Dog Training

If You’re a Dog Owner, You Have Stories To Share
Some May Be Heartwarming Tales About Your Special Connection and Undying Devotion

Others… Not so much.

Let’s face it… if you’re a dog owner you have stories. Hopefully, they’re uplifting, happy, memorable stories of you and your pet(s).

Unfortunately, however, if you’re like many dog owners your stories may be less cheery and instead, filled with feelings of regret, frustration, fear, annoyance, and confusion. And, in spite of your best intentions and efforts your dog still exhibits behaviors that are annoying, rude and /or downright dangerous.

As such, you may believe that your dog is untrainable and you fear it is time to give up.

If so, you’re not alone… but there is a solution, and I’d like to help.

I train you and your dog!
I train you and your dog!

You see, I’ve been a professional dog trainer and animal behaviorist for over two decades. And during that time, I’ve helped dogs of all types and their owners turn things around. I don’t just train dogs, I build dogs… starting with your unruly or unhappy pup or adult which we then transform into a happy, well-trained, motivated companion. I implement individualized programs for each dog to properly sequence each lesson along the way, training you and your dog.  Do you want to benefit from 20+ years of honest, uncompromising, interesting, school of real life wisdom? Do you want an opportunity to fix problems and to have an obedient and well mannered pet? You’ve come to the right place.

And I’ve been able to achieve these results  – even when others couldn’t – because the vast majority of dogs – regardless of their breed and past history – can be successfully trained by a knowledgeable and seasoned specialist who has a verifiable track record of success and use scientifically sound and ethical techniques (See: Let’s Talk Dog Training). (see: Situational Awareness Training For Pet And Therapy Dogs) (See: Dog Training Tip: Negative Self Talk )

Meeting with AZ Governor, Doug Ducey, concerning Therapy Dogs in schools
Meeting with AZ Governor, Doug Ducey, concerning Therapy Dogs in schools

I am a well known and respected dog trainer and behaviorist for the entire metropolitan area. You can see, by searching the internet, I am asked by the local TV media about dog issues. I am well known in the animal rescue world, and am the Founder of Citizens Animal Welfare Society. I am co-founder of PATCHES, a project to build and operate a privately run animal shelter to supplement what the County does. I am Co-Founder of DIGS (Dogs In Grade Schools), doing a pilot therapy dog program for the Chandler School District. I do expert witness work for attorneys. I offer specialized therapy dog training and support to various organizations. I have an ongoing presence on social media. I don’t use harsh training methods. I’ve trained all ages and a wide variety of breeds in all parts of town. This is a central business area for me, and I’m in the vicinity of your place almost every day. Setting up lessons is as simple as letting me know what you are dealing with, and then arranging an evaluation or lessons, from puppy lessons, to obedience, to behavior modification. I can do lessons at most times of the day, and sessions will be scheduled in relation to where my other appointments are each day (because I have to plan a weekly route, and I HATE being late).

Let’s talk. Where are you located? When are you available?

And since I primarily use positive reinforcement methods, I will advise you as to what kinds of treats and toys we might use with your dog. Good training is getting a dog to WANT to do what you want them to do, not forcing them to do things they hate doing. If you aren’t familiar with positive reinforcement methods, I will show you the proper way and explain how it works. Old style pain, fear and domination methods are outdated, stressful, harmful, and even cruel. That’s not how we will do things. There will also be homework that you must do (see: Hard Won Dog Training Experience And Lessons )

BASSO METHOD SOCIAL SKILLS GOALS © 2023

Every pet dog owner should work to have a well-mannered dog. Not all dogs start out this way, and you can’t assume every puppy will grow up to be this way. Here are the social behaviors you should work to achieve. This is for the ideal dog, and not every owner wants all of these goals and just wants to work on a specific issue, but here are all the basic skill and emotional goals I recommend you consider for your dog. Which of these do you want to work on?

