Aug 12, 2023

Think Having A Well


A better-behaved pooch is just products away.

They don't call them "man's best friend" for nothin’ — having a dog brings immeasurable joy to so many lives. But let's be honest, being a dog owner isn't always a walk in the park (well, sometimes it is). It requires time, energy, and quite a bit of money. That's why I've turned to the experts, and they've shared their invaluable advice on how to navigate the ups and downs of pet ownership — on a budget.

Whether you're struggling with a mouthy chewer, trying to hush your puppy's excessive barking, or simply looking for a new tasty treat to reward good behavior, we've handpicked some recommendations for your and your furry friend. So, go ahead, take some tips from the experts, and indulge in some retail therapy while you're at it.

Everybody needs a safe space, even your dog. "Crate training can be an invaluable tool for housebreaking and creating a safe space for your dog," Tommy Wilde, dog trainer and founder of Floofmania, tells Bustle. "It helps establish boundaries and promotes good behavior when used properly."

This dog crate is designed with added security features to ensure the safety of your furry friend. With a slide-bolt door latch featuring a clever design preventing your dog from pawing and locking tips, this crate provides a secure home for your pet. It comes with a divider panel, durable plastic pan, rubber feet, and a carrying handle for convenience. Easy to assemble and portable, this sturdy crate offers proper ventilation and a den-like space for your dog.

Paws-itive reinforcement encourages good behavior. "Use rewards, such as treats or praise, to reinforce good behavior," Wilde says. "Dogs respond well to positive reinforcement, and it helps them understand what is expected of them." And a hands-free treat pouch like this affordable pick allows you to conveniently carry treats during walks and training sessions, keeping rewards readily accessible and helps reinforce positive behavior, according to Wilde.

This bag features a metal belt clip and nylon loop for easy attachment, a no-spill enclosure, and a customizable drawstring for secure treat storage. The oversized mesh pocket provides ample storage space, while the reflective strip enhances visibility during walks. Plus, it has a convenient side access poop bag dispenser that allows for quick and hassle-free access.

You’ve heard of Pavlov's dogs, right? Conditioning your dogs with a bell would be effective but noisy. Try this clicker trainer instead — it's a powerful tool for training your pet. "A clicker is a fantastic tool for training dogs using positive reinforcement," says Wilde. "It helps mark desired behaviors and signals to your dog that a reward is coming."

The clicker's compact and ergonomic design ensures easy handling, while the attached finger band adds comfort. Suitable for pets of all ages, this clicker is versatile and can be used to train dogs, cats, and other animals.

Looking for a new leash on life? Consider a long one, suggests Wilde. "A long training leash provides your dog with more freedom while maintaining control during training exercises," says Wilde. "It's particularly useful for recall training and working on commands at a distance."

This distance leash comes in two lengths, allowing your dog to explore while you maintain control. The neoprene-padded handle provides a comfortable grip, and the D-ring offers versatility for attaching accessories.

Consistency and routine are key components to helping your dog behave better. "Establish a consistent routine for your dog's daily activities, including feeding, exercise, and training sessions," Wilde adds. "Dogs thrive on consistency, and it helps them understand boundaries and expectations."

Improve your pet's feeding experience with this innovative slow feeder bowl. Great for hungry hounds, this bowl replaces standard bowls and features a lip for easy use in raised feeders. No more gulping, bloating, and choking, as the interactive maze with raised tunnels slow down even the fastest eaters. The nonslip rubber grip keeps the dishwasher-safe bowl in place.

A bored pup is a destructive pup. "Engage your dog's mind through interactive toys, puzzle feeders, and training sessions," Richard West, founder of PuppyHero, advises. "Mental stimulation is essential for their overall well-being and can help prevent boredom-related behaviors."

With its clutch pockets and enticing giggle sounds this interactive ball toy keeps your furry friend happy, healthy, and entertained. It's designed to promote exercise and can be used indoors and outdoors. Best of all, no batteries are required for the internal tube noisemaker, and it has over 86,000 reviews on Amazon.

If your dog has ever zeroed in on a squirrel or a rival dog, you know how hard it can be to regain their attention. Beth Mullen, owner and founder at Dog Latin, suggests a game of "find it," in which owners ‘hide" objects or treats in the grass so that pups can search and sniff them out. Well, you can bring the game indoors with a snuffle mat. This dog enrichment toy will keep your furry friend happy and mentally stimulated while promoting slower eating, reducing bloating, and helping to improve your dog's overall health and mood. This handmade mat is made from soft organic cotton fibers and is 100% pet-safe.

When dogs start barking, it can be incredibly difficult to get them to stop, admits Daniel Caughill, co-founder of The Dog Tale. "That's because their attention is laser-focused on whatever it is they’re barking at. Simply calling their name or saying ‘No!’ won't help. You need to break their attention."

His suggestion? Try a sonic device, like this ultrasonic dog whistle. It emits a strong signal that cuts through the noise and breaks your dog's attention. With a rapid one-hour charge and long-lasting battery, it features advanced modes and ensures your dog's sensitive hearing is safeguarded.

