3 Essential Dog Training Tools

Whether you’re teaching your dog to obey or field commands for retrieving birds, a few items can help you do it right

Dog with rubber toy in its mouth
Getting a dog to recognize their duties and obey commands in the field is not an easy task.Mitchell Orr/Unsplash

Training any dog is hard work. It takes time, patience, and a lot of “atta boys” to get the right results. But there are plenty of tools to help along the way. Here are three that are commonly used to teach everything from “sit” and “come” to “fetch” and “drop.”

Bumpers

Dog training bumpers
Most bumpers have a textured surface to make it easier for a dog to hold in its mouth.Avery

Bumpers are the essential tool of retriever training, generally available in either canvas or plastic. While canvas is used primarily on land, a plastic bumper can be used on land or water because it floats. Most have ridges or knobs, making it easier for the dog to hold onto and avoid developing a hard mouth.

Training Dummies

Fake dead fowl dog training toy
A realistic dummy can help your bird dog prepare for retrieving the real thing.Dokken

When it's time to move on to more realistic work, consider a training dummy. They mimic the shape, weight, and feel of a game bird and are a logical transition between bumper training, real birds, and the field.

The Check Cord

Check cord dog obedience trainer
A check cord can help you teach a dog obedience or simple commands.SportDOG Brand

Check cord work is an important step in training any dog, whether for obedience or sporting work. During the transition between obedience commands and more advanced work with an e-collar, a check chord allows you to give the dog more room and separation while still enabling you to enforce commands by reeling him in or checking his behavior to let him know that he is still under your command.