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Category Archives: Dog Product Reviews

Most popular reviews, tests and recommendations on dog toys, treats, beds and gear.

Product Review: Quit It!

compressedairpetsprayQuit It! is a can of compressed air that emits a loud hiss when you press the button on top. This sound is designed to interrupt your dog’s mindset when he is doing something that you’re trying to stop, such as jumping on visitors, digging in plants, or barking at the neighbors.

I had heard about the sound deterrent concept, and had tried some coins in an aluminum can, to no avail. I also tried the water gun, which worked on one dog, but not the other (who seemed to love it) I was a bit skeptical when I received the can. It seemed gimmicky and I wasn’t sure it would work.

But it just so happened that I had a dog who runs around the yard barking at the neighbors’ dogs in their yards. She would throw her hips at the fence, and since she’s a large dog, I was concerned that she might actually get the fence loose or break a board. One of my neighbors’ dog actually eggs her on, coming right up to the other side of the fence, barking and digging under the fence.

This same dog of mine also stole food off the kitchen counters. She was getting bad about it. No bagel (or stick of butter) was safe in my kitchen.

It took me a few weeks to try the product, since I wasn’t excited about it, but once I did my attitude totally changed. I sprayed it when she was stealing a piece of bread off the kitchen island and three months later, she hasn’t done it since. Wow.

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Encouraged by my success, I tried it on her when she went out into the back yard. As soon as she began to run for the fence, I sprayed the Quit It! and she turned around and ran toward me. No barking, no hurling herself against the fence, no drama. It took about three times on three different days to cure her of it.

I totally underestimated this product. My husband explained it to me. He’s a law enforcement officer and he said that when we are in a highly agitated state, our minds operate in a continuous loop of processing stimulus and reacting to it. Dogs may operate in much the same way. It is instrumental in both hunting and escaping danger. When I try to use a treat to get my dog away from the fence bordering my neighbor’s yard, she doesn’t seem to notice the treat because her mind is cycling in a loop of stimulus and reaction. But a loud noise interrupts that cycle, breaking her out of the loop momentarily and giving her a chance to think about something else for a second or two. If I did nothing at that point, she might go back to barking at the dog, but probably with much less intensity. This is the philosophy of the citronella bark collars, too. A fine mist of spray is unexpected and momentarily disorients the dog, giving the brain enough time the disengage from the overwhelming focus on the stimulus. This is also why police SWAT teams and military soldiers use flash bang grenades before entering a hostile situation. The flash of light and loud bang break the targets out of their concentrations and allow the good guys a chance to slip in and get control of the momentarily disoriented perpetrators.

There’s more information about why it works at the manufacturer’s website (below).
You may have to spray a handful of times the first time you use it. Because it surprises the dog, she may just stop what she’s doing at first, and look at you. But if you spray it again, she’ll likely get down, drop the shoe, stop barking or whatever she was doing. After that, she may respond at the first blast. Or, as with my dog, she may stop the unwanted behavior just by seeing you grab the can.

Some dogs are very tuned in to auditory training cues, and I think my test dog is. I can stop her with my voice from doing some things, and she’s sensitive to our family members’ tone of voice. She seems distressed if she hears someone who’s upset. So it may not work as quickly on other dogs, and on some, not at all. But my experience with this product was successful and fast. It worked so well on my dog that I don’t even need the can anymore. Now, when ever she freezes and stares in the direction of a neighbor’s dog whose tags are jangling and who is barking, I just say, “Shhht!” and she comes to me.

NOTE: You should not use the product close to your dog, as dogs have sensitive hearing and you could hurt their ears or damage hearing if you’re too close. Also, you may have other pets in the room or yard who could be affected when you’re using the spray for the problem dog. But that could be a good thing, too. I’ve seen this product stop a dog fight at the dog park. It made both dogs pause long enough for both owners to grab their collars and get them separated. I carry it with me when I go to the dog park, in case there’s another fight. I carry it when I’m walking my own dogs around the neighborhood, in case there’s an aggressive loose dog around.

At $24 for two 4-ounce cans, it is on the pricey side. However, when you think about solving a problem for $24, it may sound pretty darned affordable.

Here are some other reviews I’ve found, from testers who used it on both dogs and cats.

