Finding the perfect gift for your favorite four-footer or best dog-loving friend or family member can seem overwhelming. There are SO many cool items on the market that can enhance your life with your dog. As dog owners and canine training professionals, it is safe to say we've used and tested a lot of products. Today I want to share the top items on our holiday gift guide - both big and small! Perfect for that big ticket item all the way to stocking stuffers!
SMART CAMERA- WYZE
Smart devices are becoming more normal in our homes to play us music, give us a weather update, and see who dropped off a package on the front step. But what about one that can watch our dog? Whether you are at home or travelling with your dog, being able to have eyes on them can provide peace of mind in many situations! For that we recommend the Wyze Camera. Wyze cameras are compact, easy to set up and use, and high quality. They can easily connect to Alexa for more functionality, Wifi networks, and a smart phone ap with alerts to allow for easy monitoring. They have indoor and outdoor capabilities, night vision, and even two-way audio so you can ask your dog to go settle after that doorbell is rung. This two-pack of cameras is $70.96 and gives you the ability to monitor two home locations. It's compact size makes it perfect to travel with and as you head out for a quick dinner you can check in and make sure your dogs are settling well in a new environment. As you train a new puppy on relaxation with independence, you can observe behavior on the connected ap as you walk out of sight or out the door. Or if you are just having a bad day at work and want to see your dog, Wyze cameras make that all possible. MUSIC BOX- iCalmDog
Did you know that classical music has been shown to reduce stress and promote relaxation in dogs? Plus with some soothing sounds on, you can drown out external noises like people walking by house that could startle or disturb your dog. Not only do we recommend classical music- but what about if you could get it in a self-contained, compact, easy to use speaker? Introducing the iCalmDog, a portable speaker that plays Through A Dog's Ear Music, classical music that has been tested and shown to promote relaxation. This speaker costs $79.95 and for a small additional fee you can select which soundtrack program suits your dog best from puppies, to separation anxiety, soothing, or senior dogs. The speaker can also connect and stream from Amazon Music, Apple, or Spotify. The self-contained all in one speaker with sound card make traveling with this device very convenient. Easier to use that a google speaker or alexa with its "turn on and press play" abilities. With a sound card the speaker doesn't need WiFi to play music, making it great for hotels, the car, and easily moving from room to room in your home. Classical music from this little device is often playing for our dogs while we are away, helping soothe them!
Treat dispensing toys are a must-have item for all homes. Did you know that dogs prefer to work for their food? Not only do food puzzles slow the feeding time down, from 3 seconds in a bowl to 10 minutes, but it also allows your dog a species-appropriate activity of foraging for food. Your dog will finish a meal mentally satisfied after solving the puzzle, which makes it easier for your dog to settle. The wobbler is a great toy for dogs of all ages and all skill levels, which is why it makes this list. I have a 4 months old puppy who solved this as her first dispensing toy, and a 10 year old senior who both enjoy this puzzle. While many people are familiar with the Kong Classic, a rubber toy that can be stuffed and frozen, the Kong Wobbler is much larger and made of a high-strength polymer. The base is weighted and the toy features one hole on the side. You simply unscrew the two pieces, and scoop food inside. You dog can push and swat the toy around on the floor- and as the toy wobbles, pieces of kibble fall out. The toy is easy for both humans to fill and clean, and for dogs to use. It is durable too and can stand against even the most mouthy of pups. Ours is over a decade old and still looks new! SAFETY FOR WALKS- NOX GEAR
Many people, myself included enjoy walks in the early morning or later evening. It helps us beat the traffic, fit in exercise with our busy work schedules, and for our reactive dogs allows them an outing without stress. But when walking in the night we need to make sure other people, especially those in cars can see us and I don't know about you, but holding flashlights isn't my favorite thing to do. Plus I find that many cars can't see the dog with me at the end of that 6 foot (or even 15 foot) leash, yikes!
The LightHound NoxGear harness is priced at $59.95 and is well worth it for those avid walkers, runners, and bikers! This high vis harness features reflective strips and multi-colored LED optics allowing your dog to be seen from over a half mile away! The harness comes in several sizes and includes adjustable straps, making this harness customizable for the ideal fit. The harness is rechargeable (USB), lightweight, machine washable, and lightweight. PLUS you can customize your color! Each vest features 8 colors and 6 multi-color flashing options, allowing you to choose your favorite or color-code each dog for easy identification.
DOG BACKPACK - DAY TRIPS OR OVERNIGHTS?
From an easy day hike to a multi-day overnight adventure, packing equipment is always on a hiker's mind. And when bringing a dog along, the amount of equipment, water, and food needed increases. When we head out, we let our dog's carry their supplies! This makes it easier for you to carry your supplies and for the eager dog can help give them a job- slowing their brain down and helping to tire them out.
For our more recreational hikers we recommend the Ruffwear Approach Pack priced at $109.95. This backpack features a Y-shaped harness, which makes pulling safe and comfortable on the dog. The saddlebags allow for plenty of space for bowls, water, snack, and more. With 5 points of adjustability, you can easily fasten the bag for safe and stable walking. The pack comes in several colors and sizes allowing you to customize the pack for your pup. This pack is a great choice for day trips and weekend getaways.
For the more avid hiker looking for a high-quality technical piece of equipment, I recommend the Non-Stop Amundsen Pack priced at $229.99. This bag has a massive pack volume and features several points of adjustability allowing you to get a secure fit - no more swinging saddle bags! The saddlebags are reinforced and covered with a ripstop rain cover that features two pockets for easy access with a see-through window. For longer weekend trips and through-hikes this pack will not disappoint.
