Tennis balls are famously popular with dogs, so when we got our puppy we realised quickly that they were her favourite kind of toy and were going through them very quickly until one day we decided to invest in a Kong tennis ball, we will never go back! They squeak and are much more robust, lasting months of heavy use before popping, unlike the cheaper tennis balls which often only lasted one walk.
All dogs seem to be strangely attracted to sticks which I never thought was an issue until last year when I heard Monty Don's Golden Retriever Nellie was impaled by a stick. I vowed to never use a stick as a toy with my puppy, especially when I heard of the dangers of sticks splintering in their mouths and cutting them from the inside. A few months into our puppy parenthood, we discovered the blessed Coffee Wood Stick. Much less likely to splinter than a regular stick found on a forest trail, long-lasting and safe to digest, these coffee wood sticks have been a saviour for our puppy through the teething stages and beyond. They calm her down and help her relax, allowing us to enjoy spending lots of chilled time together. In fact, the first time I ever saw my puppy settle herself down was with one of these sticks. Having rejected every other chew toy we bought her (and trust me, there were many!), this was a life-saver - we will never be without one in our home.
Something that always seems to be recommended to dog owners is Kongs. We first bought one of the original sizes in red and couldn't believe how useful it was. Quickly, we started stocking up and trying a few of the different sizes. Our favourite is her pink Puppy Kong as it is the same size as the red original but a little less dense, meaning we can put twice as much food in it, keeping her entertained for twice as long. When I want her to settle down for a nap, I give her a Kong filled with a little bit of her frozen dinner, and the slow release of food relaxes her enough to sleep. I also use them as a treat to get her into her crate. Now, as soon as I open the freezer, she races to her bed! She knows what's coming!
We have been through many leads in our 7 months of puppy ownership. Our latest lead is the Julius K9 Super-Grip Lead, and it's a game-changer! I noticed her other leads becoming hard to grip as she became stronger and the weather changed. This one is revolutionary as it has rubber sewn down the centre of the whole lead, making it extremely easy to grip, even in very wet weather when something grabs the attention of our little puppy away from us.
I was against harness' at the start, wanting my puppy to walk at heel and hearing that a harness was not a great way to teach a dog as they can't feel it when they pull on one. I became more concerned as she started growing bigger and stronger and hadn't got her heel down 100% that she was going to pull me over and / hurt her little neck.
On our many walks, we kept seeing this harness on lots of other dogs. We were also recommended it by a lady who owns the same breed as our puppy, claiming that her dog never pulled again after using this harness. There is something magical about the Julius K9 Power Harness that changed the experience of walking our dog immediately. It seems to put her off pulling the vast majority of the time and gives us so much more control over her that it makes walking more pleasurable. The top handle is so useful if your dog is ever nervous around things like cars or other dogs and have a tendency to bolt, you can hold onto this handle, keeping them safe and comfortable.
I hope you found this helpful, what ingenious products have you found for your dogs?
About the Artwork
I painted everything you see here in ProCreate on my iPad pro.
The main image is from one of our magical sunrise trips to our favourite local beach and the product paintings were created using references from Google