Our Favorite Foundational Tools
Think of these like your basic needs for serious success.
Our foundational tools include:
A collar, a harness lead, a double clip training lead, a paycheck pouch, and a boundary
Your Dog's Collar
Your dog should always have a collar on.
That said, I don't like the regular fancy collars especially for bigger dogs because they generally don't grip well when you need to grab your dog's collar and they aren't very sturdy.
These are my favorite types of collars.
1) Buckle Closure: so they aren't constantly changing size while on your dog.
2) Made of a heavy duty soft rubberized plastic so they don't collect gross smells, and they're sturdy in your hand.
3) Center Escape Ring: so if your dog does get caught on something, it helps the collar come off your dog's head when pulled hard enough.
4) Name plate ID tag in the collar: no jingling and no losing tags because they snag on something which could also hurt your pup or get them stuck!
The Harness Lead
this is our required lead for classes, because when put on properly, it's escape proof! We like to keep everyone safe!
It's also the most multi-functional product we've seen yet, and we love it for just about everything!
Click the link below to learn about just some of the ways we use this great tool!
Keep in mind, we utilize all tools for safety and back up only, we will be creating a relationship between you and your dog so that you aren't dependent on tools for your dog to listen.
Our Recommended Sizing:
Small/ Medium: under 25 pounds
Medium/Large: 25 pounds and over
A Double Clip Training Leash
We also recommend a double ended clip training lead to use
IN CONJUNCTION with the harness lead.
We use the double ended clip lead instead of a regular long training line for a ton of reasons!
Again, this is another tool we love because it's multi-functional!
What Makes a Double Clip Training Leash?
1) has a leash clip on either end
2) Is a flat line (you don't want the bungee lines for this)
3) Generally has multiple connection rings along the leash
4) Is usually about 10 feet long total
Here are some of our favorite ones:
PS: Don't skimp out on this:
This isn't a product you want to go looking for the cheapest one.
You want something durable and strong with these.
Training Tools - Paycheck Pouches
If you've worked with me at all, you'll know I don't like the word Treat or Reward.
I prefer Paycheck, because we're paying your dog for their work.
Not all paychecks are food either.
That said, I generally work with my dogs with multiple types of paychecks on hand.
Which means 2-3 different values of food and/or toys.
A low level (like your dog's everyday food),
a medium level (like something tasty but not too exciting),
and a jackpot level (oh my gosh give me more)
Necessary Components of My Paycheck Pouches
1) Multiple Pockets (for all the different levels)
2) Deep Pockets (don't want to go spilling those paychecks)
2) No zippers or top flaps where my hand goes in (they just slow you down)
This 3 Pocket Training Apron (the heavy duty one) is my new favorite!
I love the waitress apron idea, but these pockets carry a little bit of weights so that the openings aren't constantly closing and you don't have to fight to get your hand in.
It also allows you to have multiple types of paychecks on hand and keep them easily divided and equally accessible!
Think of it as a heavy duty Home Depot apron!
These are some other good options too, but you may want more than one, as they are limited in the amount they can hold and the divided pockets for different value paychecks are relatively small and more difficult to access.
These deep pocket ones are great for holding lots of a particular paycheck or even toys!
Just in case you're curious, these are 2 of my favorite "Middle Value" Paychecks!
I always stock my paycheck pouches with my dog's food, and one of these mid-value options
There's more on nutrition and food below too!
As I work on the skill of boundary work, I like to get my dogs used to a "lower boundary" that isn't elevated off the floor!
I do this simply by laying a flat boundary ON TOP of my elevated one!
Now the biggest tip here is, you want something that stays put with your dog hopping on and off! So think rubber backing.
Yoga mats, bath mats, work great
I love these anti slip mattresses because they come in crate sizes and are machine washable!
Using A Harness - They're Not All The Same!!!!!
#1 - Double Clip Needed!
Well you know by know that we want you to use a harness with 2 clip areas. This is why we "hack" the harness lead this way!
This means, there's a clip in the front, near the chest, and a clip on the back for a double ended leash to attach!
#2 - If It's not the harness lead, You want a T Chest Harness
Many "no pull" harnesses stop the pulling by putting restrictions on your dog's ability to MOVE! This, like using a collar on a walk creates repetitive movement changes in your dogs body that can lead to injury due to long time use!
You don't want a harness that restricts your dog's normal gait.
Look for a harness that goes around the neck, and between your dog's front legs like a T down their chest bone, then under their arms!
The harness lead avoids this issue as there are protectors to keep it from tightening on the neck and doesn't impede movement on the front legs changing the gait.
Blue-9 Balance Harness With a Buckle Collar Like Neck
On the occasions where we have dogs who are afraid of something going over their head, the harness lead or other kind of harness is very difficult to get on, and when you do get it on it's a fight that isn't creating a positive association. So for some dogs we use the buckle neck harness
Why this one? It's adjustable at ALL it's parts! This is VITAL for a prope
The Company of Animals - HALTI Walking Dog Harness - Adjustable and Comfortable Secure Fit - Maximum Control for Energetic Dogs
This harness is the one we use for inside the house dogs who need proximity management It has a great soft handle
It's down side compared to the blue-9 is that the strap along the back is not adjustable.
Training Tools - Special Items
Wearing a muzzle comfortably is a life skill similar to us people knowing how to change a tire. I believe every dog should be comfortable wearing a muzzle.
Why? Well it's a good bet that at some point your dog might need to wear one at the vet. Or in an emergency if they're hurt.
So, as a life skill, being comfortable wearing a muzzle means we aren't adding stress in an already stressful situation!
I like the baskerville muzzles the best because they're sturdy and easy to train with and have 3 points of contact to keep it on your pup!
A Head Collar - the Halti
Head collars aren't something I always recommend. Used improperly or on a dog that isn't conditioned with them they can cause damage to your dog's neck. So when we do use them I always recommend desensitizing your dog to them first (much like a muzzle).
I prefer the Halti because there isn't a lower clip further restricting your dog's ability to open their mouth with it not in use and only does so when you're in the process of utilizing the head collar.
Secondly, I Always use a head collar IN CONJUNCTION with the harness lead or at least a double clip leash and collar.
A head collar should never be the only point of contact on your dog unless you're in a confined safe area.
Treat n Train
As silly as a food dispenser might seem to some (sure used to to me), these things can be VITAL in working with insecure dogs and confidence building!
A Back Scratcher - Seriously
Sometimes those little dog mouths are hard to reach. A back scratcher is a super handy way to deliver treats without having to hunch over!
Dog Food & Treats
I can't say enough about the importance of your pup's nutrition.
This is a hot button topic for me.
But, if you fed your kids McDonalds for their entire lives would you expect them to be healthy or able to focus and function at their best? I hope not.
Think about this: All the crap that is allowed in McDonalds food can be better quality than what's allowed in your dog's food! This means, McDonalds could be healthier than your dog's kibble!
When you're having behavior issues, we Must tackle the diet. If you're feeding your dog junk food, it is only stacking onto the issues you're seeing behaviorally. Cleaning up your dog's diet will allow us to remove an added component of the behavior issue.
Don't just take my word for it! Curious about what I'm talking about? Check out this book!
Now if you're working with me, you know
I am ALL ABOUT DITCHING THE BOWL!
But sometimes, you need a bowl.
Never Plastic for any food with moisture!!!!
and I love slow feeders!
Enrichment & Training Toys
Management Tools - Crates & Baby Gates
The MidWest Life Stages and iCrate Wire Crates are different!
The Life Stages are thicker and in my experience taller (even for the same length crates).
I don't recommend the iCrate version even though they're cheaper... there's a reason.