Shopping

Dog Trainers Swear By These 24 Tricks To Make Any Dog Behave Way Better

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.

Updated: 
Originally Published: 

When it comes to our pets, it can sometimes feel like there’s no limit to how much we’ll try — and buy — for them. For example, my own dog deserves endless cuddles and snuggles, and every ounce of attention my family and I can muster when we’re not, you know, working and functioning in society. Unfortunately, the instinct to love and spoil has the potential to drain a bank account. Thankfully, we don’t have to go at it alone, or buy everything under the sun in hopes of finding the best toys or training tools.

With the help of some experts, here’s a list of dog trainer-recommended tricks and products that help with all kinds of dog-related issues. Or maybe you don’t even have any issues because you have the best doggo there is, and you’re just looking to treat them —there are options here for that, too. So, whether you have a small dog who needs extra cuddles, a big dog that chews through every toy you’ve offered, or the smartest of dogs who needs to keep their brain busy when you’re working, there are some recommendations here for you and your furry friend. If anyone needs me, I’ll be over here clicking “add to cart,” but feel free to slide into my DMs if you want to trade dog pics.

1

An Interactive Mat So Your Pet Earns Their Food & Treats

According to Christie Catan, certified professional dog trainer and co-founder of the online dog training community Tails of Connection, searching for food as pets must do with a snuffle mat will “not only help calm your dog down, it will tire them out from mental stimulation and encourage them to eat slower, too.”

2

A Treat-Dispensing Puzzle Toy That’s More Than Just Fun & Games

With a little advanced preparation of filling it with your dog’s food and popping it in the freezer, this interactive, treat dispensing puzzle toy can be a “lifesaver, because it will occupy them without your help and tire them out from problem solving,” Catan says. It’s available in three colors (blue, green, and orange) and three sizes.

3

A Long Leash That’s Great For Decompression Walks & Recall Training

This long, durable nylon training leash, which pairs perfectly with a y-shaped harness, allows you to give your dog some distance and independence while remaining connected. Catan emphasizes the importance of this in the form of decompression walks, “‘where the dog is allowed freedom of movement in nature’. They [...] allow your dog to engage in natural dog behaviors like sniffing, digging, shredding, and climbing in a calming way.” She credits fellow trainer Sarah Stremming for coining and defining the term.

4

This No-Pull Harness That Works With A Variety Of Leashes

Catan adds that decompression walks “can have profound physical, emotional, and behavioral effects. They can actually set your dog up to handle their normal human world a lot better because they help dogs reset to a more neutral state." When going off leash isn’t an option, a no-pull harness with a long leash can be a great substitute.

5

A Target Stick With A Telescoping Design That’s Perfect For Obedience Training & Trick Practice

Owners can use the ‘touch’ command when dogs or puppies are having trouble focusing, and this target stick has a red ball that they can touch with their noses. Julie Burgess, certified veterinary technician and dog trainer who also writes for seniortailwaggers.com, recommends that owners, “work with your dog to teach it to make circles or figure eights with the target stick.”

6

These Single-Ingredient Dog Treats You Can Use At Home Or On Walks

Rewarding good behavior with your pup’s preferred treats is a key part of training. Burgess appreciates that these freeze-dried dog treats don’t spoil and can be brought anywhere, including when traveling. She says, “I taught my dogs to come reliably even with numerous distractions by using these treats." And they’re a fan favorite with over 14,000 five-star ratings.

7

A Dog Exercise Toy You Can Use Inside & Outside With Great Results

Annie Grossman, co-founder of New York City’s School For The Dogs, with a companion online store, Store For The Dogs, endorses Flirt Poles, which are teaser wands with a squeaker. They’re a great way to exercise dogs indoors and out, and they come in 24-inch and 36-inch sizes so you can choose accordingly for your pup and your space.

8

This Bobbing Toy That Uses Up Mental Energy & Makes Dogs Eat Slower, Too

Another favorite from Grossman is an interactive toy like Bob-A-Lot, which occupies, entertains, and feeds your dog all at the same time. Plus, it offers the added benefit of slowing down the time it takes your pet to eat, in case you have a pup that tends to scarf down their food. Over 14,000 shoppers also give this five stars.

9

A Leash Belt You Can Wear Around Your Waist For Hands-Free Walks & Runs

Whether you have a big dog that tends to pull or a little dog with extra energy to burn, a leash belt, recommended by Grossman, might be a welcome addition to your walking routine. While it won’t entirely stop pulling behavior, it can still give your arms, shoulders, and back a bit of a break. Many shoppers also noted it was especially great for multiple dogs, including one who commented, “This is honestly a god send.”

10

An Ultra-Durable Toy That’s Part Treat Dispenser, Part Chew Toy

Jennifer Blessing, certified service dog training instructor who leads training for Warrior Canine Connection, a nonprofit that breeds, trains and places highly skilled service dogs with Service Members and Veterans, endorses Kong toys for the enrichment they provide, and because they’re "practically indestructible” when you have the right size for your dog. Your dog will benefit from the mental stimulation and healthy play as they try to reach the treat you’ve stuffed inside. It’s also conveniently dishwasher-safe, and Blessing also notes that there’s “a plethora of healthy, fun, freezable recipes online” for this toy with over 30,000 five-star ratings.

11

These Recordable, Talking Buttons That Work For Advanced Training

At first glance, these may not appear to be for pets, but Blessing endorses talking buttons, like these from Hunger For Words, as an audible tool that works with communicating and advanced training. Humans can pre-record messages, then position buttons in key places around the home (by the door for example) and dogs can use them to signal instead of scratching or barking.

