Trainers & vets love these genius things on Amazon that get pets to behave so much better

Your pet will be on their best behavior.

ByRachel Bar-Gadda
Originally Published: 
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If you’ve reached your wits’ end as to how to stop your dog from chewing up literally everything or your cat from destroying all the furniture in your home, you can now breathe a sigh of relief. Bustle spoke to trainers and vets who love these genius things on Amazon that get pets to behave so much better. From puzzle toys that will have your pet playfully challenged to a cat scratcher that satisfies their urge to scratch (while keeping your sofa safe), getting your pet to behave has never been easier or more fun.


This cat scratching post an experts calls “the best out there”

Take it from the pros when it comes to scratching solutions that actually work by using this cat scratching post made of incredibly fibrous sisal that cats will adore using. “Not all scratching posts are created equal, but this one is one of the best out there,” Lusvardi tells Bustle. “It’s a material many cats like to scratch, is sturdy enough for them to get a satisfying scratch in, and is tall enough to stretch out.” Placing this so it’s the first thing a cat can scratch when they get in a room works wonders, Lusvardi notes. The robust base prevents the post from falling over and the whole thing can be assembled in a snap using the two included screws.


A device that uses sound to stop a dog’s undesirable behavior

Even though this product's name suggests it only works for controlling your dog's barking, it can actually help you stop all sorts of undesired bad behaviors, which is why it's such a great and comprehensive training tool, says Dr. Sabrina Kong DVM, a dog trainer & veterinary consultant at We Love Doodles, about this dog barking control device. “The device uses enhanced 20 Khz-25Khz irregular frequency sound waves that cannot be perceived by humans but are strong enough to draw your dog's attention (without hurting his eardrums) and encourage him to stop what he's doing, which is the most humane and effective way to stop them when behaving badly,” explains Kong.

The device offers two different levels of ultrasound intensity with the higher one working in conjunction with a flashing LED light. Kong goes on to say that it functions very well to distract or interrupt unwanted behaviors rather than serve as a disciplinary action.


A cat scratch armrest that also allows you to store accessories

If you’ve been trying different solutions to protect your precious sofa from your cats’ claws, take it from Lusvardi who says, "I prefer over-the-couch scratchers to double-sided tape for clients because it protects the furniture from scratching and allows the cat to still get their need to scratch satisfied.” This scratcher hangs over your couch’s armrest to the floor and is made of tough sisal fabric that cats will actually enjoy sinking their claws into.

This makes for a win-win situation as Lusvardi compares it to other methods, saying, “Double-sided tape can backfire as, if your cat still wants to scratch in that location, they may just move to a different part of the furniture or something nearby you also don’t want them scratching.” And for even more functionality, he adds, “This also has a place to store small things for humans like remotes or a tablet so it solves a few problems!"


This hanging cat tower that provides a place for vertical climbing

Instead of cats wreaking havoc atop cabinets, counters, or bookshelves, the cat tree mounts to your door easily and provides four fleece-lined platforms. “Vertical space in particular is one that people often don’t add enough of and it leads to problems like cats on your counters or fights between multiple cats,” says Lusvardi. “This over-the-door cat tower is a great solution as it doesn’t take up space that people are typically using and allows your cats to have an acceptable place to climb.” Suitable for more than one cat, each level can hold up to 50 pounds and the entire thing folds flat against the door when not in use.


This puzzle feeder that contains boxes within boxes for a challenging hunt

“No one wants a bored cat because bored cats, especially smart, confident, and active ones, can cause trouble,” says Cat Expert Stephen Quandt, of Cat Behavior Help. “Puzzle feeders make cats solve problems in order to get their reward (a snack) and Amazing Sliders is one of the best puzzle feeders on the market,” he tells Bustle. This challenging puzzle feeder features an outer box with strategically placed holes for cats to reach their paws into. Three sliding inner boxes that contain treats or snacks shift around to constantly remain unpredictable and keep your cat on their toes.

Quandt offers additional advice, saying, “If we combine play with food, we are connecting our cat to the cycle of predation which is to hunt, eat, and then sleep! No one wants their cat waking them at 3:00 am, so giving them the full cycle of predation about an hour before your bedtime will help them get their “Zzzzzzzz’s”, which means you’ll get yours too!”


