Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Favorite Things

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to try a lot of different products on a lot of different dogs.  Lots of products are okay, others are disappointing but a few stand out above the rest and become staples that I use and recommend over and over. Below are some of my favorite things.
Midwest Ultima Pro Triple Door Dog Crate:  These crates are hard to find (usually only available online) but their heavy-gauge wire is sturdy and durable and the three doors give you a multitude of options in the house or car.  They fold for carrying or storage.  I am also excited to see that Midwest is producing a 21” wide crate specifically for use as a side-by-side crate in the back of a vehicle.  These may be on my next list of favorite things.




Walk through baby gates:  I own two of these and love them.  They fit wide openings and the smaller walk through gate means it's not a hassle or health hazard to try to get through them.  I use one on my cat room and another to keep the dogs out of the basement.  They make great barriers in high traffic areas.


Lupine Collars and Leashes:  Lupine collars, harnesses and leashes come in a great range of sizes, styles and collars.  Even better, they are guaranteed for life – even if your puppy chews them!  The Combo collar (also called a martingale or greyhound style collar) is great for dogs who slip their collars.  Stewart's Mountainview Animal Hospital carries Lupine locally or you can find them online through Amazon or online petstores. 


Boomerang Collar Tags (Slide On or for Adjustable Nylon Collars):  These collar tags are sturdy, durable and most importantly reduce the risk that your dog will get his collar tag stuck in something.  I have seen dogs get their collar tags stuck in crates (always remove collars from crated dogs), chainlink fences, heater grates, and most recently in a folding chair.  Dangling collar tags are a safety risk and can result in panicking, strangulation and death. 


Premier EasyWalk or Softouch Sensation or Sensible Harnesses:  These harnesses are a great tool for dogs that pull.  They are easy to put on, adjust and they work instantly.  Because the leash attaches to the center of the chest, your dog is redirected back towards you when he pulls.  Dogs accept them quickly without fighting or fussing.



Kong and Busy Buddy Squirrel Dude:  These toys can be filled or stuffed with treats to provide your dog with interactive fun and lots and lots of chewing.  Great for pups that love to chew as well as a tool for crate training and separation anxiety.  Put them in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.



Zanies Dog Toys (especially the Bungee Gecko):  These sturdy toys are lots of fun with a squeaker in both ends.  The Bungee Gecko is pack tested.  After a year, Nellie and Pip have had so much fun playing and tossing them that they haven’t surgically removed the squeakers or any other part of it (squeakers, ears, feet and eyes go quickly in our house).  And they are cheap!  You can get them at Mitchell County Animal Rescue or online for just $3-4.


Chuckit Ball Launcher:  This toy will make even the weeniest tennis-ball tosser (that would be me) a hero in the eyes of their dog.  And you won’t have to bend down to pick up nasty, slobbery, muddy tennis balls ever again.  Pick up some Chuckit glow balls or a 2.5 inch Sergeant’s Buddy’s Glow ball while you are at it.  Normal tennis balls have silicone in the nap to make them sturdier.  The silicone along with dirt that gets trapped in the fibers may abrade your dog’s teeth over time.  For this reason, I prefer to use a smooth surfaced ball for dogs that play fetch regularly.


Furminator:  I *love* my Furminator!  It strips the soft, dense undercoat out of Nellie and Pip Squeak’s coats like nothing else.  This product seems to work best on animals with thick undercoats.  I also use it on my cats.


Semi-moist Dog Food Rolls:  Made by several different companies, semi-moist dog food rolls make high value, nutritionally complete treats for training.  Natural Balance and Pet Botanics are two brands to look for.  Dog food rolls are especially good treats for small dogs, dogs with weight problems or sensitive stomachs.  Remember to substitute the dog food roll for a comparable amount of their normal food.



Anything by Patricia McConnell:  Patricia McConnell is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) and has her PhD in Zoology (she researched dog behavior and communication between professional trainers and working domestic animals).  I recommend her books and pamphlets frequently.  She has several small, affordable pamphlets humanely addressing a range of issues from housetraining to separation anxiety to managing a multi-dog household.  These pamphlets are also available on Amazon.


Spot Shot:  Great for getting pet messes out of carpet.  The spray penetrates the carpet and helps lift residue to the surface.  It will also break down and remove old stains, blood and bile stains.  I always have some in my cupboard just in case.  You can find it in most grocery stores in the cleaning aisle.

Cleanrun.com:  Carries lots of great products including many of the items listed here.


Standard Measuring Cup:  For measuring your dog’s food.  Many people eyeball their dog’s food or use a scoop of unknown size.  If you use a standard measuring cup, it will be a lot easier to manage your dog’s food intake to maintain a healthy body weight.  Available in any grocery store.

Greenies Pill Pocket Treat:  These soft, moist treats have a pocket that make hiding a pill inside quick and easy.  Yes, you can do the same thing with peanut butter or American cheese but pill pockets are neater and easier to use.  I especially love them for giving pills to cats.  They come in several sizes and flavors.  Available at most pet stores and many vet offices.



  1. Great post! I am definitely going to have to look up some of these, especially the dog training manuals. I could certainly use help with my pup's separation anxiety. Also, the cages that fold flat sound amazing, though I personally prefer soft dog crates over wire.

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