Ultimately, it should not matter what equipment you are using with your dog. Our goal with training is that your dog be responsive to you regardless of what he’s wearing, where he is, or what is happening in the environment.
However, in the early stages of training, the right equipment can help to manage the behaviors we don’t like while we are teaching our dogs to perform the behaviors we do like. Preventing unwanted behaviors is important while training the desirable behaviors so that they do not have opportunities to develop bad habits.
Some equipment might seem to be a “miracle” cure at first but if they suppress behavior by causing pain or fear, you can end up with some even more undesirable behaviors in the long run. We strongly recommend against using such products like choke chains, prong collars, shock collars and anything else designed to cause pain or discomfort. Even regular buckle collars can cause problems in the early stages if your dog pulls hard at the end of the leash.
For better prevention of unwanted behaviors, we want equipment that gives you better control but does not cause pain. In most cases, if you need better control than a regular collar or back-clip harness will provide, we recommend a no-pull front-clip harness. For those dogs for whom the harness does not work well enough or does not provide enough control, we sometimes recommend a head halter. The halters generally need to be acclimated to slowly but some dogs will never acclimate well to them.
There is no one miracle piece of equipment that works for every dog, so if you need help deciding what to use, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to help you make the best choice for your dog.