Buy it from: BuyQuitIt.com

 

The manufacturer’s website says it’s $10, but you also have to pay $6.99 shipping, and you also have to pay $6.99 for a second can (you do not have the option to order just one). So the real cost to buy it is just under $12 per can. Still, it’s affordable as a training aid that may work for you.

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Posted by on October 3, 2013 in Dog Product Reviews

 

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Product Review: Kyjen Invincibles Dog Toy

Kyjen is a major manufacturer in the pet industry, with cool, innovative products. I’ve been impressed with their products for the past nine years. We all love to love the little guy, but this operation is one “big guy” that I have always liked. It seems they’re always trying to come up with fresh new ideas, and ways to make the old toys better. It’s sometimes frustrating for a retailer to “lose” a popular toy, but I always tell my customers to wait until it’s re-release, and that they’ll love it. That’s exactly what’s happened with the Invincibles® toys.

How tough can a plush toy get? Some dogs can’t have plush toys. Ever. I’ve had those dogs. Others need a tough one, and those are the dogs that these toys are made for.

The newest versions of Invincibles® contain reinforced, double-layered seams and Dura Tuff lining material. On the inside, the toys are stuffing-less, filled only with their patented squeakers that continue to squeak even after being punctured. Sure, no toy is tough enough to endure the most aggressive chewer. Some dogs just can’t have plush toys. But some dogs can have Invincibles®, even if they can’t have regular plush toys. And that’s good news for enthusiastic or big dogs.

Even when dogs manage to tear through the double-layered seams and Dura-Tuff™ liner, the mess is minimal thanks to their stuffing-free design. Invincibles® squeakers are specially designed to continue to squeak even after being punctured—a feature that prolongs the fun for furry friends. They are available in a variety of snake and gecko characters, and range in size from two to six squeakers.

We tested the six squeaker snake on our adolescent Shiloh Shepherd pup. She’s hard on socks, shoes, and the kids’ stuffed animals, so I wasn’t sure. My sewing basket runneth over with beloved stuffed animals in need of a few stitches, thanks to Benelli. So it was with some skepticism that I gave her the Invincibles® snake. That was two months ago. She’s still playing with it — sometimes playing tug-of-war with our 75-pound Irish Setter — and it has not a single tear, rip or puncture. I have to say, I’m impressed. She likes the floppiness of it. When it smacks her face as she shakes it, she’s positively gleeful. She carries it around the house and even sleeps with it. All in all, a major hit.

Kyjen’s line of Invincibles® retails between $10 and $20. Not cheap for a dog toy. But not expensive, either, especially when you consider how long they last. Would I rather spend $6.99 for a series of toys that my dog shreds within a day or a week or spend $20 for a toy she’ll have for years? I’ll take door # 2, Monty.

I don’t sell the Invincibles because I specialize in funny dog toys, but you can order directly from Kyjen. Or you can check out one of their retailers. My favorite is Yipeeee!, a webstore that specializes in strong dog toys.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2013 in Dog Product Reviews

 

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Product Review: Orijen Dog Treats

“Your dog is a carnivore.” This is a very sensible statement from the back of the Orijen package. Dogs are designed to thrive on whole pray such as game, fish and fowl. In a natural state, dogs are equipped to hunt and scavenge meat, and do not naturally consume grains, fruits, vegetables or other food sources except what might be in the digestive tracts of their prey.

Orijen treats are made with 100% meat, poultry or fish, freeze dried in the company’s own kitchens (never outsourced), without cooking and without preservatives. The only preservative is that it is dried, which helps it last long enough for the retailers to get it, put it on the shelf, and sell it to shoppers.

We tested the Alberta Wild Boar flavor, which contains boar meat and boar from boar raised free-range on Alberta, Canada’s fertile woodland farms. Sounds healthy and tasty, doesn’t it? The treats smell natural without smelling strong.

Wild Boar dog treats

Our test dogs found the treats to be delicious. I used them to drill recalls on an older puppy who isn’t so good at coming when called. We were at a lake, and she was off the leash. I put her in a sit before I let her go, and gave her one of these treats. Then she was free to roam. I called her and gave her another one, and that’s all it took. Every time I prepared to do another recall, I would open the resealable zip-top bag (which keeps the treats fresh) and get one out. Then I would turn around and take a breath to call her. But there she’d be, at my feet, having heard the bag open. Ha! She could hear that bag open at 100 paces. Can you imagine how tasty a treat has to be to tear a puppy away from the wonders of a lake? All that sand, mud, dead fish to roll on, water to splash on, turkeys to chase, high grass to explore …. she came a’running when she heard that bag.

