In this article, I’m going to tell you about all the tools and things that can help with training your dog. I will review items that help with unwanted behavior (e.g. jumping, barking, biting, eating garbage) as well as things that help reinforce good behavior.
I’ve compiled only safe and proven tools, and I’ve added a list of bad things I don’t recommend using in training. You are sure to find something new here.
5 Best Dog Training Tools
Before we begin, I want to remind you of a few important nuances:
- All dog training tools are only auxiliary. There is no magic thing that will make your pet obey you. The success of dog training depends on your persistence and the consistent execution of certain actions.
- When your dog behaves badly in some way (e.g., barking, chewing things, biting), you need to look for the cause. The root of the problem may be a health issue.
So, I’m all for using all methods wisely without abuse. After all, we want to give our pets the best. If you agree with all of this, you are ready to familiarize yourself with training tools.
I put the crate first because it’s probably the most versatile tool. It is recommended for puppies and adult dogs in a variety of situations1. Plus, you don’t need long, complicated training to get your dog used to the crate.
How a crate can help you
It is difficult to list all the uses of a crate. This training tool can be useful for the following:
- potty training;
- getting your dog used to sleeping peacefully at night;
- calming a restless dog or a dog that is prone to disruptive behavior.
And in general, a crate can come in handy for transporting your dog in the future.
Some dogs are very fond of crates and don’t even need the training to teach them to stay inside. Others need to be introduced gradually, but there are some crate haters. At any rate, you should try this training tool.
What’s the best crate for a dog?
Here are some general recommendations for choosing a dog crate:
- it should be made securely so that the dog can’t mess it up;
- it should have secure locks;
- it should not be cramped or too spacious;
- several doors and a removable tray are an additional plus.
In fact, the crate should be chosen individually. For example, a regular crate will not work for a puppy or a restless dog. You can find the right one for you in the Best Dog Crates section.
2. Vibrating Training Collar
There are several electronic training collars: vibrating, spray, and shock. I am against the use of an electric shock. Spray can also be classified as an aversive method, but vibrating collars are humane and quite effective.
They cost from $30 up to $400 or more. There are options for both small and large dog breeds.
How it works
The collar is controlled by a remote. When you press it, your dog feels a vibration or a beep. It’ll alert him to you or distract him from unwanted activity. The next step is up to you.
You must gradually show your dog what you want from him by reinforcing it with treats. You can use different levels of stimulation, depending on your dog’s reaction.
You can teach your dog all sorts of things in this way, such as:
- no chewing;
- not to bark;
- go to a place, etc.
Vibrating collars can be especially useful for deaf dog training. They replace any audible signals that a deaf dog cannot hear. Next, you need to show with gestures what you want.
Of course, an electronic collar will not work with every dog; besides, it takes time to learn. Some dogs learn very quickly, though.
How to choose an electronic collar
When choosing a collar for your dog, consider these guidelines:
- the collar should be lightweight and compact;
- many levels of stimulation, as well as an extra sound and light signal, are a plus;
- give preference to collars without prongs, as they can irritate your dog’s neck;
- the longer the remote range, the better.
Look at models starting at $70, as cheap electronic devices are not of much quality.
See my review of the best training collars to choose the right one.
3. Ultrasonic devices
I discovered ultrasonic devices not long ago, and few people are familiar with them. The ultrasonic sound attracts the dog’s attention, and at high levels, it causes discomfort. It doesn’t hurt, but it may be more effective than vibrations. So if your dog doesn’t respond to a vibrating collar, you can try ultrasonic devices.
How it works
There are ultrasonic devices that respond to excessive barking and are designed directly to deal with this problem. But there are also devices that you can control (like Good Life’s OnGuard).
By applying ultrasound during training sessions, you can wean your dog from unwanted behavior such as:
- barking (at people, doorbells, cars, etc.)
- eating garbage.
There are a lot of options for use. It all depends on what you want to teach your dog.
People can’t hear the ultrasound, but all animals in the vicinity will hear it, and that can be a problem if you have multiple pets.
It is the easiest and safest tool for dog training. The clicker can be used when teaching your dog to sit, lie down, walk beside you, or do other tricks. First, you should click right before giving a treat. This way, the dog will know he will get a reward after the clicker signal. Over time, you can remove the treat and use only the clicker to elicit the desired behavior.
It is also important to train your dog to listen without a treat because you may not always have them on hand at the right moment.
You can also use a clicker when you reward your dog for good behavior. For example, he chews his toy instead of your pants or sits quietly in his seat instead of jumping on guests. Then give a clicker signal and treat your pet.
After a while, the dog will show the desired behavior after the clicker signal.
5. Doggie door bells
It is a good and inexpensive potty training tool. If you take enough time, you can train your dog to ring the bell when he needs to go potty. To do this, hang it near the door and press it whenever you take your dog outside. Also, encourage your dog to touch the bell.
This video tells you more about how to teach your dog to use the bell:
It’s worth trying a dog bell if you have trouble potty training outside and your dog often pees at home.
Other equipment and stuff
A few things are also worth mentioning in this article:
- Treats. They are a must-have if you want to teach your dog something. But you must find a treat your dog will be crazy about and give it only during training. You can use goodies to show your dog what you want. For example, if you want your dog to lie down, put your hand down with the treat on the floor (or on the dog’s bed).
- Toys. If your dog likes toys, they can be used as rewards instead of treats. Also, chew toys help wean your dog from spoiling things, and balls can be used to teach the “fetch” command.
- Harness/leash. A harness can be used to wean a dog from unwanted behavior (such as eating garbage off the ground) and also for training, such as learning “stand”, “next to”, etc.
- Agility Equipment. It is not only suitable for competition training but also for everyday exercise as well. When you lead your dog through an obstacle course, you teach it to follow your directions. It goes on in a fun way, so it’s easy. In addition, the dog gets the physical and mental stimulation it needs.
If you know of other training tools, please share them in the comments!
But there are some things I would never use for training. It’s these 3:
- Shock Collar. I have a whole article on the harms of shock collars. The information there is backed up by various studies. In short, this tool is dangerous and is not a good training tool, nor does it lead to a strong bond between the owner and his dog.
2. Other aversive collars (prong and choke). They can harm your dog’s physical and emotional health2.
3. Invisible Fences. First, they also use electric shocks, and that’s not humane3. Second, they don’t protect the dog from running away 100%. Often the system fails and doesn’t work. Also, often dogs are not stopped by the electric shock and are ready to rush after their target against all odds.