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Life Unleashed: Stress-free training found on pet store shelves

| Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
Andrea Lamping

Dog training can be a lot easier with the right help, and sometimes, that help comes in the form of devices, gizmos and treats. Here are five products that take the stress out of training:

1. Flirt pole: A flirt pole just looks like a fishing pole, with a toy tied to the end. Not only is it fabulous exercise for your pup, but you can teach a lot of basic obedience with one.

It is a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your canine.

2. Training leash: You can buy a training leash most anywhere. The length should be between 15 and 30 feet, depending upon your preference. You can use this long line to simulate off-leash activities. You can do conditioning exercises with your puppy without worrying about him being able to run off or get into any danger. Teach your pup how to fetch, how to come when called, or rehearse sit-stay drills with distractions.

3. Interactive feeders: Throw out the food bowl. Let your dog work for his food. He will love it. There are hundreds of interactive toys and feeders on the market now. Fill the toy with kibble and your dog will burn off mental energy while he hunts for his food. These are a great way to build intelligence and independence. A dog with proper outlets for his energy will get into less trouble around the house.

4. Front-hook harness: If your dog is strong and drags you down the street during walks, you should try a front-hook harness. Attaching the leash at the chest removes the opposition reflex that intensifies pulling. Instead, when the dog presses forward, he is redirected toward his handler and quickly learns that pulling is ineffective.

5. Crates and exercise pens: Many owners feel guilty putting their dogs in crates or caged areas but the truth is that these tools are just as much about making your dog feel safe and secure as they are about keeping your furniture from being chewed or your carpets being soiled. Until your dog understands the rules and boundaries of the house, it is essential to use secure management strategies to keep everyone safe and sound.

Andrea J. Lamping trains dogs in the greater airport area, including Sewickley, Moon, and Robinson.

She can be reached at 724-984-7829 or visit her website at www.moon-walkers.com.

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