Choosing the right things to buy for your puppy or dog can be a minefield!

We'd never feature products that we haven't used ourselves, all of the things we highlight here has been road tested by us and our dogs and have been given a big paws up!   We thought that this information might help you when choosing and introducing collars, harnesses, leads, training lines dens and other useful equipment.  

Harnesses and Leads

While your pup or dog must wear a collar with ID by law, we'd always promote the use of harnesses for many reasons including to prevent injury, to help loose leash walking and for safety.  Contrary to poplar belief...harnesses do not make a dog pull on the lead!  There are a mind boggling array of harnesses to choose from and some do more harm than good.  

We like "bra" like harnesses, ideally with a front and a back ring.  Make sure the harness is well fitting and does not restrict movement or cause rubbing or chafing. 

Kumfi Complete Control Harness

Harnesses we like for older puppies and dogs

We like the Kumfi Complete Control which is modelled here by our Blue Dog Bo.   It is a great low cost option.  We think they are a great choice for older pups and small to medium-large dogs.

Another great option is the Perfect Fit  harness which is fitted to your dog's exact measurements and is a great choice, especially for serial pullers.  The Perfect Fit harness is also useful for dogs that have unique measurements such as greyhounds and bully breeds.

Viva mesh harness

Harnesses we like for young puppies and extra small dogs

For pups and very small dogs we have used the Viva adjustable mesh harness and they got the seal of approval from Pablo and Pickle too!  Kumfi smaller sizes are also great if you have a bigger puppy.

If you are still not convinced about the benefit of using a harness, take a read of this article before making a final decision.    We would always avoid the use of slip leads as they can really damage a dog's neck, especially if they pull forwards. It also hinders loose lead training and actually makes the problem worse, because as the neck is constricted and less oxygen can get to the brain, the dog cannot think clearly or respond to training. So basically, half strangling your dog actually makes them worse!  Introduce a harness carefully and positively in small increments using food to create really positive associations so that your puppy or dog just loves their harness!

Straight leads and training long lines

Why use a straight lead and training line?

A straight lead is an essential piece of kit when you are training a dog to walk nicely on the lead and to stay close.   They are safer and easier to handle than extendables.

We like doubled ended leads such as the Halti double ended lead which can clip onto front and back harness rings to help teach a dog how to walk nicely.  It's also a great length for moochy walks (2m) as it gives your dog a bit more slack to explore.  We also like this 2m Julius K9 super-grip lead. 

  For small pups and dogs, choose a lighter weight option, such as our Dapper Dogwear Lightweight Lead or this small Halti lead.  

A training long line helps you to bridge the gap between your dog being on leash to being able to enjoy some off leash freedom. If you are struggling with your dog's recall and are worried about letting them off lead, a simple training line is the answer.  Part of training is management and when it comes to off leash struggles a super addition to your training toolkit is a long line.

Please don't use a training lead on a collar, only with the back ring on a well fitting harness and make sure you are using them safely to avoid injury to yourself.  

Check out our fantastic range of 5m BioThane training long lines (pictured in Teal), straight leads and gorgeous collars.  

A lightweight alternative such as this one, comes in a range of sizes.

Reactive and nervous dog training products

Yellow Dog UK products

We are sponsors of Yellow Dog UK.

Yellow Dog UK promotes awareness and understanding of dogs who need space, also known as “yellow dogs”. These are dogs that may be nervous, in training, recovering from an injury or illness, being rehabilitated or simply dogs that prefer to keep their distance from people and other dogs.

Yellow Dog UK provides a range of resources and information for dog owners, including guidance on how to manage reactive dogs and a directory of sponsors that support the yellow dog cause. 

They offer a range of products, such as yellow vests, leads, lead covers, lead flags etc, to help dog owners signal to others that their dog needs space.   They also offer some cute bandanas such as the one our pictured which our little Missy used to wear when out and about.

 Their aim is to help increase awareness and understanding of dogs who need space. By educating dog owners and the public they hope to create a safer and more harmonious environment for dogs and their human companions.

