Dog Gear

Biodegradable Poop Bags

What’s the most environmentally responsible thing to do about dog poop? Home composting systems solve the problem at home; we reviewed one in June 2000, and still use it today. But when you’re out in the world with your dog, you have to use something to pick it up and carry it to a trash receptacle. (Of course, carrying the poop to a composting facility, rather than a trash can, is the most environmentally friendly thing to do; however, few people are motivated enough to do this.)

Gear of the Year 2004

Our favorite dog care products from this year's reviews.

Dog Gear of the Year: 2003

Why is it that most of us dog owners love buying dog-related stuff? I’ve never examined the impulse, but I’ve certainly given in to it. A novel new toy for my dogs to run and play with, a leash that feels just right in the hand, a spill-proof water bowl . . . I never know what I’ll find (and immediately want) in the aisles of my local pet supply store, on line, or in the latest catalog deposited in my mailbox.

Some Great Leash-Walking Products

The best leash-walking products are effective in helping the owner train the dog not to pull (that is, they provide a large enough window of opportunity for the owner to successfully train the desired walking behavior), minimally aversive to the dog, easy to use, well-made, and affordable. (We put price last, since most owners of leash-pulling dogs would pay almost anything for a product that really helps them!)

Whole Dog Journal Reviews Some “New and Exciting” Dog Toys

I have some good news to report and some bad news. First, the good news: Happy Dog Toys is really on to something. Their products are highly appealing to playful people, so much so that they can’t wait to go try them out with their dogs. The bad news? None of the three interactive toys I tested performed quite as well as their packaging suggested.

The Best Life Jackets for Dogs

When someone first mentioned doggie life jackets to me, I'll admit, I giggled. Dogs can swim just fine, for goodness sake. But then I started thinking about it. Actually, I've known some awful canine swimmers. F.B., my sister's Hound-mix, was one of those dogs. When I was a teenager, I used to take F.B. and my dog (F.B.'s son) to the Yuba River.

Indoor and Patio Litterboxes for Home-Alone Dogs

To most people, the word “house-trained” refers to a dog who has been trained not to urinate or defecate indoors. For my parent’s generation, this bit of training was usually accomplished by Mom, who stayed home while the rest of the family went to work or to school. As double-income families became the norm, the home-alone dog was faced with a serious problem. By the time you add a lunch hour and commute time onto an eight-hour work day, a house dog may have to “hold it” for as long as 10 hours before someone finally comes home to let her out. Her legs are probably tightly crossed for at least the last two.

The Use of ‘Bait Bags’ in Dog Training

The arguments against bait bags are not so obvious. The most compelling is that the presence of a bait bag is like a flashing neon sign - an obvious cue to your dog that it's training time and treats are handy. I stand firmly in the middle of the bait bag debate. I shop for lots of lightweight, loose-fitting jackets with large pockets so I can stash my bags of treats comfortably on my person without turning on the neon sign. Of course, my dogs know that I have treats in my pockets, but I always have treats in my pockets, so the presence of treats is not the cue that training is happening.

Foam Filled Dog Beds

Not all foam beds can be thrown in a washing machine (we love the ones that can). But at least they can be taken outside and hosed off, which is a good thing to do occasionally, since immersion is an amazing anti-flea technique (see the article "Integrated Pest Management for Flea Control"). It’s a little difficult to wring them out – letting them drain by propping them up on one edge helps – but they air-dry surprisingly quickly. In contrast, many beds that are stuffed with cedar chips, fiberfill, or a combination of the two are almost impossible to wash.

The Tools That Make Dog Training a Breeze

Blushing brides used to come to their new marriages with a hope chest and a trousseau – a collection of the basic necessities for setting up a new household. It occurred to us that dogs should come to their new homes with a trousseau, too – containing everything dog and owner need to lay the foundation for a successful lifetime relationship. We put our minds to the task, and came up with the following collection of items that should be in every dog owner’s hope chest.

Finding Your Dog a Warm Winter Coat

Putting a coat on your dog shouldn't be about making a fashion statement. Rather, it should be about keeping a chilly dog warm, thereby preventing hypothermia, a dangerous condition characterized by a reduced internal body temperature. (The normal canine body temperature is 100.5 to 102 degrees. A dog whose temperature drops below 95 degrees can die.) A dog's natural protection against cold varies from breed to breed. Labradors and certain Northern dogs (Huskies and Malamutes, for example) have developed with special physiological responses for coping with cold.

Dog Gear of the Year 2001

Once again, it’s time to look back at all of the great products we’ve reviewed over the year and pick out our very favorites. The following are our top (four paws) picks from the last 12 months – great suggestions for gifts to put under the tree of your favorite dog-obsessed human friends or relatives, stuff in your dog’s stocking, give to the hostess of that upcoming holiday party, or buy for yourself as a reward for doing another whole year of positive training with your canine pal.

Latest Blog

What do you feed your dog? And why?

The other day, I happened to go into a pet supply store that I had never been in before, and was looking...

91 degrees today, oy! Time to fill up Otto’s sandbox with clean, deep sand for the summer. (He approved.) ...

“Outstanding in his field.” A dad joke that will never get old 🙂 ...

He’s still well and happy, but at 13 and a half years old, I feel his spirit starting to wander when he sleeps. I didn’t used to be able to get anywhere close to him when he was sleeping without him waking up and greeting me with a wag and a sweet squinty hello. Our every day together is precious. ...

My heart. Senior dogs are so precious. ...

“We picked up a weirdo!”

(The Muppet Movie, 1979)
...

#wildflowers #spring #hike ...

No dog looks as comatose, or as happy, as a dog who is soaking up sunshine on grass in the spring ...

Poor Woody. He doesn’t love her, but she, like all the foster pups, loves him. I have to find a home for her!! ...

Haven’t yet managed to take a picture of the foster dog that doesn’t scream EARS! ...

Balancing on a rail fence! (He jumped off before I could get a shot that showed the fence more clearly... we will try again!) ...

A little drama right at sunset last night. I always pray to be with my dogs if those last golden rays of light break through like that. ...

I love it when they smile in their sleep. #anthropomorphicanimals ...

Best result from several attempts to get six dogs to stay still for one minute ...

“Something moved in the grass, I’m telling you!” ...

Two of these dogs don’t much care for the tractor-mower. One of them is riveted. I’ll bet you can guess which dog wouldn’t stop following me today. ...

Dogs don’t drive! (Except when parked. Why is the driver’s seat so popular with dogs?) ...

Smart foster girl earned off-leash privileges in three days (and got grass-stains on her forehead from somersaulting in the deepgrassrunningjoy) ...