This post will be continually updated with additional products as well as reviews for all my favorite dog goodies.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying and testing a variety of dog training and management products in order to find the most humane, effective tools. While the most important and effective tool in training your dog and managing behavior is YOU, sometimes we need some help to control/contain our dogs while we are in the midst of teaching new behaviors. And of course, basic tools for safety and containment are always necessary no matter how well-behaved your dog might be.
There are soooo many tools on the market with new ones coming out all the time. Some have been around as staples for ages (like choke collars and prong collars – yuck and boo to both of these inhumane ‘tools’) and others are newer but quickly proving themselves to be fantastic help to dog trainers and caregivers (the front-connect harness, for instance).
In this blog I will only be talking about the tools I use and love and WHY. If you have a question about a tool listed here or one you don’t see listed, please leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer any questions.
And now, here are a few of my favorite dog things!
COLLARS & HARNESSES
*Martingale Collar – I use the Premier or the buckle martingale offered by SchaferKennel.com
*Front-connect Harness – there are several brands that now offer front-connect harnesses (the leash attaches to the breast strap, on the front of the dog, hence “front-connect”). The one I’ve found works best for me, my dogs, and my clients is the Sense-sation Harness, by SofTouchConcepts.com.
TOYS & TREATS
Recommendations with a caveat – always supervise your dog when he or she has a toy. Especially when trying a new toy for the first time.
*Kong – This is my number one go-to toy to keep dogs entertained and mentally stimulated. Kongs are conical rubber toys with a hollow center that allows for stuffing. What you can stuff a Kong with is as varied as what your imagination can come up with. Some suggestions are soft dog food, peanut butter, prepackaged Kong stuffing (although due to the ingredients, I avoid this sort of stuffing) and cooked veggies, kibble (softened in water and then stuffed in, or use dry), and on and on. Kongs come in a variety of sizes to suit your individual dog. The large black Kongs (black Kongs in general) are the toughest and ideal for bull breeds and bull breed mixes.
*Himalayan Dog Chews – These are a healthy treat that your dog will just love. I only discovered these fairly recently and I’ve yet to come across a dog that doesn’t get super into these tasty alternatives to other chews that may have lots of unnecessary/unhealthy ingredients. Check’em out! http://www.himalayandogchew.com/
SPECIALTY TRAINING EQUIPMENT
*Head Collars/Halters – I don’t recommend these for the average dog with average behavioral issues. Mostly I will use them on dogs that are strong, difficult to control and aggressive (i.e. there is a higher than typical risk of biting). The brand of head collar I use is the Gentle Leader. I’ve tried just about all the head collars out there, and still the Gentle Leader is my go-to. Although head collars are often touted as a mircle training tool (and yes, for some dogs, they CAN seem to have a miraculous effect!), the are not something you just slap on your dog and go. Most dogs require some time to acclimate to head collars and proper use once your dog is acclimated is a MUST. I do not recommend using a head collar unless you are working with a behavior professional who can help show you proper usage.
Still, for those extra difficult dogs whose humans have a tough time getting control over during initial steps in a behavior modification program, they can be a humane life saver.