Dog Appeasing Pheromone Products

Adaptil® is a synthetic copy of the pheromone a puppy’s mother emits after birth to calm and reassure her puppies. These pheromones can have this same calming effect on adult dogs in stressful situations.Read more about Adaptil here.


Feeding, drinking and chewing

Chewing is great!

It floods the brain with calming chemicals, it's a great way for both puppies and dogs to self soothe and chill out. Not to mention providing pain relief for puppies when they are teething and helping keep teeth clean!

Make available a range of chew toys of different textures so that puppy can choose the one most appropriate for them at any particular time. These may include rope toys, Kongs, safe edible and non-edible chews and other appropriate toys. Always choose age and size appropriate chews, supervise your pup or dog while chewing and check chews and toys regularly for damage.

Edible chews our dogs love include:

These are not recommendations and are based on the things our dogs love.

Interactive Feeding 

Check out our dedicated page and downloads for ideas and inspiration of how you can bring some joy into your dog's life and boost their feelgood, just be changing how you feed them!  

Don't forget you can get 50% off Butternut Box fresh dog food with our discount code.


Non spill water bowls

Pablo used to love having a splash in his bowl and kept spilling it everywhere.  He found it great fun, funnily enough we didn't!  

We bought this bowl to prevent the behaviour being rehearsed and find it a great option to prevent spills and splashes.

Training Aids

 Training Pouches 

A bumbag or treat pouch is also a great buy and is really helpful as
it will help you train "hands free" without rustling around in pockets and plastic bags. They are washable and keep your pockets free from stinking of treats!  
We like silicone ones  you can easily wash and magnetic
clasped pouches such as the Doggone Good ones.

Training rewards

We use reward-based Happy Training methods that are fun for dogs and their hoomans. The rewards could be ANYTHING that brings a dog joy, though food is usually a pretty safe bet! Why not ditch the bowl and use their meals throughout the day to reward all the good choices your dog makes?   Watch out for them doing things you want more of, and make sure you reward your dog.  Read our blog post which looks at how you can use a variety of things your dog loves as a reward.

You may also want to use training "treats" as a reward. These could be a mix of lower, medium or higher value (think chicken!) and could include any food your dog is motivated to work for. We like these Barker and Barker treats as they are low in calories, don't crumble and are small enough so our dogs don't get full too quickly. Pablo and Pickle love the liver and arctic fish ones shown, there are also loads of other flavours to choose from.  

If you buy direct from Barker and Barker use BLUEDOG20 to get 20% off your first order!

This is a great article to read about using food in don't be mean, let's pay our dogs for a job well done.


Muzzled dogs aren't bad dogs, and they could be wearing a muzzle for all sorts of reasons.
Dogs might wear muzzles because:

  • To keep them safe because he eats rocks, socks, or other non-food items that can be toxic or cause expensive and life-threatening surgeries.
  • They are nervous of other dogs, and the muzzle helps keep everyone safe during walks.
  • The owner wants to teach their dog to be comfortable wearing a muzzle in case the dog must wear one someday at the vet's.
If you take the time to train your dog to wear the muzzle, choose one that is comfortable for your dog and ensure they should be able to pant, take food and drink easily when wearing it. Steer clear of the types that clamps their mouth shut.

Bumas offer a custom made muzzle fitted to your dog's exact facial measurements. They are made from Biothane which is soft yet strong, which makes this a really comfortable and durable option. They also come in a wide range of colours too.  

Alternatively look for a well fitted basket muzzle such as
Baskerville Ultra Muzzles that allow your dog to take treats, drink, and pant comfortably - but not bite or scavenge.

The Muzzle Up Project is also a great source of information and advice.

They should always be introduced carefully, positively and incrementally. This is a great step-by-step video introduction to muzzle training from Chirag Patel.    Do take a look if you are thinking about teaching your dog to wear a muzzle.

