Tools we use

There are an unlimited supply of ‘training’ tools on the market. We’ve tried many and found a handful of basic’s provide all we need for the majority of dogs. Here we discuss those that we use for day-to-day use as well as when your dog is acting out or out of control.

Everyday Tools

I prefer 6′ soy leashes. They’re soft but strong. Dogs can’t chew through them quickly and they’re easy on your hands. There’s also only one piece of metal, the clip. During training I will often shorten my leash so the dog is walking and working closer to me but I prefer the 6′ one so that if i need to use a belly band I can or if I want to give the dog some room for whatever reason, it’s available.

 

Dogs who lunge or bark or act out of control needed to be reigned in. A Gentle Leader is the perfect tool for that. Offering more control than other Head Halters, the Gentle Leader allows the dogs mouth to open completely, until they pull, then it’s closed completely. By taking a dogs mouth out of the equation, we’re giving them a chance to find and try another strategy – something most dogs won’t do when their mouth works so well.

Note: If a dog bites to get their way, then a basket muzzle is necessary. I’ve used them on these dogs with great results.

 

The martingale collars we use are made of all cloth and ensure no dog slips their collar. We love these for all their versatility and dependability.

 

Harness? It depends! Many people ask me about using a harness on their pups. A harness can be a great tool but if your dog is more than 25# be sure to get a front-clip one (I use Easy Walks). The dogs front shoulders are often the strongest part of their body so it’s not a good idea to hook a leash up to them unless you like to get pulled. Instead, clip your leash to the dogs chest where you’re not providing counter-pressure.

 

A Walkie Talkie is a terrific way to throw your voice, when working with your dog. Here in the Rocky Mountains where we’re located, we are often working in wind, on mountain sides and in gullies. A verbal cue cannot be heard when a dog has their head stuck in a hole.

A walkie talkie (I just connect one to an extra collar and drop it in the charger at the end of the walk) puts your voice right next to their ears and communicates clearly what you’re asking of them.

Other common items we use are

  • Belly bands – a method of circling the leash around the dog to take pressure off the throat
  • Backpacks – a dog backpack provides a terrific distraction to over-the-top dogs, it gets them in their head and gives them a better work out than we could typically do.
  • Bells – I use bells on dogs when we are working on off-leash work. I use them in the yard, on the trail and anytime I need to ‘keep an eye’ on my dog, without necessarily seeing them.
  • 20′ leash if necessary when working distant work
  • Citronella collars – these collars spray a bit of citrus in your dogs face when either they bark or you remotely activate it. They’re great at correcting over-barkey dogs without pain.
  • Puppy Pacifiers – we use toddler, stroller toys to give our dogs an outlet for their anxiety or excitement. Clipping directly to the dogs collar, these toys soon become the dogs wobbie.
  • Thunder shirts – used for anxious and nervous dogs (be sure to smooth out their hair)

We don’t use pain in our training and rehab, therefore we don’t use pinch or prong collars. We instead work to build a relationship based on trust and communication, which is hard to do when pain is in the equation, as it is with these collars.

Dogs respect these collars quickly due to what they bring to the table. Our goal at pranaDOGS is for your pup to respect you, not a piece of metal and to do that through relationship-building.

 

Tools FAQ

Tools refer to the management devices we use to train and manage our dogs. Some are for the dogs entire life like collars and leashes while others are to work through problem behaviors like easy-walk harnesses, gentle leaders and citronella collars.
Always start with the softest tool needed - to interrupt bad behavior I start with a sqeaker sound, if that doesn't work I increase my response to a louder sound then movement before going onto the softest tool that works. Always start light and increase as needed - then revert back to light again to test.
The short answer is it depends. Typically we start with a leash tether (a 12" leash which can be grabbed so the dog doesn't need to be touched) and if needed a thunder shirt. I always walk these dogs close to me but still use a 6' leash.
It is recommended to wait until your dog is around 18mo old before putting weight on their back. But you can always use an empty backpack - it's great for those dogs who are so busy with the environment that they struggle to listen.
These are the dogs who make you repeat yourself and who are moving quickly. Depending on the dog they may wear a long leash tether (30" leash that they step on when running which causes them to check themselves). If they over-bark they wear a citronella collar.
There is no worse feeling then watching your dog sprint away from you. To ensure it doesn't happen I use a number of tools to be sure a Come behavior is rock solid, incl: a leash drag, bells and walkie talkies. All three provide a different purpose and can be used at different times to train a rock solid recall.
I always start with the softest interruption possible; often a squeaker toy is my go-to. If that doesn't work I escalate my responses and try a different noise or sound then movement. If none of that works then I'll often try a citronella bark collar .
I have 4 dogs; 2 of which are completely trained. They wear collars and I always have 6' leashes with me, if they're necessary. My 3rd dog is a trauma survivor and rarely leaves the house and my 4th is still in training. Since she cannot be completely trusted off-leash yet, she wears a martingale and retractable or 6' leash.