|Making The Most of your Dogs Toys|
Most dogs love to play with toys - they can be entertaining, mentally stimulating and help to curb boredom and destructiveness. Make sure you and your dog get the most out of the toys you are providing for him.
Toys for a new puppy
Buying toys for a new puppy can be fun - but before you go mad in the pet shop take a moment to think about the toys you will be buying.
Rotate your dogs toys
Split your dog's toy box into two or three piles, and put only one pile out for her to play with at a time. Stow the rest of the toys away for now, and in two or three weeks time change them all out. Rotating your dogs toys will help to keep them fresh and interesting. Many dogs have piles of toys lying around, most of which are ignored. Taking them away and giving them back three weeks, or even a few months later is like giving them a new toy (or a very happy re-acquaintance with an old favourite!) If your dog has a particular favourite that is played with every day there is no harm in leaving that toy around all the time. If it becomes ignored then pick it up and put it away for a while.
Toys for the heavy chewer
Some dogs destroy toys at an amazing rate. If your dog is a heavy chewer you will be restricted in the toys that you can provide, and you should leave less toys lying around than you would otherwise. Select two or three heavy duty toys that can be around at any time, and change them out as soon as they start to come apart. Kong make an excellent range of tough toys for heavy chewers, and the Busta Cube is also pretty heavy duty - if you get the larger size it will be harder to chew, and pick it up once the treats inside have run out.
Dog toys on a budget
Car boot sales are an excellent place to go looking for cheap toys for your dog. Nearly every boot or rummage sale has a wide variety of children's toys for sale - toys that have been made for children have to pass rigorous safety checks and are often very well made, the soft toys in particular are often much sturdier than if you were to buy a soft toy from a pet store. Avoid any toys that will come apart when chewed, have small parts or may splinter or crack, and keep in mind the kind of dog you are buying for. That said there is usually a wide variety of suitable toys that can be picked up for next to nothing, and are all the more interesting to your dog as they come complete with interesting smells from other people's houses.
Possessiveness over toys
Sometimes dogs can become possessive or fixated on their toys. If your dog is guarding, growling or acting aggressively over a toy - take it away immediately, and keep it away for a good four weeks or so. This kind of behaviour is not acceptable, your dog needs to learn that toys are a privilege that you provide and you can take away. Provide a few toys as a privilege for good behaviour and remove them when your dog is no longer playing with them.
A final word
Dogs love toys - but what they love most of all is spending time interacting positively with you, the best gift you could ever give your dog is your time and attention. Take the time to play with your dog every day, even if it is only for five minutes, and they will love you for it.