Why Games and Dog Toys Are Important
Playing games with your dog or puppy allows both dog and owner to get to know each other. Not only does this ensure your dog grows up to see humans as a source of pleasure and enjoyment, it also helps build a bond of trust between you that will become important for effective training in the future.
Fortunately there are a great range of dog toys available, such as:
- Activity Dog Toys
These toys are intended to encourage your dog to play on their own. Many of these toys hold food or treats and some require your dog to experiment to understand how the treats are released. ‘Kongs’ are a good example- they are flexible rubber products that have a small hole through which they can be filled with food or treats. These are particularly well suited for dogs when they are left alone by helping to build a positive association with being left alone.
- Dog Chew Toys
Chewing is essential for your dog to maintain healthy teeth and jaws. It is also a very useful distraction from boredom. Dog chew toys focus your dog’s natural chewing instinct on the toy, rather than on being destructive with other items.
- Play Toys
These are generally toys that you use to play with your dog or for dogs to play with each other. Most dog breeds have been bred for specific working purpose, such as hunting, retrieving, guarding etc. As they grow into adolescence, dogs tend to show a preference to games which accommodate the instinct for which they were bred. When buying dog toys, it is worth bearing in mind the games your dog is most likely to want to play:
- Herding dogs, gun dogs and hounds:
Have a preference for hunt, chase and retrieving games. Toys that can be easily thrown or rolled work best for these games such as balls and frisbees.
- Guarding and hunting dogs:
These dogs like possession games such as tug-o-war. Toys which can be held by two or more players such as rope knots and pull toys.
Terriers like kill games which are best simulated with soft toys that can be grabbed, shaken and thrown around.
Puppy teething occurs between the ages of 3-7 months. Generally the younger the puppy, the more pliable the chew toy needs to be.