Former nurse creates genius dog training toy that’ll help your hound’s mental health
A Northumberland dog lover says she's got the perfect solution for owners who are "pulling their hair out" trying to train their pet pooches.
Eve Jones, 36, has swapped a career as a mental health nurse for life as an entrepreneur after inventing a simple product she says can help boost obedience, cut anxiety and improve the bond between dogs and their humans.
The Cramlington mum-of-two's dog training tool, Bonus, is a small plastic dispenser which enables dog owners to give their pets a small amount of soft food as a treat on the go.
Reusable and easy to clean, Eve says the product is eco-friendly and can be filled with healthy treats, making it easier for dog owners to monitor exactly what their pet is eating.
The product can be filled with wet dog food, dog pate, mashed or pureed vegetables or banana or a host of other dog-safe foods. Both the nature of the treats and the method of delivery make it appealing to dogs, meaning it can be a more effective training tool than dry treats, she says.
She decided to make the product herself after struggling to find something similar while training her cocker spaniel, Mave.
She said: "I was concerned about all the additives in dry dog treats and I was struggling to keep Mave's interest with them, so I was looking for a way I could choose what food I wanted to reward her with: high-value foods that she would respond to and foods where I knew what was in them.
"I couldn't find anything, so I was using sandwich bags of peanut butter, sticking my fingers in for her to lick. I spoke to other people who were using similar methods, things they'd made up in their kitchen - a lot of dog owners have been looking for something like this."
The dispensers, attached to a lanyard which can be clipped to a belt or lead, are designed in colours dogs can see, so that the promise of the reward is always visible, increasing focus on the trainer throughout any training activity.
It may be a simple solution, but Eve believes it could make a big difference to many dog owners.
She said: "With the boom in new dogs and puppies through lockdown there are a lot of owners that are struggling to train their dogs, particularly those struggling with separation anxiety.
"There are people pulling their hair out, and I think working with Bonus can help.
"The response has been fantastic. When people see it in action it's instantly 'I get how to use it', it's very easy, I have a little boy who is seven who uses it with our dog all the time."
A former mental health nurse, Eve has now devoted her time to selling her new product. But she says her previous experience working with humans feeds into her new job.
"I think mental health in dogs is being talked about a lot more," she said.There's a reason for a dog's behaviour, it's often anxiety and stress, and using Bonus can help ease that.
"Licking for a dog is a self-soothing mechanism, and they're coming close to their owner for the treat as well. Mave recently had to go for her first haircut and Bonus helped ease the anxiety for her."