The aisles at the pet stores are filled with a grand multitude of various dog training aids. If the store manager has done their job right, you’re going to feel like the world’s most incompetent owner if you pass through the aisles without snatching up at least one or two items. Even if you have no idea how they’re going to help you.
The most powerful dog training aid you need, you already own. Your voice. Your dog picks up your vocal tones and your body language faster than anything else. He shines when you lavish him with heartfelt praise and cringes when you’re angry, even if it’s not with him. However, most of us need a little more help than just our vocal cords, and thus we need to select a few important aids to help us in the process, especially if we’re trying to tame a wriggly pup.
The collar you slip around your dog’s neck is very important. It is not uncommon to use a choker collar when training a dog, and while they can be effective, they can also be rather dangerous. Choker collars can seriously hurt your dog if used inappropriately. An unsupervised dog can strangle themselves in your absence. They can be effective training aids provided that you receive ample education about how to use them.
Some people will tell you that if you yank on the choker collar, the dog will change their behavior to make the pressure stop. This may work for some dogs, but the larger percentage of dogs will try just the opposite, even if they don’t try right away. Eventually, your dog may alter his behavior to try to avoid the sensation around his neck, which can entail pulling harder, which can cause serious injury.
Choker collars are meant to be used as a signal to the dog. They should only be on the pup for training purposes, if you choose to use them, and should come off the dog immediately upon conclusion of training. Small, correcting tugs that are released right away is the only appropriate method of using a choker collar. You are really trying to use the noise it makes, not the pressure.
There is a wrong way and a right way to put on a choker collar. The right way makes the shape of a P and can easily slide back and forth. The other way the chain links will get stuck and the chain does not release.
A better dog training aid for those who like to use choke collars would be a check collar. These collars are half choker chain and half regular collar. This allows for the slight correction and the noise associated with it, without the same risk of harming the dog. Collar with spikes that lay on the inside of the collar are simply barbaric and should not be used.
Clickers can make good training materials if they are used correctly. Some people are able to use the clickers to train the dog to sit and stay at just a sound of the clicker. However, these particular dog training aids are more effective at teaching the dog what not to do. A sharp noise from you and the sound of the clicker can stop them mid-track. The use of a clicker is best used with the aid of a good class or an excellent book that explains clicker training use in detail.
For puppies and even some older dogs, never under estimate the power of a good obedience class. Most classes are really designed to help the human get over their own faults so that they are communicating on a better level with the dog. Classes are usually run on eight week schedules. They can make a world of difference in the behavior of even an older dog who has experienced some basic training, but needs a refresher course.
One of the most all around complete aids in the training process is the crate. While some people are still resistant to the idea of crating their dog, these things do wonders in the process of training. It keeps them from being able to display behaviors that would otherwise draw some negative attention from their human. They can’t chew on stuff while you’re gone. They can’t raid the trash. They can’t urinate all over your favorite brand new carpeting, they can’t get on the furniture and leave those puppy snot marks on the suede, and they can’t run amuck to find that one precious article that you forgot to put up before you left the house. A crate gives them a place of their own to feel safe, to sleep comfortably, and to call their own private little den that is always home to them.
Despite the statistics, some people still harbor strong negative feelings about kennels, as is their right. This choice simply requires a higher level of vigilance and alternative methods of keeping their dog safe when they are off and about doing human types of things. Restraining a dog’s movements, whether in the house or out on the street, is simply a part of good dog ownership. If a crate is not used then puppy gates, leashes, and dog runs are a good alternative. A dog should not, however, be left outside all day. This teaches them nothing and in some climates is considered cruel.
You don’t have to buy every dog training aid that the store is strategically set up to make you believe. A few simple aids that work for you and your dog are ample assistance for the vocalizations you already own. You can buy every training toy, book, and new contraption under the sun. If you lack consistency, it all becomes worthless.