So you have a new puppy or maybe even an older rescue dog…congrats to you, my friend! Now, if you’re like me, the first thing you wanna buy, after the essential supplies, of course, is toys! I mean, after all, our dogs are like children to most of us and we love showering them with toys and other cute stuff they may, or may not, give a second glance. It can be a real bubble buster when you walk in with that cute squeaky ball or stuffed animal you just spent hard earned $’s on, only to have your dog look at it and walk away like a spoiled child who got last years version of a popular video game…grrr! So what’s a person to do? How do we figure out how to keep our dog entertained with something other than our nice throw pillows, wooden chair legs or our favorite pair of sneakers.
Believe me, I know it can be quite overwhelming when you walk into a pet store and have a plethora of items that catch your eye and promise unlimited hours of joy and entertainment for your furry family members. We quickly learn that the personality and interests of our dogs is as varied as those of children, so what keeps one entertained won’t necessarily work for the next one. While I certainly can’t guarantee that you will always pick the right item for your dog, I would like to share a few tips I’ve learned over many years of owning several different dogs and spending way too much money on pet toys.
Test your dogs interest with a variety of things around the house:
- An empty plastic bottle that fits the size of your dog (maybe even put a couple of coins inside if the lid fits tightly)
- An old ‘knee-high’ sock with a couple of treats rolled up in it
- An old toothbrush
- A strip of leather from an old belt
- No longer used baby items such as teething rings or those crunchy fabric-covered toys
- An old house slipper (be careful with this one…some dogs perceive this as an invitation to have all your shoes)
- An old tennis ball, wiffle ball or soft ball (just make sure the size is right for your dog)
- Any other type of hard plastic or hard rubber item that your dog can chew on without easily chipping off pieces that could be swallowed
The goal here is to test items of different shape, size and texture. This should help you figure out what your dog prefers and what entertains them the most and for the longest period of time. With some dogs, you may find that your discarded household items are all you need to keep them entertained. But, if you’re like me, you really want them to like the cute pet toys and chews, at least a few of them.
In testing some of the items listed above, I’ve quickly learned that some of my dogs are light chewers and they simply want a stuffed toy with a squeaker that they can wag around and sleep with or maybe a rope toy of some sort; some like the leather smell and texture which means they usually like bully sticks or rubber type toys and balls and some like the hard texture of a toothbrush or hard plastic bottle, which usually means they will enjoy some of the more durable hard toys or bones. Whatever your dog prefers, you’ll be glad you ran this little experiment before wasting your money on so many things that your dog has no interest in.
Remember….SAFETY is of utmost importance when giving your dog these, or any items to play with or chew on, so be careful in what you select and always supervise their playtime.
Here’s to hoping you find the perfect toys for your canine companion! Woof! Woof!