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Lists types of equipment that can be used for training.


Collars;

“Strap” collars- an everyday type collar that should have your dogs ID tags attached. The collar should be worn a bit loose (not dangling, just a little loose) so that in an emergency such as the dogs collar gets caught on something the dog could pull free of the collar. These collars come in nylon, leather, satin and other materials. The downside to using this collar for training is that some dogs pull so hard they choke themselves due to the pressure of the collar pressing on the windpipe.

“Martingale” collar - These collars are a limited restricting collar meaning that they close tighter when the dog pulls but only close a little. The limited closure of the collar makes it almost the same as the strap collar in that if the dog pulls hard they will choke themselves. Never leave this collar on the dog full time, they could get caught on something and you dog could strangle.

Choke Chain” or "Slip Collar"- this is the standard training collar for most people. The choke chain when used correctly is a great training tool for most dogs. You can apply a quick correction by “popping” the leash which closes the collar rapidly then releases the tension. A properly fitting collar is one that, when on and pulled closed, will only have about 1 inch of extra chain. Only use medium weight collars for med and large breeds and small weight for small breeds. The real heavy chain is worthless. The drawback to this collar is the same with the strap or martingale in that the dog can choke himself if he does not respond to the quick pop on the leash. The choke chain should NEVER be left on the dog all the time as it can be a fatal trap should the collar get caught on something. Your dog will strangle!!

“Pinch, Prong or Self Correcting” collar- This collar looks like a torture device but it’s far from it. When used correctly it is the most humane training collar on the market today. The collar fits somewhat snug up high on the dogs’ neck and when pressure is put on the lead the collar disperses that pressure ¾ of the way around the neck. No pressure is put on the windpipe therefore no choking. The collar does not poke or stab the dog it gives light pinches which the dog is not used to and they will respond quite easily to those pinches. The collar must be unlinked to place on the dog or take it off, NEVER slid it over the dogs head!! When using one of these collars it is important to keep a slack leash as you don’t want the dog getting used to the mild pinch it will feel if the lead is tight. You want the dog to respond to that light pinch not ignore it. The really nice thing about this collar is you don’t have to have perfect timing for corrections, if the dog pulls the collar pinches and the dog backs up. Most dogs work great in these collars although some aggressive dogs will react with aggression when using the pinch so you must know your dogs attitude well before using this collar. Also don’t be fooled by the really cheap pinch collars that come with the rubber tips. The rubber tips are hiding the fact that the collar has not been ground smooth on the tips leaving rough burrs that can cut your dog. They are also made of a lighter metal and break easily. The “Herm Springer” prong is the best one to purchase. They are a bit more expensive but the quality is outstanding.
This is another collar that should NEVER be left on the dog full time. It does constrict similar to the martingale and your dog could strangle if the collar gets caught on something.


“Head Halter”- Some people find these helpful but I have not seen much use for them except to close the mouth of an aggressive dog. Dogs are not built like cattle or horses and were not meant to be lead around by the face. The chance of injury to the neck is fairly high on very energetic dogs due to hitting the end of the leash and being jerked around by the head. Regular obedience training cannot be done easily with a head halter either as you have to be pulling the head in unnatural directions to maneuver the dog into position. I think this is the least helpful of all training equipment.

Body Harness”- Most dogs will have the urge to pull when wearing a harness so it is not the ideal equipment to use on the dog especially for training. You have minimal control using the harness. They are great for dogs that have had neck injuries as they make a “V” front or non-restrictive type harness that puts no pressure on the neck or used to attach the dog to a tether (I do not approve of tethering a dog as a normal practice, I prefer fences) as it is much safer than being tethered by a collar. Harnesses are use in dog sports such a Tracking, Sledding and Weight pull as the required equipment. You notice that all of these require the dog to pull into the harness!

Leashes:

Leashes come in many different styles widths and lengths. For basic training or walking a 6 ft lead is best. I like the 5/8 inch wide leads on most medium to large dogs and the 1/2 inch lead for small dogs.

“Leather” leads feel great on the hands once they are broke in. They do require maintenance to keep them soft and flexible. A good leather conditioner is a must. They are not great leads for wet environments as they tend to mold and they are expensive to replace if your dog is a leash chewer.

“Nylon” leads can sometimes be a bit rough on the hands but they are a good all around lead. Nylon comes in a rainbow of colors to suit any taste. They are great in wet environments as you can put them in the washer and dryer to keep them clean. Nylon is cheaper than leather, its not so hard on the wallet to replace if you’re your dog happens to eat it.

“Chain” leads are the worst choice as they are brutal to your hands! If you have a dog that chews the lead they do make nylon leashes with a chain section by the snap end of the lead.

“Flexi” or “Retractable” leads are a great piece of equipment for your dog but you have to use them wisely and with consideration towards other people. If using a retractable lead in public lock it in at a short length so your dog cannot rush at people or tangle them in the lead. One problem we have experienced with this lead (not so much with the original “Flexi” brand) is the lead breaks causing it to come flying back at you at 100 mph! There have been some bad injuries due to this problem. When using the lead check it daily to make sure it is in good shape and working correctly so that you minimize that issue. Also make sure you are using a lead that fits the size of your dog. Too many people use smaller sizes for larger dogs therefore creating a hazard from breaking leads.
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