Training Equipment Options

Collars & Harnesses

Collars and harnesses do several things: a) They carry important information in the form of tags, b) they serve as a connection point for a leash, and c) they can act as a training tool. Most all dogs can wear some sort of collar, except dogs with a throat disease that might make a harness a better choice.

Classic Collars

• Buckle styles can be flat or rolled (rolled is better for long-haired dogs.) This is a good collar and a good first choice for training.
• Breakaway or Safety Collars have a release that springs open under pressure. The release doesn’t work when a leash is attached.

Limited Slip/Martingale/Greyhound Collars

Collars that tighten a little with pressure. A mechanical stop on the collar stops the amount of tightening to prevent choking. This is a popular choice for greyhounds and other breeds whose head and neck are roughly the same diameter.

Head Halters

Like in horse’s halter, head halters wrap around the dog’s nose and back of the head. The leash connects under the jaw and discourages pulling on leash by turning the dog’s head. These are most commonly used to train dogs to walk nicely on a leash when an owner is having problems using a normal collar.

Dog Harness

Slip Collars, also called Choke or Chokers

This is one of the oldest styles of collar often made of chain or nylon. The collar slips over the dog’s head and squeezes the neck when pulled. This is an older style and has been replaced by newer models.

Prong or Pinch Collars

Pinch collars have points that press into the dog’s neck when pressure is applied. Pinch collars were designed to control unruly dogs. Advances in training and equipment now offer other more humane options for feisty dogs.

Electronic or E-Collars (also called Stimulation Collars or Shock Collars)

These are used for underground or electric fence training, barking problems and other types of training. The system consists of a collar and a battery-operated receiver that corrects the dog with either a warning noise and an electrical shock.

Note: Training collars or shock collars should not be used by a new dog owner or by trainers who are not properly trained in their use. Use of these collars can result in trauma to your dog and is generally not recommended by positive reinforcement trainers.


• Harnesses wrap around the upper body of the dog and were originally designed to leverage a dog’s body weight to pull heavy loads.
• Front-Clip Harnesses are a new form of harness that allows you to clip the leash to a central place on the front of the dog. This stops the dog using his body weight to pull you.

Standard Leashes

Nylon, leather or cotton are normal for 4-6 foot leashes. Many trainers recommend this simple design for everyday use and training.

Retractable Leashes

These allow your dog to be different distances from you. Use retractable leashes AFTER your pet has been trained on a normal leash.

Dog With Head Harness


Every dog needs a place of his own. They assist with house training and keep your pet safe when you are not around.

Crates can be made of wire or plastic. Wire crates are sturdier and offer more ventilation. Plastic crates offer more privacy and sometimes are easier to clean. Aggressive chewers need wire crates. Soft-sided, fabric crates are good for car trips.

Choose a crate that will be the correct size for the dog when he is mature. You can get a divider to make the crate smaller until your puppy gets bigger. There are a lot of decisions to make for your dog. Make sure your equipment is the right design, material, and size. Ask for help from a trainer if you have questions.

Posted with permission from the APDT site:

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