Here at Ruffwear, we believe the most innovative product is the result of embracing the everyday experiences with our dogs to inspire solutions. When we experience a need, whether on the trail or in our backyard, we see this as an opportunity to explore ideas, consider options and work toward solving the challenge with an elegant solution. Sometimes, we discard a concept and start again. We spend months and sometimes years working to ensure that our gear stands up to the rigors of our enthusiastic dogs, offers a solution with grace and ease, and aligns with our values.

To us, it’s time well spent. We believe in the learning that comes from doing. It’s all part of the continuous journey that is the pursuit of performance.


At times, these journeys take interesting turns. It happened this season to one of our pack members, Liz. A product designer with a keen eye and can-do energy, Liz adopted her canine companion, Bernie, just over a year ago. The eight-week-old caramel-colored pup, with his docile eyes and sweet demeanor, caught her eye while he was in foster care on an Oregon farm. She committed to taking him home at first sight.

In addition to his many charms, Bernie also came with challenging behaviors. He nipped at heels. He chewed through three crates. He let out sorrowful, bird-like cries whenever Liz left his side.


Determined to teach her pup, Liz began living and breathing the development of our new Treat Trader™. With form and function inspired by climbing chalk bags, the Treat Trader clips onto a belt or waist-worn leash, providing easy access to treats to reward good behavior.


Liz wore her many Treat Trader iterations almost constantly, and her insights into teaching Bernie became essential to the function and design of the final product. The ergonomic fit — just bend the back — makes it comfortable to wear. The oily treats that Bernie responds to best helped inspire the use of waterproof fabric on the Treat Trader’s interior to mitigate mess. The magnetic snap closure at the top of the bag prevents curious noses from sneaking inside. The result, Liz says, is her go-to training tool whether at her desk or on the trail.

Today, Bernie regularly comes to work with Liz, curled serenely at her feet. He no longer nips, and he rarely whines. She still wears the Treat Trader nearly every day. She says it encourages good behavior – with the audible “click” of the Treat Trader’s closure, he knows he’s about to be rewarded.


Looking for more? Shop for the Treat Trader and other gear at, and share your stories with us on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter. If you have any questions, feedback or ideas, please don’t hesitate to bark.




2 thoughts

  1. Excellent post. Thanks to Liz (and Bernie) for smart, sensitive product development. This is an example of why we rave about Ruffwear to anybody who’ll listen. Gonna check out the Treat Trader!

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