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Dog Training Collars and Equipment

Updated on July 13, 2016

Where to go from here?

Many pet owners consider training when they get a new puppy to ensure things get off to a good start. You may be asking what all do I need to properly take care of my puppy and train him at home? Maybe you have an older dog that is destructive and no matter what you have tried you are constantly having to fix something or replace something that he has torn up. Professional dog trainers use a variety of different collars and equipment to aid in discouraging bad behaviors and in encouraging good ones. How does a pet owner know what to use and when? These are some of the questions recently answered in a interview with expert dog trainer Jennifer Adkins of Dog Training by Jennifer in San Antonio, Texas. She explained the various differences in training styles and the equipment commonly used in both.

Kennels

Patriot laying in his large wire kennel.
Patriot laying in his large wire kennel. | Source
Chief in a plastic crate.
Chief in a plastic crate. | Source

Where to start?

No matter what age dog you have gotten you may want to kennel them for their safety and to protect your home from unwanted chewing and accidents while you are training you new family member. Kennels also offer a dog a place of refuge when they feel scared or the household is too noisy. How do you know which kennel to purchase when there are so many to choose from? First we need to look at our dogs needs and what we hope to accomplish by using a kennel.

Adkins said of course one of the first considerations when looking for a kennel is to think about how big your dog is going to get.There are two basic types of kennels available to choose from: plastic crates and wire kennels. Both have pros and cons to consider when choosing your pets kennel. A disadvantage to a plastic crate is that if your pet is going to be a large dog you may have to invest in more than one before it is grown. Plastic crates generally cost less, but when you compare the cost of buying several over the lifetime of your dog to a wire cage with a higher price a wire cage may still be to your advantage.

Wire cages usually have the option of a adjustable wire attachment that allows the owner to adjust the cage as the dog grows" If you get a large breed of dog, such as, a Great Dane you will need a rather large kennel for it before it is full grown. The adjuster on a wire kennel will allow you to start off with a small divided area to help keep your puppy from getting hurt or messing up such a huge area. After the puppy is crate trained and not going to the bathroom in their crate any more you can remove the adjuster from the wire kennel.

Plastic crates are made of a hard plastic and have air holes on the sides for ventilation. They do not provide nearly as good of ventilation as the wire kennels, however, Adkins said, " Dogs that are nervous and insecure may do better in a plastic crate because they have some privacy from the household and may feel it is a safe place to escape from the chaos and noise of the family."

Space and location are other considerations when buying a kennel. Do you have an adequate space to place the kennel? Is the area you are putting the kennel well ventilated. Plastic kennels especially need to be placed where they can get adequate ventilation. An advantage of wire kennels is that when not in use they can fold flat for easy storage. Plastic kennels usually only fold to about half there size if that for storage.

If you travel with your pet a plastic crate can have advantages over a wire crate. Plastic crates are typically allowed on airplanes even. Plastic crates may fit easier in the back of your vehicle.

If your dog is going to be kenneled outside neither of these will be suitable. For an outside kennel you will need to consider a much larger more permanent kennel that provides a large area to lay in and play in that will provide shelter from the elements of weather in both summer and winter. Ideally, your pets kennel should provide a safe and inviting place for your pet that adequately meets his needs.

Collars and Leashes

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Collars

If you have been to any pet store you have probably noticed there are a number of collars to choose from for your pet. You can really dress him up in a fancy collar or make him look bad by putting a spiked collar on. What you may not know is that there are also collars to help break your dog of many annoying habits including excessive barking, to digging, to staying in the fence, and even shock collars to train your dog to listen to your commands.These collars are often pricey, but do work to help break your dogs of bad habits.Adkins said, "Most behaviors can be modified without using these type collars through encouraging good behaviors to replace the bad behavior. They should be used as a last resort to keep your dog safe, but only with proper training."

Bark Collar

Everyone at some point has been awaken by a dog that just will not quit barking. Dogs bark for a number of reasons. Sometimes they bark because they want attention or they are bored. They may bark if they want out. They often bark if they think someone or another animal is in their territory that does not belong. They use barking to communicate with their owner about things they want. They may want fed or to go for a walk. Most the time you can figure out why they are barking with a little observation.