Taking your dog for a run isn't enough, especially if they’re a smart cookie. "Most new dog owners know they need to tire out their dog to keep them well-behaved," says Caughill. "But physical exercise is only one aspect of a dog's energy. You need to mentally stimulate your dog as well." One of the best ways Caughill suggests you do this is by allowing them to sniff lots of new scents when you’re out on your walks or by introducing puzzle toys at home as a training aid.

This dog tornado toy has 12 hidden compartments and adjustable difficulty. It prompts your dog to solve simple puzzles in order to reach the treats or kibble inside and keeps your furry friend entertained while developing problem-solving skills. Made from safe materials, it is easy to clean and maintain.

Having trouble getting your pooch to come when they’re called? Leena Chitnis, founder and CEO of Timberdog®, has a tip: "As for recall, I strictly reserve the stinkiest, most high-value treats. It's so tempting to give these to her otherwise, but if you exercise restraint and only use them for your dog's most challenging behaviors, they will respond."

Leena says her pup goes "bonkers" for these delicious vegan treats that taste like grilled hamburgers and are perfect for dogs of all sizes and ages. Made from sustainable ingredients like chickpea flour, brown rice, and sweet potato, they contain no artificial additives. Plus, with every bag purchased, a tree is planted.

Although I love Oreos, I look to mix up my treats with some potato chips after one sleeve — your dogs enjoy variety in their treats, too. So keep them motivated: Chitnis also recommends this plant-based jerky, a delightful and delicious plant-based treat perfect for dogs of all sizes. Made with eight simple and healthy ingredients like pea protein, sweet potato, and chia seed, they are free from fillers and common allergens.

It's okay if you’ve given in and smuggled a snack to puppy-dog eyes under the table — you’re only human and those are cute eyes. But it's important to avoid accidentally rewarding your dog when they engage in unwanted actions. "This inadvertently reinforces their begging behavior and encourages them to persist in their attempts," says Dr. Sabrina Kong, DVM & veterinary consultant at WeLoveDoodles. "If the begging becomes unbearable, intervene with a firm yet gentle ‘No!’ and try to redirect their attention towards something more appropriate," Kong says and suggests this treat-dispensing toy.

Made from durable rubber, it satisfies your dog's instinct to chew while providing mental stimulation. It features patented holes where you can sneak in a treat, so this toy will keep them engaged and entertained while you enjoy your dinner uninterrupted.

As much as you’d love to play with your dogs 24/7, it just isn't possible. "Plan ahead for times when you can't give your dog attention, like during long Zoom calls or when guests come over," says Joanna Russell, founder of Biscuit Training and author of The Puppy Playbook. "Provide engaging toys such as Beef Cheek Rolls, Yak Chews, or a food-filled, frozen rubber Toppl to keep them busy and prevent them from rehearsing unwanted behaviors like barking and whining," Russell says.

These Himalayan Dog Chews are a long-lasting and 100% natural treat for your dog. Made from yak and cow milk, they're created through a traditional process of boiling and drying, resulting in a high-quality, preservative-free chew that provides your dog with authentic Himalayan cheese-eating entertainment. Dogs will spend hours working on it, gradually softening and scraping off small parts, which will keep them engaged and entertained when you're unavailable.

If you’ve ever been kept awake by the loud slurps of your dog licking himself, not only is it gross and annoying, it may be the symptom of a bigger problem. "Owners often think paw licking/chewing is behavioral, but it can be a sign of a food allergy," says Colleen Lambo, a veterinarian with The Vets. "If untreated, the obsessive behavior can be a constant irritation to you and your pet. Some dogs are up all night and keep their owners up all night itching." To help, Lambo recommends this sensitive skin and stomach dog food for your itchy pup.

If you’re looking to start out with a more affordable option, this sensitive stomach dog food lists real salmon as the number one ingredient, so it has a blend of nutritious ingredients that promote easy digestion and support your dog's overall health. The added vitamins, minerals, and omega-6 fatty acids enhance skin and coat health, while high protein supports strong muscles and joints with no artificial colors, flavors, or fillers.

If your elderly furry friend has become more skittish on certain surfaces, and they’re being stubborn about walking to you when called, help them out. "Dogs, especially seniors, can get nervous about walking across floors with poor traction," says Lambo. "The fear of not being able to cross the floor safely is as important to manage as symptoms of physical pain. Consider yoga mats, rug runners, or these paw stickers to help." These vinyl paw print decals will easily attach to any smooth surface, and are easily removed with no mess or hassle. They’re fun, decorative, and very apropos.

Like people, dogs too can get a little anxious sometimes. "Anxiety and boredom shouldn't be left unchecked" says Lambo. "For intelligent or anxious dogs, we often need to provide more mental and physical stimulation with calming products." Soothe and calm your pet with this LickiMat, a safe and effective way to reduce anxiety, boredom, and destructive behavior.

