Dog Toys & Games
Dogs are like kids--they need to play, and dog toys are a great way to keep them entertained and happy. Playtime with your dog is a terrific bonding opportunity. Another bonus--if your dog is having lots of fun, he's bound to get tired, and a tired dog is a well-behaved dog!
There are several types of toys available. Some are more appropriate for teething puppies, others are good for strong, active adult dogs...and then there are the cuddly stuffed dog toys that are appropriate for all canine kids.
If I had to recommend any toy in particular, it would be the Kong. This oddly-shaped hard rubber dog toy is enjoyed by puppies, strong 'power-chewers', and older dogs alike. Big dog, little dog, it really doesn't matter what size your dog is, he'll love this toy. Kongs come in different sizes for small to extra-large dogs, and the puncture-resistant rubber construction means your dog will enjoy his Kong for a long time. (Notice I said 'puncture-resistant'. Although the Kong is a tough toy, it is NOT indestructible!) The Kong sort of resembles 3 conjoined flattened balls in graduated sizes (kind of like a snowman), and is flat on the ends. It's hollow, with openings at both ends. It can be stuffed with bits of food or treats and 'sealed off' with peanut butter or a bit of cheese, which gives your dog the added pleasure of getting the food out! In fact, the company that makes Kong toys also sells a tasty 'paste' in a spray can (like whipped cream) that you can use to fill the Kong, or just seal the ends. The company also sells different kinds of treats for stuffing your Kongs. Our Lab/shepherd friend, Ty, gets a frozen Kong stuffed with peanut butter when he must be crated for a long period. This is a favorite treat! Yum! He also has a Kong that he carries around, hoping someone will put a biscuit or two inside. But he's lazy with this one--instead of working to get the biscuit out, he squeezes the Kong in his jaws so the biscuit breaks into bits and falls out! Click on the following link to learn more about this popular toy. Classic KONG Dog Toys for Average Chewers
Kong also makes a type that floats and has a rope attached, so it can be used for training. And now there's even a Kong 'dispenser' that's ideal for dogs that are left alone for long periods! Stuffed Kongs are loaded into the dispenser and a timer is set to release the Kongs at intervals, so when your dog is done with one Kong, he soon gets another!
The company also makes specially-designed teething toys for puppies that help with jaw development and also soothe sore gums.
Next thing, there will be a 12-step program for 'Kong-aholics'!
Another great interactive dog toy is the Buster Cube. This hard plastic toy resembles a large dice (die?) and has a hole in one end. You put bits of dry food or treats in the hole and shake the Buster Cube to 'hide' the food in inner chambers in the toy. Then your dog rolls the Cube around and the food randomly drops out. Buster got a Buster Cube for Christmas (how appropriate!) and loves it, but he's decided that it's more fun to see ME roll the cube around so he just eats the food! (Sometimes he's a bit lazy...) Ty also has a Buster Cube and it's become his favorite toy when we visit. He empties it pretty quickly, though, and promptly wants it refilled! Click on the following link to see the Buster Cube. BusterCube Treat Dispensing Dog Toy
Buster Cubes, Kongs, and other interactive dog toys are great tools to keep your dog entertained.
If your dog likes to play 'fetch' or 'tug-of-war', all sorts of dog toys are available for canine fun. Flying-disc type toys that are durable, but soft on your dog's mouth, are a great way for exercising both you and your dog. Another cute dog toy is the Dogfisher, which works like a fishing rod with an irresistible doggy lure on the end. Cast out into your yard and reel the lure in, with your dog in hot pursuit!
Your dog prefers fetching tennis balls, but you can't stand how slimy and dirty they get after just a few throws? Yuck!! Well...now there's a toy available that scoops up and throws the tennis ball for your dog's fetching fun--and you don't even have to touch it! What a great idea!!
Some dogs prefer squeaky dog toys. There are plenty of fuzzy or rubber squeaky toys on the market, but a word of caution here: It's a good idea to supervise your dog when he's playing with a squeaky toy, especially if he's a 'power chewer'. Dogs can easily rip open these toys and swallow the squeaker. Buster loves fuzzy squeaky toys, but has destroyed a number of them--and he's not a power chewer. He's always closely supervised when playing with these dog toys so we can remove the squeaker before he gets hold of it. Our Lab/Shepherd friend, Ty, can destroy a fuzzy squeaky toy in less than 5 minutes!
If your dog likes to play 'tug-of-war', rubber 'figure-8' style toys give you and your canine pal equal footing--or choose a tug toy with sturdy ropes attached. Your dog enjoys the tug while the ropes floss his teeth clean! Check out this tug toy--Buster has one of these and loves it! Fresh 'N Floss Medium Tug (15" L x 3/4" W) He can actually pull me across the floor with it--pretty funny since I'm more than double his weight.
One of Buster's favorite games is 'hide-and-seek' with his dry food. A handful of kibble is hidden, a few bits at a time, in different spots in the house, such as behind a chair or a door. (Our house isn't very big, so we're a bit limited for hiding places!) Then Buster gets to find the food. Another fun version of this is when I hide a bit of food or a treat somewhere on my person--in a pocket, inside my sleeve, etc. Buster can smell the food but he can't see it, so he pokes around me with his nose until he finds his treat. (Sometimes he would just rather sit and bark at me...) This game can also be played outdoors in nice weather. Just make sure that food isn't left too close to your house, or you may have some unwelcome ants! The other thing is that you must figure this 'hidden' food in your dog's daily allotment so he's not overfed.
Playing games with your dog is a wonderful way to bond with your CBF (canine best friend) and also a great way for both of you to enjoy some exercise! And remember-- a tired dog is usually a well-behaved dog!
You and your buddy have played with some great dog toys and enjoyed some fun games! Check out our other pages for more cool dog stuff!
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