Dog toys are hitting the market in droves, and it can be hard to find what is best suited for your pup. Because playtime is such an important part of your dog’s growth and mental development, buying the right toys should be intentional.
Some dogs might not enjoy toys quite as much as others, but that is not a problem. All you need to do is find the right toy that captures their attention. There are also dogs who will absolutely destroy toys in 20 seconds or less. The type of dog you have will determine the type of toys they need. This guide is here to help you to decide what the best toy for your dog will be.
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How to Make Dog Toys
If you aren’t yet convinced that your dog will be a fan of toys, you can try making your own in order to save some money. If your dog is prone to destroying their toys, DIY-ing can definitely remove that buyer’s remorse you might feel after a minute and a half of playtime.
Tug toys are a fun way for your dogs to pull and tear at an item without causing damage to more expensive items in your home. A ball tug toy can be made simply by cutting up an old T-shirt and wrapping a tennis ball within the two pieces of the shirt.
You can also create a tug toy by wrapping old fabric around a plastic water bottle. Old tattered towels are a great material for creating fun tug toys. Just cut the towel up into three different strips and braid together.
Poles and Sticks
Dogs love to play chase, which is why a “flirt pole” is a good choice to distract an energetic dog. Grab some PVC pipe or a long stick from your yard. Next, get the “prey,” which can be a ball, water ball, or extra chew toy. Take some extra string and tie it all together and you have a fun “flirt pole” to tease your pup with.
An agility jump course is also a good way to pump some energy out of your dog. By using some furniture-grade PVC pipe, you can build a fun agility jump course for a fun outdoors activity.
Tennis balls are a classic toy in the dog world. But tennis balls can provide more fun than just playing fetch. Treat your dog to a fun puzzle game by hiding rewards in a few slots of a muffin tin and covering all slots with tennis balls. If your doggie finds a reward, they are allowed to keep it.
Another fun puzzle to create with a tennis ball is a treat ball puzzle. Cut along the seams of the tennis ball in different patterns (depending on how many tennis balls you have) and load up the ball with a couple of treats. The scent of the treats will motivate and spark your dog’s determination to find the surprise inside.
How to Clean Dog Toys
Dogs love to play with their toys, and we love to see them at their happiest. After some time, though, dog toys can get a bit dirty. They will require a good clean to ensure that any bacteria build-up is washed away.
Cloth or stuffed toys (even tennis balls) can be thrown into the washing machine on a delicate cycle and then popped over into the dryer for a nice clean. Using a sensitive detergent will guarantee that your dog won’t have an allergic reaction to the soap once the toys are back in their mouths. Baking soda and vinegar are also a good alternative if you don’t have any sensitive detergent on hand.
Hard toys, like plastic, rubber, and nylon can be cleaned by sticking them in the dishwasher (be sure the manufacturer states “dishwasher safe” for plastic toys). Place the toys on the top rack of the dishwasher, use vinegar instead of soap, and press start. The heat of the water and the vinegar is a perfect disinfectant for these types of toys.
If you are unsure about washing these types of toys in the dishwasher, hand wash them with hot water and antibacterial soap. You could even them soak them for a period of time then wash and rinse them.
Rope toys are more absorbent toys, making room for more bacteria to grow. To disinfect and clean these toys, wet them with warm water and then place them in the microwave for a couple of minutes. Allow them to dry and they will be as good as new.
Taking time to deep clean your dog’s toys isn’t something you will want to do every week. That is why it is a good idea to keep up in-between care and maintenance. Inspect your pup’s toys every couple of weeks for any signs of wear and tear and decide if the toys need to be washed or just thrown away completely. Also, be sure that the toys stay inside and away from the elements. Rain and wind can break down the toys and cause them to degrade quicker.
Why Does My Dog Bring Me Toys
They are happy
As much as we wish it was true, dogs cannot talk to us. They can’t tell you how much you were missed while you ran to the grocery store (even if you were only gone for 30 minutes). So instead of telling you, they want to show you.
A dog bringing you his toy could simply be a display of happiness. They are excited to see you and ready to hang out with you all night. Whether that’s playing fetch, cuddling, or getting treats, they know they are going to have a good time when you are around, and that is why they are so happy to see you.
They want to play
We need to remember that as humans our lives are filled with errands and jobs and events that keep us busy. Sometimes we don’t have time to play. But a dog spends most of his time waiting for you to get home. He’s been bored all day, and now that you’re here he’s ready to play.
Dogs love playing fetch, tug-of-war, and running around the backyard just as much as kids love a playground. Sitting around by themselves all day is the exact opposite of that. When you get home, it’s the signal for playtime.
They want attention
Much like wanting to play, sometimes your dog just wants attention. Maybe you have been running errands all day and haven’t been home. Maybe you spent the day watching TV and never gave your furry friend any good pets. Either way, when they present their favorite toy to you, it is their way of saying “notice me”.
When you notice your dog, he gets his fill of pets, scratches, and rubs. So next time your dog gives you his most beloved toy, remember to give him some love in return.
They need to release energy
Whether you’ve been on vacation for a week or ran to the bank for ten minutes, your dog is going to greet you as if they thought you were gone forever. They may jump or scratch or bark, which is cute at first, but may ultimately result in you having to tell them to calm down. If your dog is constantly reminded that jumping is bad, they will need some other way to release energy.
When you’re gone all day at work your dog has the free time to nap and lay around. This means that all that energy is saved up for that moment you walk through the door. Dogs were meant to run and exercise, so that toy they bring you is their way of having fun and letting out all that pent up energy.
They want to give you a gift
Another interesting theory is that your dog wants to present to you a gift to show how much they respect you. When you look back to dogs’ ancestors, wolves, you see a type of hierarchy in their packs. It is normal for a wolf pup to enjoy pleasing the older wolves that are above them. Your dog may view you as a leader, and wants to please you with one of his favorite objects.
It is also common among wolves for those who are lower in the pack to give up their most valuable objects to the alpha dog. They do this to show respect and submissiveness. A wolf wants to be a part of a pack, and pleasing the alpha dog is a good way to ensure his place in the pack. Appeasement is a common method that dogs use for communicating.
They want to show trust
When a dog is gnawing on his favorite bone we all know to not grab it from him. When you reach your hand close he will begin to growl, and even the friendliest dog may bite if he feels you are threatening his possessions. Dogs tend to be very territorial and possessive due to their pack mentality.
This means that when your dog comes bounding towards you with his favorite toy, he may be trying to show how much he trusts you. He would probably rather be burying that bone in the backyard and ruining your lawn, but he does this to show that he trusts that you can take good care of his belongings as a part of his pack.
Between ropes, plushies, bones, and balls, there are so many options for toys to give to your dogs. Toys are sometimes the only options a dog has for fun, and are often their most prized possessions. If you reward your dogs, they may reward you by giving the toys back.
You may not actually want that slobber covered stuffed bunny that doesn’t have legs anymore and whose tail is hanging by just a thread, but you should see it as a gift all the same. Whether your dog gives you that bunny out of happiness, respect, or he just wants to play, you should see it as a chance to love your furry friend.