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Monday, May 11, 2009

dog training tools

Training Collar:
Buy a Martingale collar for a medium to large size dog if your dog's neck is bigger than its head. Buy a harness for a toy type dog. The collar or harness is used in conjunction with the clicker for training and to keep the dog safely beside you. For the collar Measure your dog’s neck and add two inches to the size of the collar. For instance, your dog’s neck measures at twenty four inches, then you should purchase a twenty six inch collar. I use a harness on smaller dogs because pulling around the neck could cause damage to the trachea if done too hard. Measure the dog’s girth (around the chest) to get the proper fit of a harness.

Dog Clicker:
Thankfully unlike a few years ago, this can now be found at most pet stores for fewer than three dollars since the clicker training method has become more popular. The clicker is a small hand held box with a piece of metal inside. When the metal is depressed, you will hear a clicking sound. This is used as the “marker” for the dog. You will click as soon as the dog does the command you’ve asked of him. After the click you will reward him with the treat. Remember that the click is the ‘instant marker’ so you will use it as soon as your dog has done the command or is caught in the act of good behavior. The click is always more important than the treat. Before purchasing a clicker, know what your dog’s sound sensitive limits are. Take the dog to the pet store and test different clickers as some are not as loud as others.

Treats are used for a reward when your dog has done what you have asked of it. (given after they hear the sound of the clicker.) Do not use regular dog biscuits, they crumble when chewed and the dog ends up sniffing out the crumbled pieces when you want his full attention on you. Buy soft treats that can be eaten quickly, or you can use cut up pieces of hot dog or chicken. I found that the hot dogs worked best as you can buy a large pack, freeze them, and defrost them as needed. They are also easier to cut into different sized pieces depending on the size of your dog. You may also want to purchase a treat carrier. This is a little bag that hooks onto your belt and holds a fair amount of treats. Since the click and reward have to come immediately after the dog has done what you asked, it is best to have the treats close at hand. Trying to hold treats in one hand, hold the leash in the other and hold the clicker can be a bit cumbersome so anything to lighten the load will help.

Six foot leash and twenty foot leash
The six foot leash will be used for a majority of the commands and the twenty foot leash will be used for the ‘come’ or ‘here’ command. Both leashes are used in the testing of a Therapy Dog. Keep in mind that a cotton leash is easier on your hands when training. A leather or rope type leash can really make your hands sore after a training session.

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