A puzzle ball made of thick rubber for energetic chewers

It’s easy to mistake your dog’s strong chewing impulse with bad behavior, but oftentimes all it takes is redirecting their bite to save your furniture legs and socks from ruin. “JW Hol-ee Roller Dog Fetch is recommended for larger dogs with a strong bite,” says Tehreem Puri, a veterinarian from Quick Cat Pro who goes on to say that this puzzle ball is a great way to keep their teeth occupied. Puri continues, “In addition, you can also stuff treats inside it which helps boost the dog’s IQ level while learning to solve minor problems.” The ball is perfect for breeds ranging from medium to extra-large and is available in several different styles.


This dog wand that helps your pet explore their “hunting instincts”

"Outward Hound Tail Teaser is for pets like dogs and cats which have hunting instincts,” says Puri. “These can be channeled towards positive outlets such as this toy.” It’s designed to satisfy your pet’s hunting desires and at the same time strengthen your bond with them, Puri explains. This dog wand comes with two interchangeable plush toys made of faux fur that squeak and rattle to resemble prey. Attach them easily and securely to the cord, which is made of sturdy nylon.


A probiotic supplement that helps dogs remain calm

If yet another piece of furniture is facing destruction or you’ve watched your prized pair of shoes be eaten to bits, Dr. Ragen T.S. McGowan, Ph.D., who is an animal behavior scientist at Purina, recommends first and foremost to remain calm and not raise your voice. “Excessive barking, jumping, pacing, and destructive behaviors might be signs that your pup is experiencing anxious behaviors, so it’s best to stay calm and focus on establishing simple cues to help them avoid bad behavior,” McGowan says.

If your dog is showing signs of anxious behavior, McGowan also recommends asking your veterinarian about Calming Care from Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Supplements. “Calming Care contains a strain of beneficial bacteria which is shown to help dogs maintain calm behavior, and it helps dogs cope with external stressors like separation, unfamiliar visitors, novel sounds, or changes in routine and environment,” McGowan says. Add the tasty liver-flavored packets to food once a day to see your pup transform into a serene companion and your favorite shoes to survive another day.


This digital timer to keep training sessions to a reasonable length

Setting aside time to properly train your pet is necessary, but you run the risk of over-doing it, especially if you’re a brand new pet owner, Iram Sharma, a veterinarian and writer for Happy Whisker and PupVine, tells Bustle. “Both young and adult dogs will become bored and frustrated when the training session is too long, or when training methods are too repetitive. In this case, repetition can be very useless," Sharma says. That’s where this helpful digital timer comes in. It features a large clock face with simple settings and can be stored on the fridge, hung, or propped up on any surface. Use it to make sure you keep training sessions to a reasonable length, ensuring better results.


A pack of organic puppy treats to reinforce good behavior

Use these organic puppy treats to help positively reinforce good behavior. Unfortunately, owners can often mistakenly do the opposite by responding “badly to a dog’s mistake,” Sharma explains. “Dogs can feel negative emotions and they will surely react when their upset owner responds in a higher tone,” Sharma says. “A lack of positive feedback, i.e. acknowledging only bad behavior, makes the dog feel anxious and stressed.” These low-calorie puppy treats are made of granola in addition to other organic, all-natural ingredients. Choose between four offered flavor combinations such as strawberry and peanut butter.


This traditional nylon dog leash that gives pups more freedom to explore

When it comes to leash training, many owners start by introducing their dogs to a retractable leash, Sharma tells Bustle. “This does not provide them the freedom they need to explore their surroundings, which is why they become frustrated in the long run,” Sharma says. “This can be fixed by using a traditional style leash such as PetSafe Nylon dog leash.” The leash is offered in seven colors such as deep purple, raspberry, and royal blue, and is available in different thicknesses and lengths to suit your specific needs.


A popular interactive multi-puzzle with hidden dog treats

This multi-puzzle is obviously popular with over 100,000 reviews on Amazon and is the perfect way to keep your dog stimulated as they problem-solve to reveal hidden treats. “Busy dog owners often forget to give their dogs enough mental stimulation and problem-solving toys such as dog puzzles,” says Sharma. “As a result, dogs become bored and stressed, which leads to unwanted behavior.” Additionally, Sharma recommends spending time with your dog as they try to solve the puzzle, which will greatly increase bonding. There are tons of different puzzle designs to choose from with each being made of BPA-free, PVC, and phthalate-free plastic, and which contain no removable parts for added safety.


