Dog training is a low-tech activity. Still, it helps to have a few things.

Dog training is a low-tech activity. Still, it helps to have a few things.

Dog training is a low-tech activity. Still, it helps to have a few things.

The Basics

You can find most of these items at any local pet store. Don't get too hung up on the specific makes and models of any of these items, except perhaps the recall whistle. Unless you want your dog to run to you watch a sports game on TV. 😜


A normal, flat-buckle collar. 1" wide for large breeds, 3/4" for small breeds. My favorites:
• Leather + steel: Hank's Leather
• Leather + brass: Mendota
• All-weather & thin: Tuff Pupper
• All weather & thick: Regal


A 6 foot nylon or rope leash that hangs and bends loosely and crumples easily in one hand. 3/4" wide is great. We want a floppy, easily bending leash. Please no retractible leashes.

Training Treats

When you can, use their kibble! When you can't, find a low calorie training treat that your dog likes. Costco sells these dried beef liver and dried salmon treats on the cheap in the pet section.

Treat Pouch

Get one that 1) won't dangle & get in your way 2) isn't too deep for your hands 3) closes at the top.

Raised Platform

Measure first! If you have a small trunk, consider one that folds up. If you get the Amazon brand and have wood floors get some rubber feet.

High-Value Treats

Use something your dog LOVES to reward recall. Costco sells huge packs of string cheese that work great.

Long Line

A 15 to 30 foot long leash is how we'll train reliable, enforceable recall. These biothane ones because they never stink, are super strong, and harder to chew through.

Recall Whistle

A recall whistle has a specific frequency: 210.5 or 211.5 and no "pea" like the whistles they use in sports. Grab a lanyard too.

Collapsable Water Bowl (34oz)

This is in "The Basics" list because you need to bring water everywhere for your dog. Many of the ones on Amazon are deceptively small. Here's a link to some larger ones.

Puppy Stuff

Look, most puppies are tough to live with and no magical piece of equipment is going to solve that. Still, there are a few things most puppies will need.


One that gives full range of front legs without rubbing (watch this excellent video). Try the RuffWear Front Range or my favorite the Hurtta Y-Harness.


Wire or plastic, just make sure it's small enough. For fast-growing large breeds get one with a divider.

"House Line"

Get a leash a cut the loop off at 2 or 3 feet. Here's a video on what a "house line" is all about.

Bitter Apple Spray

Save your chair legs during the teething phase and before their "leave it" is solid.


Wipe some peanut butter on the inside and buy yourself 15 min of sanity. Red is the normal rubber. If they shred that one get the black one.

Baby Gate / Playpen

Very young puppies should have small play areas. More access to the house can be granted over time.

Kong "Wobbler"

This is a large wobble toy that holds an entire meal of kibble. As the puppy bats it around, food drops out of the hole.

Snuffle Mat

Roll it out, sprinkle their kibble all inside of it, and let them use their nose to find their breakfast. A dog's brain sparkles when their nose is at work.

Other Training Equipment

This is a somewhat random assortment of links that I find myself sending to people after training sessions. A few things like the remote collar and the Cato board have specific uses that you'll want to get training on before you run out and buy them.

Remote Collar

"Lowest perceptible level" e-collar training a method that uses the e-collar at extremely low levels instead of aversive or punitive levels. When used correctly this amazing tool opens up a world of off-leash freedom.

Cato Board

This sturdy platform aids in doing field work and helps with "shaping" positions like sit and down.

Flirt Pole

Yes, it's essentially the cat toy but sized up for dogs. Dogs with even medium prey drive levels go bonkers for it and we can use that motivation to gamify obedience like "down" and "drop it." I like this retractible model.

Flirt Pole Lure (upgrade)

This is a much tougher and washable vinyl lure to attach to your flirt pole.


You'll hear Belgian Malinois trainers call this the "crack ball." For high-drive dogs that could care less about treats, the ball-on-a-rope becomes their #1 desire. Chuckit also makes a great one.

Chuckit Paraflight

The Chuckit Paraflight is a toy you'll see everywhere. It throws great, it floats, it's easy for the dog to pick up even when lying flat on the ground.

Chuckit Foldable Launcher

I meet so many people that didn't know Chuckit makes a foldable version of their largest launcher! FWAP!

Double-Handled Tug Toy

If you have a dog that loves tug-o'-war and loves to thrash things about, it's important to build structure around this play and to have a solid "OUT" command.

Chuckit Kick Ball

Mix up your fetch games with this kickball. Dogs can easily pick this ball up because of the grooves.

Chuckit Glow Ball

Bring a flashlight to keep it glowing. This one is much lighter, cheaper, and safer than the battery powered LED ones.

Glow Collar

For less than $10 you can make your dog look as fly as Josie here. Great for camping and night time activities. Get the rechargeable plastic tube one.

Training Collars

For these tools to work effectively and humanely you need training on their usage. They must be the correct size, they must be fitted properly, and they must be introduced with care and intention.

When these collars go tight they distribute pressure more evenly around the neck in a way that feels totally new to the dog. This new feeling gives us a chance to reset the "leash conversation" with the dog. On the mild end is the simple Martingale collar which makes a great little "shink" sound when activated. The other end of the spectrum is the prong collar.

When used correctly: The pressure comes on quickly and, crucially, it is released quickly. This precision allows your dog to learn more quickly the new rules of the leash. None of these collars are meant to be "active" all the time as the dog continues to pull.

When used incorrectly: If you slap one of these collars on your dog and do what you've always done with the leash, then none of these collars are likely to work. Many dogs gradually start to pull again as they build up a tolerance to the discomfort of pulling while wearing a training collar. Then you're right back to where you started. And you've possibly damaged your relationship with your dog.

Martingale Collar

Make sure to get one that still has a buckle (many don't) and where the triangle part is metal (some are cloth).

Slip Lead

Usually made of a slick robe and where one end has a metal ring that easily "slips" along. 1/2" thick for large breeds. 3/8" thick for small.

Slip Collar

If you want to try the slip lead but you prefer to use your own leash, here's a slip collar. Easy to clip on and off!

Starmark Collar

These distribute pressure across a bunch of small, round-tip plastic triangles. For strong dogs with thin fur. Popular with Dobermanns.

Herm Sprenger Prong Collar

A prong collar can be a wonderful tool for some dogs… if you get the correct gauge, you know how to fit it properly, and you are trained on how to use it.