Raindrops on roses and whiskers on…PUPPIES! You get the picture, these are a few of our favorite things.
Since 2005 we have been working with people and the dogs they love and time after time we find ourselves recommending the same products, tools, and equipment. In fact, having the right tools and equipment to control your puppy’s environment is what we call the Secret to Zen Dog Training!
These are a few of our most-recommended products. They are the brands and products that we use ourselves with our dogs. Just so you know, we may collect a share of sales or compensation from the links on this page if you decide to purchase them.
We can not stress enough how important treats are when rewarding good behavior. You should bring treats everywhere you go! Use them not only for rewarding good behavior, but also for going into the crate, and socialization to people and kids. Use them for socialization when your dog gets startled by loud and unusual things like city noises, trucks, buses, etc. We recommend a high-value (really yummy) soft treat that is easy to break into really small pieces!
- These Beef Jerky Treats are our go-to training treat. Dogs love them, they are healthy (all USA beef) and a good value — a 60 ounce bag is less than $16. They are also easy to break up, and don’t make your hands smell too much!
Believe it or not, we have some pretty strong recommendations on poop bags. We are not big fans of the scented bags so that eliminates (haha) many of the natural compostable ones.
- Our go-to poop bag is the Bags on Board Dog Poop Bags They are strong and leak proof dog waste bags ($19.99 for 600 bags). that are a great value, $.03 a bag, big enough to handle most pickups (14” x 9”), and strong enough to give you the confidence to know they will not break on the way to the trash can.
- If you are looking for an earth friendly option, these Earth Rated Poop Bags are “extra thick and strong” and come unscented ($14 for 270 bags).
We highly recommend that you use a Front-Clip harness (see below) when taking your dog on walks. We also recommend having your dog wear a collar pretty much all the time as the collar is one of the easiest ways to stay in control when training your dog. Make sure the collar is thick enough to grab and the right tightness to ensure you can quickly get your hands under the collar if you need to interrupt or remove your dog.
- Martingale collars are the best for rescue dogs and any kind of flight risk dogs. These anti-slip collars will tighten up if your dog tries to back out or escape. They the safest option for higher risk dogs but can be hard to grab and use to stop puppy play biting.
- We recommend a flat collar like this Miniboso Premium Reflective Dog Collar ($17.99). Any ¾” or 1” collar, with or without padding, will work. We suggest paying a bit extra for one that has a better clasp. For example, this Carhartt Fully Adjustable Collar, is made by a company with a reputation for quality, has a nice sturdy clasp, and reflective stitching.
- We like the leather collars but do not recommend the skinny rolled leather collars. You want a flat collar (¾” to 1”) that is wide enough for you to quickly grab. This padded leather Soft Touch Collar ($24) or the more basic Might Paw Leather Dog Collar ($12) are great options that will last a long time!
At Zen Dog Training we recommend using a front-clip harness. Front-clip harnesses attach to the chest area allowing you to have better control of your dog while on leash. With a front-clip harness, pulling on the leash is naturally corrected as your dog will get turned around when they start to pull. This makes walks easier, especially with high-energy or bigger dogs. Here are a few of our favorites:
Hamilton Adjustable Comfort Dog Harness — Best Value (designed as a back clip harness but has a metal ring you can clip to in the front).
Easy Walk Harness – This is our go-to recommendation in puppy classes and in home sessions. We find the Medium/Large, and Small/Medium sizes are the ones that fit most dogs but they are often not in stock at big box stores.
The Easy Walk Deluxe is nice if you want a bit of extra padding.
We always recommend a 6 foot leash for walks. A shorter 4 foot indoor (a.k.a. drag line) leash worn inside the house, meant to drag on the floor, is nice to have as well. A 6 foot leash is essential for teaching walking skills, rewarding good behavior and creating the illusion of freedom on walks outside.
Typically held at the 4-foot length on walks, a longer leash allows you to get a good two-handed grip on the leash without sacrificing length. A 6-foot leash is essential for performing the “Leash Step”, “My Walk”, and other Zen Dog Training games.
6 foot leash and 4 foot indoor dragline. We prefer thicker 1” or ¾” for smaller dogs and flat/nylon leashes that are easier to step on and use as a drag line.
CAR LEASHES AND VEHICLE RESTRAINTS
It’s good to get in the habit of putting a seat belt on your dog when you take them in the car.
- BWOGUE makes an adjustable headrest restraint for about $10.
- There are also some really secure options like car leashes that clip right into the seat belt buckle. IOKHEIRA 3-in-1 nylon car restraint ($18) that can fit the seat belt, child safety seat, or hook latch, the EzyDog Click seat belt leash ($20) seems more secure, and this Joyride Harness 2-in-1 Leash with seat belt combo ($29) is a nice option.
Having a dogs in your home, even non-allergic breeds, can mean more dust, dander, odor, and potential allergy triggers.
We highly-recommend an Air Purifier with a HEPA filter to improve the air quality in your home and reduce the impact of your dog on more sensitive members of your home.
- The Alen Air Purifier is by far the best one in our experience. It has great reviews (4.8 out of 5 on Amazon), is quiet, works great, and has a special “dark function” that turns off all the lights while running. At around $400 for the basic model, it is not cheap. However, according to Alen, 81% of people who purchased this filter woke up less often at night and got a better nights sleep.
TOYS & FOOD DISPENSING TOYS
- West Paw Frisbee – Dogs love this toy. It flies like a real frisbee, floats, and is tough!
- Tricky Treat Ball – This is another favorite. It’s easy to fill with treats and with a little help, your dog will quickly learn how to roll, shake, and drop it to get treats to come out. We like how it’s quiet when it rolls on the floor unlike some of the hard plastic toys.
- Best Bully Sticks – While bully sticks aren’t for every dog (ask your vet if they approve), some bully sticks are better than others. These are some of the best out there.
- Squeaky Tennis Balls – We’re not really brand specific with squeaky balls. These balls float, are pretty inexpensive and come in smaller sizes for smaller dogs.
- For harder chewers, check out these no-stuffing style squeaky toys: goDog Dragons and these less expensive Zippy Paws plush toys are great for tug and fetch, and to teach your dog to self-soothe.