When it comes to training, having the right equipment makes a big difference! This is a follow-up to the Valor K9 Academy-Spokane Facebook video where I explain what to use, which brands are best, and how to properly fit different training equipment on your dog. (Want to skip the text and watch the video? Click here!)
This is a list of my favorite tried-and-true training equipment.
Disclaimer: If you do not know how to properly use some of this equipment, please consult a professional trainer.
There’s a right way to use everything, and there’s a wrong way to use everything.
1. Mendota Slip Lead (3/8″ x 6′)
A slip lead is a must-have for anyone who owns a dog. It’s basically a leash and collar in one; just slide it over your dog’s head and -voila- off you go! Mendota makes good quality gear. I’ve had some of my slip leads going on three years now, and they’re still going strong. I love the adjustable leather tab that slides up and down depending on your dog’s neck size.
2. Petsafe Treat Pouch (larger size)
Stop fumbling with treats in your pocket and invest in a treat pouch. It’s the best money you’ll ever spend! I like to put my treats in a Ziploc bag inside my treat pouch so the oils from the treats don’t get the treat pouch dirty. Treat pouches are machine-washable; just be sure to completely empty it first! 😉
3. Happy Howie’s Treat Rolls, Zukes Treats
When it comes to treats, you want something fairly small, non-crumbly, and easy for your dog to eat quickly. There are countless different types of treats out there. 99% of dogs love Happy Howie’s. It comes in a 2lb roll. Refrigerate it, then cut it up, and store the treats in the refrigerator (left out, they’ll get moldy). If there was one thing I could change about Happy Howie’s it would be to the make the treat rolls rectangular not oblong. Rectangular would be much easier to cut up!
Zuke’s treats are good too. Avoid treats (like Beggin’ Strips) that are full of sugars and processed by-product junk.
4. Herm Sprenger Prong Collars
Don’t go cheap when it comes to training collars; you get what you pay for. One of the biggest issues I see with prong collars on new dogs is that the prongs are TOO BIG for the dog, or there are too many prongs in total making the collar too loose (and therefore, ineffective). For dogs up to <90 pounds, a 2mm Herm Sprenger is perfect; just buy extra links. For dogs >90 pounds, a 2.25mm prong is going to be your best bet. Leave all those big, clunky, awkward collars at the store. This video explains how to properly fit a prong collar on your dog.
5. Starmark Pro-Training Collar (small for dogs <50 pounds; large for dogs >50 pounds)
If your dog doesn’t quite need a prong collar, but he needs some sort of corrective training collar, I highly recommend the Starmark Pro-Training Collar. It’s a happy medium between prong and martingale. For dogs <50 pounds, get a size small (and extra links, if needed); for dogs >50 pounds, get a size large (and extra links, if needed).
6. Martingale Collars
I don’t carry Martingale collars, because there are so many different options out there. Buy what you like, just make sure it fits your dog. Most of the martingale collars I see on dogs are too big and aren’t giving any correction at all.
7. Mini Educator E-Collar
I love the Mini Educator. It’s a high quality collar that’s waterproof and rechargeable with a 1/2 mile range. It offers tone, vibrate and 100 levels of stimulation. Like prong collars, you really do get what you pay for when it comes to e-collars. Some collars don’t always work, some of them are unreliable when it comes to stimulation level (e.g., a 2 one day feels like a 4 the next day). If you’re looking for a good quality collar, get a Mini. We carry them in our retail section for $179.99 (MSRP). Garmin also makes nice e-collars, and lots of people have had luck with TriTronics. I personally prefer the Mini Educator.
8. Sport Dog Bark Collar
There’s nothing worse than a dog who barks nonstop. It’s bad for the dog, and it’s bad for your sanity. Don’t let your dog drive you mad. Buy a bark collar! Be sure to read the instruction manual.
9. Biothane Long Line
Biothane is the way to go when it comes to long lines. The material is durable and doesn’t burn your hands. I like 20′ long lines; 30′ is just too much line to mess with, and 15′ isn’t quite enough. Sold in our retail section and on Etsy.com.
10. Baskerville Muzzle; Trixie Muzzle
Two great muzzles depending on what you’re working on. For warm weather, I recommend the Baskerville muzzle. Dogs can pant, drink water, and take treats with a Baskerville on. Trixie makes a nice quality muzzle, although shipping can be slow (since they’re made in New Zealand). If your dog doesn’t need a full-fledged muzzle, try a Gentle Leader.
10. 6′ long x 1′ wide Leather Leash
I have two Amish-made leather leashes that I bought when I was a student at Vohne Liche. Worn in, leather leashes are worth their weight in gold. So gentle on the hands. Leashes I hate: bungee leashes, leashes with extra handles, extra wide leashes, cheap stylish leashes. Get a leash that’s comfortable to hold onto and will stand the test of time.
I hope this list is helpful to you! Feel free to SHARE!
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I am wondering your input on the dominant dog collar? Do you ever use it? suggest it? pro’s and con’s to it? (I have attached the link: http://leerburg.com/746.htm)
Thank you so much for post this, it was always my go to!!
Hi Cass! The dominant dog collar concept is very similar to the slip lead that we use and recommend in training. While there is nothing wrong with the dominant dog collar, I prefer using the Mendota 3/8″ by 6′ slip lead instead.
I’m so glad to read this! Thanks for all the time invested to educate us as dedicated owners.