To carry out the basic obedience exercises you need to have the appropriate dog training supplies or equipment. In this article, you will learn about the basic dog training equipment, without you will not be able to train your dog in any activity. You will also know the optional dog training supplies. Items of optional equipment are not essential, but some of them will be very useful and it is recommended that you obtain them.
Basic supplies for dog training
The basic dog training supplies are sufficient to train most dogs. It consists of a collar or harness, a regulation leash, a long leash, food pieces, dog toys, a bag or fanny pack, a blanket or a dog bed, and a notebook and pen to keep track of each training session.
So, let´s see them in detail:
- Collar or harness
When you start training your dog in open spaces you will need some tools to be able to contain your dog in case he gets distracted by something or someone. If your dog is medium or large, a collar will give you more security than a harness. On the other hand, if your dog is small, a harness (bib) will be enough and safer for your dog.
Remember that clicker training does not use positive punishments, so the collar or harness will only serve as safety tools. You will never use them to jerk or otherwise punish your dog. Therefore, the collar should be a regular dog collar, or buckle collar, but never use choke collars or spikes.
If your dog wears a harness, it should also be a regular harness, not a strain relief. You should not use a strain relief harness to train your dog, because with this method you will not need to physically manipulate him.
- Regulatory strap
A regulation strap is a strap two meters long. The best ones are the leather ones because they hurt less in case the dog stretches. However, a good quality leather strap is difficult to come by, and most wear out very quickly.
If you can’t get a good quality leather strap, get a nylon one. However, bear in mind that a nylon leashes can hurt your hands if your dog suddenly stretches them, so they are not the best option. Anyway, even poor quality ones tend to be tough and last a long time. If you choose a nylon leash, look for a thick and wide one because they do less damage if your dog stretches. Like the collar, the strap will only serve as a security measure. If you can’t find a six-foot strap, find one with a similar length. It can be a little longer or shorter.
- Long strap
The long strap is five or more meters in length. It will serve as a security measure when you start practicing remote exercises in public places. You should not use it to punish your dog.
With many dogs, the long leash is not needed, but it does provide a sense of security that helps greatly in training. You do not need it to start training because you will only start using it for training remote exercises in real situations. This occurs in advanced stages of training. If you can’t get a 15-foot strap, you can make one out of rope. Just make sure it’s thick enough and not to hurt your hands if you need to grab it suddenly.
Extendable leashes are great for walking, but they are not good for training because they always put some tension on the collar or harness. Don’t confuse the long strap with the extendable straps. The long strap is not retractable, it is only a strap of five meters or more.
- Food in pieces
Food will help you reinforce your dog’s correct responses in the early stages of training. To be effective, it has to be cut into small pieces, so then you can perform many repetitions in each session. If the chunks of food are large, your dog will fill up quickly and you will not be able to do many repetitions. Also, the rate of reinforcement will be low because your dog will need more time to chew and swallow.
There are no hard and fast rules about the size to which food should be cut, but pea-sized pieces work well for most dogs. In some cases, you may need to use larger chunks at the beginning of the sessions, but you will learn that when you see how to choose reinforcers.
It is important that the food you use as a reinforcer is something very pleasant for your dog. With some dogs you can use their regular food or commercial dog treats, but with others you will need cooked meat, sausage, cooked chicken, and other human foods. But never use human treats because they can be very harmful to your dog. Especially chocolate, which is toxic to dogs and in large quantities can kill them.
- Dog’s Toys
Toys are other very effective reinforcers. Although you will use food to train the first criteria of each exercise, the toys will serve to vary the reinforcers, further strengthening your dog’s responses. They will also help you reduce latency (increase your dog’s response speed) because they will allow you to bring your dog to a state of great enthusiasm.
As a dog training supplies the most common toys in dog training are balls, ropes and «chorizos» or mordants. The latter are elongated toys that are used to play tug of war with the dog. However, the toys that you will use to train your dog will be those that he likes most. You must make sure they are large enough that they cannot be swallowed, otherwise they can be very dangerous. You should also make sure that they are not toxic. Tennis balls are very useful and most dogs like them, but you must take care that your dog does not destroy them because he could swallow the pieces. The same advice applies to any toy for your dog.
- Bag or fanny pack
You will also need a fanny pack or bag that you can clip to your belt or wrap around your waist. This bag will serve to store the small pieces of food during the training sessions, so you will have them on hand to give them to your dog quickly.
A fanny pack works great, but there are also special pouches sold in pet stores. These bags are sold as «reward bags».
- Dog blanket or bed
A blanket or a dog bed will help you teach your dog to go to bed. It is useful element when you want to train your dog to stay in one place without disturbing.
Optional dog training supplies
Finally, we would advise you to use a notebook or notebook and a pen. This dog training supplies will help you to keep track of the training sessions. You can also use a cardboard board with a clip to hold the leaves. However, it´s optional and depends on your needs.