Bijgewerkt: nov 1
Have you ever been overwhelmed by the sheer offer of toys at a pet shop? Did you just become uncertain of what you should buy?
When talking about dog toys, I divide them in three types of dog toys: Chew toys, enrichment toys and play toys. Why do I do this and what is the difference between these three?
You can watch the YouTube video of this topic here:
Chew toys are toys that, as the name states, have the purpose of your dog chewing on them. This often gives your dog the possibility to calm down. The chewing behaviour releases endorfines and thus making it a pleasant behaviour for the dog. Also, often it cleans the teeth of the dog a bit. There are different types of chew toys and they exist in lots of different sizes.
When choosing a chew toy, you should know not every dog likes the same one. Some like bones, others might prefer kongs or chew sticks. Since they all exist in different flavors, you should be able to find one your dog likes.
The size of a chew toy also matters. If the toy would be too small, your dog might accidentally swallow it. It's better to get a toy that's too big than too small. The worst that could happen if it's too big is that your dog won't be interested.
My dogs have chew toys to their disposal 24/7. They can use these whenever they want.
These are fairly new in the dog world, but are gaining popularity really fast. You can make these enrichment toys yourself or buy them at the pet shop. Most of them are puzzles that let your dog figure out how to retreive the treats you put in them. By engaging in these toys, your dog gets mentally challenged. Especially on rainy days, these games can provide your dog with enough mental exercise to counter the shorter walks.
In this video you can find an example of a self-made enrichment toy.
Enrichment toys shouldn't be provided to your dog at all times. Your dog will get bored of them and start ignoring them. Also, depending on what game you use, it might be dangerous to leave it with your dog when you are not around because sometimes your dog can swallow pieces of the toy.
Obviously, play toys are used for playing with your dog. Important in this sentence is the word 'with'. Many dog owners leave their house scattered with toys for their dog to play with. However, the worth of these toys is a lot less then when they only show up when playing with their owner. The dog might even lose interest in that toy at all.
Toys that are lying around the house could also be potentially harmful for your dog. They might chew off some rope or pull the filling out of a doll and swallow some of it.
Play toys should be used for bonding with your dog. When you take them out, the game is on. Your full attention is on your dog. If used this way, often these toys can be used as a reward when training your dog. The game might become an even bigger reward than treats.