The retailer indicates that there are about 40 pieces in a 2 ounce bag. However, I think this is a conservative number. I have been feeding these treats for a few days, and I still have 40 pieces in the bag. I would have estimated 55 – 60 pieces. But it’s good to know that they’re not overestimating. You’ll get at least 40 pieces in your bag. These are great for training treats because they can be eaten by small or large dogs in a single bite, which helps you hold the dog’s focus (any treat that the dog has to stop and chew up, dropping pieces on the floor, can interrupt your momentum, especially when teaching something new).

I like that they don’t leave my hands stinky and messy. I mean, hot dogs are very motivating to dogs, but yuck! Who wants that sticky mess on your hands? Kibble just isn’t very interesting, at least to my dogs. So these are perfect. I’m going to get some to give to my trainer friends.

These treats are all meat, no fillers. That’s how our dogs want to eat, how they’re equipped to survive. These treats are dried, but still a little soft.

Available at: Chewy.com. We love Chewy because they have an auto-ship feature so you can get your treats delivered on a regular schedule, and never run out again.

Price: 2 oz bag (40 pieces): $7.99, 3.5 oz bag (80 pieces): $12.99

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2013 in Dog Product Reviews

 

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Product Reviews: Dogswell Jerky Bars

5oz_JB_VIT_lamb_RGB_PressJerkey Bars are made to be a protein bar for dogs. According to the manufacturer, they are  packed with antibiotic-free protein, plus vegetables, fruits and other ingredients for help give your dog healthy eyes, skin and coat, or support joint health.

Jerky Bars are about 1.5″ square. This makes them a bigger treat, so they’d be ideal for medium and large dogs. Small dogs would probably enjoy them very much, but would have to bite off pieces. So for smaller dogs, they’d make a great treat, but not for training, where you’d want a quick munch. Fortunately, they’re dehydrated, so they would be easy for a dog to bite through or for you to break them apart. Dehydrated meat is suitable for a dog snack, rather than dried meat that you’d find in a human jerky stick, because they have to sit on the shelf longer. Also, the dog can just eat it, rather than having to chew, chew, chew, like a regular piece of jerky. And for dogs who don’t take the time to chew, dehydrated protein is easier to digest than dried jerky.

There are two varieties: Vitality and Happy Hips. Each comes in four flavors: Chicken & Veggies, Lamb & Veggies, Turkey & Veggies and Salmon & Veggies. Each variety — although dehydrated — actually smell like the primary ingredient (turkey, chicken, etc.). This increases the dog’s interest.

5oz_JB_HIPS_chicken_RGB_ PressThese treats, wich are made in the USA, have a guaranteed analysis of 30% protein. The manufacturer’s website says they contain 85% animal protein. That could mean that of the 30% protein in each bar, 85% of that protein comes from animals and the other 15% might come from plant sources.

Jerky Bars are low glycemic treats, which I was happy to see, since there are a lot of foods and treats on the market that are said to benefit skin and coat, and then the first ingredient is wheat or corn, which gives many dogs skin allergies. Jerky Bars contain no gluten, corn, wheat, soy, BHA/BHT, ethoxyquin, byproducts, antibiotics, added hormones, artificial colors, artificial flavors or preservatives.

Our two test dogs loved the flavors we tested. The size and consistency was just right. They are flanking me as I write this, staring at the bags, then at me, then at the bags, then at me. : ) To put this in perspective, these are dogs who are accustomed to a raw diet. They dine every day on raw hamburger, chicken wings, fish, beef tongue, liver, gizzards, and other delicacies. Their training treats are beef hot dogs. If I put down a bowl of kibble, they look at the bowl and then look at me as if to say, “Erm, mom? What are we doing?” Given that, I would say that palatability for Jerky Treats must be very high.

The daily feeding guide advises dog owners to feed between 1 and 10 Jerky Bars to their dogs per day, depending on the dog’s size. This may be a way to encourage dog owners to feed these treats every day. However, at 32 cents apiece, I don’t think I would be feeding 10 per day to my two 75 lb dogs (that would cost $194 per month). So, since this is not intended to be a dog’s main source of nutrition, I would probably just feed these occasionally as a tasty and nutritious treat, rather than putting my dog on a feeding schedule of treats.

