Good tools make it easier to do a job. These are the tools you will need to make training your dog easier and faster.
Properly Fitted Collar
For safety and comfort
A dog’s collar or harness should fit the way you would want your parachute to fit if you were jumping out of a plane - SNUG. Only 2 flat fingers can fit underneath a collar at the smallest part of your dog's neck. Only 2 flat fingers can fit underneath a harness at all points.
It's safer because they can't slip out of it easily. It's more comfortable because the pressure is evenly distributed and it doesn't slide around and irritate their skin.
Recommended: Gentle Leader Head Collar: Required if your dog has ever shown aggression, pulls hard toward other dogs or people, or jumps on people.
Other Good Options: Extra Wide Martingale, Perfect Pace No Pull Halter Leash, Holt Head Collar, Snoot Loop
Harnesses are great for hiking or walking with a well-trained and non-reactive dog and for dogs with neck or spinal injuries. They don't work well for training. They are a hammer and nails, while the Gentle Leader is a power tool. Most people who use a harness in class struggle with their dog.
If you choose to use a harness, it must clip either between the shoulders or at the chest. One that clips farther back is designed for your dog to walk in front of you - GREAT for hiking. Not so great for training. Harnesses that clip farther back than the shoulders will NOT be allowed in class Some harnesses we recommend are: Freedom, Balance, Sure Fit
Prong, choke, or shock collars are not allowed in class.
Cotton, Leather, or Rope - 6' L, <1" W
6' leash (4' is too short for some of the exercises)
3/8" to 1/2" width (A wide leash doesn't fit comfortably in the palm of your hand and can give you blisters if your dog pulls).
Our favorite is a soft leather leash, and they last forever. I've used the same one for more than 10 years. Rope leashes are nice, too. Cotton is softer than nylon so more comfortable to hold.
Please remove poop bags from your dog's leash.
If your dog chews on the leash, here are some things you can do:
Get the shortest choke chain available and attach it to the collar and leash with a carabiner
Buy a chew-proof leash such as
Retractable leashes and chain leashes are not allowed in class.
Soft, smelly treats in pea-sized pieces
The reward for getting it right
Test different options somewhere other than home before class. Fido may LOVE pupperoni at home but turn his nose at it outside where there are competing rewards. Make sure he loves your treat more than the distractions. Use lower value treats at home and save the really good stuff for class. Nothing crunchy so it doesn't crumble.
Recommendations: Red Barn Naturals dog food roll, string cheese, PureBite liver, Stella & Chewy treats, cooked chicken or liver, beef hot dog
Wearable Treat Pouch
Easy to grab treats from
It doesn't have to be fancy. Anything that you can tie or clip on to you and easily grab treats from works. 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 get a nice treat bag from the pet store.
Zip lock bags are great for storing the treats between classes, but something wearable is needed for class.
"Home Base" for your dog
The mat is used for certain exercises and as "home base" for your dog in between 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.