If you’ve ever felt like things are a little out of your hands when it comes to being a dog parent, it can be really frustration. Luckily, there are easy fixes for common dog problems. We chatted with trainers and experts all about how to have more control over your dog, and they suggested all of the clever things you need and need to do. If you’re past those training days, don’t worry, this list is also full of products that help out your already trained pup.
If you’re busy training, certified veterinarian
Dr. Jacob Hawthorne, DVM, tells us about two seriously affordable tools. All you need are some human-grade treats and the budget-friendly clickers on this list, and you’re ready. In fact, Hawthorne says, “Using a clicker and training treats are the most basic of training tools but can also be the most rewarding.”
Maybe you’ve moved on from the basics, and you really want to create a calming space for your anxious pup. That’s why we turned to Mikkel Becker, dog behavior counselor and lead animal trainer for
Fear Free. Becker knows all about “setting up a "Fear Free Fortress" in an area of your home for your dog to relax, spend time, play, sleep.” This list is packed with calming tools like aromatherapy spray, a comforting bed, and even a speaker that’s pre-loaded with vet-approved pup music.
All of the products on this list mean you can feel more in control of your dog, even if you’re just in control of your pet feeling calm in your home.
01 These BPA-free mats for slow feeding & stressful moments
If your pup has a few stressful moments during the week (like dreaded bath time), this BPA-free
slow feeding mat is super helpful. How? According to certified professional dog trainer and pet lifestyle expert with Rover, Nicole Ellis, mats like this one “can be very useful when doing things such as brushing or clipping nails to help your dog create a positive association and release stress.”
Each mat in this budget-friendly pack of two is complete with 77 extra-strong suction cups to stick right onto your wall while you grab your pup’s brush or nail clippers. While your dog licks their treat off the mat, they’ll have four different textures to keep their treat interesting. When you’re all done brushing and de-shedding, these handy mats are dishwasher-safe.
02 A front-clip harness for no more pulling & tugging on walks
Ellis also recommends this
dog harness with a unique clip-front design. You simply hook your go-to leash right on the front instead of on your pup’s back. “"A front clip harness that can help prevent your dog from pulling can be a life saver. And with adjustable straps you can ensure the perfect fit and avoid your dog getting loose,” Ellis says.
There are actually five different spots to adjust these easy-to-fit straps, which don’t cut across your dog’s shoulders. These durable nylon straps are also completely reflective, which is always a must for walking safety. They’re even complete with comfy neoprene padding that’s sure to be appreciated on longer after-work walks.
03 This durable & freezable toy with a spot for hidden treats
Get ahead of your pup’s boredom with this
durable rubber toy. It has a spot for hidden treats that keeps them playing, chewing, licking, and overall entertained for way longer. Ellis suggests toys like this one because, “Licking and chewing can help your dog release stress. It can also keep them busy, provide mental enrichment, and slow down their eating.
As for the best treat to use, Ellis says, “Stuff it with your dog's favorite food.” The listing for this budget-friendly fetch and puzzle toy even has a fruity recipe included. Whatever treat you go for, this toy is also freezer-safe for a longer-lasting puzzle.
04 This non-GMO dog food for high-quality training rewards
Julia Jenkins, a professional dog trainer accredited by the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers, using kibble as a reward is a good way to go. “We should not micromanage our dogs,” she says. “But instead use positive reinforcement to encourage them to make good choices and behave the way we want. That which gets rewarded, gets repeated”
So, grab this
chicken and brown rice dog food for a seriously high-quality reward. The nutritious recipe uses ingredients that are totally non-GMO. Plus, it gives your pup natural fiber, omega 3, and six fatty acids. This soy-, wheat-, and corn-free food even comes in a 5-pound bag to do a taste test with your pup before you commit. 05 A little fanny pack to keep all of your kibble rewards handy
“Dried food is lightweight, easy to carry with you, and relatively clean to handle. This way, you can give your dog a treat whenever they do something good,” Jenkins says. So, grab this little
dog training bag to take your lightweight kibble rewards around with you. It’s easy to add to the belt you’re wearing or simply use the built-in and secure clip and strap. You’ll also get handy D-rings on each side of the bag for snapping on other walking and training go-to’s, and this bag has convenient side pockets and a front pocket for your personal items and a poop bag dispenser in the back. 06 Manage every single trainable moment in the correct environment
When it comes to keeping control during walks,
Nancy M. Kelly, CPDT-KA, Professional Dog Trainer & Behavior Consultant, has a few tips. “The best kind of control we can have over our pets is first, using the least intrusive technique to control what's available for the animals to do,” she says. So, if you’re both new to leash training, maybe start in your home instead of immediately walking around the neighborhood.
