The best toys for your dog or pup (Garrett’s favorite picks)

Standard

In this exciting installment brought to you from thecaninecalmer I am going to detail a few of my absolute favorite dog toys and provide the links right to them.  These excellent items will aid in quality playtime and in what I like to call “play training.”

As we go over these toys please bear in mind that I am not your average neighbor that you may happen upon at the dog park that is equipped with just enough info to potentially make things worse for you.  Instead, I eat, live, and breath dogs and have done so for the past twelve (soon to be thirteen years).  The toys I will mention here will do their jobs admirably and should function well for both the dog body and your human body.

Ergonomics and comfort are important when a human body is interacting with a much shorter, wiry, tough, fast, furred body that is equipped with a much different set of senses and movements – most of which occurring below our center of gravity.  Again, as in almost all things we discuss on this fine blog, efficient results are of utmost concern.  In this case the goal is good ol’ family fun with occasional working obedience training smoothly slipped into the session.  In this way the pup or dog is typically unaware that they are working and obeying you because they are having such a good time exerting themselves as they practice their prey drive at escalated energy levels while simultaneously shadowing your movements and furthering your bond.

(Please note: these toys are my dog’s favorite and mine too.  We do NOT leave them down or out where the dogs have free access to them.  They are put away after our play sessions and because of this, they are highly prized by the dogs.)

Planet dog’s Orbee ball and rope combo

I love this set up!  This is a quality item.  The Orbee balls are what put the Planet dog company on the map and with good reason.  They are tough, bouncy, and buoyant.  These balls are durable, recyclable, non-toxic, and made in the USofA!  They come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee!  These balls are great and I suggest the one with the little continents on it (the ball is designed to look like the planet and the land masses are slightly raised).  Because the continents on the ball are higher than what would be the oceans and seas when the ball bounces off the ground it shoots back up in strange new directions which further excites our dogs!  There is no boring, straight-line fetch going on with this toy.  Instead it keeps the dogs on their paws and ready for more.  (Which, incidentally leads to the draining of their energy in a more efficient time period).

We have two Planet dog Orbee products in our home.  One does not have the little rope attached. It is just the ball that looks like the planet.  The other has ball and the rope.  Everyone in the household prefers the model with the rope attachment.  I think even the dogs prefer it.  Here are a couple reasons why I highly suggest the rope option…

  1. With the rope on the end of the ball you greatly enhance your throwing distance.  Similar to the propulsion that comes from an atlatl – the rope will make your throws look like you have the arm and throwing capacity of the next utility outfielder for the Seattle Mariners.
  2. With the rope you greatly cut down on slobber and slime as you are taking the retrieved ball back from your dog.  The Orbee ball material can be quite slick once wet (maybe this is another reason our dogs love it – they chomp and compress the thing all while retrieving it and running back to us.
  3. If you have a multi-dog household like we do (we have two boxers) the ball and rope combo allows for two dogs (maybe even three) to grab on and have fun.  They can retrieve together!  This is usually the case with both of my dogs.  They look like dog coursers (cart, carriage, or sled pull team) as they charge back at me across the lawn, their faces close by each other and their bodies side-by-side in harmony, one mouth squeezing and chewing on the ball, the other clinging and pulling at the rope.
  4. One thing you should notice right away when you receive your Orbee ball and rope combo is that the rope itself is different from many of the other ropes you’ve seen or felt in other dog toys.  This little rope is very tightly wound.  Because it is wound this way it does not just unravel like we have seen so many other dog and puppy rope toys do.

Here is the link to my favorite Orbee and rope combo.  It is well worth the money to get a quality item than to continuously drain dollars and cents and time replacing a cheaper toy.  Do yourself and your dog a favor.  Order this baby!

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=thecaninecalm-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B06XR2H19G&asins=B06XR2H19G&linkId=e2e45360be10dd35cdfd234d6137c29b&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff

Hyperflite Jawz competition discs (frisbees)

These are the “toughest and best-flying, puncture-resistant competition discs ever made.”  That’s what it says on their website and I wholeheartedly agree.  Over the years I’ve seen a plethora of shoddily made and terribly flying frisbees and discs for dogs.  The Jawz disc from Hyperflite has outdone them all.  These discs fly incredibly well.

