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Picking The Right Leash For Your Dog

Picking The Right Leash For Your Dog

Finding the right leash, harness or collar can be hard when there are so many different options. Having to think about what kind of leash is best for you and your dog can be difficult. That's where we come in to help. Here at Terrible Toby’s, we have plenty of different options, but also the explanations behind them. 


Standard Leashes (Flat Leash)

The most common leash you will see is a standard flat leash. These can range in width for the size of your dog and typically come in 6ft (2m), however, you can find shorter and longer ones too. These are your most common leashes for training and most trainers will work with and recommend this type of lead. Typically, these leashes are made with materials such as nylon, leather or woven material. When choosing the right flat leash for your dog, usually if you have a bigger or stronger dog it is important to choose a leash on the wider side, sometimes choosing rope material instead of nylon, whereas if you have a smaller dog, something on the skinner side would be appropriate as well. 

Retractable/Extendable Leashes

Retractable leashes are the second most common leash. They allow various lengths for freedom and movement essentially working like a measuring tape. They can be locked to the desired length or unlocked to follow your dog’s movement, up to a maximum distance. The leash part itself is a nylon cord and the handle is a soft plastic material that will last over time. If at any time there is slack in the leash while locked, unlocking it will bring the material to reduce slack. Retractable leashes are great for dogs because it provides them more freedom to roam around on their walks. Retractable leashes can also be used for training commands such as stay & place, similar to how a long line would be used.  When leash training, retractable leashes typically are not recommended. Retractable leashes don’t give consistent boundaries that a standard leash will. Which can confuse your pup and lead to frustration for both you and them. There have also been cases of low quality leashes failing, which causes the mechanism inside to break and allows your pup to have full range of the leash even when locked. When using retractable leashes, it’s extremely important to choose one that’s graded for your dog’s size. All retractable leashes should have size ratings, the maximum usually being 120lbs. Meaning that if you have an extra large dog, retractable leashes may not be the best option. 

Bungee leashes

Bungee leashes incorporate a bungee into the leash to help absorb shock when your dog pulls.  These leashes are great if you're a big runner and want to bring your dog along. When not stretched out all the way, the leash takes the pressure off of the collar. Meaning if your dog slows down or speeds up they won’t receive an intense shock when hitting the end of the leash. As said earlier, if the dog pulls, the bungee section of the leash takes the strain off the collar and their neck. These leashes are great for adventurous dogs who love to smell, allowing them some freedom without putting strain on your pup or your arm. Bungee leashes are more geared toward leash-trained dogs and are not recommended for reactive dogs. These leashes don’t allow the owners to have much control if there were to be incidents with other dogs. These leashes can also train the dogs to not have any reaction to pulling, with the bungee piece they might not see a problem with pulling as there are no consequences from the leash. 


Training leashes

Training or long line leashes are generally used for training your dog’s recall. These leashes can range from 15ft - 50ft. Long lines simulate an off-leash environment while still having control of the dog ensuring they won’t run. Recommended to be used in an open area, these leashes will help you achieve your command goals like “come”, “heal” or “stay” while giving you the confidence of knowing your dog won’t bolt. Training leashes are recommended for almost any dog, but still be cautious if your dog is reactive, depending on how long your leash is you may not have the control you desire if an incident were to occur.

Seat Belt leashes 

Seatbelt or safety belt leashes are used for car rides. On one end they have a carabiner that attaches to the harness and the other side clips into the seat belt holder. The common length for these is 2.5ft and some can have a bungee portion. They prevent the dogs from climbing around the front and back seats distracting the driver. Having your dog secure in the car is important in case of an accident or abrupt braking. They can also prevent your dog from running loose if there was an accident. One important piece to note is that not all dog seat belts are created equally.  The majority of dog seat belts are only intended to keep your dog in place while driving and are not crash tested.  If you’re looking for a seatbelt for your dog that is crash tested and certified, you have to order a special harness too.  This is because although the seat belt can be strong if it’s attached to a standard harness there will more than likely be a failure in a car accident.


