As pet parents we're dedicated to providing our four-legged friends with the best life possible, because our dogs are part of the family. The love people have for their pets is reflected every year at the Global Pet Expo, in the thousands of pet products that span the conference center floor. This impressive expanse stretches the length of 17 football fields, and it's jam-packed with products.
As a trainer I am encouraged by the amount of products for behavior, training and exercise — spotlighting the growing emphasis pet parents are placing on bettering their pets' lives. With aching feet and sore legs after having scoured the floors of the Expo for three days straight, I’m here to bring you my top picks that are going to better your dog's life — and make yours a little easier.
This neat product is a leash and anti-pull harness all in one. The ThunderLeash can be used as either a clip leash, or it can be wrapped around the pet’s torso and clipped on top to create a harness and leash combination that adds gentle pressure when the pet pulls. It’s easy to wrap around the dog, and it offers a simple way to go from just a leash to a harness and leash, depending on the training situation. The all-in-one system has two varieties: one for small dogs and one for large dogs. There couldn’t be an easier way to create a pull-free walk in seconds.
Ruffwear Palisades Pack
Going on hikes with your canine is a great bonding experience, and the added exercise provides the mental stimulation and physical movement needed to maintain a well-behaved pet. This backpack is a great way for your dog to carry along his essentials as you walk, including treats, water, poo bags and maybe even your cell phone. The new version is improved to fit better on your pet and prevent chafing. Plus, its design is lighter than ever.
What canine doesn’t go crazy over a Kong? Its durable rubber lasts for a decade, and it keeps dogs entertained for hours as they work to uncover the hidden treats inside. Providing a variety of food puzzles keeps life interesting and challenges your dog’s mind. Try the new Kong Quest line, with a variety of shapes and bright colors that provide the same Kong quality we trust — with added difficulty.
Kong Quest, $7.99-$13.99
PetSafe Clik-R Clip
It’s cumbersome to juggle your leash, clicker and treats while training. This product makes it simple. The clicker can be attached to any standard leash, providing an easy way to click your dog in class or when out on walks. It also eliminates the excuse of forgetting your clicker at home, as it’s always right there. The Clik-R Clip will be available on Premier's website in March.
PetSafe Clik-R Clip, $14.99
CrunchCore Chew Toy
Dogs love the crackle and crunch of water bottles as they chew. Although there are replaceable toy covers for used water bottles, if you have a dog who avidly destroys his toys, the soft covers are easily torn off, and the stuffed character arms can be torn off. The CrunchCore will be available this spring for less than $20. The company makes sizes for all breeds, from mini to large dogs.
CrunchCore Chew Toy, under $20
Tracerz Scent Markers for Blind Dogs
This is an innovative way to help pets with limited or zero vision navigate the house. Although pets can learn the layout of a house on their own, the Tracerz scented markers provide a way to make the transition easier for our pets; whether they’re steadily losing their sight, have just moved to a new home, or the furniture has been moved around. The scent markers are placed on furniture to help the pet locate and avoid running into items in the room.
If we want to keep our pets motivated during training sessions, it’s important to mix up the rewards we use. Rewarding wanted behavior with play is a great way to keep pets interested and excited about the behaviors they’re learning. The Longshot Launcher toy is a perfect way to reward exuberant players. It has a sturdy stuffed animal on the end of a bungee system, which allows the pet parent to shoot the toy out a far distance for the dog to retrieve. Think of it as the Chuck-It for stuffed animals instead of a ball.
Longshots Launch Toys, $15.99, at Petco
A tired pet is a happy pet, and exercise is an essential component to a well-behaved animal. In certain cases, people can’t provide their pet with the full amount of exercise they require, whether the person is elderly, has an injury, faces extreme weather conditions, or has other concerns that prevent the adequate amount of outdoor exercise.
The DogPacer Treadmill is the Godiva of treadmills. This baby has it all — it folds up for easy storage, has various speed levels that gradually increase or decline, and features an area for back entrance and front exit (without a front blocker, preventing paws from hitting as they stride). It even features a safety clip that attaches to the pet to stop the treadmill if the animal falls off the back.
Do you have a pet who destroys his toys within seconds? The Seatbelt Toy is made from seatbelt material with extreme strength to hold up during games of tug and fetch. The toy provides another alternative for rewarding your pet for proper behavior. Play also reinforces the bond between pet parent and their pooch. Just remember that if you’re playing tug, use our rules for a safe game while reinforcing your pet’s desirable behavior of sit and drop it.
R2P Pet Seatbelt Toys, $7.99-$14.99
PetSafe Bark & Activity Counter
Ever wonder what your dog does when he's home alone? Or are you unsure if your dog is displaying separation anxiety? The Bark & Activity Counter fits on a dog’s collar to measure the amount of barking and movement your dog does during the day, even when you’re not there. The recording can be downloaded to your computer to keep a record of how your dog does when he's home alone. This information is essential for pet owners who want a record of the progress they’re making on reducing stress for their dog when they’re left alone. It can also indicate the training steps that make the biggest difference for your pet, such as decreased barking and movement on the days you play Through a Dog’s Ear music or when using a productive chew toy.