22 Feb 16

What Dog Training equipment should y ...

By Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

What Dog Training Equipment should you use for your dog?

It seems like it should go without saying, if you’re unsure of what type of training collar, harness, leash, etc., that you should be using for your dog, you should contact a Professional Dog Trainer for help and guidance.

Many dog owners guessitmate what training equipment they should use, don’t get proper training lessons with said equipment for their dog.  Or worse just buy training collars or harnesses off the web or in a big box store and do not do ANY research about the product – or even know how to use it!  Or they ask for advice in a Facebook group and then go out and get the product without ANY help from a professional.

If you’re a dog trainer, I am sure you have heard this before, “That’s what worked for my last dog,” and the owner just assumes that what worked for their last dog will be the same for their new dog.  And, yes in some instances that can be the case, but not always.

On nearly a daily basis the topic comes up for me – whether it is when I am out walking my dog Cody, meeting someone with a new puppy, they always seem to ask me training questions.  And while I am not a trainer in that, I don’t get hired to train dogs, I have been training dogs since I was 10-years old, I taught responsible dog ownership classes for years, have worked with extreme cases (highly aggressive and/or unstable dogs) while pet sitting, and ended up training dogs in the process and have given training advice to friends. (And have asked for advice from dog training professional friends for some of those extreme cases).  I have also recomended professional trainers many times over.

I am sure this is something my dog training friends see all the time also, and it can be cringe worthy when seeing someone walk a dog with a training collar/harness and seemingly not have a CLUE as to what they are doing!  Or WORSE hurting or injurying the dog out of their own frustration of not fully understanding of the training collar/harness and that they are hurting their dog.

The topic comes up amoung friends as well – as recently as this past weekend while on a dog walk with a lot of different dogs, a bunch of us were talking dog training – what type of collars, harnesses, no-pull apparatuses we use, etc., what we want to try next (especially for our strong pullers!).

I have always said, you have to find the right dog trainer and training collar/harness for your dog, your situation and your family.  Every dog is different, every dog owner is different and trainers will have different training advice for you and your dog.  There is nothing wrong with interviewing or working with different dog trainers to see which one will be the best fit.

So here are some tips to help guide new, novice and even experienced dog owners to help you and your dog:

1. Seek out and find a professional dog trainer to help you purchase any training equipment, have the trainer teach YOU how to use it properly and to fit it properly.  Fit is very important.  Dogs can slip out of collars/harnesses if you don’t have it on correctly.

2. Don’t go to a big box store and rely on the sales clerk to sell you the right collar/harness.  Some trainers will go with you to the store and help you purchase the correct item you need.

3. You may go through many different kinds of training collars/harnesses until you find the right one that works for your dog.  Don’t be discouraged by that.  It’s ok!

4. Taking training classes?  Great!  Have a family or signifcant other that will also be taking care of your dog? Get the entire family involved with training the family dog so everyone has an understanding, and uses the same words, terms when training. Also everyone in the household should know how to properly put on and take off the any training equipment.  (And for SAFETY: no training collar/harness should be left on your dog when in the house, crate – it can be dangerous.  I have seen dogs with choke collars on all the time, with their tags on the choke collar [NO!!!], it’s very dangerous to do that.  If your dog’s choke collar gets caught on something it can choke to death.  A flat buckle collar is where you should have your dogs tags on.)

5. Make your training sessions Fun!  Dogs can feel your frustration right down your 6-foot lead.  Dogs want to learn and please their owners – so making it a fun, positive session for you and your dog – you will both look forward to training.  You will be so proud when your dog learns a new trick!

6. Train your dog in different senerios, different locations – and regularly.  You will see a big difference in how your dog reacts to things and his/her excitement level.             For example: My dog Cody on short walks can be easily walked on a flat collar or his regular collar.  If I know he is going to be very overstimulated (like visiting a pet store, walking with a bunch of new dogs – he gets really happily excited) – he will have a training collar on.  I am working with him to get him completely back to a flat collar – but it is a work in progress, and that is OK!  I also always have treats in my pocket to be able to get him to focus on me when out and about if he is really excite-a-bull!

I work with Cody on a regular basis so he will focus on me when I ask him to.  He has a couple of training collars – for different situations.   I do training sessions as part of every single walk.  Even it if is a ’stop, sit, stay, look, good boy!’  Takes less than a minute.  I also incorporate heel training sessions into his walk regularly, he’s getting there. :)

7. My last tip for equipment is please do Not use retractable leashes when training (or at all).  You can ‘feel’ your dog through the leash in your hand when using a 6-foot leash. (Meaning you can feel your dog moving around while on the walk, how far he is getting from you – something you can NOT feel while he is on a retractable). I personally prefer a good quality 6-foot leather leash for regular dog walks.  I have had Cody 10-months, the leather leash I use for him, I have had for 15 years.  It doesn’t look like have had it 15-years!

Seeing so many different types of dog training equipment on the market, I understand how overwhelming it can be for dog owners.  That’s why hiring a professional dog trainer with experience, that has plenty of references and continues their own education in dog training, is so important for you and your dog.

You want to have fun with your dog – even while training!

I would love to know what your favorite training collar/harness or lead is, and why? Post in the comment section below:

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