Dog Training A to Z: Brief Glossary of Tools

Dog being walked on a leash
A leash is a fixed length of material with a clip at one end, which attaches to a collar or harness, and a handle at the other end for a person to hold.


Leash: A fixed length of material with a clip at one end, which attaches to a collar or harness, and a handle at the other end for a person to hold. A fixed-length leash is one that does not expand or retract; commonly, a fixed-length leash is 4- to 6-feet long.

Lure: A stimulus that a dog will willingly follow. Treats are the most commonly used lure, but toys are another useful type of lure.

Long-lasting chews: These are chews that require extensive effort on the dog’s part to eat; they take a long time to consume. Dental chews, such as some of those with C.E.T. enzymes to help break down excess plaque, can fall into this category.

Longline: Leash available in a variety of lengths ranging from 8-feet long to upwards of 40-feet long. A longline allows the dog the freedom of being off leash while preventing him from running away, and can be used for training or play.


Mat: Similar in appearance to a cushion or blanket, a dog mat is a designated place to rest. Mat training teaches the dog to go to his mat when he is asked — for example, the dog can be taught to go to his mat, rather than begging at the table during a meal. A mat is portable and can offer a dog a familiar place to rest in unfamiliar surroundings, such as the vet’s office or a friend’s home.


Retractable leash: Leash with a handheld release that allows it to extend and retract with the movement of a dog. The leash can also be locked at a desired length. Though these are commonly used by pet owners, many pet professionals caution against their use, as they can be hazardous for both the pet owner and the dog.


Target stick: A long wand that can expand or retract as needed, with a ball on one end that the dog is trained to touch with a body part, commonly his mouth or nose. Some target sticks have a built-in clicker. A wooden spoon can be used in place of a target stick.

Tightening harness: Harness with a limited tightening feature, either on the back or the chest, where the leash clips on. The harness will tighten to a fixed degree if the dog pulls, and release when the leash is loose. This can offer the pet owner more control over pulling without causing sharp pain to the dog, as choke or prong collars can do.

Training pouch, treat pouch: Pouch that holds treats and clips to a belt, pocket or waistband, or has a fanny pack-style band that wraps around the waist. Larger training pouches can also hold other necessities, such as keys, a cellphone or waste bags.

Treat stations: Areas around the home where treats are stored to make rewarding good behavior easier. Treat stations provide an alternative to carrying treats all the time. Concealing the treat containers keeps the dog on his best behavior, as he does not know when or where he might be rewarded.


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