Dog training is a bit of a technical skill.
It’s actually quite complex and it's not until you try to manage a lead, clicker, treats and a pup with an attention span of a gnat under the watchful eye of instructor that you realise just how much co-ordination and timing is involved!
The type of lead you use, small changes in how you hold things and the exact timing and placement of rewards can have make a huge difference in your ability to communicate with your dog and hence how the dog performs.
Once your technique improves your dog will immediately start performing better for you.
Here's some tips about which equipment to use and why, how to set it up and how to hold things while you're training to make life easier.
I much prefer quick release collars than buckle collars. The latter are impossible to undo easily under tension, the only option being to try and cut them off.
It's possible when dogs are play fighting together for one dog to get their jaw caught in the other dogs collar. This can have tragic and fatal consequences unless you can get the collar off very quickly hence I prefer quick release collars.
Never leave your dog home alone with a collar on - they can get caught on things, hooked up and choked.
Snuggle pets do some nice ones - obviously bear in mind that as your pup grows you will go through several collars and harnesses. Once your pup is fully grown I really like the Ruffwear collars and harnesses - they are top quality, wear extremely well and last for years.
Snuggle pets - quick release collar:
In the UK, the Control of Dogs Order 1992 states that any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the name and address (including postcode) of the owner engraved or written on it, or engraved on a tag. Your telephone number is optional (but I would recommend this).
Note: You can be fined up to £5,000 if your dog does not wear an ID tag.
You do not have to put your dogs name on the tag, this is optional. Unfortunately, dog theft is a real danger these days and if the thief knows the name of your dog this may help them pass on the dog to the unsuspecting new owners because it appears they know the dog because the dog responds to their name. We therefore recommend, you don’t put your dogs name on the tag. An example of the information to put on a dog ID tag is:
Circular Dog ID Tag:
In addition to a collar I really like a harness, especially with a young dog or pup still learning to walk nicely on lead. It's all too easy to injure a young neck so why take the chance?
In your recall training when you get to the stage of working on a long line a harness is mandatory. Never attach a long line to your dogs collar, they can seriously injure themselves if it gets caught on something.
I have no financial interest in the manufacturer below - I just really like their standard fleece harness and use it myself - here is a link to their website. There is a measuring guide to make sure you get the correct size on there too.
It has a ring attachment for the lead on the back and also one the front which is very helpful if your dog has a tendency to pull.
Snuggle pets - front ring harness:
TREAT BAG / POCKETS
It is beyond essential that you wear a treat bag or a jacket with pockets so you easily dispense food rewards in a timely manner! :-)
This is the best treat bag I've found:
TYPES OF LEAD
I really like to use a proper fleece / webbing training lead or 9mm braid is also strong, light and very comfortable to use for both you and your dog.
A police style training lead has several rings so you can adjust it to various fixed lengths. Using a fixed length lead when training your dog to walk nicely on a lead is great as the dog gets used to knowing how much lead is there. If the lead length is constantly changing it's much harder for the dog to learn.
Clip the end with the ring to your dogs collar or harness. Thread the other clip through the middle ring and then clip it to the ring near the collar. You now have a nice fixed length lead by just holding the loop and the middle ring stops the loop from opening up and hooking over things.
Fleece training lead:
Cushioned webbing training lead:
For anything other than basic behaviours a clicker is really useful. Clicker training isn't some different way to train your dog, it's simply a way to mark behaviours very accurately making it super easy for your pup to learn.
I like this style of clicker with a wristband:
RECALL TRAINING LONG LINE AND WHISTLE
Dog & Field 10m Long Training Line - Soft Braid:
Dog & Field 10m Waterproof Biothane Round Training Lead/Tracking Line:
Top tip: get this one - it's more expensive but soooo worth it. Super easy to clean and disinfect after a day at the beach!
Acme 210.5 Working Dog Whistle:
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER!