Trainers use these tricks to make dogs behave so much better — & you can easily do them too

A well-behaved dog equals a happy dog owner.

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Getting your dog to behave at home, in public, and everywhere in between, takes time and a lot of patience. And whether you’re at the start of your pup’s training or just looking for some new tips, I’ve consulted top pros in the field to share their favorite tools and solutions to help.

From mentally stimulating toys to convenient poop bag dispensers, these are clever items and tricks that work for trainers — and can be easy for you to implement, too. To see more, keep on scrolling. Because a well-behaved dog equals a happy dog owner.


Use a shower mat to prevent slipping during bath time

If your dog (and you) dread bath time, Nicole Ellis, a certified professional dog trainer with Rover, suggests adding a mat to make the tub less slippery and more stable for your pup. Measuring 24 by 24 inches, this nonslip mat sticks to the floor of your shower with a rubber backing that includes drainage holes for quick drying. Plus, the mat’s surface features a soft, loofah feel that exfoliates and gives your dog some traction.

  • Available colors: 5


Add a lick mat to your bath routine to keep pup occupied

To further aid with bath time, Ellis recommends adding a lick mat with suction cups to the side of the tub. Smear on some peanut butter or yogurt and your pet will be occupied and happy through the bath’s duration. This 9 by 5-inch lick pad is made of silicone with four uniquely textured areas that can also be used during thunderstorms, crate training, grooming, and more. Not only does the licking distract your pup, but the brand notes it can also promote better dental health and relieve anxiety.

  • Available colors: 2


Incorporate a sturdy, designated platform into training

By teaching your dog to go to a designated training platform that’s elevated off the floor, near a door, and away from distractions, you can train them to not bolt out when the door is opened, Ellis explains. She adds that you can work up to rewarding them for not jumping on people when they come over. This 22 by 12-inch platform is 4 inches high, and reviewers appreciate that it’s sturdy enough for their dogs. The surface is nonslip and the bottom has nonskid feet that keep it secure on the ground. It’s also stackable, so you can add more height if needed.

  • Available sizes: 4 inches, 6 inches


Get a poop bag dispenser that fits on your leash

“As pet parents, we can do better, keeping our neighborhood, trails, and other places cleaner than when we arrived,” Ellis reports, so she advocates getting a poop bag holder for your leash. This dispenser comes with four rolls of thick, leakproof bags (60 bags total), that are also easy to open and tie securely. It attaches to any kind of leash and the bags are even lavender-scented.

  • Available sizes: 6
  • Available colors: 2


Train your dog with a portable mat that can go anywhere

Ellis is a big fan of mat training. She suggests starting with rewards for stepping on a flat dog bed, then working up to laying down and staying on the mat. That way, you can take the mat out to cafes or anywhere public, and your dog knows exactly where to stay. And this portable mat is perfect for that. It measures 24 by 18 inches and has a plush, cushioned surface that is super soft and comfortable. Best of all, it’s machine washable and dryer friendly.

  • Available sizes: 8


Invest in a durable toy for hard chewers

For hard chewers that love stuffed toys, Kait Hembree, a certified dog trainer and head of training at GoodPup, is a fan of the TUFFY. She’s found that it holds up far better than other toys and is a worthwhile investment. What makes it so tough is its four layers of fabric, all stuffed with nontoxic fibers. There’s a squeaker inside for extra doggy stimulation and the TUFFY is also machine washable.

  • Available sizes: 4
  • Available colors: 6


Use a clicker for positive reinforcement when training

“A clicker is a popular teaching technique that employs positive reinforcement,” reports Aaron Rice, a dog trainer at Stayyy. He advises using the clicker to indicate the action you’d like your dog to complete and then rewarding them with treats, so they’ll associate the click with good behavior. And if you’d like more than a clicker, this training set is a great option. It includes a clicker, a waterproof pouch for holding treats, kibble, and toys, and training bells for potty training. Plus, there’s a training book and ultrasonic whistle on a lanyard so you have everything you need to get your pup’s training on the right track.


Feed your dog with a self-dispensing toy for mental stimulation

When it comes to enrichment toys, the Toppl is a favorite of Ali Smith, CEO and founder of Rebarkable. Just fill the toy with treats or kibble (Smith even feeds her dogs meals from it), and as your pup searches for the hidden food, it helps stimulate their brain while they eat and keep them quieter for longer. Smith likes that it’s easy to fill and clean, and you’ll like that it’s nontoxic and dishwasher safe.

