It is definately puppy season as we’ve had quite a few puppies to train over these last few weeks! It’s awesome to see so many owners taking the opportunity to get their pups off to a great start. And…that got us thinking – what are some must-have tools in your dog training tool box?
1. A Sturdy Leash
We know we advocate for off-leash training, but it is important to get a great leash that you will love. And hopefully one that doesn’t hurt your hand – like nylon leashes can do.
There are quite a few different kinds out there. We recommend two: one cheap nylon one that you can keep in the car and use in in a pinch! And a second, sturdier one that feels great in your hands. This could be a leather leash, a braided leash, or one that is versitile with multiple hooks (those come in handy quite often – even if Fido is well trained).
It is also important to acknoledge that many places require your dog to be on a leash at all times, so it is important to have one that does it’s job well and is comfortable for you both.
2. A Prong Collar
Despite popular belief, prong collars are not painful to a dog. They are great training tools when first getting started. They help gently establish who is in charge, most often of the walk, and allows you to shift to other training methods.
Be sure to get a high quality collar with rounded ends to ensure your dog’s comfort. But remember, these aren’t supposed to be comfortable collars, they are meant to be just uncomfortable enough so that your pooch is more attentive to your guidance through the leash. Of course, any tool when abused can harm your pooch, but the prong collar is the best tool for on-leash training.
3. A High Quality E-Collar
Our favorite tool in our toolbox when used properly is the e-collar, specifically the E-Collar Technologies Mini Educator for up to a 1/2 mile off leash. This tool alone gives your dog so much freedom because you can confidently communicate with your dog from a distance. You can be sure that he “heard” you from a far, and be sure that he will obey your voice commands to keep them safe.
This tool is literally a life-saver for dogs who have behavior problems. When introduced and used properly, it is possible to take an aggressive dog and guide them to make better decisions.
We go over the proper use of an e-collar during our pick up session so you are confident with using this tool with your dog. We can’t say enough great things about this life-changing tool. Even your dog will love it – my dog brings me the collar and controller when she’s ready to go outside and play!
4. A Kennel
If you have never kennel trained your dog, you should rethink that strategy! If your dog goes through our Board & Train Program, he will be kennel trained. This is not a cruel method for raising a dog, but rather ensures that your dog has a space that is just his. It allows them to completely relax in that space and to feel extremely comfortable.
Some dogs resist the idea of going into a kennel, but with enough practice, training, and patience, you’ll find that it is one of their favorite spaces.
5. Patience and Consistency
While these aren’t really tools per se, they are important to have when training any dog, especially a puppy. It can be frustrating at times and we completely understand. You will need patience when teaching your dog something new because they haven’t yet learned what you want them to do yet. It also takes consistency and reinforcing what you have taught them so they know the rules. They may try to break the rules, but as long as you are consistent, they will learn and you will have a well-behaved dog.
Wrapping Up Puppy Training
So what does all this have to do with our videos below? Django is a 4 month old puppy with all the tools above: We use a leash mostly for safety after we introduce the e-collar and then work exclusively on e-collar training. If the dog has never used an e-collar and we determine it might be beneficial in the long run, we also introduce a prong collar. We didn’t use a prong collar for Django since she responded so well within the first few hours with us.
Django is also kennel trained now. Between this and the “place” command, she will always know where she needs to be. She can comfortably relax in either location with or without the owners nearby.
Check out her progression from only being with us for 24 hours to her last day in training. She’s done amazing and your dog can too! If you aren’t ready for us to help, do some research and learn on your own! It will help you bond with your dog as you learn together. Because that is what life is about: learning and growing together.
Django’s owners have elected to do a second week of training in 6 months after they’ve had the chance to reinforce her training from this week. It is amazing to see such a well behaved puppy – espeically when puppies have so much energy that can be hard to contain!