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Kathy Santo, a dog trainer and AKC Family Dog columnist, offers tips on what to buy for your dog, whether you're training for Canine Good Citizen or just brushing up on the basics. 


Find out what treats motivate your dog most, and stock up on 'em. Also, have a mix of “regular” treats and “high-value” treats—the latter is good to use when teaching important commands, like come. Get tips on picking treats here.


Stuffable dog toys

A distracted dog is a well-behaved dog. Stuff these toys with everything from kibble to peanut butter, and freeze them to make the fun last longer.


Treat bag

My preference is for a treat bag that has a drawstring, and can be clipped onto your belt, pocket, or waistband. In the interest of being totally hands-free on a walk, choose one with a zippered pocket to hold your keys, money, or cleanup bags. 


Agility Set

Most sets come with six poles, an adjustable tire and regular jump, a pause box, a tunnel and chute, carrying bag, vinyl tape, and instructions. Many of my obedience students buy these and become hooked on competitive agility—consider yourself warned.


Leather Leash

My personal and professional choice is a flat or braided leather leash. I’ve been purchasing high-quality leather leashes since 1985 and can vouch for their strength and durability.



No, not the soda—I mean the small, leash-type object that helps you keep control over your “almost trained” dog. It works by giving you a short handle that can be left on your dog when he’s not wearing his regular leash around the house.


Crate Pad/Bed

It does double duty as a dog bed and a housetraining mechanism. Choose one with durable construction, generous stuffing, and a removable, washable cover so that both you and your dog will love the bed! Here are tips on picking one. 

More like this:

Keep Up with Your Dog’s Training Through the Winter

3 New Tricks to Teach Your Dog
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Canine Good Citizen (CGC)

This program is recognized as the gold standard for dog behavior. In CGC, dogs who pass the 10 step CGC test can earn a certificate and/or the official AKC CGC title.
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