  • Available sizes: 3
  • Available colors: 3


Play with super bouncy balls that don’t wear teeth down

Smith’s favorite balls for dogs are Chuckits. She likes that they’re super bouncy, don’t wear down teeth, and give a great outlet for dogs to run and chase. Plus, the textured surface and thick core can stand up to rough play, while still being soft in your pup’s mouth. Featured here is the medium, which is about the size of a tennis ball, but other sizes are available in the listing for different dog breeds.

  • Available sizes: 5


Train puppies that bite with a super durable stuffed toy

According to Smith, every one of her puppy clients who are struggling with biting gets an Edsel as part of a training package. Not only is it a great size for the majority of puppies (11 inches), but Smith raves that it’s the most durable toy she’s ever owned (and worth the price tag). It holds up to puppy teeth because of the plush outer fabric with double stitched seams, and a nontoxic polyester fill that also happens to be machine washable, according to reviewers.


Use raw, freeze-dried dog treats for training & relaxation

These raw, freeze-dried treats are recommended by Smith for recall training (with a long line and harness) and to encourage relaxation. They’re grain and gluten-free and packed with high-quality proteins to promote your dog’s oral and digestive health. Plus, they come in a variety of flavors and sizes to suit every pup’s taste.

  • Available flavors: 11
  • Available sizes: 14


Provide a snuffle mat for chances to explore & sniff

“Dogs experience the world through their nose,” says Joanna Russell, a dog training expert, author of The Puppy Playbook, and founder of Biscuit Training, “so providing opportunities for them to explore and sniff can make them happier, calmer, and better behaved.” That’s why this snuffle mat is a solid pick. Just add your dog’s normal dry food to the mat and the act of sniffing and searching will slow down their eating and keep them occupied. Measuring 18 by 12 inches and made of soft organic cotton, it can also be used as a bed for small dogs. Plus, it’s machine washable.


Avoid barking & whining with all-natural chews

When you have guests over or are about to start a long Zoom call, Russell suggests keeping your dog busy to avoid barking and whining. These cheese chews can help with that. They’re made of three ingredients: yak and cow milk, salt, and lime juice, so they’re fully digestible and free of grain, gluten, chemicals, and preservatives. And even though they contain milk, they’re cured in a process that removes the lactose, making them lactose-free. The chews have a hard consistency to keep dogs gnawing and can reduce tartar and plaque buildup for fresher doggie breath.

  • Available styles: 10


Offer chews that promote cleaner teeth & gums

Russell is a fan of these buffalo beef cheek rolls. They’re low in fat, high in protein, and sourced from free-range, grass-fed cattle. There are no preservatives, chemicals, or additives, so they’re good for your pup, and can even promote cleaner teeth and gums. Reviewers rave that they’re long-lasting and keep dogs busy and entertained.

  • Available sizes: 4


Prevent boredom with a treat-dispensing toy

When you can’t give your dog all your attention, Russell suggests this interactive toy to prevent boredom. Reviewers are fans too, giving it over 20,000 five-star reviews. It has an adjustable opening so you can customize the difficulty, and the roomy chamber holds enough for an entire meal. And the weighted bottom is wobbly, so it keeps your pup engaged and stimulated.

  • Available sizes: 2


Keep your dog engaged & distracted with an interactive toy

For Shelby Semel, a certified dog trainer and founder of Shelby Semel Dog Training, an easy way to keep a dog behaving is to keep them proactively busy. “Don't wait until your dog is pawing at you or barking for your attention to grab an interactive toy,” Semel advises. You can set up this treat-dispensing toy before a call or right before guests come in, and keep your pup focused. The two halves are adjustable and hold hard or soft and smearable treats, plus it’s easy to clean and dishwasher safe.

  • Available sizes: 4


Use a toy to keep your dog stimulated & busy

The KONG Wobbler is another interactive toy that Semel recommends. It’s made of a highly durable material that spins and rolls in an unpredictable way while it dispenses treats, so your pup is kept stimulated and busy. The toy is easy to fill and clean, plus it’s dishwasher safe.

