So you’re ready to start training your dog!
You don’t need a lot of equipment to start training a dog. There are, however, a few tools that can make your task much simpler.
Certain dog training equipment will make training easier for both you and your dog. Some will assist you in learning about dog training and improving your dog training plan.
While some dog training equipment is optional, there are a few items that almost every owner will require to teach their dog the basics. We’ll begin by going through these required items.
1. A Dog Collar
A collar is one of those obvious things that all dogs require, whether you’re training them or not.
Why are collars so important? For starters, they may store your dog’s ID tag to guarantee you are called if your pet goes missing. They also give a simple method to connect a leash for walks, as well as a convenient hand-hold option when you need to grab your dog (whether to keep them out of danger or prevent him from dive-bombing that chicken drumstick you dropped on the kitchen floor).
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2. A Sturdy Leash
A strong leash is required for your dog to enjoy the great outdoors! Dogs like going on walks, and a leash is what allows your four-footer to walk behind you safely.
Leashes come in a variety of lengths, materials, and designs. A simple 6-foot nylon leash is the typical (and extremely economical) option, but you may also choose a more colored leash with some flair that matches your dog’s personalities.
If you have some extra time and are feeling inventive, you can even construct your own DIY dog leash.
Just keep in mind that retractable dog leashes aren’t ideal for training. If you grab one in a panic, you might sustain major injuries (think: a rope burn severe enough to place you in the ER), and they don’t enable your dog to get as much response from you through the line.
Furthermore, retractable leashes encourage pulling since your dog becomes used to experiencing that constant low-level stress on the leash line.
So, if you’re having pulling issues, discard the retractable leash in favour of a no-pull collar (and, more significantly, work on training your dog not to pull on walks).
3. A Long Leash
Long leashes are undoubtedly among of the most useful items that owners and inexperienced trainers frequently neglect in their training kit.
Long leashes are lightweight leashes that come in a variety of ultra-long lengths ranging from 20 to 100 feet or more!
Long lines are excellent for providing your dog the sense of off-leash action while keeping him under control, and they are effective tools for working on your dog’s recall or off-leash manners. Furthermore, they provide your dog with a lot of freedom without having him to be completely trained.
4. Plenty of High-Value Treats
The benefit of effective dog training is to reward your dog for desirable behaviour. Reinforcing the behaviours you desire means that your dog will do them more often – rather than the ones you shouldn’t!
While a variety of reinforcing rewards (such as scritches, praise, and toys) can be used in training, high-value training treats are the easiest to use and produce the best results for most dogs.
Just keep in mind that we’re not talking about regular treats here; we’re talking about good training treats — there’s a difference. What precisely qualifies as a decent training treat?
Well, they’re usually:
- Small in size, so your dog can eat them quickly before moving on to the next training task
- Moist or semi-moist, as crunchy treats take longer for your dog to consume and are generally less enticing
- Smelly, because dogs know what the good stuff is — the stinkier the better!
5. A Treat Pouch or Bag
Sure, you could keep the above-mentioned treats in your pocket. The best, most expensive treats, on the other hand, are smelly and moist. You don’t want them stinking up your trousers pockets, do you? (and trust me, it gets even worse if you forget the treats are in there and toss your jeans in the wash).
Treat pouches are a simple and practical method to store treats and deliver them to your dog in a rapid-fire method, which may be quite useful when working on tough abilities, precise training commands, and agility exercises.
6. A Training Clicker
A clicker could certainly be classified as optional training equipment, but given how beneficial (and inexpensive) they are, I’d recommend getting one and practising with it before determining whether or not you like it.
Clickers are a quick and easy method to tell your dog that he’s done well. We have a whole guide to clicker training here, but we’ll go through the basics of using a clicker below. The process is divided into two steps:
Step 1: Charging the Clicker
The clicker itself is meaningless to your dog; you must “charge” it in order to give it power. Essentially, you must educate your dog (or “create an association” in training terminology) that the clicky sound equals a tasty food in his mouth.
Begin by simply clicking the clicker and rewarding your dog with a treat. Then repeat the process. And again, and again, and again…and again. Then repeat the process one more time for good measure.
You get the idea.
In fact, you should recharge the clicker at the start of every training session until the link is established and your dog totally understands what it means.
Step 2: Training With the Clicker
After you’ve charged the clicker, you may start using its power and magic! A clicker for dog training enables for extreme accuracy, ensuring that your dog understands exactly what he is being rewarded for.
For instance, if you’re training your dog to sit, you’d click the clicker when his bottom touched the ground. Then, after the clicker sound, follow it up with a delicious treat.
If you didn’t have a clicker, the scene may have gone somewhat like this: When your dog sits, you go grab him a treat to reward him. But by the time you retrieve a treat from your pouch, your pup has stood up and approached you. Now he’s not sure why he’s been rewarded – was it because he stood up? Because he approached you as you were bringing out a treat? Is it just because he’s so attractive?
7. Sturdy Walking Shoes (For You)
Walking will be a big part of your training, whether it’s in circles in the backyard or long walks around the area. Wear sturdy walking shoes so you can keep up with your energetic canine! Your feet and back will appreciate it.
8. Treat Dispensing Toys
By keeping your dog entertained, you may avoid some of the most frequent dog behaviour issues, such as digging and destructive chewing. Toys that dispense treats, such as Kongs and Buster Cubes, are ideal for this. Fill these toys with a few treats or a little peanut butter, and your dog will enjoy working to get them out. Best of all, many of these toys are almost indestructible for even the most aggressive chewers. That implies you may use them repeatedly to relieve a dog’s ennui. Fill one with peanut butter and put it in the freezer for a cold, long-lasting treat.
9. Books and Videos
Finally, don’t forget about dog training books and videos. They allow you to get advise from some of the world’s most well-known dog trainers without having to leave your home. There are books and videos available to answer almost every dog training and behaviour question you could have. Books and videos can also provide a good overview of various dog training approaches.
If this is your first time training a dog, you will need a lot of patience, especially in the start. This is equally true for owners who have some training expertise but are dealing with a terribly challenging dog.
Training is one of the most important activities you and your dog can do together. It’s not just about behavior; training also helps you and your dog bond.