What Training Equipment is Best For Your Dog?
Using the right equipment can really make a difference in the dog’s behavior and success in training. Because we use positive reinforcement, and avoid the use of aversives, we do not use, recommend or allow electronic collars, choke chains or pinch collars in class or sessions. Below is a list of training equipment we highly recommend and are necessary if you will be having us train your dog.
- Six (6) foot leash. A normal, static length, non-retractable, leash. NO “slinky” leashes, please. Buy your leash according to the size of your hand, not the size of your dog. Dolan’s Dog Doodads makes a few great walking leashes, our favorite is the Service Leash (handle at both ends!), the Cruiser (multi-function double clasp options) and always, the Hipster! There are many sizes and colors to choose from.
- Buckle collar with dog tags. Please put as many phone numbers on your tags as possible!
- Wonder Walker™ Body Halter by Dolan’s Dog Doodad’s. Our recommendation for training, walking and even jogging with your dog, is that you use a “Made in Seattle” Wonder Walker™. Not only are you supporting your own dog community and local small business, you also have the convenience of fast repairs should your puppy get a hold of it and chew it up. (Happens as often as think!) Optional, acceptable equipment (which we don’t use or recommend very often because all things are not created equal!) includes the Gentle Leader Head Collar, Snoot Loop, Halti, Easy Walk Harness, Sensation Harness, Freedom Harness or NewTrix collar. While not all dogs need anything more than a regular buckle collar, we find most puppies do best in the Wonder Walker™. If we think you and your dog would do better in something else, we will consult with you on our suggestions. Using the right equipment can make an enormous difference in your success and training. Our favorite choice for many reasons is the Dolan’s Dog Doodad’s Wonder Walker™ Body Halter.
- If you register for our training, we are happy to demonstrate your options and fit your dog in the proper items to help you. You may borrow them during class to try before you buy! Please ask during class for a fitting or if you need repairs.
- Why do we love the Wonder Walker™? The Wonder Walker™ is a positive management tool designed to help your dog from pulling while learning to walk on a loose leash. Five adjustment points allows the Wonder Walker™ Body Halter© to easily fit dogs from the small to tall. The Wonder Walker™ Body Halter© is available with the back straps in an assortment of colors. It may also be used as a Seat Belt Harness with a Car Strap attachment. Made locally in Seattle, the Wonder Walker™ is easily repaired should your dog chew through a strap (we recommend you take it off your dog when not in use) and customizations are easily made when needed. (please see below for how the Wonder Walker™ works)
- Treats! A ridiculous, enormous amount of small, soft, smelly and easy-to-swallow treats. Bring more than you could possibly use, and then some!!! Bring cheese, peanut butter, bologna, hot dogs, and a variety of soft treats.
- A Hungry dog pays more attention! Start your training with your dog HUNGRY!! Have dinner and feed during training time!
- Car Strap or seat belt harness/restraint. You can get ticketed for an unrestrained animal, if not crated or seat belt restrained. Never hook a seat belt restraint to a neck collar! Car straps do work with the Wonder Walker™.
- Dogs actually feel more secure when they’re secured. This can help alleviate car sickness and stress problems. Use of crates, when they are tied down, provide the most security. There are also many seat belt attachments available, which can be used with “booster” seats for small dogs, which offer protection for your dog as well. Please talk to us about options so your dog doesn’t end up imitating a bug on the inside of your windshield.
- If you use the Wonder Walker™ Body Harness, seat belt attachment is easy and safe with the seat belt clip! Car Straps also prevent your dog from jumping out of the car when you open the door. Simply attach your leash to his chest before unsnapping the seat belt clip from his back and your dog is never off leash! No hassles with changing harnesses and you’re ready to go in a moment’s notice!
- It can also save you a hefty fine with law enforcement, as dogs are subject to laws that require they be confined and or secured in a vehicle. Laws vary by state and institution.
- Treat Pouch. Pockets just don’t work the same! Treat pouches are an investment in your success and make carrying things convenient (Clicker, bags, treats!) Some fanny-packs work well, too. It’s a comeback on the fashion and hey, your dog will love the extra space for a toy or a ball or…???) Most treat pouches fit great on the Hipster!
***Note: For the safety of everyone, choke chains, prong collars, electronic collars and retractable leashes are not allowed in any of our classes or training sessions. We recommend that you do not use any of these!
How the Wonder Walker™ Works
The halter places control of your dog around his center of gravity rather than his head or neck. This method moves the training cues from the head and neck to the dog’s body. This utilizes a dog’s instinctive push/pull reflex called the opposition reflex – a dog’s natural inclination is to move toward pressure. This reflex is why so many dogs pull while on leash — as you pull, they pull back.
However, by attaching your leash to the chest ring, the pressure you apply is directed to the opposite side of their body by the girth strap. Your dog’s leash now allows you to persuasively guide your dog in the direction you want him to move. Unlike head halters, the Wonder Walker™ Body Halter© requires little or no acclimation time. Unlike choke collars, it does not cross the trachea so the airway cannot be compressed. Unlike prong collars which are supposedly designed to imitate another dog’s bite, it does not poke or provoke your dog so there is no potential for causing pain or injuring his skin. It is particularly important that puppies and frightened, reactive or aggressive dogs do not associate pain in the presence of what they are afraid of or unfamiliar with. Using a pain-inducing device will frequently (inevitable and eventually) make problems worse, not better.
With minimal pressure, the Wonder Walker™ Body Halter© diminishes common pulling behaviors and helps eliminate jumping and lunging while on leash. Walking your dog becomes a pleasure rather than a chore. When used while training young dogs, pulling behavior may be eliminated from the beginning.
ThunderShirts are beneficial to dogs with anxiety as well as hyperactivity. The ThunderShirt fits snugly around your dogs chest and has a soothing effect which has helped thousands of dogs. If your dog is a barker, overstimulated, fearful, timid, shy, or any combination thereof, we recommend you get a ThunderShirt and put it on your dog, especially before attending a training class, with the Wonder Walker™ on top of it.
As a dog trainer, I believe that the most effective method of dog training revolves around teaching your dog what you want them to do, how to behave, how to act in their environment, and what appropriate behaviors are, under given circumstances and situations.