February 13, 2017

The first three months of the year is one of the busiest times for dog trainers. Many owners vow, as part of their New Year’s resolutions, to train their dogs. Others will look at the puppy they recently acquired and realize obedience training is needed. Since pet owners often go to their local independent pet retailer for help, here is a sampling of training products you should consider stocking.

Chews, Deterrents and Toys
Teething puppies need something on which to chew, as do many adult dogs. If owners can get their dogs focused on chewing appropriate items, they reduce the likelihood of coming home to damaged furniture, shoes, cords, etc. KONG Puppy Teething Sticks, Nylabone Flavor Frenzy Puppy Chews, Himalayan Dog Chews and Petstages ORKA Dog Tires are just a few of the many chew products you could add to your shelves.

Customers could benefit from using no-chew repellents, such as Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray or Vet’s Best Bitter Cherry Spray, in conjunction with appropriate chew toys. The deterrent helps stop dogs from chewing on the wrong items, enabling owners to direct their dog to the pet products. This can be helpful for customers with serious problem chewers. The key is to teach customers to understand that the solution to a chewing problem is not to cover the house with chew repellent. Rather, it is to strongly focus the dog on chewing the correct items.

While dogs over 6 months old are no longer teething, some might still chew due to boredom or excess energy. If boredom is the issue, your customers’ dogs could benefit from an interactive toy. If too much energy is the problem, toys that promote healthy exercise can help. There are many products that help get dogs and their owners off the couch and to the outdoors, including Petmate Chuckit! toys, the BazooK-9 Tennis Ball Launcher Gun and Hyper Pet’s ball launchers and slingshot toys.

Exercise and Obedience
Most dogs don’t like to eliminate where they lie down, which is why confining a dog to a small, comfortable area, such as a crate or playpen, plays a critical part in the housetraining process. Additionally, restricting puppies’ ability to run around a house is safer for them and makes it much easier for owners to manage them.

What I like about exercise pens is their size adjustability; they can provide more room than traditional kennels. Petmate, Midwest Homes for Pets and Richell USA all offer a range of great containment products, including crates, pens and gates.

During the housetraining process, dog owners will also need a continuing supply of pee pads, poop bags and stain-and-odor removers. Skout’s Honor, Nature’s Miracle and Bramton Simple Solution brands offer an extensive range of these products.

A proper leash and training collar is a necessity for obedience training; a standard training leash is 6 feet long. Many trainers start dogs on a flat leather or nylon collar, as they’re less likely to slip over a dog’s head, although others prefer a head collar, such as a PetSafe Gentle Leader or Coastal Pet Products Walk ‘N Train.

Slip collars, which are also referred to as choke chains, are recommended by some trainers. However, they should not be used for puppies or senior dogs. If you carry them, your staff needs to know how to properly fit them. As a general rule, a proper slip collar is 2 inches bigger than the dog’s neck. Too large and the collar will be excessively loose, making escape a possibility. Too tight an it becomes constricting and dangerous for the dog. In addition, all customers should never leave their dog unattended when it’s wearing a slip collar.

By equipping your staff with dog training knowledge and stocking your store with the right supplies, you can help new owners in their quest to train their dogs. It’s a win-win-win for owners, their dogs and your store.

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