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  • Writer's pictureHilary Webster

Your Dog Training Journey Starts Here: Choosing The Right Equipment for You & Your Pup

The first step in getting a dog or starting your training journey is having the right equipment! There are some important factors to consider here when it comes to your dog's gear, not all of it is created equally...

puppy wearing appropriate harness

The first consideration is comfort. How can we create the most comfortable and least invasive equipment set up so that we minimally interfere with natural movement. This is really important because we don't want to add fuel to the fire, especially with behaviour challenges like reactivity. I'm sure you know the feeling of having a rock in your shoe - you can't think about much else. The same is with our dogs; if they aren't comfortable in their gear, then they won't be feeling optimal. Another big consideration is that no one piece of equipment will replace training. There are a ton of fancy collars and harnesses that are advertised to stop pulling. The reasons behind this could be because A) they may inflict pain and so the dog stops pulling to avoid that pain (hello prong collar, I see you) B) without these things your dog will likely revert back to their original behaviours. The NUMBER ONE thing you should be looking at when it comes to equipment for your dog is a Y-shaped harness. Important to note is that not all harnesses are created equally. You can tell a Y-shaped harness by looking at your dog head on. The neck strap should almost sit like a collar, around their neck and above their shoulders. The belly strap should go between their two front legs, and a back strap along the top of their back. There are usually two clips that then strap around your dog's abdomen to secure the harness in place. Here are two brands I love: 1) Blue9 Balance Harness - lightweight, all straps are adjustable, cute colour combinations and it has a minimally invasive front clip should you want to use it. There is a neck clip for dogs that are more sensitive about harnesses going over their heads. The neck clip is also great for Bully Breeds that have a large head where slipping harnesses on/off can be challenging. This is my top pick! 2) Anything RuffWear - Flagline, Front Range, Hi & Light. These are more heavy duty harnesses that are padded and comfortable. The front clips for these harnesses though, aren't the best as the chunky chest piece gets in the way. For this reason I recommend back clip use only for these. These are fantastic for long line work! Choosing your dog's gear shouldn't be taken lightly. We also shouldn't be dependent on equipment alone when working through behaviour challenges. Feel free to comment on this blog post with any equipment questions you may have!

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