As a kennel owner and professional dog trainer for over 24 years, I have dog products coming out my ears. The latest supplement, gizmo, training tool – you name it, I’ve tried it. From this plethoric pile of products, however, I find myself reaching for just a few on a regular basis. It’s like my closet, which is crammed with slacks, blouses, dresses, jackets and jewelry – yet I find myself reaching for basically the same black leggings, silver jewelry and pop-of-color handbag every time I go out and the same jeans, t-shirt and vest before I head to work at the kennel.
Here’s my list of go-to, can’t-live-without dog products:
30 Foot Outdoor Long Line
Nothing is more frustrating that a dog that doesn’t come when called. I found an easy solution to this age-old problem: a 30’ long line. I simply attach it to my dog’s collar before I let him out to play and if he does not respond to my Come command, I reel him in and give him a treat. Some of my clients even use a long line while walking their dogs “off leash” in open space. This simple, but effective follow-through tool quickly convinces the dog that you are not powerless. That you always get your way. That you are the one in charge without ever raising your voice. It’s indispensable!
Long lines (also known as check cords) are available through many sources. The ones I use in my training school are proudly made in Minnesota by Mendota Products.
6 Foot Household Tether
If I know one thing about puppies, it’s that lack of supervision is the root of all naughtiness. As a busy woman, I can’t keep my eye on a new dog 24/7, so I simply tether him in whatever room I’m in. My absolute fav is a 6 foot chew-proof tether – just long enough to secure around the foot of my desk when I’m on the computer, or the kitchen table leg when I’m cooking, and still give the puppy room to move about on his blanket which I’ve placed there for him.
The 6 foot length is hard to find at retail, so I added one to my Dog Talk Diva product line on www.dogtalkstore.com, and I send one home with every dog I train!
A Behavior Deterrent: Sonic Tool or Penny Can
I can’t live without a tool of some sort to help stop rude, unwanted dog behaviors like jumping, barking, counter-surfing, soiling the house and whatever else the little hooligans can devise.
Sonic frequency sound waves are unpleasant to a dog’s ear, and can be used to interrupt or stop behaviors in a flash. My favorite sonic training devices are the Sonic Egg® by Sunbeam Pet Products and the Pet-Agree® by K-II Enterprises. Both are hand-held and super easy to use.
A simple penny can will also work to discourage naughty behaviors. A time-tested favorite of dog trainers, the single shake of the penny can emits a sudden, sharp sound that the dog equates to an Alpha dog’s “Don’t do that!” bark. It’s like magic.
You can make your own penny can at home, putting 15 pennies into an empty soda can and duct taping over the hole. If you don’t like the look of empty soda cans left all over your home, www.dogtalkstore.com sells more stylish, professional training cans in single units or in sets complete with User’s Manual that explains how to use the cans to cure everything from bolting or barking to jumping, digging and more.
Science Diet I/D® Canned Food
Poop happens. But sometimes it’s the pea soup variety that calls for quick action to get your dog’s digestive system back on track to avoid serious health issues like dehydration. Most dog owners don’t have a clue what to do, and usually end up making the condition worse. Or they’ve been told to put their dog on a bland diet of rice and boiled chicken, but they don’t have time get to the store, buy the rice and chicken, boil it, cool it…you get the picture.
I am never without a few cans of Science Diet I/D® food in my pantry! It is a ready-to-serve, rice based dog food for sensitive stomachs. When an upset tummy strikes one of my pack, I form some moist I/D into one-inch “meatballs” and offer those to my dog for a couple of days until their stool gets back to normal. Then I start reintroducing regular food. Thank God for Science Diet I/D®!!!
Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements
Itchy dogs, flaky coats, pimply belly bumps…once my vet rules out a serious medical condition, I add an omega-3 fish oil supplement to their regular food. Though there are many on the market, my current favorite is Grizzly
Pollack Oil®, made by Grizzly Pet Products, LLC. Maybe it’s the colorful packaging and the convenient pump dispenser. All I know is that it works.
My itchy terrier no longer scratches incessantly. My Doberman’s dandruff is gone. No more bumps on my Papillion’s cute little tummy and my 11 year old Border Collie is playing like a puppy. What more can I say?
The Furminator® Brush
I believe dog hair looks better on the dog than on my black pants. I cannot imagine life without a Furminator® brush! In fact, my white Fox Terrier is not even allowed in my house until he’s been Furmin-ated!
The technology in the Furminator® makes it unlike any other brush that I’ve used. The specially designed teeth lock onto the dead hair in your dog’s coat and pull it out as you brush through. Seriously, you end up with a pile of old hair the size of another dog! In my own experience, regular use has cut my dogs’ shedding at least in half – and what’s left is shiny and soft.
Leather or Cotton Leash and Control Collar
At some point, you need to walk your dog. This most common dog activity is ironically the one that often poses the greatest challenge to the owner –sometimes putting their very health in jeopardy. Today I spoke with yet another woman who had been pulled to the ground by her dog and was considering giving him back to the breeder.
You must have a leash and a collar or other device that gives you control over your dog! When it comes to leashes, I prefer the natural “give” of leather or cotton to the hard feel of nylon. This is especially important for us that work with dogs all day or those who take their dogs on long or frequent walks.
The control collar can be of any style, as long as it controls the dog. Owners can choose from head collar brands like Halti® or Gentle Leader®, control harness styles like the Easy Walk Harness® by PetSafe, martingale styles like those made by my favorite manufacturer, Pawmark, or classic “nippy” styles like the Good Dog Collar® by Starmark or the metal prong collars crafted in Germany by the Herm Sprenger company. The right control collar is the one that works!
Dog Talk Diva® welcomes your input at www.dogtalkdiva.com. Stay tuned for more information about our growing line of helpful products for the busy dog owner. Every new product is dog-tested at our Dairydell Canine kennel and dog-mom approved by our trainers and clients. What would you like us to work on?