Overall, this is a well-thought-out, well-made, nutritious treat that’s shelf-stable, yet not cardboardy. Our test dogs found them yummy and easily digestible.

Manufacturer: Dogswell

Retail Price (15 oz/about 40 pieces): $12.99

Buy them at: A variety of websites and stores. Find a store near you by searching the Dogswell store finder, or Google “Dogswell Jerky Bars” to find an online retailer.

Click on our coupons page for a coupon for $1 off a bag of Jerky Bars

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2013 in Dog Product Reviews

 

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Product Review: Snaps Collars

snapscollarspinkblackHere’s a cool idea for a customizable, changeable pet collar. It’s called SNAPS (TM). It’s a collar and interchangeable snap system with tons of fun snaps to add, combine and switch out whenever you like. (Sorry for the red dog hair on the black collar in the photo. I actually do test these products on my own dogs.)

24 themes, five designs each, ranging from holidays to causes, regional to animals, bugs to flowers. They come in sets of 10 (two each of five designs) and the collars have 10 solid brass, nickel-plated snap studs on them. The great thing is that you can buy the snaps individually, so you can choose two from this group and one from that group. You could put together a sort of charm bracelet of your dog’s favorite thin

snapscollar

The collars come in two options: leather or nylon. Nylon collars are available in black, red or pink; leather collars are black. They come in four sizes to fit necks 8″ to 22″. gs by cherry-picking which snaps you like. With over a hundred designs, ou’ll find plenty of choices. All snaps fit any size collar.

The snap ornaments are silk screen painted brass, which holds up very well to chipping and scratching. They have a high tension socket for a secure fit. They need firm pressure to put them on, and I found my fingers fatiguing after I had put a few on. But then I used the heel of my hand and they went on quite easily. I don’t mind pushing hard though; I don’t want them to fall off while my dog is scratching her neck at the dog park. Nor would I want one dog to be able to chew them off the collar of the other dog when they’re playing. These snaps are REALLY on there!

SNAPS (TM) features a unique way to create the perfect fashion accessory to highlight your dog’s personality and charm, to to give him/her a a distinctive style for the holidays. There’s even a birthday collection!

snapscollaraccessories

This is such a clever idea! I used to have a different collar for Christmas, summer, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day (I have an Irish Setter), and Halloween. Now, all I have to do is swap out the ornaments for a totally new look. It’s a snap!

Product Name: Snaps

Cost: Leather collars with 10 studs, $14.99 – 17.99 each, nylon collars with 10 studs, $12.99 – $14.99 each. Ornamental snaps: .90 each or $8.99 for a set of 10.

Where to buy: http://www.snapsstore.com

 

Product Review: Lickety Stik Lickable Dog Treat

lick liquid dog treat training

A liquid dog treat! Who knew?

Ever heard of a liquid dog treat? I hadn’t, until I saw Lickety Stik at our local Pet Supplies Plus store. (Yes, even though I’m a retailer and able to buy everything wholesale, I still visit pet stores to see what they’re selling , and to buy anything that I need only one of, not a whole case.)

So here’s this roll-on bottle sitting at the checkout. I picked it up and saw it was a lickable liquid dog treat. I though, “What a great idea!” I have a nine-month-old Shiloh Shepherd whom we work with on leash and off. I need to drill commands and treat frequently for new commands, so a lickable treat (with only 1 calorie per 10 licks) seemed a good thing to try.

I purchased the chicken flavor and tried it out. The bottle says to shake it before offering it to the dog, then just unscrew the cap, hold the bottle down and let the dog lick. My Irish Setter was a little ambivalent at first, but the Shiloh LOVED it! We say “Sit!” and her bum hits the deck so fast it’s a blur. When Finnegan (the Irish) saw how much fun it was, his interest became a little keener. Now, they both do back flips (not literally) for the Lickety Stik.

licketystickdetailI found the smell of the chicken flavor to be a little … not what I would think chicken would smell like. However, I’m not the target audience here. The dogs love it and that’s what matters. The smallish bottle holds over 500 licks, which is a good value for $6.99. That comes out to a penny per treat. Try beating that in a tough economy. There are other benefits, too.

