Browse Our Dictionary
Type: Tools

Assess-a-Hand

A plastic or rubber hand attached to a padded stick.  Used in shelters, primarily to evaluate the potential for resource guarding in dogs.

Back-clip Harness

Harnesses that are designed so that the dog’s leash attaches to a D-ring at the back. They are not generally sold as training harnesses because they are not designed to discourage pulling, however, it is possible to teach a dog to walk politely on a back-clip harness using training techniques.

Bark Collar

An e-collar or citronella spray collar that is activated by sound. The aim is for the collar to deliver a punishment to the dog at the moment he barks, which will be aversive and discourage him from barking again.

Basket Muzzle

A type of muzzle made of rubber, or wire mesh that fits entirely over the dog’s muzzle and attaches behind the ears and sometimes also around the neck. When fitted correctly, this type of muzzle allows a dog to take treats, drink, and pant normally, so it is considered a safe option.

Break Stick

A tool, primarily marketed at pit bull owners, that is inserted behind the dog’s back teeth during a dog fight, when one dog has a grip on the other and will not let go.

Calming Cap

A device that is fitted over the dog’s head to restrict his vision. It is claimed to ease a dog’s anxiety by blocking out some of what he can see, and was originally designed for dogs who become anxious about travelling in a car.  The Calming Cap was invented by Trish King of Canine Behavior Associates.  It is currently made and marketed by Thundershirt and also referred to as ThunderCap.

Cavaletti

A series of cavaletti (singular: cavaletto) is several low bars, which are arranged one after another so that a dog must step over each of them in turn, without any steps in between. The height and spacing of cavaletti can be varied depending on the size and ability of the dog. They are used to teach a dog awareness of his body, balance, and stride and are popular in training for agility, as well as in physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Choke Chain

A length of chain with a ring at one end and a handle at the other.  The handle goes through the ring to make a loop of chain, which is then placed around the dog’s neck.  Choke chains tighten indefinitely around the dog’s neck and are designed to make pulling on the leash aversive.

Citronella

Citronella is an oil with a pungent smell.  The smell is aversive to most dogs and has been made into a spray that owners can use as a punishment.

A citronella collar is a bark collar that has a small container of citronella attached.  The device is triggered by the sound of the dog barking, and sprays up into the dog’s face.

Crate

A confined space, usually a cuboid, with an entrance at one end that can be closed behind the dog. Crates are usually made of canvas, plastic sheeting, or a steel wire mesh.

Doggles

A brand of goggles, designed to fit the proportions of a dog’s head.  Doggles are used to protect dogs’ eyes from UV radiation, like sunglasses for humans. They are especially recommended for dogs that often put their head out of car windows, or who suffer from diseases of the eye, which might make them more sensitive to UV.

Double Leash

(1) The practice of using two leashes on a dog, either attached to different equipment or of different lengths, is called double leashing.

(2) A leash that splits into a Y-shape, with a clip on the two ends. Sometimes called a Euro leash. Double ended leashes are usually used with harnesses that have attachment points on the front and back or with head halters, and offer enhanced control.

Duckbill Muzzle

A type of muzzle made of silicon, usually yellow and resembling a duck’s beak when placed on the dog.  Unlike basket muzzles, the dog cannot eat or drink when wearing it.

E-Collar

(1) “Electronic collar”:  A corrective collar that administers electric shock when the owner presses a remote control.  They are used to rapidly give a correction when a dog performs an undesirable behavior, and can be used as part of positive punishment or negative reinforcement.  The latter is most commonly used for teaching recall.  Many models of e-collar are able to alter the level of electrical stimulation given to the dog and also come with a beeping, and/or vibration function to create a conditioned emotional response and minimize use of the shock itself.

(2) “Elizabethan collar”:  A plastic cone fitted around a dog’s neck after surgery to prevent him interfering with his wounds healing. Colloquially known as the “cone of shame”.

Fabric Muzzle

A type of muzzle that fits over the whole of the dog’s muzzle, including the nose.  They allow panting, but not eating or drinking.

Grooming muzzles are similar and often made of the same material, but they do not fit over the nose.

Freedom Harness

A type of back-clip harness designed to discourage pulling, made by 2Hounds.  The Freedom Harness has a martingale loop at the back of the dog’s neck that tightens when he pulls.  It has two attachment points located at the back and the front, which can be used individually or both together with a double leash.

