With so many products on the market it can be easy to be overwhelmed with what you NEED and what is just going to cause clutter and waste.
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A long-line is essential for most puppy and dog training. When starting out on "come when called" putting your on a long-line provides security for you and your dog. My biggest mistake when buying my first long-line was going TOO long. I think 60ft maybe? It was a nightmare! 15ft is a good starting point for basic training. Long-lines can also be used when working in the park on "go arounds" and scent work.
There is lot in the press recently over the dangers of giving dogs the more traditional rawhide chews (read more about it here). There are lots of natural alternatives out there but I really like the Yak Milk chews. They are a little more expensive but last a really long time (my dog can be working on one for a couple of weeks). They're very safe but never leave a dog unsupervised with a chew of any kind.
The most classic of dog toys - the trusty Kong! These toys are so versatile, so engaging, so durable. Every dog owner should start out with one of these. I have a blog post about my favourite ways to stuff a Kong but there are resources all over the internet. A frozen Kong can keep my dog occupied for over an hour. They come in different sizes and durabilities (softer rubber for older dogs, or extra tough rubber for heavy chewers).
This little invention by dog toy company Busy Buddy is something I see around a lot less often than the famous Kong but is my equal favourite dog feeding toy. I originally heard about them from another trainer and now I would never be without one. They are simple (no fiddly set up), ultra durable and easy to adjust the 'difficulty' by just twisting the opening more or less closed. My dog loves to kick this around the living room and I get a waggy tail every time I pull this out of the cupboard. Fantastic for dogs who need something to do while you leave them alone for an hour, or if you are trying to "ditch the dog bowl" (more on that here).
If you are looking for more variety of feeding-toys beyond the Busy Buddy and the Kong this is another favourite of mine. Better suited to a smaller or less boisterous dog as they can be tipped over and smashed, this "tornado toy" allows you to fill all the compartments with different food treats and then the dog has the nuzzle and twist to get the food out.
Another famous one - the Snuffle Mat! Dogs love using their noses and "hunting" their food and this mat allows them to do just that. Pop their dinner or a handful of treats among the little bits of cloth and watch them sniff it all out. Some dogs work out pretty fast that they can pick the whole thing up and shake it out, in which case you may have to hold it down or get extra mats to make it bigger. I also have a tutorial here on how to do a DIY alternative using cardboard boxes.
No doggie household can be without a good enzymatic cleaner, and this is the one I use. Even with grown up dogs, sometimes a visiting dog in the house can lead to unfortunate accidents. If you're not familiar with enzymatic cleaners they use enzymes to break down the parts of pee/poop/vomit so that the smells don't linger to invite a further pee on that spot. They also work wonders on fabrics to remove stains. I've even used mine on spilt coffee.
The world of dog treats is vast and I couldn't recommend every product I use in just one blog post but these are the ones I use most regularly. You get a really big pack for a great price. The treats are really small - perfect for training and can be broken in half for even smaller dogs. The ingredients list is free from any major nasties - just meat and potatoes. My dog hasn't seemed to tire of them and they have a nice strong meaty smell (exactly what you need for animals driven so heavily by their nose).
If your dog is anything like mine they LOVE to dissect toys and pull all the stuffing out. There is a good reason for this and you can read more about it here. BUT it isn't very good for your dog to swallow toy stuffing so if your dog is prone to dissecting toys and eating the stuffing these are a great option. Having a variety of toys is so important - especially while training young dogs chew manners and giving them mental stimulation.
Lots of dogs can benefit from some extra warmth such as sighthounds, small breeds and young puppies. Warming pads can be comforting to soothe anxiety, such as when you first bring your puppy home as he is used to sleeping with his siblings and their mum. Puppies can chew human hot water bottles which makes them unideal bed companions so a pet-safe heat pad is a much safer option.
Treat pouches are essential for success in training. If we constantly hold food in our hands while giving commands we can inadvertently teach our dogs that part of the cue is having food in our hands. No food in our hand means no behaviour! I lived for ages without a treat pouch because I couldn't find one that worked for me until I tried this one out. It's really easy to access with loads of handy pockets for different treats, keys, poop bags etc. My favourite but use whatever works for you!
So you've read my post about the dreaded flexi-leads and are now in the market for something more robust? I really favour these Ezy-Dog leads. The flexible elastic section helps manage heavy-pullers and the handle allows for extra-control when required. You can attach a climbers carabiner when walking on a dual collar/harness set-up. Sturdy but light-weight, it's a real winner.