Good Dog Gear: The Whoa Dog Check Cord

"When you've got a check cord to fit you, you'll request it accompany you to the grave. And for the rest of your life, it'll never be out of hand's reach when you're training or running dogs." -- Bill Tarrant

Check cords are one of those training items you simply can't do without. After all, it's the primary point of contact between you and your pup. In his book "Best Way To Train Your Gun Dog: The Delmar Smith Method," Bill Tarrant recommends tightly-woven 5/16 or 3/8 nylon, tossed in a mud puddle and left to soak overnight for stiffness. And since that was one of the first dog training books I ever read, that's what I've always used. But I'm wavering lately.

I've been trying out a new type of check cord (both puppy and adult versions) from Whoa Dog. Basically, it's a thirty-foot strip of half-inch wide nylon that's been coated in thick orange vinyl. It's stiff, dries instantly, is damn-near impossible to tangle and thanks to its bright "look over here, fool" shade of blaze orange, is also about impossible to lose...even for me. It's also very strong and tough.

So does it work as well as a traditional check cord? I think so. Does it work any better than a traditional check cord? Probably not. But here's why I find myself grabbing it, and why I think it's worth the $30 price tag: the Whoa Dog absolutely will not pick up sandburs, spines, thorns or other plant-based implements of torture. If you've never had your hand perforated by a burr-studded nylon check cord attached to a running dog, then in the words of Yoda, "pain you know not."

If you live and train dogs where the vegetation bites back, this is a nice bit of kit.