Recommended by vets and trainers, this mat promotes licking to release endorphins, making it ideal for stressful situations like vet visits and thunderstorms. As a bonus, the textured surfaces also improve dental health by scraping away food particles and promoting fresher breath.

If a slow feeder mat like the one listed above isn't quite cutting the mustard, you can help your dog find calmness with these calming supplement chews. Organic and hemp-based, these chews are formulated with natural ingredients like valerian root, ginger, and organic chamomile to alleviate anxious behavior. Perfect for managing stress caused by separation, travel, and behavioral issues, these premium chews have over 10,000 five-star reviews.

You may need to step in if your dog acts like a hungry hungry hippo at mealtimes. "Allowing your dog to eat too quickly can cause medical issues and vomiting," warns Lambo. "Some dogs, especially rescues or in multi-pet homes, can eat like they will never see their next meal. This can cause stomach upset and vomiting. Consider feeding out of slow feeders or treat dispensing balls."

Available in two sizes, this interactive feeder toy allows your furry friend to roll the ball and be rewarded with treats. If your dog is smarter than the average pup, you can adjust the difficulty level to challenge your dog's problem-solving skills. The durable toy is easy to clean and can be used with your dog's favorite dry treats or kibble.

Addressing your dog's bad breath doesn't just make his kisses more bearable; it's essential for his health. "Ignoring your dog's dental health can lead to severe oral pain, difficulty eating, and create systemic medical issues," says Lambo. "If you aren't able to brush your puppy's teeth daily, consider dental treats and toys to help keep them clean in between full dental visits."

These tasty dental chews fight bacteria, reduce tartar and plaque, and promote overall oral health in your pup, which makes for a happier, better behaved pup in general. They are made with all-natural, gluten-free, and vegetarian ingredients in different sizes to suit your dog's needs. With no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, they are a healthy choice for your furry friend.

Dogs love to chase; it's in their very nature. But running after the mail carrier or random cars is less than ideal. "Teaching a dog to chase and catch a flirt pole is a great way to offer a dog the opportunity to chase and catch something, but much more appropriate," says Kait Hembree, head of training at GoodPup. "The flirt pole can then be used as the reward for doing what you ask." Engage your furry friend in interactive play with this teaser dog wand. Made from durable nylon cord, it can withstand hours of training and playtime. The wand includes two plush toys that squeak and rattle, stimulating your dog's hunting instincts.

Grooming is essential to teaching your pup discipline (like how to sit still for a few minutes) and crucial socialization skills. And you can save money at the groomers by trimming your dog's nails at home. Nicole Ellis, a certified professional dog trainer and pet lifestyle expert with Rover, suggests: "Start early with socialization and handling; I love getting my puppies used to nail trims, ears checks, and other things that can be strange and new at the vet later in life."

This advanced nail grinder features a diamond drum bit that professionals recommend for comfortable trimming. It offers two-speed settings and three grinding ports to accommodate pets of all sizes. With low noise and vibration, it minimizes stress for your pet, and the rechargeable and portable design makes it convenient to use anywhere.

Don't let your dog take you for a walk. "A front clip harness can reduce pulling and keep walks more peaceful," says Ellis. Choosing a harness with adjustable straps that won't cut across their shoulder blades while keeping them safe and secure is important, Ellis says. Designed to reduce pulling, this adjustable harness allows your dog to maintain their natural gait, and it offers a perfect fit with adjustable points and easy-to-use buckles. Made with durable reinforced webbing, it ensures long-lasting use. The Y-shape strap design allows for an improved range of motion while providing comfort and reducing friction.

Providing your dog with a comfortable travel space not only reduces separation anxiety but helps keep them safe. "Buckling in our pets can prevent car accidents by reducing distractions and keep our pets safe in a car accident," says Ellis. "For smaller pets, the carrier can be used at the vet to reduce fear and anxiety." Designed with a nifty expansion feature, this collapsible carrier offers your pet a broader space to move and reduces anxiety during travel. The sturdy carrier is foldable and equipped with storage pockets for convenience. Its breathable mesh and easy-to-clean design ensure comfort and hygiene for your furry friend.

Chewing is a natural behavior for a dog, so finding a positive outlet for that urge is a good idea. "All dogs unintentionally chew, rip and slobber on some of your most coveted items," says Erin Askeland, an animal health and behavior expert at Camp Bow Wow. "Give Fido an area of his own where he can enjoy himself when you are out of the house or unable to closely monitor him. Flood this area with a variety of toys. He will naturally learn to chew and play with these items instead of yours. Also, be sure to protect your belongings by storing them in places that aren't easily accessible."

This zigzag-shaped corn dog chew toy is made of bite-resistant material and effectively cleans your pet's teeth. It's nearly indestructible and has been tested by aggressive chewers, plus it's suitable for dogs of all sizes. With a built-in squeaker, it keeps your dog engaged and entertained.

Bimini Wright