Walk into a pet store, and you will find at least one aisle dedicated to tools to walking your dog on a leash. Walk down the next aisle, and you are sure to find more equipment dedicated to training – everything from treats and clickers, to crates and pee pads, wanting a well behaved furry family member has become a huge market for the sale of a wide variety of training equipment. So how do you decide what is the best for your dog? And most importantly, what actually works?
I wish there was a list I could produce of the gear that works for each and every dog that uses it. Unfortunately, there is no one piece of equipment that works without fail for all dogs that use it. Training equipment is only as good as the training that pairs with it, and no object will replace the need for training.
The best thing you can do for you and for your dog is to become an educated consumer. Colors and buzz words often catch people’s attention while shopping. Before purchasing a training product, try to do a bit of research as to the theory behind the equipment. A good product will have information available as to why or why not it is effective. Also, consider consumer reviews. Obviously, everyone thinks they have the best product available, but the real life users of the product will have better feedback on its efficacy. If you are in a store, or are working with a trainer, see if you can try equipment before you purchase (or have the option to return should it not be right for your dog).
“…have the option to return should it not be right for your dog.”
Every dog will have a unique response to a piece of equipment, from training collars or harnesses to crates and baby gates, so see if you can test it out with your own individual dog.
Remember that training equipment is made to be just that – it is meant to train your dog, not to be something you should use for life with them. It is an aid in helping to communicate an expectation to your dog for a certain behavior. So, you must still pair training with any types of equipment. You cannot expect any gear to solve a problem for you, it still takes work to ensure that the dog understands how you are expecting them to behave through the guidance of that tool.
When choosing what to use to work with your dog, keep in mind that the best option is equipment that causes least amount of stress for your dog and creates the clearest line of communication, even though that might not be equipment you are familiar with or generally fond of due to stigma. If you are unsure of how to use any piece of equipment, or even where look at options, contacting a balanced trainer who is able to explore what is available and educate you on how to properly implement the piece into your training program is the best place to start!
If you enjoyed this post, you should read How To Build A Dog Friendly Garden here.
How have you used equipment for training purposes? Share below!