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5 Useful Tools That Can Help You Train Your Dog

All pets need to be trained to some degree, from fish needing to learn they’re safe when they’re relocated so their tanks can be cleaned to dogs requiring obedience training. The more training is required, the more work it can take to be successful, but assistive tools and programs are available. Here are five useful tools that can help you train your dog.

1. Training Harnesses

While dog collars are important for identification and safety, research shows that it’s a good idea to get your dog a harness for walks and other outdoor activities. This prevents any pulling on the leash from compressing the dog’s throat, which can happen with leashes attached to collars. Harnesses can also be good training tools. Some harnesses have multiple lead options, such as the martingale loop, where the lead is attached at the front and side, which helps you teach your dog to communicate with you more effectively. As you work with your dog, you can adjust the lead and transition to a looser leash.

2. Flirt Poles

A flirt pole for dogs is a multipurpose tool. It’s primarily used for training, but it can also be a toy or an exercise tool. It consists of a toy or lure attached to a pole by a sturdy rope or string. They range in length from about three to five feet, so you should be able to find one suitable for your dog’s size. Smaller ones can be used indoors or outdoors, but larger ones are only suitable for outdoor activities. Flirt poles are excellent tools to teach dogs to follow certain commands, such as release, sit and leave it, or to teach impulse control and coordination.

3. Food Delivery Toys

Most food delivery toys are marketed as enrichment tools to help you make sure your dog gets the mental stimulation he or she needs. However, they can also be quite effective training tools in certain situations. The two main situations where food delivery toys are helpful are when you’re training your dog to stay still for grooming and when you’re training him or her to accept medicine. You can spread peanut butter on a lick mat or scatter treats on a snuffle mat for your dog while you brush his or her coat or trim his or her nails. Tools such as pill pocket treats and silicon toys that can be stuffed with peanut butter and other soft treats are excellent options for hiding your dog’s medication or for training your dog to accept medicine on his or her own.

4. A Clicker Device

Positive reinforcement training is a particularly effective method, achieved in part by the use of clicker devices. Clickers are bridging stimuli between desired behavior and rewards. You give the dog a command, click the device when he or she completes that command and then offer a treat. The clicker helps your dog more effectively recognize and identify the behavior you expect from him or her. While these devices are commonly known as clickers, they may actually makr a number of noises, including whistles. There are also flashlight and vibration options designed for deaf or hard-of-hearing animals.

5. Training Programs And Private Training

Not every training tool at your disposal is physical. There are many training class options available for those who don’t feel comfortable training their dogs alone or who have tried multiple methods without success. Specialized training options also exist for people who have specific goals in mind for their dogs’ training or whose dogs have special needs. Public classes can be effective choices for dogs requiring socialization training. Private training may be better for dogs and owners requiring reactivity training.

Remember, there is no one method of training that works better than the others. Some styles or tools may be recommended for your dog’s breed or personality, but you may need to try several approaches before finding a method that suits you and your dog. Talk to your dog’s veterinarian, other dog owners and professional dog trainers about your options.