A Few of My Favorite Things
Updated: Apr 21
Locally, you can find many of these products at Pet Valu or Petco. PetSmart doesn't usually have as many options. If you like to shop online, sitstay.com and petflow.com are force-free sites, so I love to support them. Get 20% off purchases at SitStay.com using the link below. They don't carry all products but do have some.
Loose Leash Walking
Front clip harnesses come in a variety of styles. I prefer these because the dog doesn't put his whole weight into pulling you along. (They aren't magic and should be used in conjunction with force free training.) The Easy Walk is often ill-fitting on stocky dogs and narrow dogs, but fits some dogs beautifully, so it is a good choice but not my top choice. You can find that one at major pet stores. The Freedom No Pull has velvet straps for dogs who have trouble with chafing. You do not need the double clip leash that often is sold with that harness, but they are convenient if you walk in tight quarters sometimes. The SENSE-ation is another good one.
Measure carefully before purchasing to find the right size!
Freedom without leash:
Freedom with leash:
This Chomp n Chase suction cup feeder toy is my favorite for teaching dogs and puppies that brushing or bathing or nail trimming is no big deal. For nail trimming, position it low on the dishwasher or fridge with your pup in your lap if he's small. Larger dogs can typically remain standing on 3 legs for nail trims if they aren't anxious. For bathing, position it on the wall of the shower or side of the tub. The Aquapaw is another good suction feeder.
Puzzle feeders are great for enrichment, mental challenge, and slowing down fast eaters, especially if they are large, deep chested dogs who may be prone to bloat, which is a dangerous medical condition. There are lots of choices on the market. When I look at them, I evaluate the level of challenge, whether the challenge is adjustable, and how easy or difficult the toy is to sanitize.
LickiMats are fantastic for puppies and flatter faced dogs. You can use Easy Cheese or anything that smears and you can even freeze them.
The Buster Maze is easy to clean (but doesn't fit in the dishwasher) and comes in two sizes.
The Northmate Green is good, too, but is more work to clean, though it fits in the dishwasher.
I love Buster Cubes and Omega Treat Balls for active dogs, and for dogs who need to be more active than they are, and for dogs who are just learning to play. A tip on the Omega: cut the drain hole larger or water will stay inside when you clean it.
For smaller dogs and puppies, I prefer the Outward Hound puzzle feeders. These are too shallow and small for most large dogs, in my opinion.
The Nina Ottoson Tornado is a great feeder because you can adjust the level of difficulty, but large dogs might pick the whole thing up and turn it over. It is more expensive, though.
Kong Wobblers and Tug A Jugs are also fun. If your dog chews the Tug a Jug rope in half, put a tennis ball or two inside with the kibble, instead.