There is a varied array of products available to help shape positive dog behaviors and assist in curbing unwanted conduct. Ways to help draw attention to the selection of products available in pet specialty stores include holding workshops with behaviorists and lifestyle experts and adding relevant content to store websites.
Each owner might experience a different unwanted behavior. And for each, there are products available to help curb it. Some might find help through exercise equipment.
As more Americans consider purchasing in-home gym equipment that allows them to work out in the comfort of their own homes, it appears that now they have to make place for fitness equipment for their dogs, too.
According to Jeanne Dailey, owner and president of FitPAWS, fun dog fitness for a well-behaved dog is the goal of the company’s numerous canine fitness products, which although designed specifically for dogs, replicate shapes found in human fitness and physical therapy centers.
“Our FitPAWS equipment stimulates dogs both physically and mentally, which is so important for a dog with behavior problems. For example, the TRAX Donut or K9FITbone are great for instability training and help build core muscles, body awareness, and balance on unstable surfaces,” she explained. “Our Brain Games are a fun way to make your dog focus by standing on paw pods which teaches them to stand on a specific mark and rear end awareness when they learn to walk backwards.”
The products are available in a broad range of sizes to safely support all breeds and sizes of dogs.
One of the company’s most popular products is the FitPAWS Agility Kit, a selection of products including cones for weaving exercises and targets used to train the dog to go from spot to spot.
“Anytime a dog has to concentrate, it stimulates the brain,” Dailey added.
The company has also aligned with Blue K9 to include this company’s KLIMB training product as part of FitPAWS’ CanineGym in a BOX.
According to dog training expert Jamie Popper from Blue-9 Pet Products, The KLIMB was designed to help manage problem behaviors such as jumping on guests, begging at the dinner table, or excessive barking.
“The product has been professionally engineered and built specifically for canines to give a dog a place to call its own,” she explained. “By training your dog to go and stay on the KLIMB, you can eliminate problem behaviors, as the elevation creates a defined space, resulting in a more focused dog. Training a dog to go to and stay on the KLIMB is much easier than training a typical sit-stay. This is because it is a designated spot that has been paired with rewards during the training process.”
According to Dailey, FitPAWS and Blue K9 work closely together and are looking to expand this relationship in the very near future.
Reward Good Behavior
Dog training goes hand-in-paw with positive re-enforcement in the form of treats. The Houndations training treats from Loving Pets Products come with a carabineer attached to every bag. Made in the USA, Houndations are bite-size soft-chews. The all-natural ingredients are grain-, wheat-, gluten- and corn-free and available in five flavors: lamb, beef, chicken, salmon and duck.
“The idea is to make it easy to go hands-free when training, hiking or just playing,” explained Eric Abbey, president and CEO of the company.
When Cheryl Pedersen, CEO and founder of PoochieBells, formed her company in 2005 operating in the basement of her home, she was in fact creating a totally new dog training product line. The concept is a simple one: it’s based on teaching a dog to ring the bells to announce that it’s time for a potty break. The product is designed to hang inside the house on a doorknob or a hook next to the door that the dog exits to go out. The products come with simple three-step instructions.
Now, 13 years later, PoochieBells is sold nationwide and also internationally, and sales have exceeded 1 million units. At the recent SuperZoo in Las Vegas, Nevada, the company launched a new range of PoochieBells and matching collars and leashes that Pedersen has labeled the Be You Collection. It includes six colors and patterns made from durable bamboo webbing.
“The company’s mantra is ‘Your dog makes you a better person,’ and we believe this new collection taps directly into this philosophy,” Pedersen explained.
The new patterns are named Be, Love, Infinity, Beautiful, Namaste and Joyful, and these words are an integral part of the pattern. The products are all hand crafted at the company’s facility in Connecticut.
Up Country Inc., the Providence, Rhode Island, accessory company known for its high-end collars and leashes, recently introduced Doggie Doorbells to its inventory, available in 11 colors and themed for the end of year holidays. They are made in the USA from durable bamboo webbing and nickel-plated bells. Personalization is available, too.
“With 2018 being the Chinese Year of the Dog, we are delighted to celebrate an owner’s special bond with their dog with comfort, quality and style by expanding our home decor line, which includes the launch of our new Doggie Doorbells,” founder Alice Nichols said.
The company has also introduced 12- and 20-foot training leads with the goal of offering pet owners more flexibility while instructing a dog. They are available in nine colors.