  • It’s quick! No fumbling in your pocket or bait pouch for a kibble or treat. No dropping it on the floor or pulling out two or three, which take longer to eat. The dog can be rewarded right away when he does what you’re asking him to do. He can consume the treat quickly, too, without having to stop and chew it up, then clean up the crumbs on the floor. By then, you’ve lost some momentum. A quick treat is much better, especially for teaching new things.
  • It’s precise. If you’re working with more than one dog, or you’re training in a class around other dogs who might be interested in what you’re giving your dog, you have more control over making sure the right dog gets the treat. Food aggressive dogs who might want to swoop in and get the treat away from you or your dog have a heard time when it’s a quick lick or two.
  • It’s low cal. You can treat often without worrying about caloric intake. My dogs are very slender, so I don’t worry about that, but I’ve had other dogs that shouldn’t be given 30 treats a day. With this treat, I can reward as often as I wish.
  • No spilling. I don’t worry about treats spilling out of my treat pouch or pocket all over the sidewalk when I bend down to pick up after my dog.

Lickety Stik is available in three flavors: Liver, Chicken and Bacon. It retails for $6.99. Manufactured by PetSafe, the people who brought us the Drinkwell water fountain and the self-cleaning litter box. Gotta love the creative minds over there. What will they think of next?

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2013 in Dog Product Reviews

 

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Mimi Green Engraved Buckle Collar

leatherengravedbuckle

There are so many collar manufacturers out there that I’ve lost track, and most of them don’t seem to offer much in the way of innovation. But there are a few that do, and Mimi Green is one of them. They have an exhaustive selection of dog collars, leashes, and harnesses, from basic to designer and everything in between. Whether you want a classic design, something innovative, fabric, leather, synthetic, laminated, webbing or something totally different, these folks probably make it. And they make everything in the USA, which is even better.

We tested a leather collar with an engraved buckle. I like this design because there’s no collar tag jingle, and because the tag cannot come off.  We had just got a Shiloh Shepherd puppy and wanted something sturdy, good-looking and adjustable (at 8 months, she was nearly the size of our full-grown Irish Setter).

The collar arrived quickly and was more than I expected. Although the company could use cheaper leather and probably 80% of consumers would never know the difference, I could see that the leather they use is nice quality bridle leather. No cracking, oily India leather here. This is gorgeous, full-bodied, supple, strong leather, the kind that gets better with age and lasts for a dog’s lifetime.

The stitching is firm and even, with small stitches (large stitches are faster and less expensive, but don’t hold up as long as small stitches). The buckle is nickel-plated die-cast metal, which should hold up to years of use. The side-release mechanism operates smoothly. All the hardware has a heavy, quality feel to it. (Note that I chose a collar for a large dog; the smaller sizes have quality hardware that will not be too clunky for smaller dogs.)

unique designer dog collar

The personalized buckle collar also comes in fabric webbing in 18 colors.

We’ve tested the collar for three months. During that time, our Shiloh has been her active self. She scratches, swims, and generally causes mayhem for her collar. But this collar has held up well. The leather is as smooth and supple as it was when we got it. I was glad the buckle would never get scratched up so badly that it would be difficult to read; the laser engraving is guaranteed never to wear off.

We’ve had to enlarge the collar once, so I was glad that it was adjustable. A Chicago screw holds the collar at the desired size. A screwdriver (or a dime) will get the screw out so you can place it in the next hole if your dog is growing or gaining/losing weight. It adjusts up to 2 inches.

You can get up to three lines of laser engraving on the buckle, so you can put either your dog’s name or your name on it (or both), plus a phone number or two, a microchip notification, and/or an address, or any combination of those.

The engraved buckle collar is available in webbed or leather styles. Shipping is reasonable and the company is friendly and responsive. They have loads of other designer dog collars, too. In my view, the price is very reasonable considering the quality of the materials, craftsmanship and engraving, which is included in the price. And isn’t that refreshing? Most places would charge you by the letter. Thanks, Mimi Green!

Personalized Engraved Name Leather Collar

Price: $41.99 any size

Sizes: 12 to 26 inches

Colors: 4 leather colors

Engraving: 15 fonts, 3 lines, 15 characters per line

Get it from: shopmimigreen.com

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in Dog Product Reviews

 

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