Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Choosing Appropriate Play Toys and Chew Toys

Choosing the appropriate toy for your pet can be important for safety and behavior. It is essential for you as the leader of the pack to know which toys are right for certain activities, and which items you should not allow to be used as toys at all.

Chew Toys: Something your dog can chew on UNATTENDED. This means that your dog should be able to chew on the toy without you around, without fear that your dog will suffer injury or choke on the toy, and that you can be sure the dog cannot chew parts off of the toy.

Play Toys: Something that you will be playing with or using WITH your dog. This means that you can play with toys you would not otherwise allow your dog to play with unattended. For example, squeeky toys are not toys that you should allow your dog to play with alone, however they make wonderful fetch toys or training tools.

Toys that cause Confusion: Stuffed animals, old shoes and socks are often used as toys, but this can lead to confusion, and could get your pup into trouble! Your dog can't tell the difference between your brand new shoes, socks, and a child's favorite stuffed animal - and that old knotted sock give your pup - and what you are saying is that it's okay for him or her to chew on your clothes, shoes, and other random household items!


Jen / domestika said...

Your point about toys that can confuse a dog about what's permitted is a really good one, and not often made. As it happens, I have a greyhound with an extremely strong prey drive: it became clear that giving him fluffy stuffed toys to play with was not at all a good idea, as he couldn't distinguish between a teddy bear and the neighbour's cat! Fortunately, we've had no disasters... but all of his toys are now as far away from the look and feel of small animals as it's possible to get!

-- said...

You're so right, Jen. But it's hard for some people to grasp the concept that a dog thinks instinctively, not rationally like we do. (I'm glad to hear that there haven't been any disasters with the neighbor's cat, either! Whew!)

It's been a long road with our Johnson-American Bulldog. He's now two years old, and he has had hamsters and pet rats, cats, and a litter of kittens crawl all over him, and he's fine with it. But due to his protective and large-animal-tipping instinctive behavior, playtime with other large dogs (or any sized dogs) is rough. He will slide under their bodies at full speed and lift up in passing, carrying 150 lb dogs on his back while he runs.

Play toys are no different, they tap into the dog's instinctive nature, and bring out the more "natural behavior of a dog". When we as people recognize these behaviors, we truly become the leader of the pack.

Ashley said...

Thanks for the great comment on my dental health post. Also more great info here :)