The Play To BehaveLeash Walking Course
Open the boxes below for more information and links to products. You probably have everything you need but if not, the links are Amazon Affiliates to make shopping easier for you. If you can, I always say, buy local!
A Leather Leash
A leash – in general, for a medium size dog (about 40-50#), you’ll want a 4′ – 6′, 5/8″ leather leash.
- More specifically:
- Preferably leather because it is soft on the hands and because a leash is more for safety than training, you want to be sure you can hang on to it if pulled. Nylon can hurt. Once leather is broken in, it is so nice and soft but strong and they are not really expensive – not as much as you might think. Comes in many colors too!
- Length: If your dog is small and you are tall, a 6′ leash will probably be most comfortable. In other words, consider your height and your dog’s height when you choose a leash. A 6′ leash gives your dog more distance but all that leash can get cumbersome, so you may want to try both lengths if you aren’t sure. It’s always nice to have an extra leash anyways!
- Small dogs – 1/4″
- Medium dogs 1/2″ to 5/8″
- Larger dogs 1″
- Extra large or strong dogs – you may want to go to 1 1/2″ to 2″ but you’ll need big hands!
- Clasp, etc.: Make sure the clasp is the right size for your dog and well-secured to the leash. You’ll also want a nice size handle you can hold on to. We don’t want them pulling but as said, you do want it for safety.
- This leash looks like a great choice
A Flat Collar
Flat Collar: This is a collar that is flat against your dog’s neck. It is more comfortable for your dog. While decorative ones can be nice, again, leather is soft and comfortable and you can get them in many colors.
- Size: Get a collar sized so you can fit four of your fingers (if you have a “normal” size hand) under the collar. If you are worried it could slip off over your dog’s head, consider a Martingale collar that tightens if your dog tries to back up out of it.
- ID: The collar should have a place to attach a name tag with contact information, a county license if required in your area and a rabies tag (if given out and required in your area)
- This collar is by the same company as the leash and looks great but as said, buy local if you like
Treats and Food Rewards
Treats or Food Rewards:
- Size: Dogs don’t care about the size of the treat! Did you know that!? They just care how many they get so use tiny treats.
- Type: You can use their regular kibble (food), cut up cheese or deli-meats, packaged treats or something you make yourself. Just keep cheese or deli-meats cold so they don’t stick together!
- Warning! Packaged treats with a lot of salt or additives can cause your dog to drink and urinate more and/or cause a soft stool (think soft treat often = soft stool!) or even diarrhea. There is no need to buy expensive treats.
- Couple Favorites:
- One of my favorites is to use a high-quality cat food. They are usually small with a high protein content which dog’s love and it’s easy on your hands
- Also love packaged Charlee Bears – large but surprisingly very fast for a dog to eat!
- String cheese that is refrigerated and cut into tiny pieces
- My favorite that has a clicker in it, is no longer made 🙁 so if you heard me talk about it, it’s not available anymore but the company, Woof Hoof, is still making great treat bags! See the next one…
- Trets Treat Bag by Woof Hoof – love it because it goes on your waist, is lightweight, has a magnetic enclosure so easy to get into, it’s SMALL and you really don’t need some big bag unless you want your phone or bags in it. Washable too. So I love them.
- This is not necessary but it will make your training faster and easier! I’m all for that!
- Some say this is too difficult but give it a chance. I may show you a way that you’ll really like. I’ve been known to persuade many students to use one and they don’t go back! LOL
- Clicker vary in size, sound level, ease of cleaning, cost and how they work.
- Box Clickers: cheap and easy to use but hard to clean and very loud
- iclick: My favorite! These are easiest to use and because the button sticks up, you could operate it with your foot. Most of them are very sturdy, both cost and sound is mid-range.
- StarMark Clicker: This is great for a dog that is very sensitive, especially to sound. It is a soft click and also very sturdy. It can be harder to keep clean and it’s a bit pricey but it’s a good quality clicker.
What about using a harness or head halter?
What about a “n0-pull” harness or a head halter? Should you get one?
- I love harnesses and they are wonderful to use, especially if you are worried your dog will pull. There are a variety available and I’ll give you more information on this soon.
- Think safety first! Until your dog can walk without pulling, it’s best not to walk or go far. But again, leashes are for safety so if you are concerned your dog might run and pull you, then it’s best to use a harness when you walk.
- Pulling on a neck collar can cause damage to your dog’s trachea and it doesn’t help you teach them how to walk on a leash, so, YES, use a harness if that’s best.
- There are “no-pull” harnesses available that work really well. Use these when you are not training until you can walk your dog without pulling. They won’t help much with a reactive dog, however.
- For a reactive dog, head halters work best and I love them, but fitting them properly is critical and often, dogs take time to adjust to wearing a head halter so I’ll address this separately.