List of supplies needed for the course and which tools aren't allowed in the course. Spoiler alert - no flexi leads!
Properly fitted training collar
For your dog's safety and comfort
Select a collar or harness designed for training
Every tool has its place. Some collars and harnesses that work well in other scenarios are not the right tool for training classes.
Gentle Leader headcollar
It connects to the leash under the dog's chin so there is nothing pressing on their trachea. There are other brands, but this one is our personal favorite.
If your dog is a strong puller who is difficult to control on leash around other dogs, has ever shown aggression towards another dog, or loves to jump on people, a head collar is required for them in class.
These collars tighten if your dog pulls on them so they cannot slip out of it and get away from you. They come in lots of fun colors and designs. We get ours from Collars for a Cause and help rescue dogs with our purchase.
Harness with leash ring between shoulders
Small dogs, dogs who don't pull hard, and dogs who already have collapsing trachea or spinal injury can wear a harness. The leash must clip between the shoulder blades or chest ONLY. Examples: sporn, freedom, balance
Choke chains, prong collars, electronic collars, back-clip harnesses with the leash ring farther back than the shoulder blades like this one (these are great for hiking but not for training)
Fit the collar or harness correctly.
Proper fit is necessary for the equipment to work as designed.
Think of your dog's collar or harness as their parachute.
A Parachute should be well-fitted and SNUG so that it is safe (won't come off) and comfortable (won't slide around or dig into armpits).
Place collars at the highest part of your dog's neck, right behind their ears to take pressure off their trachea. Too much pressure on their trachea from pulling on leash can collapse it, a potentially serious condition. They shouldn't cough and gag even if they pull on the leash.
Harnesses should stay in place and not slide around or have big gaps. If fitted correctly, only 2 flat fingers will fit between the equipment and your dog.
For your safety and comfort
Select a comfortable training leash
Where the collar/harness is about the dog's comfort, the leash is all about yours!
With a good leash, you can keep even the wildest untrained dog under control and avoid injury to yourself from broken fingers or face planting on the sidewalk. Students who use the recommended leash style in class are 75% more successful with training than those who don't.
The leash should be comfortable and easy to hold folded up accordion-style in the palm of your hand for the most control of your dog.
Leather, Cotton, Hemp, or rope-style
chain or retractable leashes
Nylon or plastic are not recommended because they don't fold easily in your hand which makes it harder to control your dog.
Length: 6' - 8' is required
Width: less than 1" wide is recommended
Do not attach poop bags or other items to the leash.
Does your dog like to chew on their leash? If so, here are some options. Attach a short chain between the leash and collar using a carabiner, or try a chew-proof leash such as BAAPET, Black Rhino, or Paw Lifestyles.
Soft smelly treats in pea-sized pieces
The reward for getting it right!
Test how well your dog likes the treats before class.
Test somewhere other than home to be sure they are better than distractions.
The more your dog loves the treats, the more excited they will be about training. They will learn faster and work harder for you, which means you'll have more fun. If they'd rather sniff the ground or stare at a leaf blowing in the breeze, that's not the one.
Ziwi Peak, Red Barn Naturals dog food roll, Stella & Chewy's meal mixers, Pure Bites freeze-dried liver, beef hot dog, string cheese
Nothing crumbly or that takes time to chew
Cut them into small pieces before class.
We will give lots of treats but not lots of calories,
Wearable Treat Bag
Hands-free and easy to grab treats from
It doesn't have to be fancy.
Anything that keeps your hands free will work.
Nail aprons from the hardware store are cheap and work great. Kitchen aprons, scrub tops, fanny packs, and cargo pants are other good options. Or, you can be fancy and get a nice treat bag from the pet store.
Zip-lock bags or the bag the treats came in will NOT work.
Home base for your dog
"Home Base" for your dog between exercises
and used for some of the course exercises
A cheap bathroom rug with rubber backing works well or a yoga mat folded in half. Rubber floor tile or carpet remnants are other options.
Towels and blankets don't work because they slide.
Frozen or non-spillable Water
So it doesn't spill everywhere
Water in a bowl will become water on the floor.
It happens every time!
Your dog may get thirsty from working or need to wash the treats down. Water in a dish is almost guaranteed to spill. Frozen water in a plastic container will melt slowly and last an entire class.
Another option is a no-spill water bowl.
Dogs crunching on ice disturbs the class, so please don't.