Dog toys aren’t just a way for your dog to beat boredom. They help you bond with your dog, as well as allowing them to channel instinctual behaviours that could be damaging, such as chasing, chewing and tugging. The toys your dog prefers will depend on their breed and personality. Some dogs love nothing more than chewing a bone for hours, while others will be happier playing tug of war with you.
Bone, pigs ear and animal skin chews are a tasty way to keep your dog busy. These are ideal for dogs who are happy to sit down and chew, and are good for for their dental hygiene. Rubber chew toys are good for puppies as they are softer on the mouth, not to mention they last longer too! The tastier the dog chew, the longer your pooch will be occupied. Some dog breeds with heavy chewing tendencies include jack russells, labradors, golden retrievers and german shepherds.
Some dogs will destroy soft toys within hours of playing with one, whereas others will be more gentle. Usually with a fleecy fabric, plush toys are great for dogs who like to carry things around and cuddle with them in their bed. Having something to hold should (we can’t make any promises!) save your socks from trips around the house. Lots of toys have a squeaker inside that your dog can have fun making noises with. This behaviour is particularly strong in gun dogs and retrieving dogs, who have been bred to carry soft game in their mouths.
Chasing a ball is something almost all dog breeds love. The instinct to chase is strong in most canines, and many households with dogs will have at least a few tattered tennis balls lying around. Choose balls that are made from soft fabric so they are more gentle on the mouth. You’ll also want to buy a plastic ball thrower/launcher. Not only do these stop you from getting hands covered in dog drool, they let you launch the ball much further, giving your dog that little bit more exercise.
Made from fabric ropes or rubber rings, these toys help channel the instinct that many dogs have to hang onto prey. It’s a great way to bond with your dog, and makes playtime fun for both of you. Fabric ropes are softer and gentler, with different lengths available to suit the size and strength of your dog.