Topher’s Top Ten: Dog Gear We Can’t Live Without

Over the years, we’ve amassed quite the hoard of dog gear. Even after we’ve cleared out and donated what doesn’t work for us, the fact remains: owning a dog comes with a hefty amount of accessories! Some of which—now that we’ve owned a dog for a number of years—I don’t think I could live without. Every dog owner has their favorites list in their mind: the dog gear they’d recommend to anyone thinking of introducing a dog into their lives. Here’s what makes my list, every time.

Walking Gear for Reactive Dogs

Ages and ages ago, during the days of our Walk to Rivendell challenge, I wrote a little bit about the gear we use for our regular walks. Over the last 2+ years we’ve tried a perhaps ridiculous number of walking setups with a variety of collars, leashes, harnesses, halters, and more. Between working on Topher’s reactivity in training classes and our usual walks, we get a lot of use out of our gear and I always want to make sure what we use and carry around truly works for us. Because, in certain scenarios, these are the pieces of equipment we rely on the most to keep ourselves and others safe. So, what do we take on our daily walks?

Disaster Preparedness For Pets

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, thousands of animals were left in New Orleans by owners evacuating or fleeing from floodwaters. It’s estimated that around 250,000 pets ended up stranded because of the storm’s destruction. Only about 15,000 of these pets were ultimately rescued, and only 15-20% of those animals were reunited with their original owners.

As the ten year anniversary of that disaster passes this weekend, it reminded me of how important disaster preparedness for pets is, in addition to being prepared ourselves. Just like people, our pets have basic daily needs that must be met, and they rely on their owners for many or all of those needs. When a disaster strikes, having a plan for your pet’s survival can make a huge difference.

Here’s how to make sure you have your pets prepared for an emergency.

Back To School: Our Favorite Training Gear for Reactive Dogs

Back to school, already? You may not be seeing yellow school buses filling the roads just yet, but here in Atlanta kids are headed back to school. Which means it’s time for busier morning walks for Topher and I, as we head into autumn. Or try to head into autumn—it won’t cool off for at least another two and a half months. Sigh.

Still, the school season had me thinking about our training sessions with Topher. Our gear is starting to get a little worn out, a year and a half after we first started going to regular training classes and working on Topher’s reactivity. So today, I want to give a bit of an update on the gear we use for training our reactive dog: what we use now, what we’ve used in the past, and what I still want to buy as we head into another season of training sessions.

Training Your Dog To Wear A Head Halter

As I mentioned in my costume post, Topher wears a head halter on walks. About two months ago, our trainers recommended that we switch to a head halter for walks and training. Topher has enough power to easily pull me off my feet when he’s wearing a harness, and his stubbornness and high focus on other dogs in training meant that we weren’t able to effectively redirect his movement in a productive way when he was just wearing a harness or a collar. If your dog is jerking you around on walks, you can consider training your dog to wear a head halter to help teach them how to walk on a loose leash.