The most asked question I get as a trainer is usually, “What toy is best for my dog?” While there is a wide variety of toys that are great for dogs, I thought I’d showcase ones that will not only entertain your pup, but maybe even help them become smarter as well!
If you have read any of my past dog toy articles, then you know I love this toy. It’s so versatile! They have new shapes, including a bone that you could easily stick a chew bone in to make it last longer, stuff with fleece and cookies for your dog to “unstuff,” etc. Don’t leave your dog unsupervised if you are stuffing it as he may ingest the fleece.
I originally bought this for my busy boy because I buy him every sheep-themed dog toy I can find. But this proved to be a GREAT toy! He really has to work to get those sheep out, and I find I can put other things in there, like the mini squeaky tennis balls, for added fun. This is another toy you may have to supervise as your dog could shred the toys after extracting them.
There are a lot of interactive toys out there. I like this one because you get more for your money since it’s three games in one! Once your dog has figured out one game, switch it to the next! It also has suction cup grips to keep it place on smooth floors, something a lot of these toys are lacking.
For dogs who love balls, this treat ball will give them something to do during meal time. Any ball toy is not going to last as long as others, because their round shape makes it easier for the treats to dispense. But I do like this one and it’s great for dogs that are new to activity toys.
5. KONG Wobbler
This is one step-up from the ball toy above. Even my 11-year-old dog gets this one from time to time. It’s shaped like a classic Kong Toy, but it’s bigger and made of hard plastic. The base is weighted, so when you fill it with food your dog has to push with their nose or knock it with their paws to get the treats out. It then bobs back upright to “reset” so your dog had to keep hitting it. Comes in two sizes.
6. Paw Pods
These are a great product not just to alleviate your dog’s boredom, but your own! FitPAWS makes these and they have all kinds of exercises you can teach your dog – including balance work, backing up, sitting up – which will help tire your dog out! You can get more exercises on their site, or sign-up for an online class!
Again, something to do with your dog to break up the boredom of winter for the both of you. I have this set and it works well for little dogs – under 40 pounds. Large dogs won’t make it through the tunnel, but you can still use the poles and jumps.
This toy is used by a lot of performance dog owners for training. You can throw it, tug with it, and you stash treats inside the ball, which can be ripped apart again and again (thanks to Velcro). My only complaint it you are not going to fit a bunch of treats in there, so you will be reloading often, but it’s still a great toy.
These are great for the dog that likes to destroy things – buy them a dog toy that is meant to be ripped apart again and again! This toy requires supervision since your dog could still destroy and ingest it. But it’s a fun toy for a rainy day when you are trying to watch a movie and your dog just wants to kill something.
10. DIY “Sand” Box For Dogs That Dig
But what do you do with the dog that likes to dig? Even my shelties like to dig from time to time….not outside (thankfully!) but on the couch, their bed, my bed. I am not talking about the scratching dogs do before they lie down. I am talking about real digging behavior. There are no toys for this. Thankfully, you can easily make one! Take a box that is big enough for your dog to get at least his front paws in and have access room. It should have at least a 4-5” high lip. Fill with scrap fabric, fleece, torn up towels, etc. Burry within toys, treats, etc., and viola! You have a “sand” box that your dog can dig up and re-bury treasures to his heart’s content!