something to keep in mind.

Are there any cons?

Although the check cord is made with a smooth finish, rope burn is still a concern in my opinion. I only say that because I’ve experienced it on my legs a few years ago, and let me tell you that it hurt like crazy!

So in order to avoid it, I’d suggest wearing gloves and long pants when you’re working with the check cord. Also, step on it rather than reach for it with your hand!

Win a Mighty Paw check cord for your dog!

Mighty Paw is giving away a 30ft check cord to one lucky follower of That Mutt!

To enter:

Just leave a comment below to let us know your dog wants IN on the drawing! We’ll choose a winner at random on Monday June 29. Must have a U.S. mailing address to win.

If you would like to buy a check cord to start training your dog, use code CHECK15 for 15% off and free U.S. shipping! Click here.


Tuesday 23rd of January 2024

I just rescued my sweet boy and can’t wait to start training him at the beach! Seamus wants in!! He’s ready to start exploring and maybe even swim!!

Deborah Hope

Saturday 5th of June 2021

It is never too late to try to use a check cord with an English Setter.

Nancy Shields

Monday 29th of June 2020

I would love this to I could take my dog Ace out to the park but still be able to have control while playing. Would also be great to practice off leash training.

Tarra Lane

Sunday 28th of June 2020

This would be amazing for camping!

Jennie Baysinger

Sunday 28th of June 2020

My 1 year old Great Dane just finished leash training. So this would be awesome to start off leash training with him ❤️