* ACCEPTS BEING TOLD TO GET OFF FURNITURE
* ACCEPTS PEOPLE AND DOGS ON AND NEAR ALL FURNITURE
* ACCEPTS EXAMINATION BY FRIENDLY STRANGER WITH AND WITHOUT OWNER PRESENT
* ACCEPTS FOOD BOWL TAKEN AWAY
* ACCEPTS FRIENDLY HUG BY STRANGER, FRIEND AND FAMILY MEMBER WITH OWNER
* ACCEPTS FRIENDLY STRANGER GREETING WITH OWNER
* ACCEPTS FRIENDLY STRANGER WITH OWNER CLOSE AND 10 YARDS AWAY
* ACCEPTS GROOMING FROM FRIENDLY STRANGER
* ACCEPTS OTHER DOGS NEAR OWNER* ACCEPTS TOY TAKEN AWAY
* ACCEPTS 5 MINUTE SIT AND DOWN STAY ON ONE COMMAND, HANDLER 50 YARDS AWAY
* ACCEPTS COLLAR AND LEASH BEING PUT ON AND OFF
* ACCEPTS PETTING OF OTHER DOG BY OWNER
* ACCEPTS PRESENCE OF AND BY PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
* ACCEPTS SLEEPING IN A CRATE
* ACCEPTS TWO PEOPLE FRIENDLY YELLING 30 FEET AWAY
* AUTOMATICALLY STOPS AND SITS WHEN OWNER STOPS DURING ON-LEASH WALK
* CAN BE LEFT ALONE AT HOME WITHOUT DISTRESS
* CHILL ON COMMAND
* DOESN’T JUMP ON PEOPLE
* EASY HANDLING UP AND DOWN STAIRS
* FRIENDLY GREETING AND PLAY WITH OTHER DOGS
* GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH EVERYONE WHO LIVES IN THE HOME AND ALL FRIENDS AND RELATIVES THAT VISIT
* HOUSETRAINED
* LOOSE LEASH WALKING: STAYS AFFILIATED, ATTENTIVE, STRESS FREE AND RESPONSIVE TO OWNER PASSING BY TRAFFIC, OTHER DOGS AND STRANGERS
* NO DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR IN THE HOME, NO MOUTHING OF PEOPLE
* NO GENERALIZED HYPERACTIVE, DEPRESSED, OBSESSED, ANXIOIUS, FEARFUL OR AGGRESSIVE DEMEANOR
* PLAYS WELL WITH OTHER DOGS AND CAN BE CALLED BACK BY THE OWNER ON A SINGLE COMMAND
* READILY ADAPTS TO NEW ENVIRONMENTS
* RIDES PEACEABLY IN OWNERS VEHICLE
* SHOWS PLEASANT JOY BEING PETTED AND PLAYED WITH BY OWNER
* STAYS AFFILATED, ATTENTIVE, STRESS FREE AND RESPONSIVE TO OWNER OFF LEASH PASSING BY TRAFFIC, OTHER DOGS AND STRANGERS
* WAITS FOR OWNER TO APPROVE GREETING OF OTHER DOG OR STRANGER ON A WALK
* WAITS FOR OWNER TO APPROVE GREETING OF STRANGER INTO THE HOME
* WILL DROP ANY NON-FOOD ITEM FROM ITS MOUTH ON COMMAND
* WILL GO TO ON COMMAND, LIE DOWN AND SLEEP AT A PLACE ON THE FLOOR IN THE HOME
* WILL LEAVE ANY ITEM, PERSON OR ANIMAL ON COMMAND
* WILL NOT RUN OUT THE FRONT DOOR IF LEFT OPEN
* WILL PLAY GAMES WITH OWNER
* WILL SEARCH FOR HIDDEN OWNER ON COMMAND
* WILL SIT, DOWN, COME AND HEEL ON FIRST COMMAND OFF LEASH UP TO 50 YARDS AWAY IN PUBLIC WITH DISTRACTIONS
* WILL STOP BARKING ON COMMAND
* WILL TAKE A TREAT GENTLY
* SLEEPS PEACEABLY ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT
* EATS MEALS WHEN THE FOOD BOWL IS PUT DOWN
* IS NOT INSECURE ABOUT ANYTHING OR ANY SITUATIONS
* IS FREE FROM ANY MEDICAL CONDITIONS

