Some of what I find to be the best equipment isn’t always so easy to locate so here’s a page to help you save time. Although most of these things can be found through Amazon, I’ll try to link to a store that sells the product. I selected a few companies that have reasonable prices and other stuff you might like.
HARNESS: Walking your dog in a harness is healthier than using the collar. It requires training your dog and will not remedy your dog’s pulling. They sell items that claim to remedy pulling, but they rarely are shaped to allow your dog to move properly. Look for harnesses that allow complete freedom of movement in the shoulder and don’t choke the dog. Mushing half harnesses tend to fit a lot of dogs well out of the box and can be custom made to fit your dog properly. They are usually very affordable and durable. Howling Dog’s Distance Harness or Dog Game’s Original Fleece-lined Harness out of England (not a mushing harness but a favorite of mine) are worth checking out. Ruffwear and Non-stop have nice harnesses, too, but are exponentially more expensive. If you’re like me, it’s nice to have more than 1 that you can change out when wet and dirty, so I keep it simple and affordable.
LONG LINE: I think anything longer than 15ft is really clumsy to work with. I love this material called BIOTHANE because, unlike the traditional cotton webbing, this stuff stays doesn’t get heavier in the wet grass, has good grip and won’t burn through your hands like nylon. Try to make sure the line you are buying has as small of a clip as can be, without it being flimsy. A large clip like the 1″ can smack your dog in the jaw and they weigh a ton. The idea is to have as thin of a line as is possible so the dog can behave normally with it on. All K9 has a great selection, but I can’t see what size the clip is. I buy this one from Amazon.
TREAT POUCH: Not all bait bags are made equal. There’s nothing worse than having a droopy bag bouncing limp at your waist and dropping treats all over the training area. Further, you need to get your food out asap to reduce training time exponentially. So use a pouch that has a stay open and easy close hinge. Here’s the cheapest functional option I found on the web.
TOYS: Possibly your most important piece of equipment! A lot of the toys I like you won’t find at most pet stores. Check out this page at Clean Run.
BALLS: It’s ideal to have toys that your dog can pick up at a run without having to bend down and risk a spine injury (like a typical ball). So, I love the JW Pet’s toys, particularly the larger Holee Rollers. The large size makes a safe grab when racing to the toy, a tiny one fits in your pocket which is ideal for training without the reward in sight, This toy works as a ball, plus, you can kick it, tug with it, even whip it at your dog’s mouth and it won’t hurt them. Further, this is one of the few web balls out are certified to be free of toxins…this is so rare that I actually bought these balls for my baby instead of letting him play with the plastic ones marketed for babies.
BATS: My favorite type of tug for dogs that have high value for tugging is something that is stiff enough that you can hold it out and rather than going limp, is rigid to provide a clear strike target. I use 2 handled flat rolled leather/suede but there are a variety of fabrics, thicknesses, and degrees of softness which suit different preferences. I usually prefer something narrow and not too hard (nylon and firehose are hard)…unless you know your dog has a “hard” mouth. Then you’ll need to get tougher toys because your dog is rougher with the toys. Here’s my favorite thus far.
DISCS: My absolute favorite disc is this West Paw design. It’s easy to pick up off the ground (not so easy with many discs out there), soft on the mouth (unlike those discs used for disc dog sports which always end up with a bloody mouth if you play long enough), and is unbelievably durable! Unlike most softer discs, this one still flies really well.
MOTIVATORS: Some dogs need more incentive to get into a toy. There are a whole array of fur or leather or pouch (to stuff with food) type toys. I’d definitely comb through Clean Run’s food stuffable selection. But, highest on my list would be something with a handle, some fur, a pouch for food, that moves like the legs of an octopus. For a puppy, a long leather shamee with a handle can be 1 of the most exciting toys (my adult dogs go nuts over it, too).
FLIRT POLE: This is basically a stick with rope attached so you can dangle, drag, and move the toy in ways that tags into a dog’s prey drive well. It can also tire out a dog. Most poles marketed as such fail in construction and the wand usually breaks apart from the rope. A great solution is to use a lunge whip for horses. It’s the same sort of concept but most are constructed with a plastic sheath weave that covers the wand and becomes the “rope” part. Just tie a toy to the end of the whip and voila, you’ve got a toy that will trigger almost any dog. They make small whips which I find are perfect for dogs (and for fitting comfortably in a car)
JUMPS: PVC jumps are great because they don’t injure the dog much when the dog accidentally crashes into them. Cut and glue a square or triangle with 3 anchor points to make a jump wing. Buy yourself a set of jump cup strips (maybe from J&J) because it’s nice to be able to change heights and for safety the bar must fall off when the dog hits it. I’ve made my own jump cups and it’s a total waste of time and doesn’t last. You could also buy a 4-way connector to make a wingless jump at Clean Run. Make sure your bar is long enough: 4.5-5ft.