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Dog Marketplace: Tidbits for Training

Posted: November 5, 2013, 3:50 p.m. EDT


New and innovative products, as well as tried-and-true ones, help create good dogs and greater sales.

By Audrey Pavia 

New and innovative items designed to help owners teach their dogs how to behave, along with new spins on some classic items, help consumers understand the importance of training their dogs to be good canine citizens, as products in the dog-training category continue to meet the growing demand.

Positive Rewards
An important trend in the dog-training field is positive reinforcement; an important tool in reward-training is the treat.

Dog treat manufacturers are making treats easier to use during training sessions and are focusing on providing a healthier product. Freeze-dried treats are especially popular for use as training aids, said industry experts.

"We see more freeze-dried treats available to be used as training treats,” said Jusak Yang Bernhard, co-owner of TailsSpin, a retailer with three stores in Georgia. "Trainers tell us the freeze-dried products melt on the dogs’ tongues, rather than having to be chewed, so the dog does not lose focus on training to chew on a treat.”

Dogs Playing
With the appropriate training tools, any dog can be taught to be well-behaved. iStock/Thinkstock

Benjamin Wu, product marketing manager for Globalinx Pet in Newport Beach, Calif., producers of One Rewards freeze-dried treats for dogs, said his product is made of 100 percent protein.

"The reason for this product stems from consumers’ desire for wholesome, nutritious treats with a short, easy-to-understand ingredient list,” he said. "Many of our customers are conscious of the ingredients used to make up the treats they feed their dogs—just like the foods they consume themselves.”

The use of a clicker device in dog training is another popular positive-reinforcement training method, said industry insiders.

"Clicker training is an effective, safe and humane way to reach training goals,” said Robin Hawn, brand manager with PetSafe in Knoxville, Tenn.

"Clickers are small devices that make an audible clicking sound. We use the sound to mark a behavior that the dog is doing as it is happening. Through conditioning, the click lets the dog know that you like the behavior and a reward is coming.”

Paws Aboard offers a family of Clik-R products designed by trainers, said Sarah Ritchie, marketing and sales coordinator for the Tampa, Fla., company. The various products in the line feature a finger loop to prevent dropping the clicker, a perfect hand-fit and a clip that allows the clicker to be attached to a 1-ply, 1-inch nylon leash.
 
Collars and Leashes
Training aids in the form of special collars and leashes are sought after by dog owners who are looking for help in teaching their dogs good behavior.

Paws Aboard’s Ritchie describes the company’s Monster Walker No-Pull Leash as an ideal leash to prevent dogs from pulling when they are walked.

"Designed for dogs 20 pounds and larger, along with the Mini Monster Walker, which is made for dogs under 20 pounds, the simple nonchoke design allows the dog owner to apply safe pressure to the pet’s belly and not the dog’s neck,” she said. "This gentle pressure makes the dog unsure and no longer in control.”

This uncertainty on the part of the dog allows the owner easy control of the most enthusiastic of canines without causing harm. The leash is made of rope and plastic, and clips are made of metal, Ritchie said.

Products like training collars and leashes require customer education to help dog owners understand how to use the products and get the most out of them.

"All of our products come with education, so our staff is trained to properly fit a Gentle Leader, for example, and to explain how to get the dog used to it properly,” said Jaime Van Wye, CEO of Los-Angeles-based Zoom Room, a training facility and retail outlet with locations around the country. "So many training products come with almost no instruction on how best to use them. This is such a critical part of making sure the dog and client benefit from the purchase that it's important that our staff know how products work for the best results.”

Patti Storm, owner of Well-Bred retail store in Chester, N.J., understands the need for these products.

"We sell no-pull harnesses, head halters, martingale collars and gentle plastic prong collars,” she said. "These items help the dog owner gain almost immediate control over their dog, but still require some learning and training time and commitment.”

Garmin, well-known producers of GPS systems for automobiles, is offering a product in the dog training category called the Delta Sport.

"The Delta Sport is an intuitive, easy-to-use dog training system and is the only one of its kind that incorporates both an e-collar and a bark limiter,” said Ted Gartner, director of corporate communications for Garmin International in Olathe, Kan. "It features proven and safe electronic correction technology.”

The Delta Sport functions as a "virtual leash” for up to three-quarters of a mile away, according to Gartner, who said the collar offers a wide range of customizable correction settings, including tone, vibration and 18 levels of momentary and continuous stimulation. 

Potty Training
Training pads have appeal to owners who are training puppies, have older incontinent dogs or must leave their dogs in the house all day while they are at work.

Taking the training pad one step further, Donna Spurgeon, CFO of Star Struck Pet Products in Ventura, Calif., created the Hollywood Pad, a training pad that is meant for repeated use while also working with home décor.

"In the past, the only potty training pads available were the standard rectangular pee pads,” said Spurgeon. "Hollywood Pads offers pads that are individually shaped and printed to resemble a dog’s paw and a bone.”

Dog owners are thrilled to have a pad that is not only functional, but actually looks good in their home, Sturgeon said.

"In addition, the pads are durable and thicker to hold more urine,” she said. "They dry to the touch within one minute of use, making them much better for the home, and a much more cost effective value for the dog owner.”

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