Creating safe dog zones

We don't let our puppies have free run of the house or garden unsupervised, and have found pens, dens, gates and beds invaluable management tools to restrict access to certain spaces and to keep pup safe when they can't be watched.  

By creating safe zones and manging your environment you are limiting opportunities for your puppy to make a bad choice, and instead are setting them up for success.

Think of where you  set up your safe zone for rest and relaxation, there may be a particular spot that your dog gravitates towards as it makes them feel safe and comfortable, so consider how you can build on their chosen place.  


We used these puppy pens in the house , as well as the garden, with our pups.  In the pen we had with their beds, blankets, water bowl and toys in there.  We used to pop them in their pen for nap time and for chilling and chewing throughout the day.  

We still use them in the garden to keep our dogs safe and away from any toxic plants and to prevent any injuries.  The pens enable us to give our pups freedom and exploration, knowing that they cannot come to any harm.

Pens are great if you have open plan living spaces or large rooms.

The pop-up den you can see in the picture is something that is easily transportable and we use it both indoors and outdoors.


The Den should be big enough so that your dog can stand up easily, turn around and stretch right out.   We'd have a comfortable bed or mat in there, toys, water, comfort blankets and something safe to chew too.    

There are lots of crates to choose from, but in the house, we opt to use the softer crates available rather than the metal ones, as they fold down, are very lightweight and easily transportable.   We even used them for vet visits when ours were small.

Raised beds

We like raised beds as they are cool in the summer and also keep draughts away in the winter.  Ours like to chill and chew on this one with a snuggly blanket.  These are great for training a chill out and a stay too!

Baby Gates

 We use a few of these pressure mounted gates, when the pups were young, and we still use one on the kitchen so that we can restrict access when we are cooking.  We choose this instead of closing the door so that they can see us and we can supervise them too!

Movable screens

We've found this foldable four panel screen incredibly useful around the house and to create temporary safe dog zones when and where needed.  These can be really handy in open plan houses or large rooms.

Pen and den training tips 

A Puppy Den (crate, box, pen) or puppy-proofed room should be a quiet zone where your puppy:

  • Feels safe and secure
  • Finds and experiences amazing things
  • Can go several times a day to nap and chill out and build "alone time" confidence
  • Just absolutely loves!

Having a suitable pen or crate for your puppy is one of the most helpful bits of kit you can have. Introduced in the right way, it'll provide a calm, safe space for pup to chill out in and a place where puppy is absolutely happy to be when you cannot supervise them and will enable you to transport your puppy in the car safely and securely.  The Den has an added bonus of being a really useful housetraining tool and also provides a safe place for puppy to be popped while they cannot be supervised.  

However, not all dogs feel safe in a crate, even with appropriate training they may still feel anxious when enclosed in one.  These dogs will do better with with the bit of extra space a larger pen or puppy proofed room/s offers.  



Grooming brushes

We love this puppy grooming brush by Tangle Teezer.  Their adult version is great too!


Portable dog washers

We find that Mud Daddy is great for cleaning muddy and wet paws and tummies, especially after winter walks.  It means that we don't have to give them a full bath, but that we are getting rid of mud, salt and reducing the potential for any disease, such as Alabama rot.  They are easily portable, so you can take them out and about with you too!


Dog Wear

Dog Coats

While lots of breeds of dogs have long, thick coats to protect them from the elements, many struggle in cold and wet weather, and a coat may be a great option to help protect them.  

During the winter, there are certain breeds with thin, fine coats that are more vulnerable than others, while other breeds with curly, absorbent coats could also struggle. Small dogs and toy breeds, puppies, elderly dogs, underweight dogs and dogs with a health condition, can also more susceptible to the cold that others.

A coat that is introduced in a positive way, so that your dog feels comfortable wearing it, can be a godsend for those cold and damp winter walks.

We like this coat by Noble Pet, and Pickle and Pablo are really happy wearing it.  

Read our blog post to find out more about dog coats, which dogs could benefit from wearing one and how to introduce it positively.

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