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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What you Need to Know about Training Equipment

What you Need to Know about Training Equipment

Welcome! One of the most common questions that many people have about the training process is the best type of equipment to be used.

This is certainly understandable as a major component in successful training is the equipment that you use. There are many types of collars, leashes, muzzles, and crates. Use the information below to help you gain an understanding of their uses, then determine the type that you think will be most beneficial and comfortable for your dog.

Collars

There are a variety of different collars available. Choose the one that is most appropriate for your dog and his needs.

Flat or Buckle Collar

This type of collar is fit around the dog's neck. These are available in a variety of materials such as nylon, leather, and cloth.

This collar is good for basic restraint for dogs that do not pull forcefully on a leash when walking. If he pulls too hard on the leash, he will choke or gag against the force of the collar. If you need to train your dog not to pull on a leach, this is probably not your best collar.

Halter or Head Collar

This type of collar is fitted on the dog's muzzle and neck. It basically serves the same purpose as a halter on a horse, meaning when his head goes in one direction, his body will follow in the same direction.

The head collar does not use very much force so there is very little pain for the dog, yet there is a maximum amount of control so the dog will move in the direction you want him to.

A head collar can be somewhat uncomfortable for a dog to wear. Some dogs don't accept a head collar, even when he has been wearing it for several weeks. For example, they may stand still and refuse movement, or they may try to remove it with their paws or other objects.

Martingale

This is a slip collar that looks like a typical collar yet it can only be tightened to a certain point. This way, the dog will be comfortable, but it will also give the owner a fair amount of control. This is a very easy collar to fit. It can either be slid over the dog's head, or it can snap around the dog's neck.

An advantage to a Martingale collar is that it can not be easily removed from the dog's neck-even if he is pulling backwards. It has a restricted range of tightness that prevents the dog from choking. However, the Martingale does not work effectively if the dog is a consistent puller.

Choke Collar

A choke collar is a training collar that should only be used for extreme cases of aggressive training. This collar tightens around the dog's neck when it is jerked. The tension is released when you let up. A choke collar can be very dangerous if it is not used properly. If you choose to use this type of collar in training, it is essential that you know how to use it and that you use it with the utmost care. If you don't, you could traumatize and hurt your dog.

Harnesses

A harness is a device that wraps to the dog's body, with the leash attached at the top of the dog's back at the shoulder blades. This is different than a collar because a collar only controls a dog at the neck or head. A harness distributes the dog's pulling force evenly across his chest and shoulders, which can actually allow the dog to pull even harder.

There are several styles of harnesses to choose from, so pick the one that is most comfortable to the dog. The regular harnesses are usually pain-free for the dog and are useful for dogs that have had previous neck injuries.

Hopefully this has provided you with some of the information that you need to understand the equipment that can be used in the training process. Through good quality dog training resources, you will be able to gain the information you need to make the training process much easier for both you and your dog.

Sharda Baker

Sharda Baker has published several dog ebook and audios. Click here for more dog training help and advice.

Nipping Chewing in the Bud

Nipping Chewing in the Bud

Welcome to this issue in our newsletter! We will be discussing the problem of chewing in this issue and looking at different ways that it can be overcome!

Chewing

It is very common for puppies to chew when they are teething. The act of chewing helps their teeth break through the gums. Older dogs, generally chew if they are bored or anxious.

If a dog is bored, it is because he has built up so much energy, but has run out of ways to exert it. So he finds something interesting to chew.

The only problem is, is that he doesn't know what is permissible to chew unless you have taught him. So the sooner you teach him, the less likely he will chew your household items.

A dog may also chew if he has been left alone and not within the comfort of his own crate. This is known as a "spite chewer." He is upset that you have left him so he will start chewing as soon as you leave.

By keeping your dog in a crate when you leave your house, you are not "punishing" him, rather you are keeping him in a safe and comfortable environment. You can place lots of fun chew toys in the crate to keep him occupied while you are away. If you don't keep him in a crate while you are gone and instead let him roam about, he will help himself to chew on anything he wants!

When you return home to find that your dog is in the act of chewing something he shouldn't be, give a sharp "no," but do not yell. Take the object away and ignore him for five to ten minutes. If you start to play with him or feed him, he will think he is being rewarded for the chewing.

If you don't catch your dog in the act of chewing, don't scold your dog, but instead ignore him. Some trainers recommend that you pick up the destroyed object and look at it angrily. However, you don't want your dog to misinterpret that as you are upset with him (even though you are!)

Prevent Chewing

There are some proactive steps you can take to help eliminate the act of chewing. These steps can be used by puppies and adult dogs.

  • Puppy-proof - As you learned earlier in this E-book, you need to puppy-proof your home. Even if your dog is older, you still need to take precautions to make potentially-destructive objects out of your dog's reach.
  • Provide Toys - Make sure your dog has a plentiful selection of chew toys available to him at all times.
  • Provide Sound - Instead of turning off the television or radio when you leave the house, turn them on. The extra background noise will help your dog feel more at ease.
  • Increase Exercise - Providing your dog with frequent exercise will help him burn off excess energy that he could otherwise use towards items in your home.

Correct Chewing

It is your responsibility to initiate training to correct your dog's chewing problem. Practice this training by placing some inappropriate objects on the floor, such as a book, a shoe, etc.

As he approaches the inappropriate object, give the "leave it" command. Take the object away and replace it with a chew toy or bone. Once the dog starts chewing the chew toy or bone, praise him.

Practice this training exercise several times a day with many different inappropriate objects.

That's a wrap for this issue of our newsletter. Remember that if chewing or other behavior issues continue to be a problem, you can always learn more from good quality dog training resources.

Until next time, best of luck to you and your dog!

Sharda Baker

Sharda Baker has published several dog ebook and audios. Click here for more dog training help and advice.