I frequently receive questions about my preferred training tools. So today, we’re going to spend a little time going over each tool and why I love them.
In positive reinforcement dog training, our tools are really broken up into three categories:
- Training Tools
- Management Tools
- Enrichment Tools.
We’ll go over each category week by week. This week we will focus on Training Tools.
I’ll add links to websites where you can buy these items, but you can also purchase them from us at our Training Center!
TRAINING TOOLS: Easy to Access and Easy to Use
The best part about the tools I’ve highlighted here is that they are easy to find (you probably already have some in your house!) and anyone can use them. You don’t need to find some exclusive, expensive club to start training your pup well.
In positive reinforcement dog training, we use something the dog likes as our reinforcer for good behavior. Thankfully, most dogs are really easy and food is their favorite reinforcer. Your treat should be small (about the size of a pea), soft, and the smellier the better.
There are many commercial treats you can use. My favorites are Zuke’s Mini Naturals and Happy Howie’s Meat roll.
Often, the best and most cost effective treats are found right in our refrigerators. I find there isn’t a dog in the world that can’t be tempted to eat cheese, hot dogs, chicken, baby food, or peanut butter.
REFILLABLE SQUEEZE TUBES:
I know you’re wondering how to easily get your dog some peanut butter or baby food. Who wants to carry around a tub of peanut butter and a spoon while also trying to hang onto a leash and maybe a clicker? No one, that’s who! Thankfully we have a pretty cool option out there: refillable squeeze tubes. My favorite is Coghlan’s Squeeze Tubes.
These tubes make it easy to dispense soft, sticky foods such as peanut butter, whipped/soft cheeses, canned pureed dog food, or baby food.
Clickers are a small and inexpensive piece of plastic that you hold in your hand. They have a piece of metal inside and a button that makes a “clicking” sound when you push it down. We use clickers to “mark” a behavior we like and to tell an animal which action is getting them that piece of tasty food. Clickers have been proven to be more effective in training than other options and help release serotonin and dopamine into the brain. Those are the “feel good” chemicals. Who wouldn’t want a rush of those washing over their brains?
There are various clickers on the market, such as box clickers, tear-drop clickers, and “quiet” clickers. The quiet clickers are my favorite; I like the sound, the button is easy to depress, and they fit in my hand nicely. My favorites are from Karen Pryor Clicker Training, but any clicker that feels good to you works just fine!
Because we use food so often, we need a way to keep it near us, out of our hands, and out of view from our pooches. The best option is some kind of item that helps us with this problem. Household items such as fanny packs, carpenter’s aprons, and hoodie pockets can work well. I find they all have limits, but often for the average dog owner, they work just fine. Because I spend so much of my time training, I like to use treat pouches that are made specifically for dog training. I prefer the ones that come on a belt and have a quick-close feature. I can quickly move the pouch around to where I need it on my waist and the quick-close feature helps keep dog noses from finding their way to having a treat party.
My favorite treat pouch is the Rapid Rewards Pouch from The Doggone Good Clicker Company. This treat pouch has a magnet that helps keep the treat area closed. It also has an area to keep your clicker, poop bags, keys, and other items you may need while out and about.
Check in next week when I go over my favorite management tools! If you have any questions or are looking for some help training your dog please contact us!