So this is all the crap that doesn’t fit in other categories.
Big Lots Toys:
Okay, so they may have some questionable origins but they’re 1) Damn Cute and 2) Too cheap to ignore. If you have a dog who won’t keep nice things nice, the $2 squeaky toy hitting the garbage is a lot more pleasant than the $12 toy hitting the bottom of the bin. They also get those weird seconds from Chuckit and Kong and Nylabone so you can get those $12 toys for a steal if you’re willing to hunt.
Potnoodle’s I with one of the million tugs braided from three dollar fleece blankets.
Have a towel? And old rag? A bungee cord (Without the sharp ends. Be reasonable) with a rag? An old fleece blanket? You just made a tug toy for $0. You’re welcome.
For an inexpensive way to tote your crap around we’ve found two really good ways. Firstly, if you don’t live in a mess, the toolbag is your best friend. There are pockets and compartments for everything under the sun. They’re usually incredibly well made (Who really wants a shit ton of wrenches falling on their foot) and they’re easy to find. Hello local hardware store! Secondly, if your training is more free-form and you like hunting through 30lbs of crap to find what you’re looking for, grooming totes at the tack shop serve the same purpose.
No, this is not something we meant to feature on our Sex Toy or Dog Toy Saturday, although the name certainly is suggestive of that. The squeeze tube is an amazing way to deliver high value rewards (particularly messy ones like canned food, peanut butter, or tripe) without getting your hands or bag messy. Originally developed for outdoorsy people such as campers and hikers (and thus found cheaply at REI, Cabelas, and other outdoor goods stores), the squeeze tube has been co-opted by the dog training community and is a staple in many households. The key is to look for a tube that has an open end for filling up the tube as well as a plastic stopper that prevents mess from going everywhere, but also helps push out every last bit of disgusting goodness. It’s a good alternative to EZ Cheeze (Just eww) or $12 aerosolized peanut butter (Yes Kong. We love you but that’s a ripoff).
If you’ve never used a flirt pole before, you really should. Why? It’s an easy DIY toy, that you can also buy for under $30 bucks, if you are allergic to making stuff like BusyBee. It not only helps your dog work on their basic manners and impulse control, but it also gives them a great workout in just a few minutes. And you hardly have to do a thing. Bonus. Think of a flirt pole as a giant cat toy that you drag around the ground and let your dog chase after the fuzzy object tied at the end. In addition to the physical activity they get from hunting the “prey”, it is a great way to work on impulse control by practicing sit, down, look, wait, take it, leave it, drop it. Working with your dog on listening to you when they’re in a state of high arousal (chasing and tugging) and teaching them to cool off quickly (drop it and lie down) is a great thing to do, especially for those dogs that need some help in the impulse control department. Even if you don’t have a yard, you can make a slightly smaller version for use inside, which is particularly handy on dreary days when you just aren’t in the mood to spend an hour outside in the cold and wet. Just know that with your more bulldozer type dogs, you are bound to have some dog vs. wall or dog vs. couch collisions, so we don’t recommend indoor use anywhere near your fine china…or big screen tv.
Dog people in general are weirdly aware and interested in customizing everything. Logos, magnets etc, these peeps have got you covered.
If you know Golden Retriever people or just dog people in general, you probably know these designs, and they are awesome. It’s all done by one person and it’s about as custom as you want it to be. Show Chairs take note, these were incredibly popular as trophies… Much more fun that a toy my dog will eat in under 10 seconds…
Not long ago Fang got it into her head to mark her utility articles. Her generic ones were very easy to confuse and someone nearly walked away with her whole bag (And if you’ve ever bought articles, this tragedy is stroke-worthy) and that was the last straw. A resourceful ACD person posted their newly decorated ACD head study articles and an idea was born. Not only was a design sent out and complete in under 3 days, they were super-helpful and communicative during the process. That the Pigasus as seen above is adorable is only a small portion of their A+. The next custom for M is a Moose, for reasons obvious to those who know him.
Good Dog Graphics: (http://digitalimagedesigns.webs.com/)
Remember that “Poodle Not Doodle” sticker? Good Dog Graphics made that. Sense of humor? Check. Quick service? Check. Willingness to work with you for a truly custom product? Check.
**The Less Cheap**
Need dog crap? Need some Michael Ellis (Everyone does. Don’t kid yourself)? Tug toys? Toys in general? Kennel gear? Vests? T-Shirts? DVDs? Ed and the gang have you covered. Aside from their super-helpful deals they have running all the time, they have nearly everything dog-related under the sun (Except Obedience and agility stuff, for that look lower). A double-bonus is located in their relatively inexpensive shipping, which is what moves a lot of these companies to the “Less Cheap” category fairly quickly.
An obedience Mecca, J&J is the standard in obedience stuff and agility equipment, period. Shipping is a bitch (Seriously, group order if you can) but it is literally the only down side. Is it possible to setup some kind of reverse railroad to the Southeast for J&J gear? No? Okay.
J&J’s agility crazy cousin, these guys are pretty cool too. They carry just about everything you could ever want for agility, rather it’s a weird backyard version or you’ve been invited to world team.They aren’t deadly expensive and, much like hipsters, they usually have things before they are cool in a sport that is famous for its fads.
These beds…we die. Yes, we are that excited about dog beds. If you aren’t already a fan of Molly Mutt, you need to go check them out. The joy of Molly Mutt is that you can use your own extra blankets, pillows, and clothes from your home to stuff the duvets. They sell duvets in pretty much every style imaginable, so you’re sure to find something you love. Molly Mutt duvets are like pringles, you can’t have just one. Buy a few and rotate them out to suit your mood. If you’re really into your dog sleeping in style, they also sell crate covers. Just don’t be too jealous that your dog is sleeping in style while you are sleeping on ratty sheets from Target.
**The Super Duper Not Cheap**
Trying to find a gift for the obedience competitor who has everything? Well don’t buy these, but do buy a gift certificate or credit towards a set because your obedience person has likely got an idea of what they want already. Gorgeous custom colors with metallic options available? Awesome. You’re going to be on a waitlist for… a while but they are the ultimate obedience accessory.
If you feed raw, or are thinking about going raw, you should check out Hare Today. While certainly pricier than sourcing local meat, their products make raw feeding super easy. Most of their meats come pre-ground, so all you have to do is defrost and feed. BusyBee gets almost all of her raw through them since Mr. T is basically allergic to everything that ever existed, and finding locally sourced novel proteins is difficult. With proteins ranging from goat, llama, guinea pig, and rabbit to your more basic chicken, turkey and beef, Hare Today offers a wide selection that can feed even the most ridiculously allergic dog. In addition to pre-ground proteins, you can also buy whole prey if that is more your thing. Although some people may be skeptical of shipping frozen meat cross-country, Hare Today has perfected their shipping process and meat arrives perfectly frozen. The customer service is excellent, and even with the shipping costs, the per pound cost is usually lower than other commercial raw foods you can find at local pet stores.
**Have these? Need these? Blame us for an acute case of “I-want-it-itis”? Share below.**