Equipment, Toys, & Calming Aids

Dr. Ward may recommend equipment or products as part of your dog’s behavior management, training, and modification plan. Please click on the appropriate links below for more information and to order online through Amazon*.

Head Collars for Advanced Control

Head collars provide the extra control needed when walking large, strong dogs and/or when working with a dog who may be reactive to sights, sounds, etc. If your dog is reacting to people or other dogs on walks, a behavioral consultation appointment is recommended.

Black Dog Training Halter (from Australia)

This is Dr. Ward’s overall preferred “head collar”.  It’s soft and relatively easy to fit.  It wears very well.  However, it’s important to fit the head collar to the dog rather than the other way around.  Some dogs do better with a Gentle Leader or a Halti (see above).  

Black Dog Training Halter with a Connector Strap

Body Harnesses for Help with Pulling and Control

A properly fitted no-pull harness can be a helpful tool when teaching a dog to walk without pulling on a leash. The no-pull harness may offer less overall control than the head collars (above), but dogs tend to accept the body harness more readily than the head collars. Both the no-pull harness and head collars are tools to help you to be a better teacher to your dog.

Freedom No-Pull Harness and Double Clip Leash

Freedom No-Pull Harness

The Freedom No-Pull Harness provides control with pulling by using two points of contact with a double clip leash.  One end of the leash clips to a hook on the back and the other end of the leash clips to a hook at the breastbone.  Dr. Ward recommends purchasing the harness and leash system rather than simply the harness alone.

Balance Harness

The Balance Harness is another variety of no-pull harness.  It also has a front clip option, it tends to fit higher up in front above the shoulder girdle, if fitted correctly, and this variety has a buckle option at the neck.  This can be especially useful for dogs who may be less comfortable about having the harness placed over their head.  

Flirt Pole

The flirt pole is very similar to a cat teaser wand where the dog has to chase after the toy at the end of the wand as you help it bounce and skip across the backyard or play indoors in a larger, enclosed space.  It’s also a great way to teach your dog impulse control, similar to tug play.  For example, your dog can “sit” to start the game.   You can tell her “get it” and let her chase after the toy at the end.  Let her get it sometimes.  It’s no fun if you are playing but never can win.  May sure that your dog as a good release/drop it on cue.  You can cue a “drop it” and then get the toy and resume the game.  If your dog is a little hesitant to release, you can try trading her for a high-value goodie.  

If you have a larger, indoor space, the flirt pole can be a great way to help physically tire out your dog.  However, make sure that you don’t overdo it.  Always quit leaving your dog wanting more.  

If your dog has shown aggression over toys, don’t play this game.  Your dog may be a good candidate for a behavioral appointment.  

Food Puzzle Toys

Works best with moist food or a mix or wet/dry

Great for separation anxiety dogs, and dogs who need a job to do (essentially all dogs!). These toys can be stuffed with wet, canned food, or a mixture (depending on the toy). Please always supervise your dog when using these food-dispensing toys.


Works best with dry food 

My dogs eat at least 5 of their meals (dry kibble) a week out of their Planet Dog “Snoop” toys below.  Each of my 3 dogs has their own.  Note:  Keep multiple dogs separated to avoid fighting over resources as needed.  My dogs have separate areas where their work on their food toys.  

Other food puzzle toys 

Other Aids for Behavior Management and Modification

Wooly Snuffle Mat

Have your dog search for her meals and treats.  A Wooly Snuffle Mat can be used when you have visitors to the house to distract your dog from jumping up as they come through the door.  It can also be used to keep your dog busy and entertained using her mind and her sense of smell “hunting”.  This can keep a dog busy behind a gate, for example, as your visitor moves around the room (especially useful when working with a dog who may be uncomfortable with people).  

Dog Lick Mat

Keep your dog busy in the tub, when trimming nails, and more.  You can even stick it to the back of a crate (smeared with some delectable goodies to entice your dog inside) to encourage your dog to go inside of his crate and learn that it’s a fun place to hang out.  This can help with crate training or even teaching your dog to hang out in a specific room (useful with independence training for some dogs).  

If you are having specific issues with your dog that aren’t resolving, feel free to contact Dr. Ward to set up a behavior appointment for your dog.  

Starmark Everlasting Treat Toys

These toys can help to keep dogs occupied and busy working to get at the treats.  Great toy for when you have visitors and also as an aid for working with separation anxiety dogs.  Note:  No toy is completely safe for every dog.  Please watch your dog when you first give them a toy.  You don’t want them them destroying and eating the toy itself.


For environmental enrichment and as part of a behavioral modification plan as needed. Choose a size chew appropriate for your dog’s size and chewing strength. Not all toys or chews are appropriate for all dogs.

Treat Pouches

Treat pouches are a must-have for working with your dog.  I sometimes laugh that I may leave the house without lipstick on, but if I’m going anywhere with one or more of my dogs, I always have a treat pouch (and poop bags!). 

Calming Products

These products may help some dogs with mild to moderate anxiety. Use as directed by your behavioral clinician.


A chemical means of communication that is species specific and has been shown to have calming effects, especially when used in conjunction with other calming products.


Functions much like a pressure wrap used with autistic children and can have a calming effect. Please note that the Thundershirt should also be worn when the dog is relaxing (so that he/she doesn’t come to associate the shirt with a stressful event.

Veterinary Nutraceuticals

A “nutraceutical” is a supplement containing food-derived ingredients. If you would like some additional help with your dog’s anxiety and aren’t ready to opt for prescription behavioral medication, trying a veterinary nutraceutical, may help with mild to moderate anxiety. You don’t need a prescription for supplements, but please always discuss the addition of any supplements with your dog’s veterinarian prior to administration.

Basket Muzzles

Basket muzzles can be a useful teaching tool for dogs, especially when introduced slowly and paired with food. Introduce a muzzle slowly and pair the introduction with food (fed through the muzzle). Ideally, you’ll want to condition the dog to accept a muzzle in advance of needing to use it.

A basket muzzle should be used for a short period of time when a mildly stressful event is unavoidable or you are working on behavioral modification with your dog and are using the muzzle as an extra layer of precaution.

Please never put a muzzle on your dog and then put her in a stressful situation that would normally cause her to bite if she wasn’t muzzled. This is not how to use a muzzle correctly. If you are in need of help and have an aggressive or reactive dog, contact Dr. Ward to schedule a behavior consult.


Spray Shield (citronella spray deterrent)

Spray Shield is a deterrent that can be used to deter an menacing, approaching dog (I carry a canister with me when walking my dog), and it can also be used to break up a dog fight.  Safe and effective without hurting the dog.  



For good behavioral management, such as when having visitors to the house (if you dog is at all uncomfortable about visitors), before answering the front door and signing for a package, when needing to keep distance between a baby or child and dog and more. I like a spring-loaded gate that stays in place and has a swinging door that you can open and close as needed rather than a gate that you put up and take down with each use.

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