The list below is provided as a guide. We encourage people to know and understand the many different pieces of dog equipment, their uses, their advantages and disadvantages.
We advocate working with food and explain in detail how this works in the How Dogs Learn section.
If you would prefer not to put dog food in your pockets, a treat pouch comes in handy and can be hooked on to your waistband for easy access to the food.
A Nylon Collar or Harness
Pick a collar that fits; you should be able to place two fingers under the collar when it is fastened.
Be sure to remove the collar from the puppy when he is in his crate. This is done as a safety precaution.
Most puppies will react to a collar, harness and leash the first time they have one on. Some breeders will have already put collars on the puppies. If you are putting a collar and leash on the puppy for the first time, fasten it so that you can fit two fingers between his neck and the collar. It should not be tight, but it should not be so loose that the pup can scratch it off or that comes off over his head with tension from the leash. The same goes for a harness.
If it is the first time for the pup, let him get accustomed to the collar. He may cry and paw at it, but ignore this and he will get used to it quickly. You can play a quick game with him as a distraction (see Games).
No Pull Harness
There are a variety of harnesses on the market. A “no pull” harness is something worth exploring. It can be a welcome aid in teaching an exuberant puppy not to pull when you are walking together. If you are interested in trying out a no pull harness, a good pet supply store will help you fit the correct size on your pup and allow you to take it for a test drive.
A Nylon Leash With Metal Snap
Get a leash of the proper length. When you hold it at (your) belly-button level, it should hang down a few inches past where it is connected to your puppy’s collar. There should be some slack in the leash while you are holding it in this position, but without the leash dragging on the floor.
Be sure that the buckles and snaps don’t weigh the pup down excessively. We recommend a snap that opens by pushing down with the thumb as opposed to pushing in. The snaps that open by pushing in can pinch the pup’s feet or toes if they step on the snap in a certain way.
Be sure that your leashes, long lines, collars and harnesses are all in good condition. It is smart to have an extra collar and leash. If the equipment gets worn or chewed, be sure to replace it.
Before you do any major amount of leading the pup around by the leash, attach the leash and let him just drag it around to get a feel for the weight and the strangeness of it. Like the collar, he will adapt quickly but it is important that you allow him time to adjust. Be sure not to placate the puppy if he seems distressed about the equipment; instead, ignore him or distract him with some fun stuff.
A Nylon Long Line (15′-30′ Long)
The exercises and games on this site don’t require a long line, but it can be a useful piece of puppy equipment to have. It gives the pup the freedom to run around in an outdoor area where you may not feel comfortable letting him run off-leash. With the long line, you have an added safety precaution.