Working with dogs typically involves changes in three areas. 1.) Behavior Modification. Behaviors are responses dogs have to various stimuli. To change these responses involves long term use of special methods and techniques, and a deep understanding of normal and abnormal behaviors, taking into account different breed tendencies, to change how a dog feels about those stimuli. There are typically no “quick fixes” to behavioral issues: dog fighting, reactivity, separation anxiety, fearfulness, aggression, or other behavioral disturbances. These issues take THE MOST owner commitment, the most diligent application of the homework, often over long periods of time. Quitting early means your dog never gets over whatever problems are causing you and your dog harm. Owners should NOT do these things on their own, such as taking advice by looking for answers on the internet or from friends and relatives: owners can get discouraged, or get frustrated and get angry with their dogs, when they aren’t seeing instant progress, as if behavior modification is like we see on some 30 minute TV show. It just doesn’t go that way in the real world. Owners must be committed to change for as long as it takes, and maintain their love for their dogs as their primary motivation. It is important to know, many behavioral issues could have been prevented by raising the young puppy correctly before 16 weeks of age. Most likely you are a dog training novice, and I have many years of experience to unravel these problems. Please, give me sufficient effort so we can work on issues that often have been building up for years or as a result of significant traumas. 2.) Changes in Owner Management often require lifestyle changes. Some dogs need changes in exercise intensity or duration, changes in the layout of furniture or landscaping, a different leash or bowl or dog bed, setting appropriate rules for family and friends when interacting with the dog, locks on gates, setting new rules for contractors (pool techs, landscapers, etc.), changes in feeding schedules, and such. These issues sometimes are easy to fix and implement, or sometimes are difficult if the family won’t change how they are managing their dog. 3.) Skill Development involves all the obedience training work: Sit, Down, Come, Heel, and such. Owners want their dogs to listen and not be stubborn. That requires proper Skill Development, for the dog and the owner. Owners, and many trainers, often make a mistake thinking that Skill Development can substitute for Behavior Modification when a dog has behavioral disturbances. For example, no amount of Skill Development obedience training will fix Separation Anxiety. The crying, destructive behaviors, barking, trembling and other symptoms can’t be fixed by enrolling in an obedience oriented class. Sometimes Skill Development can help with behavior problems, but skills are different than behaviors. For example, let’s say you have a dog that reacts whenever it sees another dog… lunging, barking, growling, pulling, or jumping. The primary focus will be on Behavior Modification for those encounters, but if your dog doesn’t have the skills to properly walk and obey on and off a leash, whether another dog is around or not, then both issues will need to be addressed for a complete solution. Skill Development is what owners need in order for their dogs to be obedient, in the home and in public. Short, frequent, regular homework lessons need to be done in order to build skills over time, from Basic to Advanced Obedience. It is important to do the homework between lessons. All of this requires the development of Handler Engagement with their dog, with the dog wanting to work with the owner and the owner wanting to work with the dog. Every trainer encounters owners who won’t work with their dogs, who eventually drop out of the program because they lack the love and commitment to obtain what they have started. Dogs can’t train themselves, and owners must be “all in” to get the results they say they want at the beginning.

My Process

Here’s what you can expect when you contact me.

Step One: Tell me your story; decide on next steps.

Contact me by email or phone (602.708.4531) and share what you’d like me to know about your dog, so we can both be sure that I’m a good fit for your needs. For example, you might explain:

•    What kind of dog(s) do you have? Age? Male or female?
•    Where did you get your dog from? If a rescue, why did it end up in rescue?
•    How is your dog with strangers? Other dogs? Family pets? Family and friends?
•    The behaviors that cause you the most concern
•    What things does your dog already know how to do?
•    Your vision of a successful training outcome

Step Two: Evaluation and Recommendations.

During the initial evaluation, I’ll meet your dog, and we will go over, in detail, the entire situation you are having with your dog, your family and your dog – as well as your training goals. I’ll ask you to share details about your dog’s medical, social, and emotional history, as well as any underlying circumstances that you feel may be contributing to his or her issues. I will also want to see your dog “in action”.

Finally, I will provide you with a personalized plan of action for your dog. This is where you will receive the full value of my over two decades of experience, judgment and intuition. I’ll give you diagnosis, which is a preliminary theory of what is going on, and from there, a logical treatment plan will laid out in detail. This will include my best estimation of how many sessions your dog’s training will require; the training time-frame and associated fees.

If you choose to move forward, we’ll be ready to commence behavioral treatments and/or training. If not, you’ll be armed with invaluable information about your dog, from a trusted professional. Many lessons INCLUDE an Evaluation as part of the total price and program. Some require an Evaluation first, then lessons scheduled afterwards.

