Ground Control

Use this cable to safely, swiftly start dogs in your backyard.

Outdoor Life Online Editor

When equipment manufacturer T.E. Scott first produced ground-secured tie-out cables with sliding tethers, I saw their real value as a great way to help make training quick, incredibly easy and safe, especially for novices who live on small lots near town traffic and don't know what Duke will do next. I use it for introducing birds, obedience commands, taking a line, blind retrieves, doubles and triples and taking hand signals. The cable guides the youngster into doing what you ask.

101 Uses The range of training applications for these cables is seemingly endless. For instance:

  • Duke decides he'd rather run off and play with the dummy than deliver, or he skirts around you inviting chase. You just throw to the end of the cable. He can't go farther away and he can't skirt past on a short slider.

  • On leash during initial heel training, it's a hassle to keep the pup from forging ahead, getting under foot or running too far out. But snap both cable tether and leash to the collar, and Duke stays in line with your heels and at your preferred distance.

  • Both "sit-stay" and "whoa" mean don't move, but pups want to break and come. They can't when the slider is taut against the cable end.

  • Right-handed retrievers tend to drift to the right; lefties tend to drift to the left. Through practice on cable, both learn to make straight-line runs.

  • Ground cables are especially useful in teaching doubles, triples and blind retrieves. Start with an in-sight group of three dummies. Spread them farther and farther apart until one is a close fetch and the farthest is hidden near the end behind a pile of grass. Accustomed to knowing dummies will be there, the dog will go for the blind with confidence. Also add decoys out of reach, so going through them won't tempt Duke on opening day.

Build Your Own
Unfortunately, Scott's aircraft-cable tie-out, intended for 24-hour dog use, is no longer available. But you can assemble your own from cheaper, lighter materials adequate for training and available from Sears (see sidebar). Your yard size determines the cable's length. The setup is not unsightly, and unless you scalp your turf, your mower won't catch cable, tether or ground-level stakes.