All year I collect great new dog products to bring to you around the holidays as if they are gift ideas. But then the new year rolls in and the column is so last year. So this time I’m going to keep it current because these are items you may very well buy for someone else at the end of the year, why not enjoy them for yourself now.
Here are this year’s picks.
Ultrasonic squeaky toys are the best. Hear Dog is a cute puffer fish but most importantly you can’t hear it and your dog will love it. It can also be used to impress people with your ability to psychically call your dog. Fun.
Dog Escape Preventer from Hammacher Schlemmer. I can’t provide a picture from their web site so I’ll describe it. Imagine a tough window shade stretched horizontally across the opening of your front door at floor level. You can detach it at the pull tab but whenever you open the door it’s there creating an instant visual barrier. Good idea.
Both Brookstone and Solutions offer key fobs with a remote control that causes them to emit a sound so you can find them. Well, how about this. If you show your dog in advance that when he hears the key fob he will get a treat, you can either teach the dog to find the keys or put the fob on the dog’s collar and use it to call him remotely. Be sure to check the range on the remote. Bed Bath and Beyond has one, too.
Tug a Jug is a tough plastic bottle with a rope stopper. When your dog flings it around, the treats you placed inside randomly fall out. Lots of fun and you don’t have to be there. Vibramk9 also has a hard rubber dispenser that looks like an acorn if you have a dog capable of damaging tough plastic.
Squeeze Please jars are soft gel plastic and great for camping with peanut butter and jelly. But they can also be filled with cheeze whiz or gravy for an instant dog treat. When you are working on loose leash walking or if you use a marker for training, these dispensers add a dimension of ease to getting the reward in and out quickly.
Nina Ottosson’s dog puzzle toys are very well made and popular. But Bed, Bath and Beyond has a press board (and much less expensive) version that is worth a try. Some dogs and their owners just don’t have the patience to solve the puzzles but for those dogs who do, you’ll find out without spending a chunk of change if your dog just isn’t interested. Little bone shapes slide along a board and expose hidden treats. Dogs can use their paws or noses to solve the puzzle. Once they do, it’s another way to entertain your dog during idle time.
I am one for having dogs and nice things. I know it’s not easy. But you can buy dog crates that look like furniture or table tops that fit over dog crates. Makes a big difference in keeping useful things out.
I also have more than one dog so a Roamer Leash with a Crazy Couplr is a great way to walk them. The Roamer attaches around your waste so you have hands free. The Couplr puts two dogs on one leash on bungie type connectors so they can jump around a bit without dislocating your shoulders or pulling you off your feet. That way when two dogs do two different things, no worries.
Here’s one I don’t have, yet. The Koolinator is a treadle that you connect to your garden hose. When your dog steps on it, a water fountain is available. I think this is going to work well for me. If not, along the lines of what looks good, there is a Grecian fountain dog water dish that does the same thing.
My favorite is the shade shelter from FrontGate. Now is the time of year to buy since it’s half price. It’s great for shows because canopies never do the trick. They cast a shadow well away from where you want to sit and they don’t really give your dog a sense of where strangers come from. This Shade shelter has all that worked out.
Throughout the year if you are looking for gifts or need something for yourself consider sending me ideas for next year’s list. They say if you build a better mousetrap…..but of course you also have to get the word out.