Step Three: Implementation. Training.

Although I train dogs with a host of simple to complex issues – all of which require different techniques – my methodology is always based on the following tenets:

1.    Successful dog ownership begins with happy, low stress relationships between dogs and their owners. Joyful and comfortable dogs are simply easier to train. Given this, it’s important to ensure that dogs are comfortable and contented throughout the training process.

2.    Obedience performance requires a mastery of skills. Well-trained dogs don’t happen by accident. Rather, they are well trained because they understand what’s being asked of them and are capable of doing so. This takes time, practice, effort and patience, and some dogs take longer than others. Thus, excellent trainers don’t ask dogs – or their owners – to do something before they’re ready. (See: You Can’t Outsmart Your Training)

3.    One-size-fits-all dog training rarely works well. In addition to being highly skilled and experienced, good trainers must adapt their techniques to fit their dogs’ size, personalities, intelligence, breed and more. As such, one of the most important parts of the training process is the initial evaluation, because this provides trainers with valuable insights into dogs’ behaviors and skills; their medial history; their owners’ concerns and goals, and more. Based on the results, a well-thought-out training plan can be developed and implemented. (See: Practice Makes Perfect… Sense)

4.    Ethics and animal welfare matter. Excellent dog behaviorists are experts at animal behavior, and don’t use “blunt force” training techniques, which are not only ineffective, but cruel. That’s why the Basso system was designed around using “a light touch” in all interactions with dogs.

5.    Great dog trainers start with passion and energy. Like most professionals, excellent dog trainers and behaviorists, possess a great deal of hard-earned knowledge and skills. Additionally, be truly successful in this field, trainers must also love and respect dogs; have the passion, patience and energy to persevere through the process; and relate authentically with owners.

Furthermore, successful dog training is a collaborative process. In spite of what you may believe, sustainable and effective dog training does not work unless trainers and owners work together. This is a cornerstone of my training process because it helps build positive relationships with dogs and their owners; provides consistency and practice; and means we’ll get results far more quickly than with other methods.

Your dog’s lessons will fall into one – or more – of the following training categories:

Obedience, Life-Style Skills and Manners (Puppies – Adults)

Puppies:  This training focuses on eliminating most of the standard annoying – and often, destructive – puppy behaviors such as nipping, chewing, jumping, grabbing things and running with them, barking and over excitability.

Additionally, I work with puppies on lifestyle skills, such as crate and potty training, as well other behavior modifications that make it easier for them and their owners to live more comfortably together.

Adults: In order to have a fun, loving and well-mannered pet, older dogs frequently require basic obedience training, which consists of teaching dogs to obey “foundational” commands such as sit, down, come, heel, etc.  Additionally, I help owners develop proper dog handling skills, which among other things, teaches them how to react (i.e. not freeze) in emergency situations.

I also offer intermediate and advanced command training, including off-leash work, retrieving on command, footstep tracking, scent discrimination, directional jumps, and distance control.

Moreover, I conduct manners and lifestyle training for adult dogs that exhibit behaviors such as, jumping, mouthing, barking, digging, annoying guests, chewing, running out the front door, playing too rough, pestering the other dogs in the home, and so forth. (See: Kids And Dogs, Teaching And Supervising Boundaries)

How Long?

Let’s say you want a fully trained dog. One of the questions I will receive is, “how long will this take”? Here is an example. Let’s say you evaluate, and hand select an adult dog from a proven working service breed (German Shepherd, Malinois, Giant Schnauzer, Boxer, Airedale, Hovawart, Doberman, etc.) breeder. These are among the elite dogs bred in the world. The dogs from this specific breeder have multiple dogs currently and successfully working in police and military departments around the country. The dog is 2 years old and has been properly socialized and has no health issues or past traumas. It will take a minimum of 12 weeks, with a professional training the dog 5 times per week, covering all the necessary skills. The entire cost of a top quality, professionally trained, working, special operations military dog will be around $100,000. That dog will be mostly reliable enough to be deployed on initial street assignments, and the dog will still need continuing training to maintain the basic skills. Now, let’s say you get a pet bred dog of any breed. Pet dogs are not bred to work to the same level as these dogs, and the cost is obviously considerably less. However, it will take longer to gain optimum and reliable skills compared to these elite dogs, even if you do your homework 5 times per week. I want you to consider this: nothing in life is free. Short cuts in a training program shortchanges, and often harms, the dogs. I don’t do short cut training, and you shouldn’t either. There are many “quick fix” dog training programs, especially those promoted by TV and social media gurus, that you should avoid. Many of these 1-, 2- and 3-week programs are promising results that even top trainers can’t do and wouldn’t attempt to do to their dogs. In my program, we do this in a step-by-step manner, and you will need to do the assigned homework to obtain the best progress and results. So, let’s schedule the lessons, and I ask that you be committed to your dog to do the homework at least 3 times a week.

