There is nothing quite like watching a puppy play with a toy. Yes, cats are cute, too but there something about a puppy chewing on a rope toy or playing with a Kong that’s heartwarming. As the holiday season is approaching, we have some ideas for you for great dog toys.
How Do You Choose?
This seems to be the issue that nearly every dog owner has. What toy will be enticing and entertaining for your dog?
Here is some information we ran across recently that helped us understand why our dog chooses one toy over the other. This comes from a study published in a journal called Animal Cognition and it involved Labrador retrievers and toys.
The researchers concluded that dogs look at toys just like wolves look at prey. After all, dogs are juvenile wolves and it makes sense that they would want to have a toy that tastes like food, can be torn apart or even makes a noise.
Hard toys and those that don’t have any noise aren’t as appealing for them. Also, dogs find new things more interesting than ones they’re familiar with. And, finally, the study researchers found that the more humans interact with their dogs the more fun the dogs had.
There are some animal behaviorists and veterinarians who don’t like the concept of a tug toy for a dog. This is because they feel that playing tug of war will encourage her to be more aggressive.
In our experience, we have not found this to be an issue. Most dogs love to gnaw on rope toys and giving them a tug every once in a while as a game certainly won’t create an aggressive dog.
We adore these toys for dogs because they come in all different sizes but the same basic shape. You can find them in any pet store and they’re virtually indestructible. There’s a hole in the bottom of the toy where you can stuff treats and this keeps your puppy or dog busy for hours. Also, the rubber is really hard and they can chew on it without breaking it apart.
This is the number one favorite of our Golden retriever, bar none. When we take a walk, she has to have at least two tennis balls in her mouth. Keep a can or bag of tennis balls handy for playing fetch and, because they float, you can throw them into water and your dog can go retrieve them.
One of the most important issues with dog toys is safety. If you’re looking at a soft toy that has plastic eyes sewn on, find another that either has no eyes at all or nothing that can be ripped off and swallowed as a choking hazard. Look at the labels. Make sure that the stuffing is safe in case your dog is one of the ones who decides to kill his “victims” by shredding it. Most stuffing is not digestable so make sure to keep your dog’s tummy safe.
Don’t forget your dog this holiday season and get her something that she will enjoy for a long time.
Photo Credit: istockphoto.com