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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Community > Blogs > A Trainers Toolbox

A Trainer's Toolbox

March 30, 2010 -

There are only a few must-haves for me when I train, but proper tools make the job much easier and quicker.  Below are my favorite tools, in no particular order:

There are only a few must-haves for me when I train, but proper tools make the job much easier and quicker.  Below are my favorite tools, in no particular order:

  • A clicker.  A clicker is a small noisemaker that is used to mark a correct behavior for the dog.  Using a clicker, rather than a verbal marker, speeds up learning by 45%... and really, who has time to waste?!
  • Treats.  Only the best, smelliest, and meatiest will do for my dog.  I was not blessed with a chowhound who will eat anything, so I need to have pretty special treats to get her motivated.  They need to be non-crumbly, pea-sized, and extremely flavorful.  I generally use the rolled dog food, freeze dried liver that I’ve cut up, or some human food, like cheese or chicken.
  • A treat bag.  To be effective, you can’t be holding a Ziploc bag full of dog biscuits.  You need something that attaches to your body, has easy access, and can hold your treats.  Some people like nail aprons or fanny packs for this.  I love my old trusty Ruffwear treat bag (which sadly has been discontinued, but has served me honorably every day for 8 years).  There are a wide variety of commercial treat bags that use either a clip or a belt to attach to the body and then close with either a drawstring or a hinge.  I greatly prefer the hinge type as you can close them with one hand (or an elbow or whatever).
  • A long leash.  How else are you supposed to train with distractions and distance in the real world?  You didn’t think I’d suggest they be off leash, did you?  In a word: leash laws.  Anyway… a long leash (and I’m not talking about a flexi/retractable) is a fabulous training tool for more advanced training.  I have one that’s 40 feet long and I’m constantly wishing I had a longer one.  New students who try to handle 15 feet can’t seem to keep themselves and their dog untangled, so you decide what length you like.  It takes some practice in the beginning to get comfortable handling one, but they give your dog freedom without you losing control.
  • A willing partner.  I’m talking about your dog!  I guess I lied earlier when I said these were listed in no particular order, because this is the most important one.  I want my dog to be just as “in” to training as I am.  This means I make it fun for her, keep the sessions short so she’s always wanting more, and most importantly - I listen to her.  If she’s tired and not in the mood, I can respect that.  I’ll save the training for later.  Giving her a choice is what makes it a partnership, not a dictatorship… and at this point, she’s earned it.

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03 Apr 2010 7:35 pm

brysonhawkins said:

your cool

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