Behavior Modification Training

Due to its inherent complexities novice dog trainers and/or inexperienced dog owners should never attempt behavioral modification training. This often results in exacerbating the problem; unnecessarily endangering dogs’ lives and may even result in defensive aggressive reactions by dogs. Rather, seasoned specialists, who are experts at properly diagnosing the root causes (e.g. abuse, neglect, stress-induced medical conditions, canine PTSD or other traumas), and treating dogs with these issues, are the only safe choice.

Dogs that require this type of training display a host of “odd” symptoms that run the gamut. Some of the most common behaviors include:

1.    Repetitive and/or unusual behaviors, such as pacing, digging, chasing, continual licking, etc.

2.    Emotional breakdowns and problems such as excessive dominance or submission; hyper vigilance; severe aggression; extreme fearfulness, panic, hiding, depression or separation anxiety

3.    Other unusual behaviors, that are often erroneously labeled “bad” such as stealing, consistent disobedience, low motivation, or defiance/ stubbornness.

If you’re concerned about your dog’s behaviors, please call me right away at 602. 708.4531,
so I can learn more about your situation and offer you my best advice.

Aggressive Dog Training
(Puppies – Adults)

Dogs exhibit aggressive behaviors (e.g. bite, growl, attack) for many reasons:  stress, health issues, suspicion, fearfulness, and/or temperament. Some of these happen as a result of learned behaviors, others have more to do with your dog’s breed and how they’re being handled.  That’s why it’s so important for an expert to properly diagnosis and treat your dog’s specific issues.

My aggressive dog training is designed to help dogs that are:

•    Uncontrollable at home, on walks, or in other places
•    Openly aggressive towards other dogs and/or people
•    A danger to themselves or others
•    Selectively aggressive (i.e. with their food, toys, people; dog parks, etc.)
•    Fighting with other dogs in the home

Once my assessment is complete, I will give you direct and honest feedback on the situation and then get working on the problem right away. Although it is rare, there are instances where I feel strongly that a dog cannot be trained. If so, I will let you know right away and explore all options with you.

Also, it is important to note that aggressive dog training is dangerous – and rarely successful – without the help of an experienced specialist. In other words, inexperienced trainers and/or dog owners should never try to “go it alone.” If you doubt this, check the news: it’s filled with stories about people who are seriously injured – or even killed – by aggressive dogs, that they are trying to help.

So, if you’re concerned about your dog’s aggressive behaviors, please call me right away at 602. 708.4531. Aggressive dogs are like ticking time bombs, so it’s very important that you get help right away.

Therapy Dog Training & Coaching
(Puppies – Adults)

I am a Therapy Dog training specialist. For example, I co-founded a therapy dog program for the Chandler School District in Arizona in 2019 – 2020. Not only do I know how to properly train therapy dogs, I have the expertise to coach therapy dog programs.

DO YOU WANT THERAPY DOG TRAINING? I have trained many therapy dogs. It is one of the great joys I have doing training, and it is a way to give back to the community to help others. A therapy dog is a properly selected and trained dog that is typically used to help someone other than the dog’s owner: to reduce stress, assist in the healing process, and/or provide comfort and company to human patients in hospitals, schools, disaster situations, hospice, and retirement facilities.

DO YOU WANT A THERAPY DOG PROGRAM COACH? With my experience, I can provide business consulting for your therapy dog organization, from start ups to existing operations. I can provide you professional opinions, based upon my experience and viewpoints, on topics such as:

Your Business Plan
Facilitating Focus Groups
Your Relationship With Your Clients
Marketing and PR Strategies
Organizational Operations And Scheduling
Volunteers
Recruiting, Managing And Training Your Therapy Dog Teams
Review Of Forms and Agreements (not the same as legal advice; I’m not an attorney)
Budgeting (not the same as accounting; I’m not an accountant or investment advisor)
Making The Most Of The Work Your Teams Do With The Public

Consulting will mostly be done either with online virtual services (FaceTime, Skype, Zoom) or in person.

