Well we all know that dogs love toys, but what toys are we supposed to provide them?
Well, I'd say that this would depend on the age, breed and previous learning of your dog. So, let's begin with our very cute new comer, the puppy.
Puppies should have a variety of toys for reasons such as, learning to chew the correct items as opposed to your furniture, to teach them industriousness, perseverance, how to entertain themselves, how to problem solve as well as providing them with an outlet for all that energy.
Whilst they are in this early learning stage, we can maximise their development by providing them with a wide range of toys to not only develop an array of skills but to provide them with familiarisation to various textures, tastes, sounds, shapes sizes etc.
I like puppies to have soft toys as they are multipurpose, they can provide your puppy with comfort when they want to curl up and sleep but they also provide them with outlets to some of their basic needs, such as to chase, carry, dissect, poke and prod. You can also engage in games with them such as hide and seek games, tug and release, excite and calm, where you have the opportunity to implement rules attached to these games helping them develop self awareness and impulse control.
These types of toys should really be well made and no have any components that may become detached and swallowed. If they do have danger elements, then ensure you don't leave them unsupervised.
I love this brand as they are filled with crinkled paper, so if your puppy does happen to dissect them, there is no stuffing to make a mess or swallow. They are small and lightweight, making them easy to carry.
You can purchase these from Amazon
Your puppy will also require something more substantial to chew on providing an outlet for the need to continuously chew but also to assist with pain as your puppy begins to lose his deciduous teeth. I like to introduce them to KONGs really early on, as these can be part of every dog's enrichment program throughout all their life stages.
Kongs come in all shapes and sizes so again, ensure that what you choose is a suitable fit your breed, age and size of puppy. When you first introduce the Kong, make sure the food will fall out quite easily as if your puppy finds it too difficult to obtain the food, he will give up trying. Then you would gradually increase the level of difficulty as he becomes accustomed to using it.
The Kong Goodie Bone can be purchased HERE
The Kong classic can be purchased HERE
Firmer Items to Gnaw On
There are many items on the market that might fit this category, but the ones I prefer are Nylabones. There are many a shape and size of these too, but they also come in a variety of textures and flavours. Make sure you start with a small one preferably designed for puppies so it isn't too much too soon. If you are looking at treating your puppy to a Nylabone, consider this puppy pack at Amazon, the triple pack. It actually provides you with one of each kind so your puppy can choose his preference and it's not expensive!!
Check in next week for Part 2 where we'll discuss what toys we should be providing older dogs.