This snuffle mat that makes mealtimes more engaging

Mentally engage your dog at mealtimes by helping them tune into their instincts with this snuffle mat, recommended by Beth Mullen, owner, behavior consultant, and head trainer at Dog Latin Dog Training & Behavioral Consulting. “Snuffling mimics foraging behavior which is mentally tiring for a dog,” says Mullen. Simply scatter their dry food along the surface and your dog will have an exciting time sniffing out their dinner. Mullen adds, “It can also be used as a lick mat (spread a lick-able spread on it and freeze to create longer duration),” then simply pop the mat, which is made of natural cotton, into the washing machine for easy cleanup. Note that according to Mullen, “This isn’t an option for dogs who chew or rip up items."


An advanced-level dog puzzle that challenges your pet’s mind

“A dog also needs to be stimulated mentally to achieve that delicate balance of a good body and good mood every day,” says Aaron Rice, an expert dog trainer at Stayyy. “Mental stimulation may include games and puzzles for dogs, training for different tasks and tricks, playing hunting, and the like.” This advanced-level puzzle with more than 100,000 reviews hits the mark with its difficult challenge of rotating the dog bone to reveal a drawer of treats at the side. A lack of removable parts makes this puzzle safe for your pooch.


This lick mat that provides a healthy distraction to grooming

Grooming can be a stressful experience for pets, which is why it’s helpful to offer a welcoming distraction. Paola Cuevas, a veterinarian, MVZ, and behaviorist at Hepper, recommends placing licking mats like these right outside your home’s entrance. “While your dog enjoys its treat, it can get desensitized to having part of its body manipulated.” Paws and coats can be thoroughly wiped down as your pet becomes engrossed in their task at hand as Cuevas adds, “A lick mat with dog-friendly all-natural peanut butter (free from excessive sugars, salt, or artificial sweeteners) is an excellent tool to train your dog to allow anything around the paws.” The mat also helps to promote better digestion and improved dental health because it encourages slower eating. It’s dishwasher safe and can be suctioned to multiple surfaces, like the wall, floor, or exterior door.


A dog paw cleaner made with soft silicone bristles

While you’re utilizing the peanut butter-laden lick mat to calm your dog, go ahead and clean their paws using this dog paw cleaner recommended by Cuevas. With the help of a little water, its gentle silicone bristles quickly and efficiently wipe away dirt and debris (“very helpful after a long and muddy run,” she says).

For dogs especially nervous to be touched, Cuevas advises, “The secret is to go one step at a time in very small increments with the main goal of keeping the dog calm [...] It is better to take 20 sessions of tiny gains to reach a goal if your dog learns to ‘remain calm while my human touches my paw’ – this is the most important achievement, as over time, this knowledge can be transferable to allow manipulation in other parts of the body.”


A dog anxiety jacket that immediately puts your pup in a relaxed state

For pups that suffer from anxiety, Thomas Villalpando, dog behavior expert at iPet Guides, recommends this dog anxiety jacket, saying, “This product is designed to calm anxious dogs by applying gentle pressure to their torso, which can help them feel safe and secure.” Providing a similar sensation as a snug hug, it’s a perfect medicine-free option for stress-induced behavior and is easy to put on and adjust. Villalpando adds, “This product is especially helpful for pets that suffer from separation anxiety or noise phobias.” Choose from seven available sizes, ranging from extra-small to extra-extra-large.


This classic dog toy that engages dogs in healthy play

If shoes, clothing, or your favorite pillow are regularly being chewed to bits, Villalpando recommends this classic dog toy made of durable rubber to encourage spirited playing instead. “This toy is perfect for dogs who are prone to destructive chewing or separation anxiety,” he tells Bustle. “The KONG Classic can be filled with treats, which can help keep dogs engaged and distracted. This toy can also be frozen for added stimulation and can help alleviate boredom.” Let the productive (not destructive) chewing commence. It’s available in six sizes.


A calming cat diffuser that utilizes soothing pheromones

To effectively deal with your cat’s stressed behaviors that can include spraying, scratching, or hiding, try using this diffuser recommended by Villalpando that he says “can help cats feel more relaxed and comfortable in their environment by releasing calming pheromones.” The diffuser simply plugs into any outlet and emits a scent that specifically mimics facial pheromones, making cats feel safe and relaxed. As an added suggestion, Villalpando says, “It can also be used during times of change or transition, such as moving to a new home or introducing a new pet.”


