Never attach anything to your puppy that delivers a shock, spray, or vibrating sensation. Marketed as training tools, these items are inhumane and have lasting effects on your puppy’s otherwise trusting and cheerful demeanor. Outlawed in many countries, using these battery-operated items is a big no-no.
Two-way cameraThese devices allow you to watch, record, or interact with your puppy when you can’t be with them. After purchasing the camera, you’ll be instructed to download an app to your phone or tablet. The camera allows you to interact in a variety of ways, from talking to your puppy to dispensing treats, food, or water. A new one allows video chats. Though a camera is convenient and nifty, remember that nothing truly takes the place of your being home. Too much interruption from virtual you may cause anxiety — whereas, left alone, most puppies are quite able to cope with isolation by chewing from a selection of appropriate toys.
I often ask my digital clients from around the world to record their puppies’ behavior and share these clips with me before sessions; I send video back (using my dogs, of course), sharing protocols that are as effective as they are fun.
Automatic feeder and water fountainThese devices can be programmed to allow your dog access to food and fresh water at set times throughout the day. Though fresh water can never be argued with, feeding devices should only be used in a pinch. Meals are better used as rewards for good behavior and offered during social times when you and your puppy are together.
Treat dispenserI love a good treat dispenser — it has so many uses. If your dog suffers from isolation anxiety that leads to barking or destruction when left alone, consider a device that can be preprogrammed to dispense food when they settle on their mat and stop barking. These machines can also be used when you’re home to teach your puppy to stay on the mat or to settle down during greetings. App-controlled as well as personalized to release treats when barking stops, a treat dispenser is one conditioning tool that few homes should be without.
Tracking collarIf the thought of losing your dog keeps you up at night, purchase a tracking collar and rest easy. This device is linked to an app on your phone and allows you to trace your puppy’s whereabouts inside and out.
Automatic poop-picker-upperWhy stop to scoop when motorized devices or mini robots can scan your yard and clean up the poops for you. I’ve seen these in action — brilliant!
Treadmill and hamster wheelSearch for the term hamster wheel for dogs. You’re going to get an eyeful. If exercising your puppy inside appeals to you, you’ll have many options, whether you settle on a treadmill or a self-paced running wheel. (Yes, a running wheel looks exactly like a giant hamster wheel for dogs.)
Mechanized brush, hair remover, and bathing apparatusIf settling on a traditional dog brush and using your sink or shower head to bathe your puppy sound a little boring to you, modern inventions that make bath time zippier and sometimes less stressful await! From circular shower heads to full-body hair dryers and brushes that do most of the work for you, your puppy will be the best-groomed dog on the block. Just take good care to condition your puppy to the feel and sound of these devices before using them.
Bluetooth music cubeYour puppy won’t like silence and will sleep better with noise. New studies show that dogs respond best to calming noises versus variety in voice and sound. What better way to ensure that your puppy hears calming sounds than to purchase or download music specially created for their ears only?
Light-up leash and collarThe light-up leash and collar sound like just what they are: Either is a great way to keep track and provide safety in traffic when out after dark.
Activity monitorThink Fitbit for dogs. Easily clipped to your puppy’s collar, this item lets you track and record your puppy’s daily activity.
All these gadgets, and more, are available just about everywhere you’d normally shop for your puppy products; read reviews before making any purchase to ensure that the one you buy is reliable.