The Labrador Retriever was bred to be both a friendly companion and a useful working dog breed. Historically, he earned his keep as a fisherman’s helper: hauling nets, fetching ropes, and retrieving fish from the chilly North Atlantic. Today’s Labrador Retriever is as good-natured and hard working as his ancestors, and he’s America’s most popular breed. These days the Lab works as a retriever for hunters, assistance dog to the handicapped, show competitor, and search and rescue dog, among other canine jobs.
Latch on this light-up collar the next time you are letting your pooch out for a late night bathroom break. The LED collar by Illumiseen is USB rechargeable (five hours of light after a one-hour charge) and has three modes of use: steady light mode, rapid flashing, and slow flashing. Colors include red, green, blue, orange, pink and yellow. Sizes range from extra-extra-small to extra-large.
If doggy nail polish is too flashy, Rona also has some recommendations for more straightforward dog-grooming gifts to keep your pet clean. “For a luxury shampoo and conditioner, I recommend the Mineral Red or argan shampoo and conditioner by Iv San Bernard.” According to the manufacturer’s website, Mineral Red is better for dogs with allergies or dry skin, while the Black Passion, which has argan oil and seaweed, is suitable for any type of coat.
The brainchild of a glass studio in New Jersey, Hot Paws is a unique dog paw print molding kit. After forming the print from their moldable material you send it right back to Hot Paws in a prepackaged container where it will be cast in glass. After a couple of weeks your friend will receive a gorgeous glass impression of their dogs paw which can be used as a paperweight or hung as an ornament.
Kate Perry, dog trainer and author of Training for Both Ends of the Dog Leash, likes to give “practical items that help stimulate the dogs mind and help owners have a better relationship with their dogs.” One of her favorite interactive treat toys for pups is the Busy Buddy Twist and Treat, which keeps dogs working for their food. “Great as a gift for new dog owners, and great for training a dog to work for their food.”
“My favorite dog-related item that I personally own is a gift I gave myself when I got into the business of dog training: a specially sized Bone Toggle Collar from Wagwear, an New York City–based doggy accessories boutique,” says Anthony Newman, a certified canine-behavior consultant who founded Calm Energy Dog Training. “I’ve worn it on my wrist now for nearly ten years, all day every day; it expresses my love for dogs and it’s truly unique, with beautiful hand-stitched leather and brass. Though I suppose you can also use it as an actual dog collar, as founder and designer Amy intended it.”
There are two types of people in this world: dog lovers who are so in love with their four-legged friends that they, on some deep emotional level, understand Barbra Streisand’s impulse to clone her dog, and everyone else. If you fall in that latter category — or are even, god forbid, a cat person — it can be tricky to find a gift for the dog lover in your life that they’ll actually find useful. Though even the most serious dog parents could probably use some help in finding unique and fun dog gifts that go beyond the regular old treats, toys, and travel accessories.