There are many different methods and styles when it comes to professional dog training. This is good because not every dog can be trained the same way. Click on the boxes below to read about the different types of dog training tools and methods that you’ll find trainers using. Then read on to find out how to choose the best dog training style for your pet.

Common Dog Training Tools and Methods

“Using Praise to Reward”

Positive reinforcement / Praise reward training is where you use your verbal “happy” tone and physical petting to reward the dog when it follows through with a command or good behavior. This method should ALWAYS be used from puppies to adult dogs, even when combined with other training tools.

“Food as Motivation”

Treat training is when you use dog treats or food as motivation to teach basic obedience commands such as sit, down, come, and heel. This is a great way to teach young puppies foundation obedience, because it gives them something to look forward to and keep their attention while training. Treat training can also be used with teenage and adult dogs who may need a little more encouragement and motivation to follow through with basic commands. It can also be used when working with dogs with certain behavioral issues, fear issues, and confidence issues.  

Some trainers will also use treats along with a clicker to help dogs “mark a command.” This is called “clicker training.” You will see this used in most group training scenarios.  It’s an effective way for a trainer to instruct many people and dogs at the same time and gain consistent results.

“Gentle Pressure Correction”

Martingale collars come in a few styles. They are a collar that is used to tighten around a dog’s neck to apply a pressure-based correction. The one thing they have in common is the part around the dog’s neck is a cloth/nylon collar material. The “tightening/cinching” part is either the same material as the collar or it is a chain. The martingale should be adjusted so it is snug on your dog’s neck, so that when a correction is given, the collar tightens, signaling to the dog (along with your verbal correction) what the dog is doing wrong.  

Some martingale collars available for purchase now have a quick release clip. This is great for dogs who have a large head and smaller neck. No more enlarging to get over the dogs head, then tightening when on the dog. These collars are great for short haired dogs and dogs who are fully trained and need very little to no correction.

“Classic Pressure Correction”

Smooth choker chains are a very common tool and one of the oldest training collars used in dog training today.  This collar has a correct way and an incorrect way to be placed on your dog.  The average professional trainer teaches your dog to heel on the left hand side.  So, the collar must be placed on the dog using the shape of a “P.” This will allow for a proper correction. Then, the collar relaxes on the dog’s neck once the correction is complete.

Another key thing to understand with this collar is that you don’t want it too tight or too large. This leads to an ineffective correction. You want about 2 inches of correction space when the collar is used in correction form.  Like any training tool, if the smooth choker collar is not used correctly, it can leave red marks or pinch marks on a dog’s neck.  So, please educate yourself on the PROPER way to use these collars and any other training tools you will be using.

“Intensive Pressure Point Correction”

Pinch / Prong collars are notorious for being used on large breed dogs, since this type of collar can be used by the average person to gain control over their dog’s actions. This does not mean your dog is trained properly; it means your dog does not want the pressure point correction it gets when pulling you down the street. I have seen an increased number of trainers using pinch collars on puppies and small breeds. To most professionals, this is a sign of an amateur dog trainer. This training tool can be effective when used properly on dogs that require this style of correction.

The average pet owner who uses this collar does not use it correctly. This collar is designed to hit pressure points on your dog’s neck, so it must be snug and placed at the highest point on the dog’s neck right at the base of the head, behind the ears. Because of this, dog owners feel badly about the collar being so tight and the reaction they get from the dog when they apply a correction, so they allow it to be loose and at the base of the neck. When they pull or correct, the dog it is not getting the proper correction, which renders this collar useless.

It is our opinion that this collar should be used only after the other training tools have been tried and deemed unsuccessful.  Do not use pinch / prong collars as a dog’s first training tool for basic commands.

“Tools for Hunting, Military, and Police Dogs”

Shock / “E” collars are widely used in many areas of dog training. These collars are commonly seen on hunting dogs and military/police dogs. These dogs are bred with a very high working drive and in most cases will be chasing or searching for prey off the leash. This collar gives added protection to the dog and owner to ensure the dog understands when the hunt has ended and the dog needs to return to the owner when commanded. 

However, more and more training companies are using these collars as a sole training tool for all dogs despite the size or age of the dogs. If you start a dog off on this method of training, there is a good chance that you will always need to use this collar on your dog for it to respond to a command. Of course, dogs learn by association, so yes, your dog can associate just the remote or the collar as a correction tool without having to even use it.

This training can also be used for behavior correction as well, especially if your behavior issues are all off leash. This collar is another training device that should be used after other resources have been tried. As with all other training tools, use e-collars with the proper understanding of how they work and how your dog should respond and react to it.

Other devices out there used by other dog trainers include clickers, cans of air, pennies in a can, rattle chains, and squirt bottles.

Different Dogs Need Different Training Methods

Not every dog can be trained the same way. For example, take training a 10 week old puppy versus a two year old adult dog. You don’t want to put a correction collar on a young puppy who is not physically or mentally prepared for the type of correction this collar gives. For puppies, because they are immature and have a short attention span, you need to use coaxing methods to teach them basic commands. These methods include treat, praise or toy motivation, and may include a puppy harness for physical motivation. As the puppy matures and grows, you can move to a non-invasive training collar, such as a cloth martingale. From there, depending on the dog and its personality and desired training by the owner, you may move to a smooth choker chain training collar. Other trainers may then move to a pinch/prong collar and even require the use of a remote electric collar.

Our Academy’s Style of Training

The 1 Dog Trainer Academy always uses positive reinforcement / praise reward as its first method of training. From there, depending on the dog’s personality and age, we may use a combination of treats, martingale training collars, or a smooth choker collar. We do NOT believe in starting with what we consider your “last resort training tools,” such as remote collars or pinch/prong collars. This does not mean that we are against trainers that use these methods, particularly when dealing with Military Working Dogs and Police Working Dogs. As we’ve said, not all dogs require the same method of training. These dogs are bred solely for working and need to be of strong mind, strong will, and strong body. The average person does not own a dog of this caliber. For your everyday pet who you want to be obedient, well-mannered, and well behaved, the first three methods we mentioned will do just fine.

Which Training Method is Best for Your Dog?

The fact is, there are many dog training tools out there, just as there are many dog trainers, both amateur and professional. The same fact is it is UP TO YOU how you decide to have your dog trained and who will do the training.  If you contact a trainer (or organization) and you don’t understand or feel that your dog needs the methods they use, ask if they can use a different method on your dog. If they are not willing to work with you… look elsewhere. Our decision to use certain tools depends on your choice to use them. If an owner asks us to use a method we have been trained to use and feel that is the best options for training, we will be more than happy to abide.