Front Clip Harness

Harnesses where the leash is attached to the front, at the chest. They are usually marketed as a tool to discourage pulling on the leash, as the dog is moved in a lateral direction when he tries to pull forward. Examples of front-clip harnesses include Easy-Walk harness and Sense-ation harness.

Gentle Leader

A type of halter for dogs, fitted around the muzzle and behind the ears.  It is designed to promote polite walking as it allows the owner to have more control over the dog’s head movements.

Grooming Muzzle

A grooming muzzle is a tube shaped piece of fabric that fits around the base of a dog’s muzzle and around the back of their ears.

It prevents a dog from opening their mouth wide enough to pant or bark, so it is not recommended for extended use.

H-harness

A kind of back clip harness, particularly used for smaller dogs, comprised of two loops that fit around the top of the chest and the belly, joined together with a strip that runs along the spine.

Head Halter

A training tool for dogs.  The halter fits over the dog’s muzzle and neck and attaches to a leash.  When the dog tries to pull on the leash, the owner can guide the dog’s head in another direction.  Because the leash is attached to the head rather than the neck or the body, the owner needs to use much less force to make the dog turn in the desired direction.

iCalmDog

A small portable speaker that plays music from Through A Dog’s Ear.  It is marketed as useful for calming dogs whilst they are traveling.

Illusion Collar

A collar, created by the Cesar Millan company, with a loop at the base of the neck and a second loop behind the ears.  The Illusion collar is designed to give the owner increased control and discourage the dog from pulling.  The collar works because dogs have a bundle of nerves at the base of the ears, meaning they will interpret pressure from the leash as more painful than it would be if it was on their neck.

Invisible Fence

An electronic system designed to keep a dog within a set of predefined boundaries without the use of a physical barrier. The dog wears a collar that delivers an electric shock if its warning sound is ignored.

Jafco Muzzle

A type of muzzle for dogs.  It is similar to a basket muzzle in that it fits over the whole of the dog’s muzzle and allows for panting, barking, eating and drinking.  Jafco muzzles are made of vinyl sheeting with holes in the front and sides.

KONG

A brand of dog toys and accessories.  The most famous toy made by the KONG company is the KONG itself; a hollow rubber rounded cone that can be played with as a toy, or stuffed and given as food-dispensing enrichment.

Kuranda Bed

A type of dog bed consisting of a raised platform made of PVC and a cordura mesh.  It is marketed as resistant to chewing and suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

Leash Wrap

A technique to more securely restrain a leashed dog, for example if he is suddenly caused to become panicked and there is a chance he might slip out of his collar.  The leash is clipped to the collar, wrapped around behind the dog’s front legs, then looped back through the collar so that it tightens when pulled.

Long Line

A training leash designed for working on recall, or for safety in open areas.  The line can be anything from 20ft to 50ft long, and can either be held by the owner or attached to a stationary object.

Marker Word

A sound uttered by the trainer at the precise moment the dog performs a desirable behavior. Usually a short, monosyllabic word like “good” or “yes”, or “nope”.

A reward marker indicates that a reward is on the way.  A no-reward marker indicates that a reward will not be presented.  Not all trainers who use reward markers also use no-reward markers; opinion is divided over whether they are effective or necessary.

Martingale

A flat collar, worn around the dog’s neck, which has two loops. The first loop is fitted around the dog’s neck, and the leash is attached to the second, smaller, loop. When the dog tries to pull his head out of the collar, tension on the least makes the small loop pull tight, which makes the large loop smaller around the neck.

When correctly fitted, the martingale does not choke the dog, but it does make it more difficult for the dog to slip out of the collar and allows the collar to fit more loosely and comfortably around the neck.

Penny Can

A device used in training, popular with franchised compulsion-based companies like Sit Means Sit and BarkBusters. The phrase “penny can” can refer to any container full of small objects that make a noise when shaken or dropped.When the dog performs an undesirable behavior, the owner shakes the can and the behavior is interrupted.

Many dogs are startled by and anxious about the noise, so the penny can could be considered as an unconditioned punisher for these dogs.

Perfect Fit Harness

A fleece-lined back clip harness, made by Dog Games and sold online.  The Perfect Fit Harness is made of three interlocking adjustable pieces, which can be ordered in different sizes to make a custom fit.