While you’re practicing at home, it’s important to manage every single trainable moment. “Every time your dog pulls you along, he's getting better at doing just that,” Kelly explains. She also encourages “resisting taking your dog for a walk when it's not going to really be a walk, but a drag!”
07 A hands-free leash that will make you a better walking partner
“A waist leash is a great option for making sure the human partner doesn't inadvertently pull on the leash,” Kelly states. This
hands-free reflective leash it’s the perfect option to help you become a better walking partner for your pup. It attaches to your waist, and the unique built-in shock absorbers prevent pulling both ways. This leash is even complete with a removable bag to keep your reward kibble and potty bags, of course. 08 A waist leash that makes walking two dogs less stressful
“Leash skills are about the leash becoming a cue to your dog and yourself that the two of you are going to walk together as partners,” says Kelly. She also says it’s important that the leash hangs loosely while both partners walk together as a team. But what if you have two dogs? This
dual waist leash is the answer to stressful walks with both of your furry friends.
It gives each one a separate leash and their own space, but you maintain total control with a handle where the two meet. Plus, if one of them starts pulling, the stretchy elastic leash keeps you steady. You also won’t have to worry about them tangling each other and you up because all of the leashes swivel 360 degrees.
09 This training treat with only 1 freeze-dried ingredient
This little jar of
100% freeze-dried beef liver is the perfect thing to pack in your treat bag. Plus, if you’re using Kelly’s waist leash suggestion, she says, “both hands are free for giving the dog treats every step of the way to build great leash skills.” No need to worry if you need treats for walks and your dog is extra-picky. These preservative- and additive-free training treats come in nine flavors, including freeze-dried cheddar cheese. 10 A roll-up dog bed to keep mat training consistent
You can’t exactly take your dog’s bed everywhere while you’re training them to lie down in one place. Instead, grab this
dog bed that rolls up and comes with a carrying pouch. It’s waterproof and washable, so you can roll it out on the grass at the park and keep your mat training going. This lightweight bed also comes in seven colors and two sizes.
When it comes to mat training, Kelly suggests to “let your dog know it's super beneficial for him to lie down on a comfortable mat until you ask him to get up.” Plus, she says, “Honing leash and mat skills will give you and your dog opportunities to visit dog-friendly venues, walk everywhere from busy downtown areas to woodland trails, and be welcome wherever you go.”
11 The aromatherapy spray with calming dog-safe scents
Mikkel Becker, dog behavior counselor and lead animal trainer for
Fear Free suggests “setting up a ‘Fear Free Fortress’ in an area of your home for your dog to relax, spend time, play, sleep!” To do this, she says, “Definitely include calming sounds/relaxing music and scents.”
