Your Guide to Buying Equipment for Retrieve and Leave Training

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Your Guide to Buying Equipment for Retrieve and Leave Training

For many pet owners taking on the task of training their dog themselves, retrieve and leave training is often the first style of training attempted due to its numerous applications - not only in play, but also in the house and while out for walks.

With this guide, buyers will be able to understand the various pieces of equipment necessary for training as well as their applications, and how to buy such tools on eBay.

Retrieve and Leave Training

Though they may seem to be two completely different types of training, retrieve and leave training is often combined by owners and trainers to not only teach a dog to fetch things, but also when to leave things alone. The types of training are:


This type of training is most commonly seen as play by both dogs and owners, and it is a great way for dog and owner to bond and have fun together. However, retrieve training teaches dogs a vital skill of finding items and instantly bringing them back to their owner, which may be fun, but is a vital part of the lives of many working dogs such as gundogs, which often are born with the instinct to fetch.


This is a vital piece of training for many dogs, which need to be taught when to leave items alone. This is particularly important inside the house as well as outside, as dogs must be told what items can be played with and what items must be left alone – a step towards owners not having clothing and furniture chewed on or stolen.

This is also necessary for outside use, like when the owner walks the dog, as the dog may need to be taught to ignore and leave items and also other dogs they encounter.

Retrieve and Leave

Some trainers and owners combine retrieve and leave as a mode of training and is used to teach dogs patience and when to calm down. The dog can be sent after items but will not be rewarded until they have dropped and left alone the item they have brought. Dogs without such training may fuss and demand attention, and must be taught to calm down and wait for praise.


Whichever training the owner wants to give their dog, much of the same training equipment is used for each method. Equipment used may differ depending on the training or the style used by the trainer. However, the main kinds are:


The main focus of both kinds of training is having an item for the dog to retrieve or leave. This may be anything from a soft toy to a ball, but owners should make sure to use something they know their dog will be interested in.

For retrieve training when outside, something that can be thrown far such as a ball would be better not only to train the dog, but also to exercise and entertain them. If inside or doing leave training, any item can be used to attracts the dog, although a dog can’t be taught to ‘leave’ an object it has no interest in.


Rather than the discipline-based training favoured for many years, owners recently have been engaging more and more in reward-based training. This acts as positive reinforcement, as a reward is given as soon as the dog performs the desired action, leading them to associate the action with something good like a treat.

Rewards are often treats, such as small dog biscuits and marrowbones, which can be easily held in a clenched fist. These are often used in leave training, as a treat is held in the hand and not given to the dog until they learn to ignore it. When retrieve training, the reward encourages the quick return of the dog, as they know they will receive a treat if they bring the item back promptly.

It is not just treats that can be used, as some owners prefer to reward dogs with stroking or play – particularly with the item just retrieved, which will reinforce to the dog the behaviour that is preferred from them. No reward is wrong or right; the buyer should just decide what method would better suit them and their dog.


A training clicker is a small item that produces a clear, audible click when the button is depressed. This is used during clicker training and many owners use this as a way to enforce positive behaviour without using rewards such as treats. When beginning, users often combine the click with a treat to enforce the association between the sound and the reward to the dog – meaning it will associate the sound with examples of good behaviour.

Clickers are often used by owners doing leave training outside and on the move, saving them the need to keep giving treats. This may be a preferred reward method, particularly if the dog’s health is of concern.


There is some debate about using collars to train dogs, with opinion split between training collars being either a great help or completely unnecessary. Whatever the buyer’s opinions of collars, the main types used for training are:

  • Choke – these collars have a sliding chain at the front, and if the dog pulls at the choke collar and chain, towards an item they have been told to leave, then the chain tightens across the throat, and causes discomfort.
  • Pinchpinch collars have a series of small metal bars inside, but function much like choke collars in providing physical discouragement to certain dog behaviours, like pulling.
  • Electricelectric or ‘prong’ collars are remotely activated, allowing the owner to decide when a dog’s behaviour is unacceptable and administers a small shock via the prongs fitted on the collar.

Often these cannot be used for smaller dogs that are more vulnerable to throat damage from choke or pinch collars. Before using any of these collars, the buyer should make sure to consult a vet or other animal specialist, as there may be a reason why they should not use this type.


A strong lead is necessary for a great deal of leave training, especially if the owner is outside and trying to teach their dog to ignore things they see on their walk, such as food, rubbish and other dogs.

A way of using the lead on leave training is combining a quick lead jerk with the ‘leave it’ command, teaching the dog what is wanted from them with reinforcement. Dogs learn to associate ignoring the command with discomfort and can quickly learn to respond to the command alone. However, buyers should make sure that the use of the lead is not causing unnecessary pain.

Dog owners should buy a regular, fixed lead rather than an extendable one, as during lead training it can be important for the owner to be able to pull the dog away from items which may not be possible if the lead is at its fullest extension.

Buying Dog Training Equipment on eBay

Now that the buyer has a grasp of the various different pieces of equipment and training methods that can be used, they must begin to search for equipment online. When searching for retrieve and leave training equipment on eBay, buyers should consider:

  • Price – the cost of equipment will often be the main factor to consider for buyers, and training equipment is available at a range of prices. Buyers can use the search preferences to adjust search results to match their budget, and with items available at both Auction and Buy It Now there is a huge amount of flexibility to be had when purchasing.
  • Training – the equipment necessary changes between retrieve and leave training, with retrieve training only needing the bare bones equipment of an object and a reward. However, buyers may feel other items are necessary, such as collars and leads, and should check how they would like to train their dog.
  • Type – they buyer should consider what type of training they want to use, whether discipline, reward, or a combination of both. The equipment used for discipline and reward training varies and the buyer may wish to combine elements of each.
  • Size – if buying a collar, the buyer should measure the size of their dog’s neck to make sure they achieve the best fit. Most collar sellers advise adding at least 2 extra centimetres to ensure the collar is not too tight.
  • Local Sellers – buying training equipment from local sellers is an ideal way to keep shipping prices down.

If the buyer requires any more guidance they should not hesitate to check eBay’s Search Tips page for even more advice on how to achieve the perfect search result. And if they have any questions about any of the items they see listed they should make sure to ask the seller.


Training is an important part of owning a dog, and can not only lead to a tidier household, but also to a happier dog, a happier owner and a better relationship between the two. With this guide buyers should now be able to not only understand the equipment necessary for training, such as toys and rewards, but also know the difference between types and methods used.

When searching for items on eBay, the buyer should be aware of the added benefits of using PayPal, eBay’s recommended way to purchase, with additional eBay Buyer Protection.

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