Long time, no blog! I figured I'd ease back into giving the blog some more love by doing an updated list of the tools, equipment, and various other accoutrements that I'm using now. I did another post like this a while ago, and still stand by those recommendations too.
Last time, I recommended Millers Forge nail clippers, but they make another model that has become my go-to favorite. These are their small nail clippers but I use them on every dog. They come so sharp, you don't even hear a "click" when you clip a nail. Simply switching to these clippers, because of how sharp they are, resolved a lot of protest from quite a number of dogs who didn't like to have their nails cut. Their small size allows you to really get in there and shape around the quick for larger dogs, and they are small enough to use easily on puppies as well. Best of all... they're really cheap!
I've been using these Red Barn Food Rolls as treats for a little while now. Last time I recommended the Stewarts Freeze Dried Beef Liver, and I still like them as a really long lasting, never goes bad treat. But these food rolls are a bit stinkier, and they're soft. I cut about 1cm discs off the log, and then cut that into 1cm x 1cm chunks to use as treats. All the dogs love them, they don't crumble or squish in your pocket or treat pouch, and the roll does not have to be refrigerated until it's opened. I recommend buying the 2lb rolls in bulk, or buy the 4lb roll, cut it into discs, and then freeze discs until you're ready to use them. I think a 4lb roll yields more treats than a large bucket of Stewarts, so it seems to be a bit more cost effective but not quite as non-perishable.
For a long time I didn't have any bedding in my dogs' crates. They would usually be fine but every once in a while they'd start chewing on their bedding. To avoid a potential situation where the bedding was ingested and possibly caused a bowel obstruction, they simply went without. But as Marc is in his golden years, Czar (now 6 years old!!!) on his heels, and with a new large breed puppy that was already beginning to develop some hygromas on her back hocks I figured it was time to revisit the crate bedding thing.
I've outfitted all three dogs' home crates with Primo Pads. These pads are closed cell foam that are wrapped in heat sealed vinyl. The result is a thin and supportive pad that is also waterproof, easy to clean, and as chew proof as anything I've found. To further help make sure dogs don't start gnawing on the pads, you can purchase them with a tie down kit that consists of reusable zip ties to secure the edges of the pad to the bottom of a wire crate. The only down side is that you have to remove the crate pan. This was fine with me and I now have the pans on top of the crates, which provides a flat surface to hold each dog's collars, bowls, any medication they are taking, etc. So far, the pads are holding up well. They are super easy to clean (just wipe them down with the cleaner of your choice, or pull them out and hose them off). And my dogs love them.
My new puppy is a sporting breed and regularly goes out for field training. She's all over the place in the field, forest, and the water. In between exercises, she's crated while other dogs are having a go at training exercises. I wanted something for her crate in my vehicle, but I didn't want her sitting in water if she had just come from a water exercise. These WetMutt mats have holes in them that allow water to drain through. They come in a variety of sizes and I purchased one that was sized to fit the Rough Tuff kennels that I use in my van.