If they just will not quit barking and you have tried all other forms of training to prevent them from barking excessively they do sell bark collars. Most trainers prefer not to use them unless you have exhausted every other possibility already. There are several different types of bark collar. Some spray citronella when the dog barks. Dogs generally do not like the smell and quickly learn to hush to avoid the smell. Adkins does not like them because some dogs also have a respiratory reaction to them and the only way you could really know this is by trying it on them. Other bark collars deliver a small electrical type jolt to your dog which can train them not to bark. Some trainers believe this may cause some dogs to be more aggressive. Bark collars that do use a jolt of electricity are usually adjustable so that you can adjust the amount of voltage that your dog receives.

Adkins said." The best way to get your dog to stop barking is by identifying the cause and look for solutions to that before trying anything else. For instance a dog that is bored might just need a long walk. Bringing some dogs inside at night helps alleviate their anxiety so that they calm down and sleep through the night. Some dogs can be trained not to bark by firmly telling them to be "quiet". Often they hate feeling they displeased you so much that they will try to do better."

Shock and Vibration Collars

IShock collars are used not only for pets that bark excessively, but to train your dog to do other things, as well. Adkins said, "Shock collars are not the first choice. Treats, and love to get your dog to do the corrected behaviors should always be done before choosing a more drastic option to train your dog. Sometimes it may take months before there is a noticeable improvement. Shock collars are to help keep the animal safe, and to recall a dog used in hunting or search and rescue." Dogs used in "search and rescue" owners need a way to call the dog back to safety in instances where the dogs life might be in jeopardy, Hunters also use this as a way to get their dogs to come back to them in cases where the dog has gone off to far.

Adkins said, " I have recently taken in a deaf Great Dane that I use a vibration collar to get her attention when we are outside." This keeps the dog safe because she knows to look at Adkins when she feels the vibration and then can see what Adkins wants her to do.




Fence Collars

Dogs that refuse to stay in the fence put themselves at great risk of being ran over or lost. Sometimes no matter what safety precautions an owner takes you have a dog who just continuously finds a way out of their area. After you have done all that you can think of to teach your dog to stay where they belong for their safety you may need to consider a fence collar. Fence collars signal the dog in much the same way a shock collar does that they are leaving their boundary. Once the dog feels the little volt they begin to associate the jolt with leaving their area. They are less and less prone to try again. These also are generally adjustable and can be turned up or down to fit the needs of your dog.

Harnesses

Some dogs are prone to back problems and may need a harness instead of a regular collar. Dash-hounds and Basset-hounds are two examples of dogs that may need a harness instead of a regular collar. Harnesses are also good for dogs whose owners are heavy handed. Large dogs often need a harness because it gives you more area to hold on to so you can restrain them without harming them.

Other Collars and Leashes

There are many other type collars available. They have collars with micro chips in them where if your dog gets lost you can track them with an app on your phone. Some search and rescue dogs are fitted with GPS collars. There are choke collars which are helpful in teaching your dog to walk on a leash. Dogs that bite may need a muzzle to prevent them biting someone when you take your dog for a walk. This is only a few of the ones out there.

With so many to choose from it may be hard to make a choice, but for most dogs just a good collar is fine for training purposes.

You will need a good leash to train your dog to walk. They have some with a handle about a foot from the dog to help train them to heel. Often trainers advise getting three different size leashes. One about three foot. Another one about six foot long. Lastly, a longer leash.


Collars

Bark Collar
Bark Collar | Source
Shock Collar
Shock Collar | Source
Fence Collar
Fence Collar | Source
Vibration Collar
Vibration Collar | Source
Mac wearing a harness because he will not stay in a normal collar.
Mac wearing a harness because he will not stay in a normal collar. | Source
Patriot  wearing a gentle leader collar with leash.
Patriot wearing a gentle leader collar with leash. | Source

In Conclusion

In concluding, there is a lot of different things available for training your dog, but mainly you need to have a kennel, leash, and a good collar. Treats are a great way to motivate your dog to work on his training. Consistency is your best tool. If you consistently work with your dog he will learn. Dogs respond well to love and attention and if you show your dog how much his hard work is pleasing you by giving him encouragement and love he will try harder to please you. Be patient. Like in everything it takes time to train your dog. If you have further questions about dog training Adkins will be glad to answer your questions by email. Her email address is jenniyad2011@gmail.com.

