The best dog training class instructor will teach humans and dogs alike using science based, force-free, fear-free training.
I have been offering fun and rewarding training classes in the northern Westchester, Putnam, and western Connecticut area for almost twenty-five years.
“Evidence supports the use of reward-based methods for all canine training. AVSAB promotes interactions with animals based on compassion, respect, and scientific evidence. Based on these factors, reward-based learning offers the most advantages and least harm to the learner’s welfare.”
The best dog training class instructor will teach you and your dog to do more than sit, down, stay, wait and the basic commands.
I teach handlers how to communicate with their dogs to help their dogs do the right thing and be the best, happiest dog they can be.
Teaching handlers how to read their dog teaches them how to understand and communicate with their dog.
To help you learn how to communicate with your dog, I will teach you how to read your dog’s body language. Knowing what your dog is signaling will help you teach them and keep them happy and calm. This book by Turid Ruggas is the primer on your dog’s body language, “On Talking Terms with Dogs, Calming Signals.“
We all learn better when we are having fun! Dog training classes should be fun and make everyone happy. There should never be force or fear used to teach.
The best dog training class instructor will understand that it is so much more fun to proof sit/stay when playing the dots-and-gizmos game.
Positive reinforcement dog training should be fear-free and force-free. Your dog should enjoy learning and you should enjoy teaching. I have been teaching fun and successful dog training for almost twenty-five years. Join us!
This dog training supply list includes your dog’s wearable equipment.
Many dog training tools are specific to training class but most of them will be useful in classes, at home, on walks, and more.
Collars, harnesses, and leashes.
For most of our dogs, it is good to use the same equipment for walks, hikes, or classes. Occasionally we will use a longer or shorter leash for different activities.
Flat collar – these are the basic collar everyone thinks of when they think of a collar.
Martingale collar – this collar allows the collar to close just enough to prevent the dog from squiggling out. This is my preferred collar.
I happen to be a fan of the Lupine collars linked above. They are well made (US), guaranteed (even if chewed), and they have loads of nice patterns 😊
Understanding the difference between a back-clip harness and a front-clip harness is critical.
If your dog’s harness has the leash clipping to a d-ring on the dog’s back, this is a back-clip harness. In most cases, this will increase pulling as it engages your dog’s oppositional reflex and they will push their chest against the front of the harness reflexively (they just can’t help it).
A Front-clip harness will have a d-ring on the dog’s chest where the leash will attach.
This is a front-clip harness. Notice the leash is attached to the harness on the front of the dog’s chest.
This will reduce the pressure against the dog’s chest and decrease or eliminate the oppositional reflex. This will stop or reduce greatly the pulling battle that often goes on during dog walks.
Here are three well made and reasonably priced front clip harnesses.
Freedom No-pull harness. This fits the best and has a secondary back clip if you want to switch between back and front clipping.
The Easy Walk Harness. This can take some tinkering to get it to fit right. But if it fits your dog, it is a good front-clip harness.
The Sensation harness. This was the first of its kind and still well made and secure.
There are many other front-clip harnesses. I find the ones that have what looks like a breast-plate in the front move side-to-side too much to be effective. The Whole Dog Journal has a nice article outlining many different front-clip harnesses.
There are far too many types, styles, textures, and lengths of dog leashes to list them in this training supply list.
I prefer leather or biothane leases for my own dogs. These materials sit more comfortably in my hand than cotton or nylon. For either, I like three-quarters or five-eights width. For most women, an inch width will not allow the hand to fully close around it. So, the three-quarters or half inch will allow for a more secure hold.
The length of leash will vary. For an average walk in the park, four or six feet is fine. Six will allow you the most flexibility to allow your dog to move away to eliminate. But four is easiest if your dog is playing with other dogs on leash. For hiking or playing in an unfenced area, a longer ten to twenty foot leash will allow for maximum flexibility.
Leather is the softest and sturdiest leash I have found. But it is not waterproof.