This stuffed toy with a built-in comforting heartbeat

Something about the rhythm of a relaxed and steady heartbeat is decidedly soothing to dogs and that’s why this stuffed toy recommended by Villalpando is especially effective. “The SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Toy includes a heat pack and a simulated heartbeat, which can help mimic the comforting sensations of a mother's presence,” Villalpando tells Bustle. The pulse is powered by two included AAA batteries and can be set to run continuously or for eight-hour stretches. The heat pack provides warmth for up to 24 hours with no microwaving required. Villalpando continues, “This toy can help puppies feel more secure and calm during times of stress, such as when they are away from their mother or adjusting to a new home.”


This silvervine powder with catnip-like abilities to soothe & train cats

Silvervine is a plant similar to catnip, but creates a stronger response in a greater percentage of cats, says Joey Lusvardi, a certified cat behavior consultant who runs Class Act Cats, a cat behavior consultation and training service. “I suggest the powder to clients who are having problems with cats scratching furniture. If you rub it on a scratching post, it can attract the cat to scratch the post,” advises Lusvardi. The powder comes in a tin that holds 45 grams and can be sprinkled wherever you’d like to gently motivate your cat to play. The effects can range from a dreamy, relaxed state to happy and energetic, but take note from Lusvardi who says, “The powder is really strong so you only need a little bit!”


A calming dog collar infused with maternal pheromones

"A common cause for a dog to not behave correctly is anxiety,” says Dr. Dwight Alleyne, a veterinarian advisor at Betterpet. “Dogs with increased anxiety can vocalize, be destructive, or even eliminate inappropriately in the house. This product, the ADAPTIL Calming Pheromone Collar for Dogs is a natural way to help relieve anxiety in many dogs. While the dog is wearing it, there is a constant release of a calming pheromone.” The collar emanates nursing pheromones that are activated by the dog’s body heat and is perfect for helping your dog stay calm during fireworks, thunder, or other loud events.


This cat toy that dispenses food & treats

“For cats, treat balls or treat puzzles can provide hours of interactive fun and exercise, helping promote healthy behavior,” instructs dog trainer, Meg Marrs, founder of K9 of Mine. “The PetSafe SlimCat Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser can help to stimulate cats' natural hunting instincts and provide mental stimulation, which can help reduce boredom, anxiety, and destructive behavior,” Marrs says. The toy comes in four colors (blue, green, orange, or pink) and is easy to fill thanks to a twist-off top. It can hold up to 85 grams of dry food and even features adjustable openings to make it easier or harder for your cat to reach their treat.


A slow feeder dog bowl that engages dogs’ ingenuity

“Puzzle feeders are designed to challenge and entertain your pet while they eat, encouraging them to think and work for their meals,” says Marrs, who recommends this slow feeder dog bowl made with built-in, serpentine ridges. “This not only helps keep your pet active, but also keeps them from becoming bored or destructive.” The bowl is made of phthalate, PVC, and BPA-free plastic and is designed with a nonslip base, which is especially important for when your pup goes on their foraging mealtime mission.


A captivating cat toy that features 3 games in 1

“Another great boredom buster is this Potaroma Interactive Fluttering Butterfly toy,” says Quandt. It features three engaging toys in one package: a flying butterfly, a feather that emerges from random holes, and multiple trackballs that cats can enjoy chasing down. Both the feather and the butterfly run for five minutes at a time before going into a four-hour standby mode. Your cat needs only to touch the toy for it to be reactivated again for continued fun. Power it via four AA batteries or by conveniently plugging it into an outlet.


This double-sided sticky tape that deters scratching

To solve problems of continuous domestic destruction “you need both the carrot and the stick,” says Quandt. “The ‘carrot’ is play and well-timed treats at the scratching post or pad and the ‘stick’ is Panther Armor — sheets of double-sided sticky tape placed on your furniture where the scratching is happening, as a part of training.” Easily cut the tape to your desired size, peel off the backing, and apply it to your furniture. It won’t leave any residue on your upholstery and the unpleasant sticky texture will prevent your cat from scratching. As a bonus, the clear finish of the tape helps it stay visually inoffensive.