PetTutor

An automatic food dispenser, which can be used to dispense kibble or small treats. It has network connectivity and a remote control, and can be controlled over the Internet from elsewhere.

Prong Collar

A type of corrective collar for dogs, also called a pinch collar. A metal, or sometimes plastic device with short blunt prongs, which fits around the dog’s neck with the prongs on the inside.

The collar be popped or jerked to administer positive punishment.  It is most commonly usually used by dog owners to discourage pulling on the leash.  As the dog pulls forward, the prongs dig into the neck.  When the dog walks on a loose leash, the prongs no longer dig in, so the dog finds walking with a loose leash more rewarding than pulling.

Retractable Leash

A length of tape or line attached to a spring-loaded reel, which lengthens and shortens as the dog moves towards and away from the handler.  Some models have a mechanism to lock the leash in place so that it cannot retract or give out.  Also known as a “Flexi-Leash”.

Roman Harness

A back-clip harness with two loops – one around the base of the neck and one around the chest – attached with one strap that runs down the spine, and one that runs down the belly.

Sense-ation Harness

The SENSE-ation harness is a front clip harness made by Softouch concepts.  The harness is fitted around the ribs and the back, and has a strap that sits over the chest where the leash is connected to a metal O-ring.  The SENSE-ation harness is marketed as a device to promote loose leash walking.

Slip Leash

A cord, line or rope with a loop at one end. The line is put through the loop and over the dog’s neck. It tightens indefinitely, like a choke chain, but is more commonly used in handling shelter dogs than in a home or training environment.

Stim

A shorthand for “stimulation”. Refers to the electric current passed through an e-collar into the dog.

Tagg

A small GPS tracking device, worn on a dog’s collar, that allows his owners to find his location. Particularly useful for dogs that have been stray or feral, or have a strong tendency to escape from a property.

Target Stick

Any stick that a dog can be trained to touch the end of, usually with his nose.  Some specially-designed target sticks have a clicker built into the handle, others have a ball at the end, but any stick can be used for the job.

Throw Chain

A short length of heavy chain. It is intended to be used as an interrupter – when a dog performs an undesirable behavior or loses focus during training, the trainer drops the throw chain and the noise interrupts the dog. Throw chains are not intended to hit the dog, although dogs can find the noise to be aversive, meaning the device can be an unconditioned punisher that can cause them to become stressed.

Thundershirt

A brand of compression device for dogs. The Thundershirt is fitted in a similar way to regular dog clothes, but unlike regular clothes, it is designed to gently compress the dog’s body. The compression is said to promote calmness and relaxation.  The company’s marketing material states that Thundershirts can be used alongside any kind of behavior modification, but was initially created to help dogs with a phobia of storms or fireworks.

Tie Out

A length of rope or cord designed to attach to a dog’s collar at one end, and an immovable outdoor object, like a stake or the side of a building, at the other end. It is used to secure a dog that is being kept outdoors.

Tie-Down

A short length of rope or cord, like a leash, designed to attach to a dog’s collar at one end and an immovable indoor object, like a wall or a couch, at the other. It is used to keep a dog from moving too far from a specific area like a bed.

Training Discs

Small metal discs that are designed to be thrown or dropped when a dog performs an undesirable behavior. The noise they make is intended to be an interrupter, giving the owner a chance to refocus the dog on something more rewarding for both of them, but some dogs find being startled by the noise frightening or otherwise aversive, so training discs can be considered to be an unconditioned punisher for those dogs.

Treat n Train

A feeding device, invented by Dr Sophia Yin, that dispenses treats when activated by a remote control, allowing the dog to get a treat when the owner is at a distance.  Also called a Manners Minder.

Whistle

(1) A high pitched whistle, used as a recall cue for dogs that might be a long way from their owners, because it is easier to hear than a human voice

(2) A small device, worn on the dog’s collar, that monitors his levels of activity.

White Noise

A class of sound frequencies that are perceived by the human ear as hissing.

This type of noise can be used to partially screen out other sounds in the environment, for example the sounds of passing cars.

This can be useful for the owners of dogs who become anxious or reactive when they hear certain sounds.

Xpen

Short for “exercise pen”, the x-pen consists of several lengths of metal fencing joined together with loops, so that they can be used to make different shapes. They have various uses in the home, for example they can provide a small, enclosed area for young puppies to explore in, or keep a dog away from an area of the house without needing to close the door or have him in a different room.