Coupler/Double dog leashes

Double dog leashes or leash couplers are for walking more than one dog at a time. This leash splits off into two sections each having a carabiner at the end to attach to your dog’s collar or harness. Coupler leashes may seem convenient for you, but not for your dogs, especially when walking dogs with height or size differences. You may have less control over the dogs and the dogs don’t have enough space between them, especially if you have pups who love to explore. It is primarily recommended for dogs who are previously leash trained. Using a coupler or double dog leash can prevent your dogs from getting tangled up as they would if using two separate leashes.  However, if they’re not great on a leash, or one dog is reactive you may end up with an even bigger tangle.

There were lots of options discussed in the article and we hope we were able to cover each one in enough detail for you. If you have any further questions or want to see the leashes in person,  we’re open 7 days a week and would love to help you find the right leash for your pup. We also always like to note that if there is anything you believe we missed or that should be added in send us a message or come in and we’d be happy to learn more.



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Choosing the Right Puzzle for Your Animal

Choosing the Right Puzzle for Your Animal

IQ Puzzles, Treat Dispensers, Enrichment Toys... They go by a lot of names & there sure are a LOT to choose from. So how do you go about choosing the correct puzzle or treat dispenser for your pet? Toby & I (Owen) have had the opportunity to test tons of these and think we've got a pretty good understanding of how you should go about choosing your pet's next IQ toy. So here are a few steps for choosing the best puzzle or treat dispenser for your pet!
First... Do you want something that you can "set & forget"? By this we mean do you want a treat dispenser that your pet can use without you directly by their side. Something that will last a while and not take a lot of effort or monitoring from your end. *Please note that we do not recommend dog's be left unattended while using treat dispensers. All toys, especially treat dispensers, should be used under moderate supervision.* 
If this is the case, then the standard "puzzle" may not be the best solution for you and your pet. Puzzles, especially the harder ones, can get frustrating for certain dogs & when this happens there's a tendency to try and chew through the puzzle instead of solve it (Toby is amazing at this method of "solving" puzzles). Instead of using a puzzle as your "set and forget" method of entertaining your dog try utilizing a Lickimat to entertain your pet for longer periods of time. Lickimats can be filled with tons of different treats, checkout our post on what to put in a lickimat for more ideas.  They can be used for almost any animal & provide great boredom busting stimulation for your pet. Along with this, using treat dispensers like the Tricky Treat ball & the Tug a Jug are great toys that take little effort from your end to keep your pet happy. A few other great options for low effort treat dispensing toys for your pet include...
For dogs
For Cats & Smaller Animals
Now, if you're looking for a fun experience with your pet. Where mental stimulation and family bonding come together into one great activity.  Then a puzzle for your pet is definitely the right next step.  Puzzles, especially with an animal who's never done one, require direct attention from you while your pet uses it.  Treat the puzzle as a toy that is only taken out when you're ready to play with your pet.  This will bring an entirely new level of excitement to your animal as they start to recognize when you pull out their puzzles for play.  While watching your pet, if you notice them start to get frustrated with the puzzle show them how to solve the next step. If your pet starts to chew or bite at the puzzle, quickly uncover and recover one of the treats in front of them.  This will get them reengaged in the task of finding the treat with logic, rather than with force.  
Each puzzle is unique and requires a different set of motions & problem solving skills to figure out.  So picking the right one for your pet is important. When purchasing your pet's puzzle, be sure to think about their body size & shape to determine whether they can complete the puzzle. Typically I recommend going for a puzzle that primarily uses sliding pieces to solve.  This type of puzzle works well for any animal as they can use their paws or nose to move each slider. A few great beginner puzzles that primarily use sliders include...
 
