A friendly notice that we will have a price increase from the 1st July 2021. Please be sure to get in touch with our team if you have any questions.

Nationally Accredited Canine Trainers

Choosing the Appropriate Training Aids for Your Dog

Choosing the Appropriate Training Aids for Your Dog
30 October 2023

Choosing the Appropriate Training Aids for Your Dog

When it comes to training your dog, selecting the appropriate training aids is a crucial step in achieving positive results. From the classic flat collar to the clicker, there are a variety of tools which may be utilised in training. We will explore the key training aids, their pros, cons and when to use them to set your training up for success.

It is important to remember, training aids are simply that; they are an aid to assist you and your dog. They do not take the place of quality training.

Flat Collars:

Flat collars are the most basic and common training aid. Best for everyday use, flat collars can hold identification tags and are comfortable for dogs to wear regularly.

They are Ideal for leash training as they provide good control but they may not be suitable when there is a strength disparity between the dog and handler.

For training purposes, they should be fitted firmly high on the nape of the neck (as a rough guide fingers should fit under the collar for a large dog, two for a small dog).

Martingale Collars:

Martingale collars are an excellent training aid for dogs, unlike the flat collar, they are designed to evenly distribute pressure around the neck.

They should be fitted high on the nape of the neck and the two “D” rings should not touch when pulled tight on the dogs neck. The sound of the chain, as tension is placed on the collar, becomes a conditioned reinforcer for the dog and the dog learns to release tension prior to the lead becoming tight.

Martingales should only be used when training/walking your dog. They should not be left on the dog outside of training/walking.

Head Collars:

 Head collars, like the Gentle Leader or Halti, are designed to reduce the force of a dog pulling. Whilst they may do this quite effectively with many dogs, it is important to remember they work by altering the posture of the dog when pulling i.e. placing the head/neck into an unnatural position.

We recommend head collars are only used as an aid while training a dog to walk on a loose lead; not as a long term solution to pulling on the leash.

Harnesses:

Harnesses distribute pressure across the dog’s chest and back rather than the neck.

Front-clip harnesses, like the head collar, are designed to reduce the force of a dog pulling. This may be an effective option for some dogs but it is important to remember they work by altering the gait/posture of the dog when pulling i.e. turning the dog to the side.

Front-clip harnesses may also be inappropriate for dogs with reactivity issues as it may be hard to redirect the dog when arousal levels increase or the dog starts to fixate.

We recommend front-clip harnesses are only used as an aid while training a dog to walk on a loose lead; not as a long term solution to pulling on the leash.

Back-clip harnesses are not an effective training aid when a high level of handler control is required.

Check Chains:

Check chains may be a very effective when properly used; especially when there is a large strength disparity between the dog and handler. Good handling skills are essential to correctly use a check chain.

We do not recommend check chains for novice handlers as if not applied properly, may be ineffective or detrimental to the dogs’ training. Consult a professional if you are considering using one.

Slip Leads

Slip leads offer dog owners a convenient training and control tool. These simple and effective leads are easy to put on and take off, making them ideal for quick outings and training sessions.

For dogs that pull excessively on the lead they can be effective but correct application is paramount. Consult a professional if you are considering using one.

Clickers:

Clickers are used as a conditioned reinforcer that makes a distinct clicking sound. They serve as a marker to communicate when a dog has performed a desired behaviour. They are used as an alternative to verbal makers (e.g. good or yes). As with verbal markers, timing is very important (within half a second of the desired action is optimum timing).

Clicker training is highly effective for teaching new skills and reinforcing good behaviour.

Selecting the Right Aid for Your Dog

The key to selecting the right training aid is understanding your dog’s individual needs and your training goals.

Consider your dog’s temperament and behaviour. For general training and everyday use, flat collars or martingales can work well.

Your specific training objectives will also dictate the most suitable training aid. Clickers are great for teaching new skills and reinforcing behaviour, while check chains or a slip lead may be appropriate when there is a large strength disparity between the dog and handler.

Training aids should never replace quality, meaningful training. It’s a good idea to consult a trainer before purchasing any training aid. They can provide tailored advice based on you and your dog’s circumstances.

Selecting the right training aid is essential for a successful training experience with your dog. Whether you choose a basic flat collar, a martingale, a head collar, a harness, or even a clicker, remember that the key to effective training is patience, consistency, and timing. Always prioritise your dog’s welfare and consult a professional trainer, when needed, to ensure your training efforts are successful and rewarding for both you and your dog.

For more information and tailored advice, consult professionals like those at Canine Evolution.

Google Rating
5.0
Based on 26 reviews
js_loader