What are the best training tools and products for my dog?
1. A clicker
2. A crate
4. A short leash
5. Front facing harness
6. Training treats
7. High value play toys
8. Puzzle toys
Training your pup is one of the most rewarding experiences for pup parents. You get a polite pet while also getting to spend quality time with your fur ball. In return, your pup gets to pridefully puff out his chest every time he performs a trick for you. We spoke with Lauren Novack (KPA-CTP), professional dog trainer and owner of Lauren's Leash, who made a list of the essentials you’ll need to train your pup like a pro.
Clicker training is a method of training that uses a sound—a click—to tell your pup when she does something right. Every click tells your pup what they did right, and the small food reward that follows increases the likelihood that that behavior will happen again. It's a great technique for shaping behaviors, like teaching your dog complicated tricks.
Contrary to what you might think, most pups like their crates and consider it their own personal space. It should be large enough for them to turn around comfortably, but not much larger than that. If you have a young pup who will be getting bigger, get a large crate with an adjustable divider panels so that their space can grow with them. Using a crate is essential for speedy house training and gives your pup a safe space to rest.
3. Chews and/or chew toys
A big part of training is to encourage positive, non-destructive behaviors! Chews are healthy and will keep your pup happily chomping away (and not getting in to anything bad)! They contain no preservatives, additives, or chemicals of any kind, and are made in America. Chewing helps your pup self soothe, de-stress, and keep themselves out of trouble.
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4. A short leash, around 4-5 ft in length
Novack says a standard leash to teach great walking behavior is best, and strongly advises against retractable leashes being used for anything other than recall work in a controlled environment. Retractable leashes teach dogs that pulling works, and they can also be dangerous. A standard leash can be used as a tether indoors as well, so you can keep your pup away from inappropriate elimination spots and table legs that look like fun chew objects.
5. A front-facing harness
A front-facing harness (like an Easy Walk or Xtra Dog Walking Harness) is a trainer favorite and is specifically designed to train your pup not to pull on walks. It has an O-ring at the top, plus one at the front so it can be used with a double-ended lead which takes pressure off the dog's neck.
6. Training Treats
Get lots of soft treats that are tiny or are easy to break into tiny pieces. Keep them small (like the size of half a pea) so your pup doesn't pack on the pounds while training. When these resources are contingent upon good behavior, such as a polite sit, your pup will learn to offer good behaviors in order to earn all the good stuff - which includes food, attention, and activities.
7. High value play toys
Having lots of different toys is a must! Find the ones your dog REALLY loves and use them as a reward when training. Snag some plush toys, squeaky toys, or puzzle toys to keep your pup's mind active. Keep toys out of reach and only give your pup one toy during a designated play session so he doesn't get bored. Toys are another resource that should be earned by good behavior so make sure your pup performs a task before pulling out a toy, or in between each round of fetch.
8. Puzzle/Work to Eat Toys
These puzzle toys flex your pup's brain cells while dispensing their much-desired meal. Many smart dogs develop behavior problems because they are not provided with appropriate, mentally challenging outlets. These toys also teach your pup how to occupy themselves without your input.
Good luck in training your pup to be a well behaved and balanced lil guy or gal! You can do it!