Biothane leashes are waterproof and as easy on your hands as leather (they don’t slip or burn). They come in a variety of colors, lengths, and widths.
A subset of these is the multi-leash. This is a leash that has multiple connection points to allow it to transform from a six-foot leash, to a three-foot leash, to a wrap-leash, or even a tie-out.
A family adopted a six-month-old puppy who was anxious and afraid. When she was introduced to the family’s young cousins (four-years and eleven-months — TODDLERS) she seemed curious but then barked and lunged at them when they made any sudden movements. Toddlers and dogs are not always safe together.
The family tried to ‘firmly correct’ their dog’s behavior, but it didn’t work.
Correcting the dog will NOT teach the dog the right thing to do. Nor will it teach the dog to love the child, it will probably do the opposite.
It is not uncommon for a rescue dog to have no positive experiences with small children. Even dogs who have had good experiences with kids, will still be triggered by the movements of a toddler.
Regardless of new-rescue-dog or dog you’ve had for years, all toddlers and dogs need to be supervised and taught how to be safe around each other. For some dogs this is a quick lesson but for others with fears and anxiety, this can move at a slower pace.
This process will include desensitization and counterconditioning when a dog already has some anxiety around children, or good socialization when a dog is simply unfamiliar with small children.
What is it about toddlers that gets to so many dogs? This question should be asked more often. But because many people feel their good dog can or should withstand anything their child has to throw at her (literally and figuratively), the question is not asked, and without questions there can be no help in the form of answers.
I knew even before having a toddler that they are bundles of energy with quick, unsteady bursts of movement. The literature about toddlers is filled with buzzwords that should scare the dick- ens out of anyone approaching this milestone: defiance, pitching fits, tantrums, and getting into everything. From the dog’s perspective many, if not all, of those can be difficult to process.
Quick, unsteady movements are triggers for your dog’s predatory or flight instincts.
Dogs have been honed by nature to react to quick movements for survival. Such movements signal that their dinner awaits. Your dog may not be looking at your toddler as a prey animal, but they are still programmed to chase anything that moves quickly and erratically. Think squirrels, bunnies, and even darting deer, and then ask if your toddler’s play movements resemble any of these animals. In this stage your toddler is triggering a very primal instinct in your dog. Some dogs learn not to chase the child, but they are in the minority. Most homes with toddlers and dogs report multiple nippings of ankles, pants legs, and hands as children move through the house.
So, what can you do?
Teach your dog to love your child.
While you are training, keep them separated by baby gates to prevent mistakes. When your dog is watching your child, your dog will get some great treats, toys, etc., so they make the association that when the child appears, they all have fun!
Don’t let you child grab at or run towards the dog – this can scare your dog and they will then have to choose how to respond to that fear. Fight is one of the first choices a dog can make when afraid.
Train your dog to know an escape route so you can quickly and easily send them out of the way of the toddler.
Teach your dog how to settle near your child and PAY your dog WELL for all the little zany things your child might do.
If you take your time and do this right, your dog and baby can grow old together safely.
Please Don’t Bite the Baby, and Please Don’t Chase the Dog has more suggestions than I can fit a blog.
For more helpful tips, on keeping baby safe around dogs, pick up a copy here or…
The most common source of xylitol poisoning that Pet Poison Helpline gets calls about comes from sugar-free gum, although cases of xylitol poisoning from other sources such as supplements and baked goods are on the rise. In 2020, Pet Poison Helpline had 5,846 calls involving dogs ingesting xylitol!
VCA Animal Hospitals, Dr,’s Renee Schmid and Ahna Brutlag
Xylitol is too dangerous, too quickly toxic, and too easy to miss.
Reading the label of everything that comes into your house can help you avert tragedy.
Then… research online ahead of time so you know who to call if you suspect your dog has ingested xylitol. Don’t wait until time is running out.
Here is the website and phone number (888) 426-4435) for the ASPCA Poison Control. There may be a charge.