Looking for something a bit more challenging for your pet? The Outward Hound Challenge Slider is by far our most popular puzzle.  I actually recommend this puzzle for pets starting out with puzzles too! The reason this is such a great puzzle is because it can be setup at multiple challenge levels.  If your pet is new to puzzles, try hiding treats really close to the start of the puzzle. Giving your pet the opportunity to learn how to solve the puzzle without numerous steps involved. Then as they start to get the hang of solving the puzzle, start moving the treats further and further from the starting point. This adds multiple steps to the puzzle before it's solved, creating a much more challenging solve. The versatility of this puzzle gives it way more flexibility in terms of being easy or hard. Versus some of the other slider puzzles which, once your pet solves them, tend to become too easy & repetitive.
Has your pet conquered sliding puzzles? Or maybe you want something with a few more actions to solve.  Either way, these next puzzles are fantastic for teasing your pet's brain and testing their problem solving skills.  We've labelled these puzzles as "Pull" puzzles.  Pull puzzles are ones that involve a drawer or unlocking mechanism that needs to be pulled with either your pet's paw or snout. Because of the nature of these puzzles, larger dogs may have a harder time with them. However it doesn't mean they won't be able to figure them out. 
The first pull puzzle I would recommend is the Dog Twister. The Dog Twister uses a standard slide method on top, which works great as a beginner puzzle.  But it also includes locks along the side of the puzzle, which lock up each of the sliders. Leaving each lock open will give your pet the chance to learn how to use the sliders. Then as your pet starts to figure out solving the puzzle, start locking some of the sliders in place.  This will add another step and challenge to the puzzle, which your pet will have to figure out before solving it. As your pet progressively gets better and better, lock more of the sliders to add more and more of a challenge.
The next pull puzzle is called the Dog Casino.  The Dog Casino relies heavily on the pulling drawers in order to solve the puzzle.  Starting off, you can hide your pet's treats inside the drawers and allow them to figure out the drawers open.  Once they've figure out how to open each drawer, you can add an extra level of difficulty to the puzzle.  By turning the bones on top of the puzzle, the drawers will become locked.  Now your pet will have to turn each bone on the top of the puzzle before they can access the drawers for their treats. This puzzle is a great intermediate puzzle that works well for small to medium sized dogs.  Unfortunately dogs around Toby's size (95 lbs) start to struggle opening the drawers, which can be frustrating or demotivating for them.
Finally, if your pet is ready for the most challenging puzzle in our collection you can try the Nina Ottosson Multi Puzzle.  The multi-puzzle combines several different challenges into one complicated and mind bending puzzle.  Featuring sliders around the outside, similar to the Challenge Slider. However it also contains small locking mechanisms that will lock up the sliders to create an even harder solve.  Then contained in the middle is a spinner that allows your pet to access one treat compartment at a time. Meaning they will need to open and close each treat compartment before getting to the next. This challenging puzzle can be quite versatile in how difficult you make it, meaning even an intermediate puzzle solver (or really smart pet) will be able to enjoy it. 
The key when choosing a puzzle for your pet is to seek out one with a bit of versatility, but that you're confident your pet will be able to figure out (eventually). Finding a puzzle that can be made harder as your pet learns is a great way to build their problem solving and logic skills.  Plus it's a fantastic way to bond with your pet as you encourage them and show them how to solve the puzzle. Just remember that you should not leave your pet alone with a puzzle, they are plastic and if a dog wants to they can definitely chew through it. Instead treat the time as a way to connect with your dog, while stimulating their mind at the same time.
 
Still have more questions about the puzzles? Stop by our store to check out each on in person and see how they all work. We're always happy to meet new animal lovers & will gladly answer any questions about our line of puzzle toys for you.
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What to Put in a Lickimat? Peanut Butter Alternatives

What to Put in a Lickimat? Peanut Butter Alternatives

Toby loves his lickimats! They’re absolutely fantastic for killing energy, keeping him entertained and as a nice reward after a long day. When I fill my lickimats my go to is peanut butter. Peanut Butter is convenient, budget friendly and easy to add. However, there are some downsides to using peanut butter that I’ve come to notice… 


First off, allergies! Some people just cannot have peanuts in their life due to them or a family member being allergic. Along with this, some peanut butter brands are toxic to dogs… You heard me right, the beloved treat that dogs beg for can contain the chemical xylitol. Be sure to read the ingredients list on your peanut butter for the artificial sweetener called xylitol which can be toxic to your furry friend (try to avoid any artificial sweeteners). Also, peanut butter can be downright messy! Maybe I’m doing things wrong, but I always make a mess when I have peanut butter out (pretty sure I’m doing it wrong). Between the hard to clean aspect & the messiness alone I had to start seeking some new fillers for Toby’s lickimats.
 
