Tuesday, July 14, 2009
By Linda Cole
Pet toys dangle from prominent displays in pet stores, supermarkets and drugstores in every city. There are balls of different sizes and colors; some that light up when they bounce, and some that are florescent and glow in the dark. There are stuffed chew toys to delight and entertain even persistent and aggressive chewers, and tough rubber “treat” toys to keep your dog from becoming bored and attacking the couch while you are away. With the multitude of different types and sizes of dog toys available today, how do you choose the best ones for your pet? Trial and error, mostly.
My first dog was a polite American Eskimo named Jack. He never got on the furniture or bed and turned his nose up at every toy I gave him. He wanted to wrestle and didn't have time for some stupid toy. He would fetch a ball if he was in the mood, but that game only lasted for a couple of throws.
Thinking he would like some pals to play with while I was at work, I made a decision to adopt Bear and Mindy, a brother and sister Irish Setter/Collie/Great Dane mix. I quickly discovered they loved playing with dog toys. As it turned out, their favorite toy was the throw pillows on my couch. I came home from work shortly after they came to live with us, and walked into pillow stuffing covering the living room floor with the pillow carcasses buried in the middle of the mess. Jack wandered out of the kitchen and gave me a disgusted look. Bear and Mindy scampered out of the bedroom, through the pillow debris with smiling faces and eager eyes. All I could do was laugh as a vision of pillow stuffing flying through the air filled my head. It became obvious I needed some dog toys, and I needed them now.
My dogs like tug-of-war type toys and “treat” toys that bounce erratically when they toss them in the air. Not only do they get the fun of cleaning out the peanut butter treat on the inside, they can attack the odd shaped rubber toy afterwards. Balls are always a favorite as are Frisbees, but some dogs do have to be taught how to play with these.
A collection of brightly colored stuffed dog toys have come and gone over the years. Most of them were ignored and I finally gave up buying the cute little squeaker toys. My dogs are a lively group and the ones not ignored were quickly destroyed as they dismantled the poor thing to find that annoying little squeaker hidden inside.
Dogs are a bit like kids when it comes to toys – sometimes it's the packaging that's the most fun! An empty plastic pop bottle can give dogs hours of enjoyment. Just make sure to remove the cap, the ring around the top and the label before letting your dog play with an empty bottle. However, if your dog wants to eat it, don't let them play with a bottle.
Some dogs love playing with dog toys and balls and haul them around like security blankets, while others scoff at the notion of playing fetch. One reaction I've gotten is a look that says, “You threw it, you go get it.”
Chew bones and tough rubber toys serve a need that allows your dog a way to satisfy his need to chew without destroying the couch or table leg. Dog toys also give your pet a way to entertain themselves or find comfort when home alone. Finding the right toy may take some time, but it's worth the effort if it can save even one couch pillow from going to that great pillow factory in the sky.
Read more articles by Linda Cole