Dog Training: The Tools

As with other types of work, dog training works best when you have the right tools!
At a minimum, you’ll need a collar, leash, something that motivates your dog, and some space to train in. I also recommend a long lead (or just a long rope you can attach to the leash), and an electronic training collar for dogs that are unruly.

For the collar, you need something solid and reliable, adjustable to fit snugly, with a solid buckle of some kind. I use the Max and Neo, ‘The NEO dog collar’ on both of my dogs, and it works well.
I don’t use a harness for training because it shifts the pressure of the ‘tug’ to the chest and body, where it’s far less effective.
I don’t use any kind of choke, pinch, or prong collar because I don’t want to cause or allow uncontrolled pain. I.E., if the dog spooks and backs away from me in a prong collar, they’re going to get me pulling on the leash preventing them from getting away, the sharp poking of the prongs into their neck, and the overall panic of both of those things together.
I will use a martingale collar for dogs with ‘no neck’, just to ensure the collar stays on the dog.
All of this is great, but having a fenced in and controlled area for training is really the best defense against a slipped collar, dropped leash, or other loss of control issues.

For the leash, I like the Max and Neo heavy duty double handle 6′ leash; plenty of leash to work with, solid handles at the end and near the collar for close-in work, and a solid clip that’s easy to use. You don’t have to have the double handle, but it’s really nice for when you’re working on ‘heel’, ‘right side’, and/or ‘sit’.
I also keep a 25′ rope floating around that I can clip onto the leash so I can work on recall from longer distances.

You can use several things to motivate your dog, and while pets and praise go a long way, many dogs are food motivated, so having plenty of small training treats on hand will help training be a fun game for your dog.

I also consider the crate to be a training tool, and a very valuable all around tool for keeping bad behavior in check. I’ll write up another post covering the crate in depth, but in short it’s a great way to maintain supervision of your dog when you’re not around, and it’s nice for them to have a place of their own to run to.

Once you’re equipped with the right tools, it’s time to get to work fun! 😀


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