Let’s start with something basic… Plain cream cheese, emphasis on the PLAIN part.  Cheese in general can be a fantastic addition to your pups diet in small quantities.  Containing calcium, essential fatty acids, Vitamins A & B along with protein. So just like it is for you and me, cheese and cream cheese can be a great snack for your dog.  However cheese also contains a high amount of fat, so you don’t want this to be your go to everyday. Otherwise health problems such as obesity can occur.  
 
Another great food to add to lickimats are bananas! Yes, we know bananas are actually solids, but they’re so easy to mash up that they’re definitely a go to for lickimats. Plus bananas are one of the fruits that are healthy for dogs too! (worried about what fruits you can & can’t feed your pooch? Head to this AKC blog link to find out more)  All you need to do is cut the banana into a few thin strips, lengthwise speeds the process up.  Then lie the strips across your lickimat and mash down with the back of a spoon.  I’ve found banana’s to be a bit more challenging than peanut butter for Toby, meaning it lasts longer.  Plus, they’re easier to clean (I’m stuck hand washing Toby’s Lickimats as I don’t have a dishwasher) when you’ve used bananas.  Again bananas should be given as a treat, not a part of your pups everyday diet.
 
One sure fire, easy to use, lickimat topper is canned pumpkin.  When Toby was a puppy I always had a can of pumpkin on hand just in case his tummy started to act up.  Pumpkin is an amazing treat for dogs that’s packed with nutrients and vitamins.  Along with this it helps with certain cases of the runs and definitely saved some carpets when Toby was a pup… Canned pumpkin can be found in the baking section of almost any grocery store however be observant as it’s usually very close to the pumpkin pie filling. DO NOT feed your dog pumpkin pie filling, this is extremely high in sugar and not a good treat for your dog.  Pure pumpkin on the other hand is highly beneficial & extremely easy to spread onto a lickimat.  Definitely a recommended topper for your pup.
What about yogurt? Yogurt is an easy to use spread that can definitely be a great treat for your pup.  However you need to be cautious (just like with anything you give your dog) because of different ingredients in each brand.  Look for a plain yogurt (not vanilla) that doesn’t contain too much sugar but also as zero artificial sweetener.  Artificial sweeteners and sugars can be unhealthy for humans and dogs.  Plus certain sweeteners are known to be very toxic for dogs (such as xylitol, which can be found in certain yogurt brands).  So once you’ve found your brand of yogurt, feel free to get your lickimat loaded up! I’ve found yogurt to be a simple food to add to the lickimat, plus it’s easy to clean and Toby loves it.
All in all, any malleable or spreadable food that’s safe for dogs is a fantastic addition to your lickimat.  A couple pro tips I’ve discovered are to freeze the lickimat before giving it to Toby.  This lets it last longer as he needs to defrost the contents first.  I also like to add a tiny bit of honey to the lickimat every now and then.  Although honey isn’t necessarily healthy for dogs, it is completely safe and in low quantities will add a nice flavour to your pups lickimat.  
Still stuck for an idea for your lickimat? Toby’s got a quick and easy peanut butter alternative that smells exactly like peanut butter! His lick mix is 100% dehydrated peanut powder, simply combine equal amounts water and our lick mix (available online) to create a delicious and healthy treat for your pup.  
Don’t have a lickimat yet? Not to worry! We’re stocked up on tons right now and Toby would love to get your pup setup with one, plus $2 is donated to animals in need from each one he sells! If you ever have any questions about our lickimats or any other products Toby sells be sure to message us on social media or through our website.  We love hearing from you and always want to know what you think.
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A Boy & His Dog On a Mission to Change the World

