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.

54 thoughts on “Best Check Cord for Dog Training”

  1. Caryn Sappelli

    My dog wants a Mighty Paw check cord because it’s great for recall training and perfect for use at the park when we’re throwing balls but can’t go off leash.

    1. My Dog Kobe is a Border Collie pitbull mix and he would like a Mighty Paw check cord Because He would like to learn how to come when called and have more obedience training while having more space on a leash. He does not want to ignore me anymore or drag me around on his leash hurting me while doing Training. He has made me fall 3 times on the black top in our drive way. So he thinks it’s a great idea to feel like he has more space while learning and still being on leash. The mighty paw check cord would make he and I very happy
      Thank you

  2. Working with my Molly on always coming when called. I am disabled so need to get her to do this every time

      1. Christy Brunk

        My Loui loves to run and play and he wants to be obedient but sometimes he has a hard time listening. I really want a good tool to help me train him to come when called without worrying if he can run away because I’ll have him on this leash! Thank you

  3. Karen M. Nash

    My boy is fast as the wind and slippery as a serpent. He does not come when called AT ALL, and if he slips his collar, he’s miles away in minutes. We REALLY need recall training!

  4. Jessica Wollmuth

    My dog wants a Mighty Paw check cord so that we can work on her coming when called. She seems to have a mind of her own in her senior years and ‘forgets’ some of her commands. We really need to have a reliable recall with the new neighbor dogs that moved in.

  5. My senior Mill dog rescue never learned any commands in his 11 years of living. I am trying to teach him it’s a good thing to come when he’s called and stay when it’s for his own safety. He is a 4 lb. Chihuahua and this check cord being so lightweight is a perk in my book.

  6. I would like to win this for one of my moms dogs. She is a 12 year old Setter who is a retired hunting dog. She has hip displaysia so they keep her on a check cord so she doesn’t overdo it when they go on walks and hikes. She still has the drive to hunt but can’t anymore due to her age and hips so check cords work great with her so she can still explore but not go too hard

  7. My Bailey sure needs this…she loves swimming at the beach, but has to be on lead. We could still follow the rules and have fun!

  8. Gina Hernandez

    Salem does pretty well staying close by- until someone else walks by our yard- I am no way able to catch up to her fast enough to stop her right now. she’s improving but this is much longer than her current leash that I let her drag around. How awesome to be able to ‘catch’ her attention 30 feet before she leaves our yard. I have other MightyPaw products and they are of the highest quality – such a great company we’d love to win this.

  9. Loki is 120 pounds, wicked fast, and is still a puppy. I am partially disabled (arthritis) so it is difficult for me to walk quickly, let alone chase after him.
    We go for walks at a small lake nearby and he loves getting onto a 20 x 20 ft. dock in a secluded cove. I suspect he would like to jump in and swim, this floating line will make it safe to let him do that. So I just bought one. (Our longline does not float.). *•*•*• ALWAYS BEWARE OF BLUE-GREEN ALGAE! It is *extremely* toxic — FATAL TO DOGS! They die painfully within a few hours of getting into it! Check for harmful algae blooms in your area before letting dogs in the water. •*•*•* Keep your pets safe!

  10. Oh this would be sooooo super for my 22 month old Norfolk Terrier… we are just starting to get the concept of recalls and I think this would be fabulous for training. Keeping my fingers crossed for this wonderful giveaway! Thank you!

  11. My 11 month puppy is super energetic and bad with recall, so this leash would be a great tool for training for off-leash activities. Also, love that bright orange color!

  12. Margie Stetson

    I had a training leash with my first dog Scout but it wasn’t near this nice. I rescued another dog a week ago and this would be great to help train her.

    Both of my rescues were dogs from a hoarding situation and it takes a extra measure to get them used to their new life.

    Thank you for the opportunity to win.

  13. Donny, my Australian Shepherd, can always use more training. He would love the long leash because we can reinforce his training on how to go away from me and come back (recall). it would be fun for him but yet at the same time I would have control. Thanks in advance.

  14. We finally have a very large yard but now live in a neighborhood again so this cord would be great for using with our Rocky who loves exploring and running in the yard, but now has to be on a rope. Would love to own this cord!

  15. Louise Butler

    My Finn (10 week old cockapoo) would love to win one of these. When he goes out on his first walks we can let him run around safely whilst practicing his recall.

  16. Cheryl Carlton

    Brodie would like a 30 foot lead to widen his horizons in a controlled manner. Also, to work on his recall and stay. That one would make both of us happier.

