Inventing the Perfect Pup Product

Leash inventor featured on Quirky reality show
By Lisa Wogan, September 2011, Updated February 2015

Have you ever felt like you had a great idea for a million-dollar dog product and all you needed was a little technical—and maybe emotional—support?

Tonight, Sara Carpenter of Richmond Hill, N.Y., finds out if her idea for a soft retractable-leash with a pocket for waste bags is going to have its chance at the big time. She’s one of two inventors featured on the Sept. 6 episode of Quirky (10 pm ET), a Sundance Channel reality series built around a product-development company that brings the inventions of everyday folks to market—with a big dose of public input via social media.

Carpenter is an unemployed single mom, an ex-New York police officer (with the accent to match), who pulled together her idea for the Kosuko leash trying to find something that worked for her and her dog, Pom. I have serious reservations about retractable leashes. At the very least, they encourage bad leash-walking behavior, and at the worst, the extended leads create tangling and strangling risks. Plus, a dog running out the full length of the leash can build momentum that is dangerous for the dog and the walker.

That said, I am impressed with people who take an idea and run with it, especially if the motivation is, at least in part, to make our lives with our dogs better.

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It has me thinking though: With so many dog products out there, what still really needs to be improved on? What canine accessory would you like to see the team at Quirky tackle next? An edible Frisbee? A calorie-calculating food dish? A nail clipper that your dog LOVES?

Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom.

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