1. Canine Conditioning Equipment
If you need to buy a gift for someone who is… a little more into her dog than the average dog owner, then you cannot go wrong with canine fitness equipment. Dog trainers can’t get enough of this stuff! Seriously – more is always merrier in this category. Already have a K9FITbone? Get her the FitPAWS TRAX Donut! Already have a Donut? Get her the Peanut! Quality canine fitness equipment does not fit into the average dog trainer’s budget – it’s usually a “don’t technically need it, but would love to have it” kind of thing. In my opinion, that makes it a perfect gift because the recipient of said gift would probably have a hard time justifying the purchase if she was making it for herself.
2. Denise Fenzi’s books
Denise Fenzi wrote two books that are perfect for the dog sport trainer or highly engaged pet dog owner in your life. Train the Dog in Front of You and Beyond the Basics: Unlock Your Dog’s Behavior are written for dog owners who want much more than a 3 step recipe for dog training. These books are for people who want to KNOW their dogs, not just control their dogs. I have read Train the Dog in Front of You (Severus and I are on the first page of Chapter 6!), and Beyond the Basics is on my wish list this year!
3. Convertible Leash
Dog people love their dog gear. And you can bet your a** that no self-respecting dog sports trainer is walking her dog around on some off-the-rack leash from some big-box pet store! Enter: the convertible leash. I purchased my first pair of convertible leashes for Whizbee and Severus in April of this year, and I’m not really sure why it took me two and a half years to take the plunge. They are the best! In my opinion, the most versatile convertible leashes are dual-ended, meaning they have bolt snaps on both ends of the leash, and have 2 or 3 D-rings throughout the length of the leash. This allows the handler to use the leash in multiple ways:
- on a dual-clip harness (such as the Balance harness or Freedom No-Pull harness)
- as a standard 6 ft. leash
- as a shorter 3 ft. leash
- hands free (over the shoulder and/or around the waist)
- as a tether
The first set of convertible leashes I bought were hand dyed from a shop on Etsy. Not gonna lie: they were sort of expensive. But then again, gifts are all about treating someone to something that she might want, not just to something she needs. A lovely custom leash is definitely a luxurious gift that any dog lover would appreciate. Just make sure you pick colors that will match the rest of the dog’s gear.
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, Blue-9 Pet Products makes sleek, nylon multi-function leashes in 6 different colors. You get all the function for half the price.
If your recipient is more into leather, Bold Lead Designs makes a convertible leash too.
4. Blue-9 Klimb
Another member of “the more the merrier” club, here’s something I would be giddy to see under the Christmas tree: a Blue-9 Klimb platform (or two, or three)! AND I ALREADY HAVE TWO. Let that sink in. I own 2 dogs. I have 2 Klimbs. And I would be *ecstatic* to receive another. These platforms are great for stationing, conditioning, and training. They were designed with easy transport in mind so anyone can shove them in the dog van and bring them to classes and seminars. A Blue-9 Klimb is a generous gift. If the special dog trainer in your life doesn’t already have a Klimb, let’s just say… it’s not because they don’t want one. If you’re looking to spoil someone, give her a Klimb!
5. Gift Card to Fenzi Dog Sports Academy
When it comes to online positive reinforcement sports training, it starts and ends with Fenzi Dog Sports Academy. FDSA is an online school for dog sports and boasts some of the most reputable positive trainers (and competitors) in a variety of sports. Everything from obedience to nose work to agility. FDSA even offers canine conditioning classes as well as classes that focus on behavior modification for reactive dogs or dogs who suffer from separation anxiety.
I have spent an embarrassing amount of money on FDSA classes. I’m like a drug addict just looking for a fix no matter what the cost. I’m always scrolling through the schedule and thinking to myself “I need to take this class! And this class! And I cannot live without this class!”
6. Hurtta’s Training Vest
File this one under the “don’t technically need, but would absolutely love to have” category. The Hurtta training vest is a thing of beauty with a price tag that makes people who train dogs for a living want to weep. It has plenty of pockets for treats, toys, and other essentials like poop bags and keys. If I owned this vest, I would wear it multiple times a day when I take the pups for their walks. And if I received this vest as a gift, I would remember the person who gave it to me every single day.
7. Waterproof Shoes
Dog people go outdoors a lot. Whether it’s hiking on snowy trails or trying to earn an NW1 in the pouring rain, waterproof footwear that is reliable and comfortable cannot be underestimated. If you’re gifting for someone who needs something lightweight, the DOGGO Parcours are a great sneaker option. They were designed for dog agility handlers. For more ankle support, I’ve heard great things about the Ahnu boots. These are ideal for hiking.
If you’re looking to buy for a dog trainer who trains and trials outdoors, make sure their feet stay dry!
8. Back on Track Dog Coat
Dog sports competitors spare no expense when it comes to the health and fitness of their dogs. As guardians and caretakers, it’s important that we look out for these active dogs with physically demanding careers. One way to keep a canine athlete safe is to ensure he is warmed up properly before a performance and cooled down gradually after exercise. The Back on Track dog coats are designed to use the dog’s body heat to create a far infrared thermal effect. The goal is to increase circulation and reduce inflammation. As far as I know, there’s no scientific evidence that these coats prevent injury, but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that these coats help with stiff aging dogs, dogs who usually get sore after runs, etc.
Back on Track even makes products for humans too. If the dog handler in your life has a bad elbow, feet, or back, you could treat them to these therapeutic support products with thermal effects.
9. Ribbon Holder
Most dog sports competitors have a drawer full of beautiful ribbons and rosettes collecting dust. That’s a shame given all the time, energy, and love put into training and competing. A well-designed ribbon holder can be a practical and visually pleasing way to display all those achievements. You can buy them online, but you can also DIY them to suit the handler’s interior design preferences.
Since my husband and I are renting our place, we didn’t want to nail anything into the walls. I tried to DIY a non-invasive ribbon holder out of Command hooks and a roll of photo hanging wire. It was not ideal. The whole thing fell apart after a couple weeks. Plus, the wire was saggy. I can’t wait until we buy a house and I can hang up my ribbons for real! Until then… Sev’s ribbons are collecting dust in a cardboard box.
10. Gift Card to Clean Run
It’s no secret that dog sports are expensive. Training is one expense and equipment is another. If you’re not prepared to drop $130.00 to buy someone a set of 2×2 weave poles, then buy them a gift card to Clean Run! Clean Run is the mecca of motivational toys, training equipment, and travel necessities. The company caters to dog sports competitors specifically so their selection is actually very dissimilar to what’s available at PetSmart or Petco.
If you’re worried about a gift card not being “personal” enough, I can assure you that any dog sports lover will be thrilled, maybe even relieved, to receive a Clean Run gift card. It will put them that much closer to being able to buy that big item for which they’ve been saving. It’s not possible to have too many gift cards to Clean Run. Sort of like how someone who collects makeup will never complain about a Sephora gift card. Clean Run is to dog sports people what Sephora is to make up lovers.
Tell me what you want for Christmas this year!! Are any of these items on your wish list??