There are two traps to beware when purchasing a flying toy or disc-type toy for your dog.  The first is that the disc is made overly flexible and or soft.  These kind simply do not fly well.  The inventors, probably in their attempt to avoid a brittleness in the disc and in order to protect the dog’s mouth went way too far the other way.  Their flopping discs may stimulate your dog or pup for a time but the human enjoyment fades quickly and this eventually diminishes the dog’s own enjoyment.  Throwing a too-floppy disc is not fun.  The other thing to beware of is, of course, overly brittle disc.  We’ve all seen (and perhaps even purchased) the super cheap and very brittle throwing discs at those discount bins in the major pet supermarkets.  And those of us that have brought them home to our dogs and thrown them also watched those brittle things burst and crack into pieces after a throw or three.  Dog teeth easily punch into and eventually through these cheap plastic toys.

Hyperflite has somehow managed to cut out the weaknesses that exist in so many other dog disc toys and only build on the strengths!  Their disc is incredible!  The Jawz disc they’ve come out with is remarkably tough and comes with “anti-glare technology.”

As a boxer owner I fully understand that my dogs are probably not going to beat out any trained Border collie, Aussie shepherd, or Heeler in a pro disc competition.  But we certainly have a lot of fun in our large backyard.  I love throwing my Jawz disc for them (Rambo in particular) and watching them explode into the air at a distance, their own jaws snapping and bringing down the disc.

Image may contain: 1 person

Rambo getting some serious air

 

(Special note:  If you are interested in getting your dog started on a little frisbee/disc play training I would first recommend that your pup have a strong retrieve.  If you don’t have that down you must start with tug of war – there is an entire chapter on the benefits of tug of war and playing backwards in my Hot-Listed book on dog and human behavior, Dog Myths: What you believe about dogs can come back to Bite You!, check it out.  If your dog has a good and full retrieve down pat then I would still suggest increasing tug or war and luring the dog in and around your body.  See if you can get him/her to come around behind your back and between your legs.  One of the easiest ways for a pup to learn to catch the disc is to have them come running around behind you (you do this by passing the disc behind your back like a fancy “behind the back” basketball pass) and then gently tossing it straight ahead and just in front of the pup.  Hopefully you’ve already worked him up into snapping for the disc and he runs forward and grabs it before it hits the ground.  Have fun!)

Watching your dog explode forward and up into the sky, at sometimes bizarre angles, while going after a quality, flying disc and working together as a team is loads of fun.  Give it a try!

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=thecaninecalm-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B002CM3O6G&asins=B002CM3O6G&linkId=6fc37f29fe4a9e007fc8ec9075046247&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff

Well that’s about it for now, folks.  We appreciate you spreading the word and sharing this post and while you are on Amazon remember to pick up a copy (or two – you may want to donate one or gift one to a local shelter or family or friend) of our HOT Listed book on dog and human behavior, Dog Myths: What you Believe about dogs can come back to Bite You, to you cart too along with this great toys!!

Thanks and happy playing,

-G

 

 

Advertisements

Garrett Stevens’ Four, FREE, Fantastic Tips to get your dog or puppy to “COME!”

Standard

If your puppy or dog isn’t coming when called you may eventually discover that they won’t do other things you ask!  A dog who does not come is in need of what I call, “respect work.”

If your pup won’t come that means that he is already leading the relationship in his mind.  I hate to break this to you (who am I kidding…I love teaching)  but your dog’s disobedience of the “come” or “here” command is actually a much bigger deal than you originally thought!

And what with the accelerated growth rate of our pups you will probably discover (if you look into it) many accelerated manipulations of the personal space around your pup.  Once a pup has control over his own body and his own personal space there is nothing to stop him from expanding his territory to other things in his environment.

Example from the mind of your puppy:  “Since my owner lets me claim my paws and my tail maaaaaaaaaybe I’ll just start (little by little) to claim my whole back half and not let them pet me there.  And after that maybe I’ll begin to (ever so slightly) manipulate, claim, and control my own toys and how I play with my owners.  I will play only on my terms.  While I manipulate these things to my advantage I will actively be testing and attempting to out-touch, out-mouth, and outmaneuver my owners to see how good they are at communicating in my language (to see if they mean what they say and where the boundary lines are)!”

