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Karen B. London
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Multipurposing Dog Gear
Finding non-dog oriented uses for supplies
This puppy pen doubles as barrier to protect children from getting burned.

The items needed for our dogs form an extensive list—leashes, collars, food, books, training treats, bowls, gates, toys, things to chew on, poop bags, tags, seat belts and on and on. Having spent years accumulating these items instead of a hefty savings account, I appreciate their value. In fact, I consider much of the pet gear I have to be so worthwhile that I use it for purposes that extend far beyond dogs.

 
In 2000, I fostered a puppy named Who, and to help make our time together better, I invested in a puppy pen. Now, without a puppy in the house, I primarily use it for keeping young children away from the wood stove. When my own kids were younger, the pen was up almost all winter since the wood stove is our primary heat source. Now that they are old enough to stay away from the stove without this barrier, it is only up when we have tiny visitors.
 
Many dog trainers and behaviorists use enzymatic cleaners in their offices and training spaces to properly clean up after accidents and marking incidents, and I am no exception. Even thoroughly house-trained dogs can occasionally goof in an area that smells of so many dogs, and I’ve found that cleaners such as Nature’s Miracle are the best at removing the smell completely.
 
As a mother of two boys, my bathrooms are not always pristine. (Actually, they’re NEVER pristine, but sometimes they are moderately clean for at least an hour after being cleaned.) I used these enzymatic cleaners extensively during the toilet training phases. Even now, I periodically catch a whiff of an odor I could do without and I clean the entire bathroom with one of these enzymatic miracles. And during a recent bout of the stomach flu, we had a level of gross in our house that I don’t feel the need to give details about (you’re very welcome!), but let’s just say I’ve never been so glad to have Nature’s Miracle in large quantities on hand at home.
 
In my own bathroom, I use a large fancy dog bowl that was the base for a gift basket full of dog goodies to hold my hair dryer, curling iron, and some hairbrushes. It is a metal bowl with a bone-shaped rubber base and really quite decorative.
 
Have you found new—non-canine oriented—uses for your dog gear?

 

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by jen | December 22 2010 |

Nylon dog collars make great straps for attaching packs, jackets, etc. to saddle while trail riding horses.

Submitted by Barb | December 22 2010 |

When my dog was in her older years, I found that the store-bought treats had too much sodium in them for her, so I began making some home-made treats with such things as peanut butter or tuna in them. Because I knew exactly what the ingredients were, I'd sneak one myself every now and then if I were desperate! They were fairly bland, and I guess that was a good thing.

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