“With both our new training leads and doggie doorbells, we pride ourselves on the perfect marriage of style and functionality. The leads are manufactured from an eco-friendly bamboo webbing which is extremely lightweight but equally strong, with durable solid brass hardware. Beautiful and hard-working—that’s how we like to design and describe our products,” Nichols added.
When it comes to training leashes, the original ThunderLeash from ThunderWorks remains a firm favorite with dog experts like celebrity trainer Harrison Forbes.
“It’s a modern version of an old training trick called the Dutch half hitch and designed to relieve pet stress and anxiety with its swaddling effect. It’s used by looping a leash around the flank or belly and tightening it to distract and help settle an overactive or leash aggressive dog that may pull hard or become very agitated at the sight of other animals or strangers,” Forbes said. “Even if there’s only a 20 percent anxiety reduction, it can put a pet in a new mindset that may allow them to slowly conquer their fear.”
According to Steven Appelbaum, president of Animal Behavior College—himself a certified dog trainer with over 30 years’ experience—new puppies in a household have different behavioral product needs from an older adopted dog.
“For starters, puppies require a crate or exercise pen. I personally prefer exercise pens as they can be made larger as the puppy grows and are not as constrictive. Other ‘must haves’ include an odor neutralizer to assist with cleaning ‘accidents’ during the house training phase, a poop scooper and/or poop bags, soft bristle brush so the puppy can learn to be brushed and of course training treats,” he said. “Products for older dogs will depend on the age of the dog and what their training needs are.
“Often, new dog owners think that if they train their dog to use a pee pad, they are setting up bad habits,” Appelbaum continued. “But from a practical stand point, because so many people work such long hours, many consider them a necessity.”
To train a dog to use an indoor pee pad and still understand that outside is really the place to do business, Appelbaum suggests using an exercise pen in conjunction with a pee pad.
“Make the pen very large and put the pad on one side. Since most dogs don’t like to soil the area where they have to lie down, the hope is they will eliminate on the pad and leave the rest of the pen clean. Some dogs will grasp this very quickly. Others step all over their mess and, well, you can imagine what it looks and smells like when mom and dad get home,” Appelbaum said. “Male dogs are not automatically more difficult to teach and many older neutered male dogs squat when they go anyway. The key with pee pads and male dogs is to position the pad away from anything that he might pee on if he overshoots the pad. Otherwise, the principles are the same as teaching any dog.”
“The biggest challenge is teaching them to go outside when the owners are home. Once the dog has learned to use the pads when owners are gone, the owners can remove the pads when they are home, block off the area (just in case the dog still thinks it is OK to go there) and then take the dog outside regularly to where they want them to eliminate,” he added. “The owner should take a pad with them and put it down outside where they want the dog to go. This makes it easier for the dog to grasp the ‘go outside’ concept. And of course, praise all outside elimination! After several weeks, most dogs will understand to eliminate outside when the owners are home.”
MaxWell Pet by Dr. Garber’s manufactures a product called Calm & Happy for Dogs and, according to founder and developer Dr. Stuart Garber, the company has had feedback indicating positive results with separation anxiety and loud noise reactions as with thunderstorms and fireworks.
“There are many pets that are being prescribed psychoactive drugs like ‘puppy Prozac,’ which can have just as devastating side effects as antidepressants have with humans,” Garber explained. “With MaxWell Pet, our formulas have no reported side effects. It’s a food additive and the effects can often be felt with the first dose. For pets that exhibit ongoing nervousness, hyperactivity or discontentment, it may need to be given over a longer period of time to start balancing out the animal. After that, and for the pets that experience more situational issues, it can be given on an as-needed basis, as often as necessary to achieve the desired result.”
When it comes to basic training of a new or adopted dog, it’s important to feel confident and in control of a dog on a leash. The Nifti SafeLatch is a patented magnetic dog leash that automatically connects to the metal D-ring on a dog’s collar or harness. As the latch gets close, the metal D-ring is automatically lifted and attaches to the magnet inside the latch.
“This avoids the typical open gap of a standard bolt snap latch that can allow a dog to escape and avoids possible damage to the spring or bolt that is caused by the continuous movement of a loose bolt within the cavity,” explained Bert de Bien, co-founder of Nifti Solutions, Inc.
With all dog behavioral products, it’s all about peace-of-mind solutions to good behavior.