So, if you’d like to find out more about my therapy training or consulting, please call me directly at 602.708.4531 so I can learn more about your goals and together we’ll decide on next steps.

Dog Behaviorist Expert Witness

I recently testified in a dog bite case as a dog behaviorist expert witness. This case culminated in a 3 hour deposition and 3 hours of videotaped testimony for the jury. I don’t know yet the outcome of the case. This is hard work, and I don’t take every request. Have your attorney contact me to discuss.

Why You Should Trust Me To Train Your Dog

1. Customized training.  I do this because I love it, so I want to carefully prepare the right solution for you. One-size-fits-all dog training simply doesn’t work well. And that’s because no two dogs are exactly alike.  Therefore your dog’s training will be personalized to fit his or her age, special needs, breed, temperament, capabilities, size, health, environment, issues and specifically address your concerns and goals.

2. Convenience. Over the years I’ve learned that many dogs do better when they’re in comfortable and familiar surroundings.  Others – like their owners – prefer new places. So, you can come to me; I can come to you; or we can meet halfway. Even better, I offer online video classes for my more remote clients.

3. Accessibility. I can be reached by phone (602.708.4531), email, or text messages. I respond to all contacts as soon as possible. Even though I normally work 7 days a week, I can sometimes get backed up. I haven’t forgotten you, however. Your dog is important to me. I have to give current students priority so there are no setbacks. Once you are in the system, then your dog is a top priority.

4. Ongoing Support. I won’t drop off the face of the earth when your dog’s training is completed. In fact, if necessary, I’ll provide you with a customized package of post-training advice and support for a flat fee. Some issues require ongoing homework over a period of months, and I want to ensure that your homework is going well, and that all your questions are being adequately answered. Support calls such as this get top priority.

5. Verifiable Results Fast. Simply put, I am an extremely experienced trainer who uses a tried-and-true training system that has been perfected over two decades.  As such, I get results when others can’t… and usually accomplish this in half the time.

6. Training That’s Safe, Kind, And Ethical. My goal is to motivate your dog using firm, but kind, techniques that encourage his or her natural instinct to please and makes the process fun and rewarding.

7. Fido Stays Home. Unlike many of today’s private training programs that separate dogs from their owners for weeks or months at a time, I do my work at/near home with my dogs’ owners right by their sides. This is the only effective way to achieve sustainable results. Period.

8. Involvement.  Excellent dog training is a collaborative process. No one knows your dog better than you. No one knows dog training better than me. You’ll learn from me. I’ll learn from you. And together we’ll discover solutions that work best for your dog. Some problems take time to sort out. It is better to do things right than to force a dog to do things they aren’t ready for. A thoughtful, systematic, low stress program always works out best.

9. Full And Frank Advice. My job is to help you and your dog. To that end, I will offer you honest and objective advice, even if it’s not always what you want to hear. If I believe your dog needs more work, I’ll tell you. If I think he or she is further along than I expected, I’ll tell you. If there’s another trainer who is better suited to help your dog, I’ll tell you (and I’ll make the first call for you:>). My job is not to “sell” you anything… my job is to help you (and your dog); transfer as much of my knowledge and expertise as possible to you; and step aside when you’re ready to go it alone.

10. Incredible Value. As savvy consumers know, least cost isn’t always best cost. So, if you’re looking for the cheapest dog trainer in the area, I’m not your guy. However, if you’re searching for an affordable trainer, who will in the end, save you time and money, please call me.

Other Consultations And Services

In addition to my dog training services, I am also asked to serve in other capacities by dog-related associations and organizations, business groups, news agencies, state and regional governments, pet shelters, attorneys, and more.

If you would like to explore any of the following with me, please don’t hesitate to call (602.708.4531) or email me with your ideas, which may include…

Expert Witness: If you need professional advice regarding a dog related lawsuit, have your attorney contact me.

Seminar Facilitator:  For example, aggressive dogs, best practices training techniques, shelter practices, etc.

Speaker Services:  Keynote and break-out addresses a host of topics

Guest Expert: If you need professional advice or context to a news story or information on rescue services.

