I think I’ll title the above photo. “Which one of these is not like the others?”
This is an actual group of items brought in by a client for their dog to have with him while he stayed with us in our dog boarding kennel. The tennis shoe, Nyalbone, rope knot and real bone were left with our canine guest while he hung out for a few days with us at That’s My Dog!
Of course the intention of a dog toy is to occupy the dog either mentally or physically. Most dog’s love to play and are ready for a game of chase or fetch if someone is willing to participate. That is the beauty of tennis balls, rubber balls or a Frisbee. They give the dog a way to burn energy and teach the dog to do a bit of obedience for you by retrieving and bringing something back. (if you need help with the come back part, you might want to check out this DVD)
Other types of toys are designed for chewing. Chewing is something every dog needs to do to some extent. It is a way to relieve stress and boredom for a dog while he waits for you to get home from work, wake up from your nap or finish sitting at the computer! Dog’s need that outlet just as we need to read a book, watch a movie, or participate in some other hobby. It occupies the mind when the body isn’t in motion. Chew toys are necessary for a dog and especially important to leave with your dog when you drop him at the boarding kennel.
But which one of the above is NOT a dog toy?
Yes, it is a simple answer, but do you know why that tennis shoe is such an awful choice for a dog to chew on?
1. Toys that are left with the dog when he is unattended should be as destruction proof as possible. That rubber and canvas shoe is an easy mark for the dog to tear up and possibly swallow pieces.
2. It is an item previously worn by the human and I assume this human is going to get another pair of tennis shoes. Which means they will look and smell similar. How is the dog to tell the old shoe that was giving to him to chew on, from the brand new one sitting by the door??
Is it really fair to be angry with the dog when he chews up your stuff when you actually gave him permission to chew up your stuff? 🙂
So here is a better way to pick toys for your dog to play with.
1. Pick toys that are meant to be chewed on. These are typically made out of very durable rubber, or substance like Nylabone. Bones from the butcher are fine as well, just be aware some dogs become very possessive of bones and you may need to crate your dog while he enjoys that treat.
2. Pick up and put away toys that are meant to be interactive. If you put away the tennis balls and Frisbee after you are done playing you won’t be picking up all the little pieces in the morning.
3. Pay attention to toys that might have similar features and textures to your household items. Things with fringes or stuffing might not be a good choice for your dog if your home has lots of tasseled pillows, rugs and stuffed kids toys.
4. Also ask yourself if animal products like rawhide and pigs ears are right for your dog. These things smell pretty much like leather so it is not out of the realm of possibility that the dog will find your purse equally appealing!
So I took the photo……but then took the tennis shoe and replaced it with a nice Kong toy!