Trainers say you can train your dog with any of these clever things

Trust the experts.

ByClaire Epting
Originally Published: 
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As a dog owner myself, I’m constantly keeping an ear to the ground for training tricks and tips. Even though my German Shepherd knows the basics, there’s always room for improvement — that’s why I was thrilled to learn about these clever pet products that help you train your pup. Plus, they all come recommended by experienced dog trainers, so you can feel confident that they actually work.

One thing about dogs? They respond to commands much more willingly if there’s some sort of reward involved. If your dog is mainly motivated by food, you’ll want to have some of these high-value jerky treats on hand. They’re easy to break into small pieces, so you can store them inside a silicone treat pouch and have them right on hand during training sessions.

These genius items for dogs will help you reach new breakthroughs in your pup’s abilities — and experts swear by them.


This fuzzy, lightweight ball that’s designed for indoor use

Kaitlin Primrose, quadruple-crown-certified trainer with Do More With Your Dog and chief author at Play Bark Run, says that treats aren’t the only reward you can use to get your dog to behave. “Your dog may be infatuated with a ball, tug toy, or even just lots of praise,” she states. For ball-obsessed dogs, this soft dog toy fits the bill — plus, its lightweight, plush design will protect your floors and furniture from damage.


A bone-shaped chew toy with an appetizing flavor

Giving your dog a designated chew toy will keep them from gnawing on other things, such as your shoes or furniture. This wish bone-shaped chew will keep your dog interested for hours on end, thanks to its appetizing chicken, bacon, or peanut flavor. “These chews have been nothing short of amazing! My dogs love them, and they last a very long time,” says Elissa Weimer-Sentner, owner of Paw & Order Dog Training in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Plus, you don’t have to worry about your dog choking on small pieces or getting an upset stomach.

  • Available sizes: 4
  • Available flavors: Chicken, Bacon, Peanut


The whistle that helps with recall training

Having a little trouble with recall training? Something as simple as this high-pitched whistle can quickly make a difference in your pet’s attention levels. “If your dog ignores you when you call them, using a whistle paired with praise and a high-value treat can be a game-changer,” says Sarah-Anne Reed, consulting holistic dog trainer at Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. The durable plastic whistle will not freeze, so it can be used even in cold temperatures.


The gentle wound spray that cleans out cuts & scrapes

This wound spray is a gentle formula that provides relief to dogs’ scrapes and hot spots — so they won’t feel tempted to lick or chew them. “I use this any time one of my dogs gets a scratch, cut, or sore of any kind,” says Weimer-Sentner. It also keeps your pet’s wounds from becoming infected, which could save you an expensive trip to the vet.


A pair of clickers that make training your dog easier

Sophie Whoriskey, DVM and senior writer for Floofy Doodles, recommends using dog clickers in conjunction with treats for a more effective training session. “The dog quickly learns that the click sound means he or she will get a tasty reward, and begins to associate good behaviors with the clicker noise,” she says. This pair of clickers includes a set of bungee clips, so you can attach them to your belt or leash.


This self-cleaning slicker brush for heavy-shedding dogs

Owners of heavy-shedding dogs, listen up: This slicker brush will change your life. The thin metal bristles lift up loads of fur from your dog’s dense undercoat, then easily retract so the hair lands straight in the trash. “This brush gets off so much fur, and with a simple push of a button it releases the fur, saving you so much time and effort!” says Weimer-Sentner.


This hard-wearing ball toy with a built-in handle

Heavy chewers may be able to rip plush toys apart in a matter of minutes, but this rubber ball toy stands up to rough-and-tumble play. “This Jolly ball really holds up in my household,” says Weimer-Sentner. “Plus, my dogs go crazy for it!” The built-in handle allows for easy tossing and tug-of-war. It also floats, so you can throw it in the pool, lake, or ocean for a game of fetch.