  17. I would love this cord for our new adopted puppy, Burgess. We want to train him to come on command and a long lead will help him explore without becoming lost.

  18. Christi Barrenechea

    I need to work on my Frenchy recall. We were starting when the COVID lockdown happened and now we are back to step one. He is a sweetheart and loves everyone but the bad part is he just goes and will not come back when called, it really scares me.

  19. Rebecca Wheeler

    We go fishing all the time and have talked about getting something like this for when Luka is on the bank. We also have a River next to us that we want to start teaching him to play swimming fetch.

  20. My Biro Yorkshire is a little wild thing. He is just learning to stay close on the walking leash. I live on a lake and he has plenty of woods and water to explore and I truly feel bad when I can’t let him run for fear of him bolting to either or the road. He wants to explore the world but I can’t see that without some other training regime. It sure seems that he would benefit from from the 30′ check cord. Thanks for the info Lindsay.

  21. We fostered and recently adopted a 2 yr old breeder release dog that is super skittish. We would like to use this long leash to take her out to a neighborhood park (behind an old building without traffic) and work on recall and help build her confidence by another new experience.
    Thank you

  22. I’ve been working a lot on training my dog Captain! We would love this for practicing some off leash stuff to have a little more security at first.

  23. We spend our summers in the wilds of the Idaho woods, and even though our dog has 95% good recall, all the new sights and smells (deer, bear, turkey etc), not to mention the river sometime distract him mightily. The check cord would give me peace of mind for his safety.

  24. Would love to try this out for my Aussie, He’s 1 and quite a handful, we are starting training with him next week.

  25. I want to win the check lead, not for my Sophie, but for the rescue I volunteer with. We get dogs mostly locally, some have never been socialized and scream if we use leashes as they fear people and leash’s. I think Covid has stopped our saving international dogs but some of those also have issues.
    I would donate it to the office, or our trainer. Pawsitively training only ty!

    I know winner is chosen randomly but that’s where mine would go.

  26. This is spot-on. Even tho our back yard is fenced-in, if she escapes our puppy is on the move and very difficult to come back when called. We really need to long-leash train her to come when called!

  27. hi, my husky does not have very good voice recall when out in the open. too many distractions, i would love an extra long check cord for her to swim out further without me having to let go of the leash and hope she comes back or me getting wet in the water. zoey just loves water but we tend to stay away from deeper water because i don’t want to get wet past my ankles.

  28. Cindy Siebrecht

    Freeda would like a 30ft check leash to have more freedom on our walks. She is 98% successful at recall in the house or yard, but anywhere else is a gamble.

  29. This definitely would come in handy for training both puppies and refresher training, especially for come. Not to mention its goods for hikes.

  30. just got my dog & in training process. she does not like a leash or collar on. this looks very wearable for her. light to drag along when on a walk & she wants to go ahead of me. looks like a great training tool to have!

  31. Susan Friedman

    My 11 year old rescue girl, Sadie, would love me to work with her more with all the fun training tools. In the past I have just attached several leashes together to practice recall. This certainly would help her training as she gets distracted by other dogs. I would be able to stop her from running away much easier than with a group of leashes.

  32. I have 2 Chihuahua mixes… being a velcro dog (always attached to me be it outdoors or indoors) while the other one has a wild streak. She sees something like a squirrel or chipmunk or a large loud vehicle and she’s off like a shot. So she is always leashed [or confined in a fenced backyard] when outdoors.

    I do have a 15′ leash that I use for her and she seems to be getting better but the 30′ length would be great for additional training as well as keeping her close while camping.

  33. My dog wants a Mighty Paw check cord because he is just a pup and learning all of his obedience. It would be very useful for training recall and stay as well as off leash obedience when we get there.

  34. My puppy needs the cord because she loves to run and play but the lease I have doesn’t allow her to rocket off like she wants. I am afraid to let the cord down because she may run pas me thinking it’s all in the play. Although I have done it and she returned but I would not like it if she gets a mind not to return.

  35. Deborah DUGUID FARRANT

    My Rohan needs this as he is reactive to everything and gets overwhelmed when we are out. Using one of these helps keep him controlled and feeling secure.

  36. I have a rescue dog named Ruger who is a Great Dane. Unfortunately, when we got Ruger we soon learned that he is terrified of a leash. We have tried multiple different ways to get him to accept the leash but he is definitely a work in progress. He is a wonderful dog and I would dearly love to have this cord because I believe it would offer him the freedom of less anxiety and stress while offering us the opportunity to work with him more. Thank you.

  37. Jennie Baysinger

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

  38. Nancy Shields

    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.

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