By CC Correspondent

Who doesn’t want to see their dog’s excitement… happiness… delightful mood?

Everybody does… Right!

So, when do the dogs feel joyful? One of such moments is when they have their favourite toy to play with. Have you ever thought what value do toys add to the lives of your dogs? They are not merely a playing substance for your pooches, but serve many greater purposes. They are not a luxury, but a necessity! Dog Toys add a new dimension to the lives of your furry ones. They create a room for personality development and well-being of your dogs. They are the objects that inspire play, enrich training, ease boredom, and curb problematic behaviours in dogs. Dog Toys have a great impact on your pooches’ lives.

Mental and Physical Stimulation

Dog Toys are excellent mental stimulators that encourage active play. Enrichment toys enhance your pup’s ability to learn, helping them develop new skills. They also promote their natural behaviour such as foraging and exploring. They assist in fulfilling a dog’s emotional and physical needs. Dogs look for things to do to occupy their time and fulfil their chewing needs, and in a bid to do that they choose their own chew toys, which may include your sofa, cushions, footwear etc. To avoid such situations, it is important to provide them with the dog toys that would satisfy their urge to chew. Dog Toys are fantastic at preventing problematic behaviours such as excessive barking and inappropriate chewing.

Encourage Independence in Dogs

A dog’s boundless devotion is one of the best traits of their species. Being pack animals they are not used to spending extended periods of time alone. But with work and other life commitments, it’s not always possible to attend to them all the time. Dog Toys help your pooches learn to have fun while you are away. They make them learn to give you your space when you are trying to finish your household work. Dog Toys help ensuring your pooches’ calmness and confidence whenever they are by themselves, making them more independent.

Dog Teething Toys

Anyone who has raised a puppy knows that the teething period is intense. Teething in puppies make them want to chew on everything. So, the best thing is to have lots of things that are appropriate for them to chew on; dog teething toys play a vital role during this period. Chewing dog teething toys can help ease the pain that puppies experience while teething. If your puppy’s gums seem extra tender, you can try putting a chew toy in freezer before giving it your pup for an added soothing effect. Chewing such puppy toys also promotes teeth growth, so that your puppy can develop healthy and strong adult dog teeth.

Choosing Dog Toys

When you have something to do, give your dog something to do! But wait… should that something be anything? Absolutely not! Be mindful, of what you give your dog as a toy. If you give them your old articles such as clothes, socks, slippers etc. to play with, chances are that they would identify all the clothings, socks, and slippers as their toys. So, you need to be careful of what you are giving them as toys.

Many factors are to be considered while selecting the right toys for your dog; your dog’s size, activity level, and preferences matter.

Another thing to consider is the environment where your dog spends its time.

Dog Toys should be safe, durable, and most of all fun.  Sharp, pointy objects are always a bad idea when it comes to dog toys. 

You need to dog-proof your house by removing strings, ribbons, rubber bands, or other casual items that can be swallowed. Also, avoid or alter any toys that are not dog-proof.

Also, size of the toys needs to be appropriate as too small dog toys could land up in your dog’s throat.

You should not choose toys that are easily breakable or torn into pieces.

You also need to take note of any toy that contains squeaker buried in its center; your dog may feel that they must find and destroy the source of squeaking, which means they could ingest it if left unwatched, so with such dog toys, constant supervision is must.

Labels on dog toys need to be checked thoroughly. Stuffed toys that are safe for children under three years of age and that don’t contain any dangerous fillings are apt for your pooches’ playtime. Dog toys with harmful fillings such as nutshells, polystyrene beads etc. should be avoided.

Recommended Dog Toys

Dog Toys can be categorized under three different heads according to the purpose they solve – Active Toys, Distraction Toys, and Comfort Toys.

Active dog toys include hard rubber toys such as Nylabone® and Kong®-type products that are available in various shapes and sizes and are fun for chewing and for carrying around. Rope toys that are usually available in a bone shape with knotted ends also make a good option. Apart from these, tennis balls make great dog toys. But you need to keep an eye out for any of them, which could be chewed through, and so discard them accordingly.

Dog Toys filled with broken-up treats act as great distraction toys for your dogs. Such toys divert their mind, at the same time making your dogs fond of their toys and playtime. Kong®-type toys filled with your dog’s favourite treats, busy-box or feeder toys in large rubber shapes can be filled with treats. Many dogs that tend to eat their food too quickly benefit from being fed through a feeder-style toy.

Stuffed toys make good comfort dog toys; some would want to carry them around and some would want to shake them or kill them considering them as their prey. So choose the toy from your dog’s perspective – if your dog sees their toy as a companion, pick one that’s small enough to carry and if they consider them as their prey or enemy, choose one that’s large enough to prevent accidental swallowing and sturdy enough to withstand the dog’s attacks.

How to Make Dog Toys at Home

If you need budget friendly dog toys and have tried everything available in the market then, making one at home would be great idea. Here are a few dog toys that you can make at home easily with minimal materials.

You can make amazing interactive treat toys at home for you dogs. When you are finished reading your newspaper, tear some pages out and scrunch them up with a treat inside; dog’s love sniffing out the treat and ripping the paper up. Brown packing paper is especially good for this game. Toilet roll cardboard tubes are also great for hiding treats in. You can make it easy for your dog to begin with by only folding one end closed and make it harder by folding both ends closed. Empty boxes are also great fun; fill them partly with used paper, chuck your pooch’s favourite toy in or throw in some treats, close the lid, depending on how difficult you want to make it, and watch your dog solve the puzzle. This could be great mental stimulation activity for your dogs. Socks are equally good at hiding things in. If your dog has an old soft toy that got de-stuffed, don’t throw it away; scoop any remaining stuffing out, re-stitch any loose ends so it is secure, leaving a hole or two. Pop some treats in and let your dog go to town on it. Even something as simple as a treat under an old tea towel can be quite a challenge for your dog!

Dogs playing bungee is another great idea. You need to get a piece of rope with a bit of twang, secure a toy to one end and fix the other end to something sturdy like a tree. Then sit back and watch your dog go bonkers. Here you need to make sure your knots are good to avoid room for any injuries.

Crackling sock is yet another idea to keep your engaged. You would need an empty plastic bottle and a sock. Take the cap off your old bottle and throw it away to ensure safety of your dog; it’s a choking hazard. Squeeze all of the air out and pop it inside an old sock, tie a knot at the end to keep it in place. The sound of the crackling plastic will be something your canine will go nuts for if they like noisy toys!

What to Do If Your Dog Doesn’t Like to Share Toys

It’s good that your dogs are fond of their toys, but growling, snapping or biting for them would show that their love has gone a little overboard. Hiding and hoarding toys is perfectly normal behaviour but going aggressive for their toys is something you need to worry about. However, having said that, fixing this problem is not that difficult; it’s all about making dropping toys a stress-free interaction. Give your dog a toy, and then offer them another toy from behind your back and teach them to ‘take it’. When they engage with the new toy, say ‘drop it’ and give them a treat; this treat would be a reward for them to follow your command. This helps your dog to associate the phrase ‘drop it’ with a reward, and they’ll begin to see you as a treat-giver and bringer of exciting new toys!

There are a myriad of dog toys online and out there in the market, and no doubt your furry friends have their personal favourites too, but every dog toy has a specific purpose behind it. Different dog toys impact canine enrichment differently. We hope this article helps you find the right kind of toy for your pups overall development and well-being!

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