  • Available sizes: Small — X-Large
  • Available colors: 7


A leather dog leash that won’t come unhooked from your dog’s collar

Made of soft but sturdy leather, this dog leash is a great investment that could even save your pooch from running loose — thanks to the unique carabiner-style leash clasp. “With normal leashes, I have found that sometimes when your dog shakes or rolls on the ground, a normal leash can unhook,” says Weimer-Sentner. “This one is much safer and easier on your hands.”


An elevated dog bed that’s great for “place” training

Having trouble getting your dog to stay on their bed in exciting situations? Try using this dog cot that’s raised off the ground. “Dog cots are elevated dog beds that make ‘Spot’ or ‘Place’ training easy because it's a clearly defined area to train a dog to do a ‘down-stay,’” explains Alexandra Bassett, CPDT-KA, owner and lead trainer of Dog Savvy Los Angeles. With a durable mesh platform and a steel frame, the bed also works to relieve pressure on your pet’s joints.

  • Available sizes: Small — X-Large
  • Available colors: 5


The car back seat cover that keeps your pup from venturing into the front seat

When you want to train your dog to ride in the back of the car — and not shotgun — Bassett recommends using a back seat cover that prevents your pooch from stepping onto the center console between the front seats. “They also keep the back seat clean and prevent a dog from falling into the foot space below the seat,” she adds. The quilted cover easily hooks onto your car seat headrests, and includes an interior pocket for storing poop bags and leashes.

  • Available sizes: Large, X-Large


A chew-proof dog seat belt that keeps your pup in the back seat

Another way to keep your dog from weaseling their way into the front seat? A dog seat belt that attaches to your vehicle’s back seat latch bars (where you’d normally attach a child’s car seat). “These adapt to any car and can help train a dog to stay in the back seat to keep both you and your dog safe if you ever need to slam on the brakes,” explains Bassett. The braided steel wire is totally chew-proof, so it’s a good choice for teething puppies.

  • Available sizes: Small — Large


This dog gate that keeps your pet confined when guests arrive

According to Bassett, a walk-through pet gate is a useful tool that can teach your dog to not jump on guests as soon as they arrive. They can “easily turn any hallway or threshold into a confinement area,” preventing your dog from moving into the next room without blocking their ability to see what’s going on. This one stands 30 inches tall, and extends from 29 inches to 36.5 inches wide.


The playpen that’s useful for wrangling puppies

This adjustable metal gate ensures your curious puppy won’t get up to any funny business while you’re not there. “These are great for confining a puppy when you can't watch them to prevent bad habits from developing and having potty accidents all over the house,” says Bassett. She also recommends using the pen in conjunction with pee pads to keep your floors accident-free.


A set of washable pee pads that are absorbent & odor-controlling

Following Bassett’s puppy training advice, investing in a set of washable pee pads will help protect your floors while you’re housebreaking your dog. The pads are super absorbent and leakproof, with a built-in layer that dispels any unwanted odors. Place them inside the metal playpen above to shield your carpet, wood, or tile from any messes that happen while you’re away.

  • Available colors: Brown & Tan, Gray


This stretchy toy that’s great for a rewarding game of tug-the-rope

Contrary to popular belief, Bassett says that playing a game of tug with your dog won’t make them more aggressive. “Tugging with your dog can be a great outlet for your dog's excess energy and be used as a reward in training for a job well done,” says Bassett. This durable dog toy is designed with fleece-covered bungee cord, creating the perfect amount of tension as your pet pulls. The nylon handle slips easily around your wrist for a secure grip.


A hands-free leash that extends to nearly 8 feet long

Not only does this adjustable leash free up your hands while walking your dog, but it can also be a useful training tool. “It quickly turns into a tether to limit your dog's freedom in between training sessions that can be used both indoors and out since it's big enough to wrap around a tree when needed,” explains Bassett. The leash expands from 3 feet to just under 8 feet, giving you plenty of versatility in how you use it.