What Supplies Will I Need To Train My Dog?

If you’re like most of my clients, you’ll soon discover that the right “equipment” makes the training process easier and faster for you as well as, safer and more comfortable for your dog. And because I’ve been a dog trainer and behaviorist for almost two decades, I’ve used lots and lots of dog-related products. Some have met or exceeded my high standards; others have not.

What’s more, due to the sheer number of products available, it’s hard to know which ones work best and I’m often asked for my advice, which I’m happy to offer. However, to make it easier for my website visitors and clients, I recently took the time to create list of my favorite dog-related products – dog training supplies, cool gifts and gadgets, grooming tools, nutritional supplements, traveling gear, safety equipment, etc.

Also, after scouring the Internet, I’m convinced that Amazon is the best place to purchase most of them. They’re prices are usually lower than you find elsewhere and you’ll often get free shipping.

I’ve tried to categorize them into logical groups, but there are certainly ones that cross over into more than one. Below is my list of the best overall general training tools and my list of “must-haves” for all dogs… whether you’re training them or not. You can find a full list of my picks for the best dog products in all categories on my Shop Online page.

Simply click on the link provided and you’ll be taken to a page on Amazon.com where you can get more detailed information about the product and order online.

Best General Training Tools (and ones I use in just about all the training I do… but please discuss with me before making a purchase):

    1. Strong Durable Dog Leash Lead: These, in my opinion, are the best leashes for most dogs. They’re lightweight and flexible; the nylon is strong; and they’re 4 ft. long, which is the proper leash length for most breeds. Additionally, they’re brightly colored so they’re harder to lose and the snap is very simple so you can get the leash on quickly, before your dog escapes. Even better, they’re inexpensive but a great investment. I strongly advise my clients to have 3-4 of these on hand in case they lose one or more or they become too worn.  We’ll use these during our walking exercises.
    2. Martingale Collar with Quick Snap Buckle: These no-slip training collars are a must-have during the process and are appropriate for both untrained and well-trained dogs. For safety reasons, I believe that all dogs should wear no-slip collars in public (and this is especially true for fearful and/or aggressive dogs) since many dogs will “escape” and run if they wear buckle collars only. Made of nylon, they’re washable (and should be laundered periodically to prevent skin infections, which dogs can also get with leather collars).
    3. 20-Ft. Cotton Web Dog Training Lead:  We’ll use this during the process because it’s just the right length for distance training for novice dogs. Shorter leashes are not long enough to simulate distance work and longer ones can cause running dogs to build up too much momentum and therefore, risk injury to themselves or their owners. These are durable and lightweight and the snap is very simple so your dog is less likely to escape as you put it on.
    4. Long, 50-Ft. Nylon, Visible, Durable:This is a heavier-duty version of the 20-ft. line, which helps with larger dogs. Additionally, because it’s longer it allows for longer distance training for dogs of all sizes.
    5. 20-Ft. Tie-Out Cable: I use these in two ways. First, during puppy/untrained dog training, my clients use them as “drag lines” in the home (they’re cut in half so the dogs get used to the leash and can’t get it caught on furniture, etc.). I also recommend these for active dog owners who bring their animals with them on camping trips and the like. For example, when I take my dog camping I tie him to a tree so he has freedom of movement and remains safe (these leashes don’t get tangled like others).
    6. Grass-Fed Beef Treats: I use a positive training process that rewards dogs for obeying specific learned commands. Given this, your dog will be getting more than his/her share of treats, so it’s very important that they be as healthy and low in calories as possible. This “lickable” treat provides the reward, without the calories. It is also acceptable to use your dog’s daily food.
    7. Petmate Ultra Vari Dog KennelCrate training is one of the kindest and wisest things you can do for your dog. Not only does it provide a safe environment for puppies and/or untrained dogs when you’re not at home, but it also offers your pet a comfortable and familiar place to rest when they’re stressed, away from home, or just plain tired. I like this particular kennel because it’s lightweight, easy to set up, is a good value and it’s airline approved. 
    8. Crate Games for Self-Control and Motivation DVD: While not a “must-have” this is great for folks who have issues getting their dogs into crates, whether that stems from anxiety or something else. It provides a structured, positive process for getting dogs to happily get into their kennels.

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