They may seem very simple, but dog toys are an important aspect of any dog’s wellbeing, exercise regimen and life. We’re here to tell you more…
Why Dog Toys Are So Important
If your pup’s anything like our dogs, they probably go into a frenzy of excitement at the mere mention of dog toys. Wagging tails, wide eyes and just going a little bit bonkers – it’s great to see our pets so overpowered with joy (sometimes). There are a myriad of dog toys out there on the market, and no doubt your four-legged friends have their own personal favourites. But for every dog toy in existence, there’s a specific purpose behind it when it comes to canine enrichment. If you already know the kind of dog toy your pup loves, you can visit our full shop here. If not, read on.
Why Dogs Need Toys
First things first, what’s the point to dog toys? Does your pet need them? Yes! Absolutely. All dogs can benefit from the right kind of toys. Dog toys provide both mental and physical stimulation for your pets. In the absence of the kind of experiences they’d gain in the wild, dogs can become a little bored if they don’t have something to do.
On top of this, dog toys can help prevent dogs from inappropriate chewing. If you’re dogs are consistently chewing cushions, furniture or anything else you don’t want them to, toys can distract them from damaging property while still encouraging them to fulfil their chewing needs.
Not only that, toys can help your pupper relax. If they’re stressed by new experiences then long-duration chews like kongs can keep them quiet, distracted and calm. Kongs are one of the most important toys in a dog owner’s arsenal – just fill it with a healthy food and watch your dog obsess over it for hours. Dinner party? It’s a great distraction. Have to leave your dog for a few hours? Problem solved. Being a nuisance while you’re trying to clean? As simple as giving them a kong. They love it, and so will you!
The Types of Dog Toy
Really, the right toy depends on your dog. Their temperament is a big signal to the type they’re going to like. Let’s run through a few.
Do you struggle to keep up with your pup as they dash madly around the park? Then you need a way to burn off a little of their energy so you can go home and watch Netflix in peace! Throwing toys are great for dogs who love to play fetch. The Orbee Tuff Whistle Ball makes a fun noise when it’s thrown. The West Paw Tux Treat Toy has a cavity for your dog’s favourite snack, and it’s unpredictable bounce will keep them guessing. If you really want to get some distance, a frisbee toy like the Hevea Galaxy Frisbee is the toy for you.
These are the type where it takes a little extra encouragement to get them up and at it. As much as it can sometimes drive us to distraction, dogs love a squeaky toy – it’s more like the prey they might have caught in the wild. We love the stylish, high-quality Tweed Bones from Mutts & Hounds. Let’s be honest though, there’s no better motivator for fido than food, so this Star Activity Toy that you can stuff with treats will definitely get your soporific pooch excited.
So, you think your dog’s a pretty smart pooch, huh? Well why not test them a little with an interactive toy that’ll test their mettle properly. The Wobble Ball from P.L.A.Y or the IQuties Slot ‘n’ Lever will give them a seriously fun mental workout.
If there’s one thing we love about toys, it’s that it brings us and our dogs closer together. Sometimes we want to play too! Rope toys like the Extreme 2 Knot Rope Tugger are perfect for a game of tug o’ war, which can help build trust between you and your pet.
Special Acknowledgement: Cats!
Cats are no strangers to a bit of playtime too – they love engaging their hunter instincts. You can keep them entertained for hours with the Petsafe Automatic Laser toy or the Chatter Automatic Teaser.
Take The Toys Away
Taking your dog’s toys away might sound odd, but the folks over at Community Canine say it can do wonders. Sometimes it seems like our pets can be getting a little bored of their toys. Well they probably are: there’s such a thing as over-stimulation. So if your dog isn’t as excited to play anymore, you can solve the issue by taking the toys away. Bring out one toy at a time and your pup is bound to be far more interested.
Not only will it re-engage their lust for play, this tactic can develop your bond with your pet. You won’t be seen as the face of the person who took their beloved toys away, you’ll be the bringer of fun and excitement. Maintain the value of toys by limiting them and your dog will have a new-found passion for play!
What To Do If Your Dog Won’t Share
It’s great when your dog loves their new toys, but what about when they love them a little too much? Hiding and hoarding toys is perfectly normal behaviour, but if they’re growling, snapping or biting, then this behaviour may be over the line.
It would be normal for dogs to guard their resources in the wild, but it can be a little tricky when this sort of behaviour manifests itself in the home. It’s perfectly understandable – imagine if some came and tried to pry your prized possessions from you – but it’s not a particularly healthy habit. In fact it shows that your pup might feel a little insecure in your relationship, rather than it being an attempt to display dominance as many might assume.
Fixing the problem is easy; 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 rewards your dog for engaging with the new toy, and helps them associate the phrase “drop it” with a reward, and they’ll begin to see you as the treat-giver and the bringer of exciting new toys!
We hope we’ve given you plenty to mull over when it comes to dog toys! Remember, if you’re looking for a brand new gift for your beloved pet, you can browse our full collection here.