  • Available colors: 9


The interactive, gyrating toy that dispenses treats during play

An occupied dog is less likely to engage in mischievous behaviors — and this interactive treat toy will keep them focused and mentally stimulated. “Using interactive food dispensing toys is a great way to exercise your dog’s brain and keep them busy and out of trouble!” says Vicki Kouvendaris, Sydney, Australia-based trainer at Promising Pups and creator of the app Pet Pawtal. The toy is designed to roll and flip around, creating plenty of movement that will pique your dog’s interest.


This front-attachment harness that prevents pulling on walks

If your dog is taking you along for a ride every time you step out the door, Kouvendaris recommends using a front-attachment harness that stops your dog from pulling in a force-free way. “This harness avoids placing pressure on your pup’s neck or back, that could cause your pup pain and distress,” she explains. Multiple adjustment points and padding throughout ensure the harness fits snugly and comfortably on your dog’s body.

  • Available sizes: Small — X-Large
  • Available colors: 14


A silicone treat pouch that clips to your waist for training sessions & walks

This silicone treat pouch allows you to keep plenty of rewards on hand during your dog’s training session. “By using your pup’s favorite treats during training, you will encourage them to make good choices as you build your bond through cooperative training,” says Kouvendaris. The flexible, semi-open design allows you to effortlessly access the treats, while the included belt clip makes it easy to bring the pouch with you anywhere.

  • Available colors: 10


This ultra-long, waterproof leash for recall training

Getting your dog to answer your call is highly important — this 50-foot-long leash allows you to work on recall commands while ensuring your dog doesn’t wander too far. “During recall training, the long leash gives you the ability to reinforce the command without being close to your dog,” explains dog behaviorist and PawLeaks blogger Danielle Mühlenberg. Plus, the waterproof nylon material allows you to drag the leash through puddles or other wet areas without damaging it.


The slow-feeding lick mat that calms dogs during bath time

If your dog gets anxious during bath time, providing them with a soothing activity such as licking can work wonders. “So many dogs hate taking baths and to make the experience more positive and easier for everyone, you can equip your shower wall with a Lickimat,” says Mühlenberg. The Lickimat slow feeder is designed with rubber grooves that hold soft, spreadable foods such as peanut butter and yogurt, distracting your dog from the running water.


This foldable metal crate for potty training

Available in lengths ranging from 22 inches to 48 inches, this metal dog crate creates a safe, private space for your pup — which is essential when they’re adjusting to a new home. The wire crate can also be a useful tool when it comes to potty training. “It gives the dog a designated space to learn to hold its bladder until they are taken outside to go to the bathroom,” explains Dr. Whoriskey.

  • Available sizes: 6


Some high-value jerky treats your dog will drool over

For challenging training sessions, sometimes regular treats just won’t cut it — you need to pull out these high-value jerky sticks. “High-value treats must be something mouth-watering that is a special treat for your dog, not something they expect for every trick,” Reed explains. Available in beef, chicken, and turkey varieties, these soft chews are easy to break into smaller rewards for your pup.

  • Available flavors: Beef, Chicken, Turkey


A flirt pole toy for energetic puppies & adult dogs

Trainer and Certified Dog Behavior Consultant Jessica Wheatcraft, CPDT-KA, recommends this flirt pole toy for energetic puppies — but it’s a helpful training tool for adult dogs, as well. “Flirt poles are also a great way to build impulse control with older dogs — having them hold a stay and wait until released in order to chase the toy,” she says. The toy has a 39-inch bungee cord and a soft fleece tail, giving your dog something enticing to bite onto.

  • Available colors: Blue/Red, Yellow


These handheld buzzers that play your recorded training commands

Each one of these answer buzzers is designed to play a personalized, recorded message when you press it — so you can repeat training commands for your dog without tiring your voice out. “They can help your dog learn to ask for what they want (walk, potty, food, play) in a constructive and clear way,” Wheatcraft says. You get four buttons in a pack, allowing you to use each one for a different command.