COOL A ROO BEDS
Having a relaxing outdoor space to spend time is a dream for many and this bed is the perfect addition! Cool A Roo beds are durable elevated beds made for living outdoors. The off-the-ground design helps keep your pet cool in the summer by allowing ample airflow. The suspension aids in comfort by reducing the pressure points and discomfort for joints . These beds come in several sizes and are priced at $24.66. These three on our deck are over 6 years old and are barely showing wear and tear - even with the puppy's digging antics. You can easily transition your dog's indoor "place" or "settle" cue to these outdoor beds, making it easier for you all to relax together. Plus they come in a variety of colors, allowing you to find the perfect match for your outdoor color pallet. SLOW BOWLS
Does your dog scarf their food down and choke some of it back up? All the chow hounds in the world need a Slow Bowl by Outward Hound. These maze-like bowls help slow down the eating process by up to 10X, resulting in better digestion. Plus, the ability to forage and work for food a little more results in a great mental puzzle- aka a more relaxed dog!
Priced at $15.99 these bowls come in three different colors and maze patterns. The bowl features a non-slip base and food safe materials (BPA, PVC, Phthalate free). The are easy to fill and can be rinsed off or placed on the top shelf of a dishwasher for easy cleaning.
JOLLY PETS TUG-N-TOSS
Ready for the ultimate outdoor toy? Look no further than the Jolly Pets Tug-N-Toss! From fetch, to pool time, and even digging on top of it - your dog gets to decide how to play with it! But the underlying theme is durable fun! The toy is designed to be punctured without deflating, so its even suitable for those heavy chewers! Priced at $10-$30 (depending on size), these colorful toys can provide your dog hours of fun! TRAVEL CRATES
If you spend any time driving to trials, competitions, or races with your dog you probably have at least seen car safe crates. But, the more clients we talk to, the more we get raving feedback about how life-changing this addition was to their home. Heading to parks and on road trips to visit family with your dog is probably pretty common. You may even struggle with keeping your dog quiet or still. And this is when we introduce Ruff Land Kennels to all of our clients!
Putting a crate in your car can help improve your dog's travel. You can eliminate reactivity through the window, pacing, drool and nose prints on the windows, and even anxious energy. With a space to their own, dogs can safely enjoy a food puzzle or chew (if needed) and will be contained so you can avoid distracted driving. Plus- many take the chance to take a nap!
While these crates are a financial investment ranging from $189 - $435 (depending on size), they will make it more enjoyable to go places with your dog. The can be tethered down with ratchet straps and are crash tested - so just like you wear a seatbelt or your child is in a car seat for safety - now your dog has a safe place to be! And as you begin to create a car space- you'll find fun and easy customization options from "In Case of Emergency" car tags, to hooks for leashes, bowls that clip inside for water, and fans for our hot summers.
RUFFWEAR LIFE VEST
In the past few years, adventure activities with dogs have soared- including Stand-Up-Paddleboarding with dogs. But any fun in the water from swimming in creeks and lakes to going on boats requires a key piece of equipment for safety - a canine life vest. At $89.95 the Ruffwear Float Coat will become a staple in your water adventures. It comes in a variety of colors and sizes and has many points of adjustment on the abdomen and around the neck so you can get an ideal fit. The life vest is durable, comfortable for the dog, and features a handle to easily help your dog out of the water and back on the boat should they go for a dip. Give the gift of water safety for more fun adventures
MOUNTAIN DOG ORIGINAL CLIP LEASH
As a dog trainer and long-time dog owner, I have held MANY leashes in my hand and I can truly say not all leashes are made equal. I am looking for a standard length leash that is easy to hold, durable, static (non-stretchy), with durable and easy to use clips. For the past 11 years, the Mountain Dog Original Clip Leash has been our go to. The leashes come in a variety of colors and you can choose a length that works best for you and your walking style, with the 6ft leash priced at $27.50. STOCKING STUFFERS! - Under $10 Smaller items to stuff stockings or bring with you to a holiday party might be up your alley too - so here are our favorite fun and practical items under $10! UNIQUE CHEWS
Chews are always a happy gift. Some species-specific entertainment for your dog and an opportunity for you to put your feet up and take a break. Many chews you purchase online are in bulk, but if you head to a local pet store you'll find buckets of options like bully sticks, fish skins, tendon chews, dental chews, pork skin doughnut, Himalayan Yak Chew.
Treats are practical and useful. You can put them in a treat jar by the door to reward coming when called from the yard, or put them in your pocket to reward loose leash. Let's add a unique single-ingredient or whole treat for our dog to enjoy!
Beef Liver Cubes
Freeze Dried Rabbit
Freeze Dried Salmon
CANNED FOOD LIDS
From taking meds in a spoon to stuffing food puzzles- we love canned food in our house. But keeping it fresh is key! This reusable 3-pack is just $5.99! PET WASTE BAGS
Nothing worse than running out of bags. Stock up and stuff that stuffing for more adventures ahead with these Doggy Do Good Bags at $9.99. WATERLESS SHAMPOO
Nothing like the frustration of your dog finding a mud pit in the yard. But what if it is a small spot or you don't have time for a full bath? Waterless shampoo can help you take care of those quick messes. The Oatmeal Formula from Wahl is $6.29. NO STUFFING TOYS
New toys are always fun. My dogs love unique noises and textures and this Best Pet Supplies Duck is a favorite. It is a stuffing free toy that squeaks and crinkles for just $5.99. SILICON TREAT MOLDS
A gift that keeps on giving! These silicon molds are easy to use and clean. You can quickly fill them with some fresh fruits or veggies, and some semi-solids like plain greek yoghurt or pumpkin puree for a freezer friendly dog treat! This set of four molds is $8.99.
Kong Wubbas are fun toys for engaged play. With the tail that creates movement and the base that squeaks, these toys can interest even the "non-fetching" dog! They have three sizes, the large is priced at $9.99.
I hope this list help your plan for the perfect holiday season!