Humane societies and breeders often warn against giving puppies as Christmas presents—they’re worried the pets might be abandoned after the holiday charm wears off. Nevertheless, we’re certain there were at least a few new floppy-eared family members under trees this season. Ensure your pup grows up right (after all, January is National Train Your Dog Month) with help from Centennial-based Kyjen, which offers a line of accessories and offbeat toys that help sharpen canine minds. Think board games for your dog.
Kyjen grew out of husband and wife Kyle and Jennifer Hansen’s frustration with stuffing all of their yellow lab McMoose’s toys, leashes, and accessories into plastic bags. The couple developed their Outward Hound bags in the late ’90s—essentially diaper bags for dogs—then moved on to portable food and water containers and haven’t looked back. Kyjen has grown by 20 percent annually for the last three years and is now in more than 1,000 retail stores nationwide.
In 2010, Kyjen launched what would become the company’s signature line of puzzle toys for dogs—brain games that engage the mind while also gently ushering pups toward better behavior. “I knew that we could make dog toys better and more engaging while also stimulating and challenging dogs’ mental capabilities,” Kyle says, “like Baby Einstein for dogs.” Here are a few of our favorites. kyjen.com