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Toys are mentally and physically stimulating and assist in fulfilling a dog’s emotional and physical needs. Even though dogs today are primarily bred as companion pets, they still need something to do. In the absence of a “job”, they will look for things to do to occupy their time and fulfill their chewing needs. If you don’t want them to choose their own chew toys, such as your sofa, pillows, or toilet paper rolls, provide them with appropriate outlets.
Toys are excellent mental stimulators that encourage active play and minimize periods of boredom. This reduces the risk of destructive or attention-seeking behaviors manifesting in your pet. However, dogs are a lot like children, and they get bored with their toys quickly. When this happens, the value of the toy as a mental and physical outlet is lost. Our dog trainers recommend that customers select six to eight toys for each pet ensuring that each is different in texture, size, and shape. The toys should be given out a few at a time, then rotated every few days so that the pet always has something different with which to play. Rotating toys is the best way to keep them effective.
Most people greatly underestimate the intelligence of dogs and are surprised to see how much their pets enjoy a challenge
Chew bones, elk or deer antlers, hooves and other long-duration chew products promote relaxation and focused chewing. Dogs will lie down with these products (behavior we like) and contently chew.
When you have something to do, give your dog something to do!
Don’t want to be pestered by your dog while your mother-in-law visits? Send your dog to his bed or other quiet place and give him the toy. This is so effective that hundreds of clients have told us it’s the best advice they’ve ever received. Toys are a dog’s best friend making them a very good friend to humans too.
A toy’s safety is contingent on how your dog interacts with the toy and this interaction can change with time. A plush toy that was safe from your 10-week old puppy might not be a good choice when the dog is 5 months old and stuffing the toys and swallowing the squeakers! Supervise your dog when he is playing with a new toy and monitor the dog’s interaction with the toy regularly to ensure that the toy continues to be a safe choice.
Interactive toys are meant to be used as a team…dog and owner, which provides built-in supervision. These toys include fetching balls and tug-o-war ropes. Interactive toys should only be available to the dog when you and he are playing together. After the play session, put those toys away so the dog always looks forward to playing with them…and you.
Be mindful of what you give your dog as a toy. If you give your pet socks, old slippers or articles of clothing to play with, they will see all socks, shoes, and clothing as their playthings. Dogs cannot distinguish which of your socks and shoes are okay to play with and which are not. It’s best to keep your things separate from their toys to eliminate any possible confusion.
If this proves ineffective, drop the toy in your bed or laundry basket for a day and try to engage him again. Often, items that smell like the owner are more attractive to the pet. If the dog still shows no interest in the toy, consider the material, shape, and size of the toy and don’t buy similar toys again.
The goal of all dog training is to provide peaceable solutions to everyday problems so that pets and their owners live harmoniously.