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    • profile image

      JanWiese 3 years ago

      Thanks for the information. I've never been able to train a dog--they train me, but I will use this information and I think I will be successful. The article was easy to understand and well written. Thanks, again.

    • Rebecca Reagan profile image
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      Rebecca Reagan 3 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Jan! I am glad it helps! Thanks, again! Rebecca

    • profile image

      Ross Griffin 3 years ago from Texas

      Miss Reagan. There is a lot of good information in here on kennels to different collars. I have always used a choke collar for training purposes and a leather collar when not training. I am old-schooled training and trained dogs for military. I like these approaches, they do not seem so detrimental to harming the dogs spirits and keeps their character intact. Very informative and well written. Looking for more articles from you.

    • Rebecca Reagan profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Reagan 3 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Ross for your comment. I am glad you felt the article was informative. Rebecca

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 3 years ago from California

      Thank you for all this great info Rebecca.

      I trained my sweet Bridgette (Dalmatian-Pit) and she is amazing. I find that one of the most common problems of any dog from the get go is when taken for a walk, they tend to pull hard and end up taking YOU for a walk! *L* I have seen so many people "yank" the leash back to stop them and where that may deter the dog momentarily, it never works. One of the problems I see is that they will have a band or chain collar on the dog and when the leash is yanked, it pulls the collar against the esophagus and can hurt and damage the dog. I myself prefer the collar with the curved spikes. Most people will say, "OH NO! That will hurt the dog!" On the contrary, if you look at the spikes, they are dull and flat-headed and they are curved to prevent any damage. What it does do is that it helps both the owner and the dog in training. When the dog tries to pull the leash, the owner gives the slightest tug and the spikes will grab completely all around the dog instead of directly on the esophagus, and thus giving the dog a sense of discomfort. After about 5 or 6 tugs, the dog quickly learns that pulling is uncomfortable, will stop trying to yank ahead and will walk with the owner. I also praise the dog for holding back to reinforce a positive environment as well. We don't want the dog to think the collar is bad. I can put it on her with no resistance at all if needed. However,I don't even use the collar any more with Bridgette as she walks right beside me with no issue.

      Looking forward to reading more from you! Voted up and shared!

      ----Lisa♥

    • Rebecca Reagan profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Reagan 3 years ago from Texas

      Dear Lisa,

      Thanks so much for posting your comments. I have actually heard of that kind of collar although I was unable to find a picture of one for my article and didn't have a lot of information on them either so I skipped it rather than misinform anyone. It is amazing what our dogs can learn if we just take the time to teach them. They give us so much pleasure and all they really ask in return is some of our time and food. I look forward to hearing from you again. Thanks again for sharing!

      Rebecca

    • Rebecca Reagan profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Reagan 3 years ago from Texas

      Dear Lisa,

      Thanks so much for posting your comments. I have actually heard of that kind of collar although I was unable to find a picture of one for my article and didn't have a lot of information on them either so I skipped it rather than misinform anyone. It is amazing what our dogs can learn if we just take the time to teach them. They give us so much pleasure and all they really ask in return is some of our time and food. I look forward to hearing from you again. Thanks again for sharing!

      Rebecca

    • Rebecca Reagan profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Reagan 3 years ago from Texas

      Dear Lisa,

      Thanks so much for posting your comments. I have actually heard of that kind of collar although I was unable to find a picture of one for my article and didn't have a lot of information on them either so I skipped it rather than misinform anyone. It is amazing what our dogs can learn if we just take the time to teach them. They give us so much pleasure and all they really ask in return is some of our time and food. I look forward to hearing from you again. Thanks again for sharing!

      Rebecca

      Thank you Ross for your comment. I am glad you felt the article was informative. Rebecca

    • Rebecca Reagan profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Reagan 3 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Jan! I am glad it helps! Thanks, again! Rebecca

    • Silverbud profile image

      SilverBud 2 years ago from Huntersville, NC

      Thank you for writing this!!

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