12

A Toy Dumbbell To Help Practice Retrieving & Other Tricks

An obedience dumbbell, another recommendation from Blessing, is a great way to teach dogs how to retrieve an item. This one is made with dog-approved plastic and comes in four sizes. Plus, it’s a similar size and shape to what’s used in shows and competitions, so it’s a good practice option if your dog is headed in that direction.

13

A Handy Treat Pouch & Baggie Holder For Stashing Necessities On Walks

Blessing calls this her favorite treat pouch to date. “Dogs need a lot of treats as they're learning, and this pouch has plenty of treat space,” she explains. The main compartment is secured with a magnetic closure and pull cord, plus additional zipper pockets have room for keys, phone, baggies and other necessities. It clips right onto waistbands or belts.

14

An Elevated Dog Bed That’s Durable & Easy To Clean

This elevated dog bed is used in Blessing’s kennels and given to veterans because they’re “easy to sanitize and provide a cool, comfortable place for the dog to lay.” She adds that they can also be used as a pup’s “‘place’ or ‘go to bed’ in times where the dog needs to stay out of the way and relax."

15

This Popular Wishbone-Shaped Chew Toy That Comes In Multiple Sizes

A durable chew bone can help dogs destress after training, says Blessing. This particular choice is flavored with real bacon (or chicken, or peanuts), and comes in different sizes for various dog breeds. Blessing also notes that it’s “long-lasting and dog-adored" — plus, it’s backed by over 37,000 five-star ratings from fellow shoppers.

16

This Jacket That’s Like A Hug For Anxious Dogs

If you’ve ever been around a panicking pup, you probably know the instinct to hug and hold them, which is what this jacket replicates. Horn recommends this dog anxiety jacket for stressful events like thunderstorms or car rides, noting that the “fabric outer layer is supposed to mimic the snugly feeling of swaddling and keep your dog's muscles calm." It comes in seven sizes for breeds of all sizes. It’s also a popular pick among Amazon shoppers with over 20,000 five-star ratings.

17

A Stuffed Animal With A Faux Heartbeat That Brings Comfort & Calm To Pets

Another great choice for helping stressed pets, this heartbeat toy is recommended by both Lovelia Horn, dog trainer and owner of Every Creature Counts, a group focused on animal rescue, and Julie Burgess, certified veterinarian technician and dog trainer. The battery-operated heartbeat has a calming effect, and Burgess confirms that, “rhythmic sounds like a heartbeat are very soothing to a dog or puppy."

18

This Dog Bed That Can Also Be A Cozy Cave For Them To Snuggle Up In

“Sometimes the best you can do for your dog is to make sure that they have a place where they can rest and snuggle,” says Horn. This burrowing bed tent gives pups of all sizes a place they can be cozy and comfortable, thanks to the soft hood that can be used as a blanket or propped upright like a cave.

19

Does Your Dog Keep Interrupting Zoom Calls? Try This Motion-Activated Ball Toy For Hours Of Interactive Play

Many pet owners can likely relate to Julie Burgess, who notes that “sometimes you can’t stop what you’re doing (during a phone call, or live video meeting) and entertain your dog or puppy who wants all the attention.” This interactive dog ball with automatic steering and rolling keeps dogs and pups busy when you’re not available. Plus, the included battery is rechargeable and holds power for a day’s worth of play.

20

A Peanut Butter Dispenser For Those TImes When Your Dog Needs A Healthy Distraction

Licking, which has been proven to have a calming effect on dogs, is encouraged by The Groov by Diggs peanut butter dispenser. Nicole Ellis, dog trainer, AKC CGC evaluator, and Diggs partner, explains that the “licking motion is actually calming to dogs and releases serotonin and endorphins... which in turn helps dogs relax and settle down.”

21

This Corn-Shaped Dental Care Chewing Toy That’s Almost As Cute As Your Dog Is

Julie Burgess also appreciates this corn-shaped toothbrush chew toy, noting “the kernels are fantastic for dogs and puppies to sink their teeth into” instead of you or furniture. She also appreciates that the included bite rope makes it easy for dogs and puppies to carry, too. The rope can also be removed to add treats to the center.

22

A Dog Training Platform That Elevates Good Boys & Girls For Better Focus

A dog training platform might sound niche, but it can be a great tool for creating a specific, raised spot for training. Annie Grossman with School For The Dogs recommends this one, which comes in purple, black, blue, and tan, has a base that’s 24 inches on each side, and detachable legs that raise the platform 12 inches. Giving your dog this safe, elevated space can help with training for common issues like begging, jumping, and excessive barking. And though it’s lightweight, it supports up to 500 pounds.

23

This Dog Camera That Allows You To Interact With Your Pets & Give Treats From Afar

Nicole Ellis, certified professional dog trainer and American Kennel Club CGC evaluator, recommends the Furbo dog camera as a way to encourage your pup even while you’re away. It “remotely dispenses treats so you can reward your dog’s good behavior when gone — and even talk to him or her through the camera, too!” This pick is more of an investment than some others, so you might also like to know nearly 20,000 shoppers love it enough to give it five stars.

24

This Remote Treat Dispenser For Very Good Dogs Deserving Lots of Rewards

A remote treat dispenser is a great way to reward good behavior, and this one in particular is “very reliable and easy to use,” according to Grossman. Along with the treat dispensing base, it comes with a target wand, a DVD for training purposes, and a remote that works up to 100 feet away.