"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
(1 Jn 4:16)

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Dog Product Recommendations

Since getting our golden retriever in July, we have found some things are indispensable. We have also found that we prefer certain products to others.

Thanks to the Monks of New Skete and their book The Art of Raising a Puppy, one of the first purchases that we made was a dog crate. The Majestic Pet Titan 42" dog crate from Costco is great for Heidi. It also happened to be the best price that I could find for a new crate, divider, and mat. Please note, that crates can sometimes be found for less on Craigslist.

After purchasing various collars for our growing golden retriever, we finally bought what will most likely be Heidi's final collar (until it is worn out). Due to the fact that the Red Dingo reflective safety dog collar cost more than most collars at our local pet stores, I hesitated before buying it. However, when my husband commented on the quality of the collar and I saw how well it reflects, I was happy that I had not waited too long to order it.

Our taking Heidi for daily walks was interrupted by morning (aka all-day) sickness, a visit to the hospital and a little time in bed. When I was finally able to start walking Heidi again, I found that she had gotten into the habit of pulling. Her nylon leash, combined with the pulling, caused my hand to hurt for days and made me not want to walk her. After doing a little research, I learned that leather leashes minimize any discomfort to the dog owner's hand. I visited our local pet stores and looked online until I found a 6 ft. leather dog leash that I felt looked decent and would serve my purposes. I definitely recommend Punk Hollow's double-braided leather dog leash.An added bonus of this leash is that it comes with a lifetime guarantee.  The more I consistently walk (5 days so far) Heidi, the less she pulls. I definitely needed something that didn't cause my hand to be in pain for days. We still use the inexpensive nylon leash around the house, but the leather leash is what we use for all of our golden retriever's walks.

I know that some people take their dogs to have their nails trimmed; however, in their puppy book, the Monks of New Skete share that it is easy to trim a dog's nails oneself when done from an early age. We have found the Millers Forge nail clippers to be the perfect tool for the job. In addition, to the clippers, we also purchased Kwik-Stop Styptic Powder to apply to Heidi's nail in the event that we cut it too close. I am happy to say that so far, we have not had to use the Kwik-Stop.

Another grooming tool that we like using on Heidi is the Spornette porcupine cushion brush. It actually isn't a dog brush. I was tempted to keep it for one of my daughters when it first arrived because it is great for brushing long hair, but I am happy that we decided to use it for the dog. It brushes her coat well and is great at removing shedding dog hair. I think that it is cutting down on some of the dog hair that we would ordinarily have around the house. Unfortunately, we have not found a good slicker brush yet. Suggestions are welcome.

When we first brought Heidi home, we fed her Merrick's Puppy Plate, but she did not like it. We decided to buy the Kirkland Signature puppy food from Costco. Heidi ate it and so we mixed it with the Merrick. She seemed to tolerate this, but was not the best eater. A golden retriever owner at dog training saw how energetic our dog was and recommended that we switch her to adult food. As soon as the puppy food was finished, we did so, buying the Kirkland Signature dry lamb dog food. Thankfully, Heidi wolfs it down. However, her energy level has not changed. Heidi also likes the Kirkland Signature dog jerky and will do almost anything for a little bit of it.

I would be remiss if I did not mention some dog toys/distractions that our dog likes. The Kong dog toy has proven to be invaluable. We started with a small Kong and soon purchased a second one in a size large. Heidi is almost eight months old and this size is still working really well for her. We have also found that she will spend hours chewing on stuffed bones. We put peanut butter or plain yogurt on one end of the bone, fill it with dog food and freeze it. She also likes her cotton ropes that we picked up at the dollar store. Like most dogs, Heidi also enjoys catching tennis balls; I just wish that she would bring them back to us.

Unfortunately, Heidi also likes to chew children's toys, rose bushes, fruit trees, rhododendrons, my youngest daughter's shoes, books, and electrical cords. Grannick's Bitter Apple stopped the dog from trying to chew our furniture, but it wouldn't be practical to use it on all of the items that she still chews. Suggestions for teaching our puppy not to chew the above mentioned things would be greatly appreciated.

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