From humble beginnings to a multi-billion dollar industry, dog toys have come a long way.
Funny though, I know many dogs who prefer a broken-down soccer ball found at the park or a plastic bottle to the latest and greatest dog toy.
That said, I am a self-proclaimed dog toy fan. During this pandemic, I have missed a handful of things and one of them is perusing the aisles of my favorite pet supply stores. I enjoy chatting with the great folks who run them and checking out what is new and exciting in doggie land.
When raising a puppy there are some dog toys you may find very useful. Let’s look at three toys and how they might help.
These are hard plastic or silicone mats with crevices for smearing food. Some have suction cups to keep them in place. You can make your own using a silicone trivet or in a pinch just smearing on a plate.
When it might come in handy:
- Keep the pup still and comfortable as you put on a collar or harness.
- Create a positive first impression with a bathing location such as the bathtub, sink, or shower stall. Be sure and place it on another no-skid mat for the puppy to stand on. Slippery surfaces are generally very stressful for our dog friends.
- Keep the pup still and comfortable as you wipe off paws.
Pairing a well-smeared licky mat with any of these circumstances does a few things.
- Create a positive association with an otherwise unpleasant time.
- Keeps a squirmy puppy stationary.
- Allows you to keep hands-off your pup to keep them still. This gives you greater flexibility and the pup will probably prefer it.
Feta cheese, kefir, yogurt, sardines, smoked oysters, canned dog food, baby food, banana, mashed potato, scrambled egg.
Tip, freezing the mat prolongs the licking fun.
As always, introduce new foods in small portions.
Rubber toys to stuff with food
From the West Paw Toppl Treat toy to the puppy Kong dog toys, rubber toys your puppy can navigate when stuffed with food are as indispensable as bully sticks. When you take the time to learn how to stuff them just right for your puppy with food he enjoys they are to puppy raising what diapers are to new baby must-haves.
What to use them for:
- To help you crate train your puppy. Use stuffed toys in the crate to help build a positive association.
- Redirect a biting puppy with a well-stuffed toy and everyone wins!
- If the weather is keeping you indoors, stuff a few toys and hide them. A puppy who spends time sniffing and accessing food from these toys will enjoy the benefit of both mental and physical exercise. He will be ready for a nap afterward.
Long tug toys
Long, 3-5 feet, and lightweight. Something you might find at your pet supply store or something you might create by tying a lightweight rope to a stuffed animal or a hol-ee roller ball. The length is important, you want it to drag on the ground.
How will these help?
- For starters dogs love to chase. Dragging the toy around as you run from the puppy will be enriching and energy-burning for the pup. Be sure he has ample opportunities to access the toy and tug it.
- The length ensures the toy stays on the ground which increases the odds the puppy will too. This helps prevent jumping up and biting.
- Kids will love the freedom of running with a toy that the puppy focuses on versus running away from a puppy who is trying to bite them.
- Teach a really fast recall using a toy for the puppy to chase as you call him to come. Reinforce with a round of tug and repeat!
Toys do not need to be fancy but having the right toy for the job will make puppy life better for all involved. Watch our toytorial video on YouTube for more helpful tips on toys for your puppy.
Happy Puppy Raising!