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When you have a dog, you know that they can often be delighted by the simplest of pleasures. Dogs are fairly content animals, and easily excited. Still, it wouldn’t be fair to our best friends if we didn’t do our best to really give them a good time. Afterall, they’re our faithful companions, and whatever happiness we can bring them, is usually returned to us ten-fold once they get going!
One of the very first products you’ll probably think of buying as a dog owner is a leash. Finding the best leash for your dog will depend on the size of your animal, and their personality, as well as your purposes for the leash. You might be thinking, “a leash only has one purpose.” But aside from the obvious uses – keeping your dog safe, tethered, and under control – there are various types of leashes for large and small breeds and different purposes, including training. Below are a few good options and one that I would stay away from.
Your typical, standard flat leashes are either leather or nylon. These are the everyday kinds of leashes that most dog owners use for walks and training. I recommend using a 6 foot leash since it will give your dog a little more freedom to move while still staying close to you on walks. I use both nylon and a leather lead in my training. Leather is a bit more expensive but will outlast most nylon leads. There are more color choices with nylon but you really cannot go wrong with either of these two choices.
Chain leashes are useful for bigger and more rambunctious dogs who may have a tendency to chew at leather or nylon leashes. They come in different weights and thicknesses. I would say since they can be bulky/heavy if not fitted to your dog properly this would be a last resort option for heavy leash chewers.
Gentle Leader head collar is popular with dog owners as if fits securely over your dogs head/nose and reduces excessive leash pulling and can even help with jumping. Some dogs may not be fond of anything over their nose at first, so this option make take additional time to get your dog used to it. One tip would be to plan on a week or so to help get your dog adjusted to the gentle leader.
Harnesses are a great option and can really make a difference while out on a walk. There are front and top clip and a combination of both. Harnesses come in many different styles, colors and fabrics and look great while out on the town! There are simple no frills options or a larger padded choice if you have a bigger, stronger puller on your hands. While the harness will have a top and front clip, If you own a strong dog that has a tendency to pull you around using the front clip is the quickest way to help to curb that. One company that I recommend for both style and functionality is https://ruffwear.com/
One option that I would avoid using are retractable leashes Retractable leashes can be as long as 30ft, and having so much line can potentially cause strangulation. If your dog wanders too far out of sight and gets turned around a bit too much, you may not realize until it’s too late which could cause a whiplash effect
Additional dangers with retractable leashes include the potential for chord burns on your hands or even strangulation if not used properly. No matter what you are using to walk your dog the best thing you can do for them is to train them how to walk near you making both your life and their easier!
Crates & Pens
Even though leashes are the first item that comes to mind when buying for a new dog, you should also consider creating a comfortable and calming place inside your home. Crate training is essential as it allows them their own personal space while keeping young dogs out of harms way while they are alone in your home. Crates come in all shapes and sizes and will blend nicely into your home decor.
Dog exercise pens are a more spacious alternative to crates, and allow puppies and more hyper-active dogs to have space to move without risk of ransacking your house. These can also be used if you have a particularly large backyard and don’t want your dog to wander off the property. If you’re an outdoorsy dog owner who loves to travel, an exercise pen is a must-have for your dog! Many dog owners have day-jobs, and might not have the luxury to afford doggy-daycare. Using a crate is a great idea as long as you have given plenty of exercise prior to leaving your dog in it for an extended time.
Toys & Treats
Here is where your pet product purchases must be especially thoughtful. Sure, it’s tempting to grab every colorful and squeaky item you pass in the pet store. But stop yourself! You don’t want to come home with a cartful of items your dog will quickly lose interest in after a few days.
Instead, aim to find smart toys that will delight and engage your dog for hours, time and time again.
Puzzles like Kongs come in an assortment of varieties, for owners to stuff with treats, and dogs to figure out how to get the food. These interactive puzzles hide treats in them so the dog has to really problem solve and find a process for reaching the food. Lick Mats are an enticing alternative, that also so uses food. They are built so the dog will have to spend a decent amount of time licking the food (peanut butter/banana as example) off of the Mat.
Bully sticks (my fav) is another safe option for the bigger chewer in your home. They allow dogs to do what they’re naturally inclined to do: CHEW! You’ll want to always monitor your dog while he/she is chomping on a bully stick or any item that they can break into pieces.
Tug toys are classic dog toys that encourage safe play and can help to exhaust younger, high energy animals. Playing tug is a fun way to get your dogs attention and gives them both mental and physical exercise. One idea to use a tug toy as a reward is to tug back and forth for 30 seconds, then ask your dog for a behavior(sit or down) and when he/she does it, reward them with another round of tug! I put my tug toys away when done using them and when its time to bring them back out my dog goes right into yahoooooo mode!
As dog owners we love to see our pets get excited and happy. Luckily, it doesn’t take much to thrill your dog. They are looking for attention and mental stimulation to keep them happy! With just a little bit of browsing and research you can find affordable and wildly engaging products for you pet all across the web!