Suggested Products

While many pet products are available today – from high tech to simple concepts – only a few items catch my interest as products that actually work, and are good for a large portion of the dog owners that I meet. I will be adding to this list as time goes on, but for now, here are my first choices.

For more information about these products and where you can get them, email Val:


A patent-pending item, Thundershirt offers gentle, constant pressure which has a dramatic calming effect for most dogs if they are anxious, fearful or over-excited.

As for WHY Thundershirt’s gentle pressure works to calm a dog, experts such as Dr. Temple Grandin believe that pressure has a calming effect on the nervous system. Using pressure to relieve anxiety has been a common practice for years.
Thundershirt is an excellent treatment for most types of dog anxiety and fear issues. For many anxieties, we recommend just putting on a Thundershirt and observing the results (No training!). You very well may see significant improvement for noise, crate, travel, barking and others with absolutely no training. For more complicated anxiety cases, we recommend using Thundershirt as part of a behavior modification program.
One thing is for certain, for a very large percentage of dogs, Thundershirt’s gentle, constant pressure has a terrific calming effect. This has obvious benefits for most types of anxiety. Thundershirt’s calming effect helps a dog to focus (or refocus) her energies in a more constructive direction, allowing training to be more effective.

Some statistics quoted:

  • Over 23 million dogs in the U.S. are suffering from anxiety or fear issues.
  • Dog owners are spending over $1 billion each year coping with anxiety and fear issues. They are spending over $240 million per year on damaged property alone!
  • Thundershirt was reported to provide significant improvement for symptoms for over 82% of dogs that have used Thundershirts.

NOTE FROM VAL: I have personally tried the Thundershirt on 5 dogs in the first week of having access to them, and all 5 dogs responded in a very favorable way. For dogs with storm fears, the panting and pacing prior to a storm decreased and the dog actually just layed down. Even in the worst of the thunder and lightning, the response from the dog was less destructive then he had previously been known for. Also for a dog with travel anxieties, within the first 5 minutes of being in the car for a trip, again, he simply layed down with noticeably less anxiety.
THUNDERSHIRTS retail for less then $40 and they have a 100% money-back guarantee.

Gentle Leader® Headcollar

The Premier Gentle Leader® Headcollar quickly controls pulling, barking, jumping chewing and mouthing. With the Gentle Leader, when you steer the dog’s nose, you steer the dog’s body. It’s a positive, no-pain option for controlling your dog.

First of all, the Gentle Leader® Headcollar is NOT a muzzle (although I have used it as one for the occasion when it was needed). When fitted properly, your dog is free to open his mouth to drink, pant, play tug, bark and even eat treats – except when you close his mouth by pulling on the leash. There is usually a ten minute “hissy fit” that often accompanies the first few times your dog wears this collar. Often times the sensation of this collar on your dogs nose causes him to rub his face, on you, or on the ground, etc. But with owner intervention, these episodes will decrease in time.

The Premier Gentle Leader® Headcollar features two soft nylon straps – the collar portion fits high at the top of the neck, and the nose loop fits loosely and comfortably across the base of the muzzle. Each strap has a distinct and important effect.

NOTE FROM VAL: The Gentle Leader is one of the quickest, easiest ways to enjoy a walk and training time with your dog. While I will firmly say that there is NO substitute for good techniques while training your dog, if you are not even able to walk the dog in the first place, you won’t be able to train the dog. Gentle Leader retails for less than $25 and is a piece of training equipment that is ALWAYS in my training bag. Also, there is no substitute, or off-brand that compares to the way this product is designed. Stick with the name brand! And if you are interested in acquiring one of these collars, please ask me for help in sizing, etc.



The K-Kollar is a “balanced” slip training collar. It is proportioned to allow the control rings to position themselves at the top side of your dogs neck. This design allows for quick and easy access to the control rings. It will also minimize collar slippage, reducing hair damage. The key benefit, though, is the wider distribution of pressure on the dogs throat area. It has been dubbed “a better mousetrap” when referring to choke/slip type training collars, eliminating most of the problem areas those collars have. Available at the Butler training studio in sizes from 12” to 32”, the K-Kollar is offered in a variety of styles.

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