The Top Dog Training Devices

There are many different schools of thought when it comes to dog training devices. Some professionals believe they are not necessary, others say that, if used properly, they are highly effective. Often, the use of training devices will vary depending on size of the dog, the temperament, and the type of behavior the training device is looking to correct. Dog training devices can help correct an animal’s behavior, but it is recommended that you consult your family veterinarian or other professional before using some of these devices.

Dog Training Devices-Collars
There are many different collars available on the market today that use varied methods to correct your pet.

Here are the basic types of collars:

  • Flat collar
  • Choke collar
  • Martingale collar
  • Prong collar
  • Shock/e-collar

A flat collar is used mostly for clicker training and is made of nylon. Clicker training is a mild method of training an animal without negative stimulation, such as a shock. In fact, if clicker training is used correctly, it is possible to train your dog without ever having to touch them for correction. Many professionals approve of clicker training, and there are trainers who use them in their obedience classes.

Choke, Martingale and prong collars are similar in their construction, use and training. A choke collar, also known as a slip collar, is made of metal links, nylon or leather. The theory behind the use of slip collars is that when the trainer snaps the leash, the collar will tighten and make a sound that will get the pet’s attention. They are not meant to actually choke the animal, and can be an effective method of training a dog to walk on a leash.

Martingale collars are similar to choke collars, but do not tighten as much when used for correction. Prong collars, like martingale collars, are made of metal links or leather with prongs on the inside of the collar. When the collar tightens, the prongs push into the fur or skin of the dog. While there are those who condemn the use of prong collars, proponents say that the idea is to only cause temporary discomfort and are not as harsh as a slip or Martingale collar.

Choke, prong and Martingale collars can cause harm to an animal if not used correctly. It is best to seek the advice of a veterinarian or trainer to make sure you learn the proper way to use these training devices before including them in your obedience sessions.

Electronic or shock collars were very popular for a long time in the US and other parts of the world. While still recommended by some, many professionals strongly object to their use. These types of dog training devices have even been banned in some countries due to the harm they can cause.

The main type of e-collar is operated by a remote device used by the owner or trainer. When the person activates the remote, it sends a signal to a collar around the dog’s neck that will discharge an electric shock of varying intensity. The type of shock can be adjusted from the type you receive from static electricity to a more intense jolt. Other types of shock collars include anti-barking collars and ones used in conjunction with invisible fencing systems. These collars are activated either when the dog barks, or when they approach the boundary of the fence.
Dog Training Devices
Proponents of e-collars say that they cause serious harm to animals. Cats and dogs have been treated for burns due to the use of shock collars because owners don’t realize how strong the shock is that the pet is receiving. With invisible fences, the setting can be so high it can cause serious injury.

Advocates of electronic collars say that, if used properly, they do not have to harm the animal. They can even stop unwanted behavior, such as barking, and can actually protect the pet, as is the case with an invisible fence.

As a pet owner, it is up to you to decide whether or not to use this type of training method. Within the last few years, several versions of the e-collar have appeared on the market that is considered less harmful to pets. There are some shock collars that emit a warning tone before administering a shock. The theory behind this is that the dog will learn to stop before the shock is issued because they hear the warning sound.

Other versions of the electronic collar emit a sonic tone that only the dog can hear, or spray the animal with citronella or water. These versions rely on the same concept as the shock collar, but water, citronella and high-pitched noises do not harm the animal. You may want to consider these alternatives to the traditional shock collar if you are looking for a device to correct undesired behavior.

Other Devices
In addition to collars, there are other training devices that can be used in conjunction with, or instead of, these methods of obedience training. They include harnesses, halters, clickers, and leashes.

  • Leashes are used in conjunction with flat, slip, prong, and Martingale collars. They vary in length and materials, and can be used to train dogs to heel, walk properly with an owner, and to come when called. Often, correction for unwanted behavior is communicated via a jerk of the leash.
  • Harnesses and halters are alternatives to collars. A halter fits over the dog’s head and is supposed to prevent them from jerking on the leash. Harnesses fit around the chest and front legs of the pet, allowing for control without choking the animal.
  • As already discussed, clickers emit a sound that lets a dog know that they are behaving correctly. Many professionals believe that positive reinforcement is more effective than negative reinforcement and endorse dog training aids that reward pets for good behavior. It is important that you research all training methods carefully, and consult a professional before using one of these devices.
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