Alternate Dog Training Tools for Your Toolkit

When it comes to dog training, there is no one size fits all. Every dog is different. What works with one, might not work with another.

"There's not one way to teach anything," says Steven Appelbaum, President of Animal Behavior College. "It's really just a matter of finding something that works best for you and your dog, and that's not going to do harm, physically or emotionally."

Here are two alternate training tools from Coastal Pet you can use in your training practice.

Behavior Coach

If you've ever been hissed at, you know the sound immediately grabs your attention. Whether it's a cat's warning hiss or the hiss of a snake, hissing is one of nature's best alarm systems.

Dogs are just as programmed as we are to respond to a hiss - that's why Coastal Pet's Behavior Coach is so effective.

A 1.5-ounce canister of compressed air that makes a loud hissing sound when triggered, Behavior Coach is the perfect complement to any number of training techniques.

How to Use Behavior Coach

Let's say you're training a dog that loves to chew on socks and shoes. To modify her behavior, you've spent time encouraging her to chew on the "correct" items like chew toys.

But no one is perfect, including dogs. So, what do you do if you catch her chewing on a shoe?

Hit the button on your Behavior Coach, which emits a loud hiss and distracts the dog from her chewing. At that point you can remove the "wrong" item and reward the dog when she turns her attention to the chew toy you've put in front of her.

It's a distraction. Not punishment.

And it's most effective when used after you've already put in time training the dog on the desired behavior.

When Not to Use Behavior Coach

Behavior Coach is not recommended for use with puppies, or overly anxious or fearful dogs. Remember, the goal of Behavior Coach is not to scare or startle, but simply to distract so that you can redirect.

Additionally, it should never be pointed directly at a dog.

If anything, you don't even want the pooch to see the Behavior Coach bottle. Ideally, the dog shouldn't know where the sound comes from, because you don't need him to associate the sound with a behavior or a person. That's not helpful and won't result in a long-term behavior change.

What you do want is for the hissing sound to catch his attention enough for him to stop what he's doing and wonder, "What was that?" At which point you slip into the picture to encourage and reward the behavior you want the dog to engage in.

Natural Control Training Collar

Mother dogs nip at their puppies to correct bad behavior. Since humans don't want a mouth full of fur, Coastal Pet has designed the Natural Control Training Collar to provide similar feedback.

The Natural Control Training Collar has the appearance of a traditional dog collar. But the underside features oversized, rounded rubber links designed to pinch the dog's neck when pulled, an indication that you want him to stop doing something.

How to Use Natural Control Training Collar

A survey of some 90,000 pet owners revealed leash pulling is the number one issue they deal with when it comes to their pooch. The Natural Control Training Collar is the perfect remedy.

The minute the dog pulls against the leash, the collar tightens, the prongs pinch his neck, he stops pulling and the prongs release.

It's particularly effective with large, rambunctious dogs that don't respond to traditional leashes or body and head halters.

A 130-pound Rottweiler, for example. Unless you're training for the Mr. or Mrs. Universe contest, there's a good chance you don't have the strength to hold that dog back with any other collar or harness. Even a choke collar won't work as well.

With the Natural Control Training Collar, you need half the force to get twice the attention.

When Not to Use the Natural Control Training Collar

The Natural Control Training Collar should not be the first collar you start training a dog with. Pet parents and dog trainers should learn and follow LIMA principles of training

LIMA stands for “least intrusive, minimally aversive.” 

Trainers and pet parents who follow LIMA principles will always attempt to use positive reinforcement first.   In most instances, when applied correctly and consistently, positive reinforcement methods are highly effective and don’t carry to same physical or emotional risks as punishment does. 

Try a flat collar, body harness (like our Walk Right! padded harness) or a head halter (like our Walk 'n Train!) first. Then if the dog keeps pulling or can't or won't wear a head halter, move on to the Natural Control Training Collar.

That 130-pound Rottweiler? It's going to be pretty hard to control him with a flat collar or body harness. And if he doesn't like the head harness? Get ready to visit the chiropractor for your shoulder!

Avoid using the collar with anxious dogs. Punishment can be frightening, even when it's just a small correction. Confident dogs will accept the correction without any emotional damage.