  • Available sizes: 2


Incorporate challenging & stimulating puzzle toys

Keep your pup challenged and stimulated with this puzzle toy, which is another rec from Semel. It requires your dog to combine several steps to retrieve the hidden treat and allows you to vary the difficulty level. The toy featured here is designed for puppies, but there are over 30 puzzles in the listing with a range of skill levels for all kinds of dogs.

  • Available styles: 5
  • Available puzzles: 32


Distribute consistent treats from an automatic dispenser

According to Semel, everyone should have an automatic treat dispenser that “allows you to train while otherwise busy and takes away the need for constant treats in your pockets and locations around your home.” You can teach your dog to press the button of this dispenser, which releases treats and makes a sound to engage your pup. It also includes a rubber holder and sucker for securing it indoors, a peg for outdoor use, and a remote controller. You can plug it in with the included micro USB cable or power the dispenser with four C batteries and three AAA batteries for the remote controller (batteries not included).

  • Available colors: 2


Give your dog extra durable bones to chew on

To keep your dog well-behaved, Leigh Siegfried, founder of Opportunity Barks, suggests long-lasting, non-edible chewies, like natural bone. These durable bones are hollow, so you can fill them with your dog’s favorite treats, and they don’t contain any additives, chemicals, or hormones. Plus, they can scrape away tartar and plaque from the gumline, promoting oral health.

  • Available flavors: 6


Offer aggressive chewers a long-lasting buffalo horn

In addition to bone chewies, Siegfried recommends this buffalo horn for its affordability and longevity. It measures 8 inches long, weighs 14.8 ounces, and one reviewer raves, “My dogs are German shepherd/boxer mixes, and these horns are the only things that they don’t destroy.”


Train with an extra-long leash

When it comes to training indoors, Siegfried recommends a leash around the house to help prevent accidents and destructive chewing, while guiding preferred movements. This 15-foot training leash is made of strong, durable nylon with a lightweight handle and features a clip that swivels 360 degrees so the leash doesn’t get twisted or tangled. If you’d like to customize, handles with extra foam and padding are available, as well as lengths up to 100 feet.

  • Available sizes: 5
  • Available colors: 5


Use an interactive toy for motivation & reward

According to Siegfried, training is a complement to fulfilling play time — and since each dog finds fulfillment in different ways, she advises owners to learn how their dogs like to play. With that in mind, this interactive toy is made of real Australian sheepskin, a strong bungee cord, and a nontoxic rubber ball that dogs love to chase and tug on. One reviewer raves, “This toy keeps my puppy engaged for hours.”

  • Available sizes: 3
  • Available colors: 4


Play with a ball that’s designed for heavy chewers

If your dog is a heavy chewer, this ball is made just for them. It features a squeak sound and a cheese scent that attracts pups, plus it’s designed to float in water, so it’s great for the beach, lake, pool, and more. The ball is easy to clean and the scents are all-natural. Featured here is a medium to large size which is ideal for dogs 10 pounds and up, but other sizes and flavors are also available.

  • Available sizes: 4
  • Available flavors: 6


Provide stuffing-free toys that dogs can chew & enjoy

With these stuffing-free crinkle toys, you’ll never have to worry about your dog tearing them apart, eating the stuffing, and making a mess. Each toy is about 12 inches long and comes in a five-pack featuring a variety of jungle animals. The toys crackle, crunch, and squeak to offer hours of play for light to moderate chewers.


Exert more control on walks with a no-pull harness

According to Susan Nilson, a pet training and behavior professional at The Cat and Dog House, this no-pull harness is “the perfect tool to give you better control while you are doing the training” because it’s designed to distribute pressure evenly across your dog’s chest and shoulders. It’s also designed to be comfortable to wear with adjustment points and velvet lining, so walks are more pleasant for you and your pet.

  • Available sizes: XS — XXL
  • Available colors: 19


Use a flirt pole for training & recovery skills

When it comes to flirt poles, Aleksandar Mishkov, a dog expert and owner of The Daily Tail, raves that they’re a “life-changing toy.” That’s because you can work on recovery skills with your dog, teaching them to listen to your commands while they chase and tug, and then have them cool off quickly when instructed to do so. This flirt pole is 36 inches and includes a squeaker and a lure to keep your dog mentally and physically engaged.

  • Available styles: Squeaker, no squeaker
  • Available sizes: 36-inch, 24-inch
  • Available colors: 2