A Boy & His Dog On a Mission to Change the World

I started Terrible Toby's Dog Supply Depot with one thing in mind... Change.
Obviously change is all around us right now... But what I had in mind was change for dogs.  Change for dogs that don't have a voice, don't have food in their bowls or toys to chase.  Dogs that don't feel the same kind of love as Toby or your pup at home feel everyday.  But I can't do it alone, which is where my idea for Terrible Toby's came....
How can I make it as easy as possible for ordinary puppies to make extraordinary change for other dogs?  I wanted to create the easiest way for someone to support a cause that no dog owner can say no to.  That's when I came up with the idea to start a dog store that's sole mission is to end dog abuse & cruelty around the world.
The Beginning
I got Toby as a puppy from a breeder at the beginning of March.  At that time, I was not heavily informed or involved with any rescue organizations or the intense need for adoption.  Looking back, I absolutely do not regret getting Toby though. He's perfect for me and teaches me so much that I obviously couldn't think of a life without him at this point.  My next dog will definitely be a rescue though!
Toby came into my life a week before Ontario went into lockdown in March of 2020.  At the time, I was working as an event coordinator and wedding DJ while going through my last year of College.  Obviously being at home all the time gave me tons of opportunity to train Toby, but I also spent some time getting myself involved in the dog community (you guys are PAWSOME by the way).  That's when I started to realize how much cruelty some dogs go through in their lives though...
 
What to do...
I remember exactly what information really pushed me over the edge (to keep this child friendly I am refraining from adding the details in) and made me say enough is enough.  So, I decided to do some research...
I knew there was something I could do to help, but I wasn't sure what. I don't have the room to foster and Toby is still a ways from being fully trained so I can't add more animals to my house.  But, rescues do need tons of support so I decided to start raising funds.
Toby & I sat on the couch for a while pondering this.  With events shut down (my go to for fundraisers) & no way to get in front of people to raise money there had to be some way for us to do something.  Then Toby asked for a treat as he usually does around 8pm.  I grabbed his favourite snacks and that's when it hit me! To Toby's amazement I dropped the entire bag of treats and dashed for my computer to get to work...
 
Time for Toby to get to work!
I guess I should say time for me to get to work. Toby more or less just ate the treats I forgot about on the floor as I started buzzing through websites and blog posts figuring out how to setup an online store. Tons of late nights and gallons of coffee later, Terrible Toby's Dog Supply Depot was ready to go!
Toby was so proud of what he'd accomplished! But, how exactly was he going to raise money off of it?  Toby did some bookkeeping and got back to me saying "Dad, we're going to donate 50% of our profit from each sale because I know you'll be able to put food in my bowl. But, I'm not sure if other dogs will get food in their bowl". At first I thought he was joking, "how do we pay for the business then Toby" I asked? But... It seems to be working out for him (as usual for Toby)
 
How it works...
With every single product that Toby approves for his shelves, he makes me figure out a few things.
1. How much it costs us
2. How much it costs at the store
Once we know these two things the math is simple! We figure out how much we make and we donate half of that, rounding up to make the math easy (Toby hasn't figured out a calculator yet). We then list EXACTLY how much is donated from each item on our website to ensure everyone knows what they're raising. 
We get asked a lot... what does the other half goes to? Well that's a two part answer...
First we have to cover our costs of advertising and running the store online. We also used some to open our first ever retail location at the St. Jacobs Farmers Market!
and what about the rest?
 
Toby's Dream
The rest of our funds help fuel Toby's dream of opening his own rescue organization.  Toby & I want to be able to get into the field around the globe helping rescue, transport and promote the adoption of dogs.  In order to do that we have a lot of work ahead of us & we couldn't do it without your support.
 
Supporting Change
Change takes a lot of effort from many people all over the world! I wanted to give the opportunity for everyone to get involved in making a change and it starts with Terrible Toby's. By purchasing your everyday dog supplies from Terrible Toby's you automatically support the wellbeing and safety of dogs everywhere.  I'm so excited to be able to give myself, Toby and the rest of the world an opportunity to make change and can't wait to see what the rest of this journey holds.
 
If you ever want to support our cause, feel free to head to our shop and pick out some cool stuff for the dog's in your life. Or, to learn more about what we do head to our fundraiser page for all the details.  You can also follow us on Instagram & Facebook and reach out at any time to suggest new items, give us feedback or just talk about dogs. Toby & I are always ready to chat.
 

 

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