Dog Training A to Z: Brief Glossary of Tools

A clicker is a tool used to mark or pinpoint a desired behavior with a clicking noise.

Dog training has its own language, and its own set of tools. When your trainer suggests that you get your dog a mat or a crate, or that you work with him on a longline, what is she talking about? Trainer Mikkel Becker is here to help: She has defined some of the most commonly used dog training tools recommended by trainers. With these handy devices, your dog will be well-mannered in no time.


Back clip harness: Harness on which the leash attachment is located over the dog’s back. This type of harness is typically comfortable and easy for a dog to adjust to, but it offers less control over the dog’s movements and can exacerbate pulling.


Cavity toys: See food puzzles.

Clicker: Tool used to mark or pinpoint a desired behavior with a clicking noise. There are a variety of clickers, from the standard box clicker, which makes a sudden, sharp noise, to more muted versions (like a ballpoint pen) for dogs that are more sensitive to sound.

Crate, kennel: Box-like shelter for a dog. Crates come in a variety of designs, including hard plastic, wire and soft-sided. Some crates are designed to fold up for easy storage.


Dog pen:Dog containment area created with fencing, such as exercise or X-pens or baby gates, in a play pen-like style. Dog pens can be used to prevent destructive behavior or to facilitate potty training. A dog run is an example of an outdoor dog pen.


Food puzzle: Toy designed to hold food or chews. The dog removes the food by using his teeth, tongue, paws and mouth to manipulate the toy. Food puzzles require the dog to work for his food, which provides needed mental and physical stimulation.

Front clip harness: This type of harness has a leash attachment at the center of a dog’s chest. This allows the pet owner to gently control the dog’s movements and can help hinder pulling.


Gate: Portable gate or fence that can be used as a barrier to keep a dog confined to a specific area or away from an off-limits space. These may be marketed as baby gates or dog gates.


Harness: Alternative to a collar. Like a collar, a harness has a hook for the dog’s leash, as well as a place to put his ID tags. Many trainers believe that a harness is gentler than a collar, especially for small dogs or brachycephalic dogs, who can have their airways more easily damaged by a collar.

Head halter: A walking tool. The head halter consists of two parts: a section that fits around the dog’s neck like a collar and an attached piece that fits over the dog’s nose and wraps around his muzzle. The leash attaches under the dog’s chin area.


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