Training your dog can see like an overwhelming task, but purchasing the right equipment is the best way to start off on the right foot. There are several things to add to your list when you head to the pet supply store to look for training equipment:
- Whether you are bringing home a puppy or an adult dog, your new pet will need a crate. Crates are an integral part of training your dog. They aid in housetraining and they provide a safe area to keep your pet when you are not available to supervise him. Purchase a crate that is large enough for your dog to stand up, lie down and turn around in comfortably, but not any larger than this. Dogs are den animals who usually won't soil their sleeping or eating areas. By using a crate that is only large enough for the dog to sleep in, chances are your dog will not eliminate in his crate. If the crate you choose is too large, your dog will have enough room to sleep and still have a separate toilet area which will defeat the point of using a crate for housebreaking
- Plan on purchasing a leash and collar for your dog. The leash should be comfortable to hold on to and about six feet long. Nylon or leather leashes are usually a good bet. The longer flexi leads are great to give your dog more room to romp while out on a walk, but should not be used before he learns good leash manners. The collar should fit closely to your dog's neck with enough room to slip two fingers between neck and collar. If you can fit more than two fingers under your pup's collar, it is too big, and he'll be able to slip out of it on a walk. For dogs with narrow heads, such as greyhounds, you may want to choose a martingale collar. This type of collar provides an extra loop so that it tightens if the dog attempts to slip free, but it's not too tight as to hurt your four-legged friend.
- Consider purchasing a clicker. Clickers are small devices that fit into the palm of your hand. You push on them to make a clicking noise when your dog performs a good behavior. You follow the click with a treat. The dog quickly makes the connection between the click and the treat and the behavior that immediately preceded them.
- Treats, treats and more treats should always be kept on hand while training your dog. These can be anything from some of your dogs kibble to tiny pieces of hot dogs or last night's leftovers. Pet supply stores offer many options when it comes to treats for training. The important thing is to choose small treats so that when you are in the initial stages of training, you won't be giving your dog too many calories. If your dog is a bit overweight, pet stores also offer lighter treats.
- If you are considering doing more than the basic obedience, you will need to purchase props or special equipment. For example, if you are planning on doing agility with your dog, you may want to purchase weaving poles or hurdles. If you are planning on doing other sports, you may need a retrieving stick, balls, or Frisbees. Talk to the pet supply store staff or someone at your local training facility for tips on exactly what you'll need for the types of training you want to do.
- Finally, consider adding a dog trainer to your list of things you need to train your dog. For a novice dog owner, obedience classes or private consultations with a trainer can be an invaluable way to ensure that your dog becomes a well-mannered member of your household.
Training can be frustrating when you don't have the right equipment. Do your homework before you head to the pet supply store, and you'll be on the right track to training your beloved pet.