Do you see where this can lead? (Dominance, Hyperactivity, Fearfulness, Aggression, etc)  For those of you who don’t believe in “dominance” you can feel free to put whatever foolish human word you would prefer using to describe a dog that is out of control, wants to take over, doesn’t want to obey, and is basically rude and running the show!  Let’s continue…

The real answers lie in first identifying all the subtle manipulations that our pups get away with and then knowing how to calmly stop them.  This is where I can help dramatically.  Order my Hot Listed book on dog and human behaviors, DOG MYTHS: What you Believe about dogs can come back to BITE You!

I’ll put a link to my shocking and yet inspiring training book at the bottom of this article.  I don’t have time in this short blog post to go into every subtle puppy manipulation that could be happening in your case because it would be like trying to learn an entire language from a simple blog article.  It cannot be done.  However, if you follow my four ways to strengthen your puppies recall this can greatly help stop your loving pup from acting like such a brat and prevent him from growing that bratty behavior into serious future behavioral issues.

 

  1.  Never call an unreliable dog.                                                     This means avoid the temptation to say, “Come” or, “Here” to your dog or pup!  Don’t do it.  Keep your mouth closed!  [Please read our post entitled Shut your mouth if you want to talk with Mother Nature]  This is an extremely hard rule to follow for us as humans!  Be aware you probably will fail at this from time to time.  That’s OK if it’s only happening a few times…it is totally unacceptable and foolhardy if it becomes a practice.  Sadly, it usually is practiced and it gives our pups the ability to simply, defiantly give us the doggy middle finger by clearly disagreeing with our recall command!

2.  Use the leash.                                                                            The leash should be your best friend if you’ve got a puppy or dog who will not come.  Have them wear it much more often.  Have them drag it around the house for hours at a time.  The leash will slow them down a bit (both mentally and physically).  If your pup is on leash and you want to say, “Come” or give a recall command by all means go ahead because now (on leash) you can easily disagree when he disagrees with you by not coming.

If your pup won’t come after you’ve given the command and he is on leash -Give a quick or short tug and then gesture into the recall position.  Remember, dogs prefer body language to verbal language.  He will begin to come toward you.  As soon as he starts towards you verbally praise a little and upon his finishing a clean “Come” command (meaning the pup’s head is almost touching your knees and he is directly in front of you) verbally praise more and be sure to pet and touch your pup.  You should be raising your energy and the tone of your voice…we are adding excitement and making coming to us worth it in the mind of the pup.  (This is rare because most other commands and just how we live our lives in general we always strive to lower the energy and we are typically looking for the animal to remain stationary -sit, down, stay or just calm depending on whether we are actively training or passively whispering).

3.  Use a toy and develop the pup’s prey drive

Using a toy should be when the dog is at his highest level of energy!  We want the pup really engaged and snapping at the tug or rope!  If you develop your pup’s natural prey drive you can quickly work a very reliable recall and you can get several repetitions in!

Imagine you have a dog who loves to play fetch and chase the ball or stick.  Now imagine how easy it could be if every time your dog (who loves to play fetch) learns that the second half of that game is the same exact body movement as performing the “come” or “here” command.  It can be extremely easy if we don’t allow all the social manipulations to creep in.

My dog Rambo jumps up high to catch the Frisbee. This is good prey drive on display!

The problem is most people aren’t even aware of what they are.  Do you know why?  Because most behaviorists and trainers can’t identify the manipulations either!!!  Shocking, I know, but it is the sad truth.  (Don’t worry though, I’ve got a book coming out that will help identify and prevent or reverse each and every manipulation that your dog or puppy may attempt!)

4.  Use a food treat.

Make sure you don’t bribe your puppy.  Reward.  Never bribe.  There is a difference!  And don’t overdo the treats.  Like the name implies they should be supplemental and occasional.  I always ask my clients, “When’s the last time you had cheesecake?”  Get the point?!  It’s a treat not a constant.

 

PS.  If your pup can’t fetch or doesn’t bring it back because he’s attempting to manipulate control of the game and his personal space then take my advice and start playing a close game of tug of war.  It will give you a chance to actually be a player in the game and it will keep the pup close and in your space.  And then you can teach the dog many other things like how to calm down and energy control, the “drop it” or “give” command and other vital spacial communication.

Me with my dogs Rambo and Bosley.

 

Dog Myths: What you Believe about dogs can come back to BITE You!

There’s the link above so click it and reserve your copy of the book today!

 

Questions?  Comments?  Testimonials?  YES, Please do respond we love your feedback.     -G