This portable, water-resistant mat for “place training” anywhere

With a water-resistant surface and a nonslip bottom, this portable pet mat can be set up anywhere — allowing you to try your “place” command in a wide variety of environments. “Whether it's the park, a brewery, or a coffee shop, a portable mat gives your dog a designated place to settle down,” says Wheatcraft. The mat can even be rolled up and stored in the convenient carrying bag.

  • Available colors: Orange, Teal


A treat-dispensing gadget that allows for remote training sessions

According to Wheatcraft, a remote-controlled treat dispenser “can take your training to a whole other level by being able to reinforce your dog without you being right next to them.” Equipped with a camera, two-way audio, and Alexa compatibility, the neat little gadget allows you to speak to your dog and reward them after they successfully obey a command. It’s perfect for those who work long hours or have busy schedules.


The cult-favorite bouncy toy you can stuff with treats

There’s a reason why the rubber KONG puzzle toy has become so popular — its ingenious design allows you to fill it with whatever you wish, from treats to peanut butter to wet food. You can even pop it in the freezer before giving it to your dog as a reward. Certified animal trainer, Nicole Ellis, CPDT-KA, says filling the KONG with frozen goodies “can help your dog calm down and save your furniture from being chewed on, all while they are having fun!”

  • Available sizes: Small — XX-Large


A durable rope toy that stands up to tugging

For dogs who would prefer to tug on a rope than fetch a ball, here’s a durable toy made of colorful cotton-poly yarn. Designed with three knots for extra sturdiness, the rope encourages both cooperative and solo play. There are several sizes to choose from, depending on the build and strength of your canine companion.

  • Available sizes: Mini — X-Large


This food-dispensing toy you can use as an after-training reward

What exactly is a Toppl, you might ask? According to Michele Tate, service dog training instructor at Warrior Canine Connection, the West Paw Toppl is a “food-giving toy that you can use to create a positive association before or after training.” You can fill it with treats or wet food on its own, or stuff it inside a larger size to create an interlocking puzzle for your pup to solve.

  • Available sizes: Small, Large, X-Large
  • Available colors: Aqua Blue, Granny Smith, Tangerine


The flexible frisbee that doubles as a water bowl

The West Paw dog toy line comes personally recommended by Tate — they have plenty of thoughtfully designed options, such as this flexible, aerodynamic frisbee. Ideal for gentle chewers, the high-flying toy floats in water and is machine-washable. Plus, you can flip it over and use it as a water dish at the end of your dog’s play session.

  • Available sizes: Small, Large
  • Available colors: 5


An S-Shaped Dog Toy With So Many Uses

Whether your dog likes to fetch, tug, or chew, they’ll find something to love about this S-shaped toy from West Paw. Made out of durable yet flexible rubber, the toy has dual handles that both you and your dog can grab onto. Other fun features? It stretches to twice its length, and it also has the ability to float — so your dog can retrieve it from the pool, lake, or ocean.

  • Available sizes: Small, Large
  • Available colors: Aqua Blue, Granny Smith, Tangerine


This high-visibility traffic leash that gives you greater control

According to certified celebrity dog trainer Kate Perry, using a traffic handle leash can “provide more control, especially for dogs who tend to lunge.” She specifically recommends this one from Max and Neo, made out of durable nylon with a padded neoprene handle. It comes in several bright shades, with reflective stitching that allows you to be more visible to drivers when walking at night.

  • Available lengths: 4 feet, 6 feet
  • Available colors: 7


These freeze-dried treats made of real beef liver

Julie Burgess, CPDT-KA, dog trainer at Senior Tail Waggers, recommends these freeze-dried treats made with one single ingredient — all-natural beef liver. High in protein and free of artificial preservatives, the treats make an excellent high-value reward during training sessions. They’re loved by dogs of all ages and breeds, which is why they have an average rating of 4.8 out of five stars on Amazon.