A safe pet repellent spray that operates via motion sensing

“If you really must keep your cat off or away from something, you can go all in with Petsafe Ssscat motion sensing pet repellent spray for cats and dogs,” advises Quandt. Place the spray near off-limit areas so that, as Quandt says, “If they get too close to it (about 3 feet) it lets loose with a harmless but startling squirt of compressed air.” The air is totally innocuous and odorless and won’t leave stains or residue on any surface. With three vertical settings and five horizontal settings, the deterrent will be sure to land exactly where it can be most effective.


This definitive training book by the founder of the clicker training method

When it comes to teaching your cat better behavior, “Clicker training is the way to go,” says Quandt, who maintains that “Karen Pryor’s short book Clicker Training for Cats is probably the definitive training guide (for humans!)” Pryor, an internationally-renown behavioral biologist who founded the field of clicker training, includes beginner-friendly instruction on developing all sorts of healthy behavior using the positive reinforcement of your clicker and the all-important accompanying treat.


A combination “clik stik” that allows for versatile training

“This combination Karen Pryor Clik Stik puts two tools in one, a clicker and a target stick, leaving your other hand free to deliver treats,” Quandt tells Bustle. Use this tool for teaching all kinds of desired behaviors and tricks like heeling or target training. The stick extends from six to 23 inches and can be kept as a simple clicker when it’s retracted. The handle comes with a belt clip for effortless portability and there’s even an abbreviated training guide included as well.


This licky mat that tunes into your cat’s eating instincts

A healthy cat is a happier, more well-behaved cat. “Most cats eat fairly slowly because in nature cats tend to dine at ‘tables for one,’ unlike pack animals like dogs who must eat quickly in order to get their share,” says Quandt. “A licky mat like Likimat Slomo slows down feeding and forces our cat to eat at a more civilized pace.” This mat is made of non-toxic, food-grade material that conveniently is freezer, microwave, and dishwasher-safe. Use it with dry, wet, or liquid foods, alike, and watch as your cat’s slowed-down eating improves their digestion and keeps them feeling their best.


This gentle leader headcollar that directs your pet without pain

If going on daily walks feels like being a passenger on a runaway train, this gentle leader headcollar recommended by Alex Schechter, DVM, serves as a solution. “This product provides gentle control and helps to stop dogs from pulling on their leash during walks,” says Schechter. “It also helps pet owners to train them. This headcollar is a great alternative to choke chains or prong collars.” The collar comes in nine shades such as raspberry pink or apple green and is fitted with a padded nose loop for your dog’s comfort. There’s no pressure or choking of the throat as the collar uses pain-free points of pressure to gently direct your dog.


A treat-dispensing dog toy perfect for creamy or crunchy snacks

“Fillable toys like West Paw Toppl and Kongs are some of my favorites to help pets focus their energy while having fun with a toy filled with tasty treats or food,” says Dr. Rebeca Oliveira, DVM at NHV Natural Pet Products. Use this toy with multiple food textures, from creamy to crunchy as, according to Oliveira, it “works great with home-cooked, raw or wet food. Just fill it, give it to your furbaby, and have some relaxing time yourself.” The nontoxic material is phthalate, latex, and BPA-free, and can be used in the freezer which Oliveira recommends for even more hours of fun for your pet. “West Paw Toppls may also work for very food-motivated felines, but it is more suitable for dogs,” Oliveira adds.


An automatic laser toy that offers tons of stimulation

A stimulated kitty is a better-behaved one, too. "Our feline friends love to hunt,” says Oliveira. “Be ready to see an exhausted and super happy cat friend with this automatic laser toy. It is simple — just turn it on and the party will start with the laser going from one side to the other while your furbaby has hours of good hunting.” The laser toy comes with both a fast and slow speed option and utilizes motion sensing to turn it on and off. The head is adjustable and the entire thing can last up to two days on just one charge via USB.


A self-cleaning cat litter box that requires no scooping

Cats require a clean litter box to feel comfortable and safe doing their business in it. But if you’re busy and not able to keep up with litter as much as you’d like, a self-cleaning option is golden. “This product can help make litter box maintenance easier and more efficient,” says Villalpando of this ingenious self-cleaning cat litter box. It uses crystal litter as opposed to clay that absorbs liquids and dries out solids quickly and efficiently. An automatic raking function shifts solid waste to underneath a waste trap, but, thanks to a built-in sensor, won’t operate while your cat is in the box. A lining made of plastic prevents leaks and the crystal litter tray requires disposal only once every 30 days.