So, go ahead and grab this lavender and chamomile
aromatherapy spray. It’s totally dog-safe and full of calming scents for whichever relaxing area in your house you choose. This multi-use bottle isn’t just for aromatherapy — you can also mist the aloe-vera-infused formula on your dog during your brushing routine for shinier, prettier smelling fur. 12 A cozy donut-shaped pet bed that your dog can burrow in
Becker also recommends using your calming aromatherapy spray “on a toy, for example, or an item you've worn, so they have your familiar scent as well as the other calming scent.” This cozy
dog bed is the perfect spot for a little de-stressing lavender moment. The donut-shaped design and faux-fur lining are perfect for creating a comforting and “fear-free” setup for your pup. Plus, the nonslip bottom lining is even waterproof. 13 This Bluetooth speaker that’s pre-loaded with vet-approved pup music
Thanks to this
Pet Tunes Bluetooth speaker designed for your dog, you can add calming music to your pup’s routine with almost zero effort. “Pet Acoustics are awesome for the Fear Free Fortress,” says Becker. This USB chargeable speaker comes pre-loaded with vet-approved dog music, so you don’t need to research which tunes to play. If you’re worried about your fur baby playing with it, this little speaker has a lanyard to hang it away from your dog’s reach. 14 A snuffle mat puzzle that’s a necessity for vet visits
To help out with anxiety-inducing activities like going to the vet, Becker recommends this
Gnarg snuffle feeding mat. Instead of a stressful visit, she says this game-like puzzle mat will create “a happy fun visit.” Just be sure to fill up the hidden spots with treats before you drive to the vet. Searching through this extra-soft toy for treats will keep them calm and occupied while you chat with the doctor. In your dog’s perspective — Becker says they “play a game, they get some really good treats, then they leave right away.” 15 A lick mat that doubles as a frisbee after vet visits
If you don’t have room in your dog’s bag for a snuffle mat, this BPA-free
Project Hive rubber lick mat is also a good option for vet visits. “We want to pair positive reinforcement with different areas and change any negative association with that place,” Becker notes. This lick mat definitely gives your dog a positive experience because they get to lick up peanut butter during their visit. This calming mat also doubles as a frisbee to play some fetch when your pup’s appointment is over. 16 A treat toy that clips right onto the dog crate you already own
According to Becker, “an occupied dog is a happy dog!” Anytime your pup is in their crate while you’re out running an errand, this BPA-free
crate training toy keeps them occupied. The unique ice pop-shaped rubber design clips right onto whatever wire crate you already own. When you get back home and all of the peanut butter is gone, this food-grade toy is easy to wash.
She also recommends them for car rides when your pup is normally stressed or bored. “A peanut butter training toy gives them something to do other than bark at every passing car,” she notes.
17 A calming crate cover that still lets your dog see out
“You can also reduce the stimuli that may stress them out using a crate cover,” says Becker. This
patterned crate cover is the perfect option for helping out your anxious pup during crate training. It’s complete with an extra-secure hook and loop design, so you don’t need to readjust it every time. This machine-washable cover also comes in two adorable patterns or a simple black option. Plus, there are five built-in flaps to give your dog a little window if desired. 18 These budget-friendly training treats that are human-grade
Dr. Jacob Hawthorne, DVM, suggests treats and a clicker to be in control during those training days. “Training treats are great for positively rewarding your dog when he does what you want him to.” These grain-free training treats come in a budget-friendly bag, but they’re still high-quality and totally human-grade. They’re also made of cage free duck and 100% natural ingredients, so you can feel god about feeding these to Fido. 19 This all-in-one bag for training & learning to go outside
“Effectively training your dog will come down to proper training technique and consistency of the training,” says Hawthorne. “Some dogs will learn quicker than others while other dogs will be more stubborn. When teaching your dog to go outside, this
training bag helps out with consistency. It has spots for potty bags, training treats, a clicker, and even your phone. Throw the strap over your shoulder, clip it to your belt, or attach it to your waist, and you’re always ready to start training whenever it’s time to go outside. 20 This affordable clicker pack with a walk-friendly design
Hawthorne also recommends adding a clicker into your training because he says it “will easily get your dog's attention which trains your dog to look at you for direction.” This super-affordable
clicker pack is a walk-friendly option. Each one of these clickers has a little wristband, so you won’t have to search for it during a trainable moment on your stroll. They’re also small and lightweight enough to not get in the way of your pup’s leash. No matter which of these seriously cheap training tools you use, Hawthorne says, “a clicker and training treats are the most basic of training tools but can also be the most rewarding.”