4 Simple Ways to Make Your Dogs Toys Last Longer
What happens when you give your dog a new toy? If you’ve got a tough and determined chewer on your hands I’ll bet the toy is usually destroyed within 5 minutes.
How to Make Your Dogs Toys Last Longer
I’ve had Laika for 3 years and if there’s one thing I can guarantee it’s that if a toy it’s made of plush it will be destroyed instantly. After picking up more plush animal body parts and stuffing than I’d like to admit I finally decided to switch strategies.
Oddly enough I do miss her little moments of blissful destruction; but I just don’t do plush toys anymore. Now I stick to durable toys (mostly made of rubber), and I keep them fun and interesting by playing with them myself and making them interactive.
By choosing the right toys and limiting access you can make your dogs toys last longer.
Be Realistic About The Dog Toys You’re Choosing
Some dogs will chew anything to shreds, while others are extremely gentle. If you’ve got a chewer on your hands avoid stuffed toys. I know they’re fun for dogs, and I know you can usually find some in the bargain bin for $2; but is it really worth it? Why buy a toy you know won’t last when you can just play a game of tug with a toy you already own.
I’ve yet to meet a plush that lasts more than 5 minutes against a determined dog. Chewers tend to destroy plastic toys almost as easily. Unfortunately most interactive treat toys you aren’t that durable either. We love our Kong Wobbler, but I won’t leave Laika alone with it because I know it won’t hold up to her chewing. After she’s done getting all her treats out of it I put it away.
Just because the package says it’s “tough” doesn’t guarantee it’s going to hold up to your dogs jaws. If your dog is a tough chewer stick to the brands that are known for being tough to destroy such as Kong, West Paw Zogoflex, and Goughnuts. Watch some videos, read some reviews, think of buying dog toys as an investment.
Don’t Give Your Dog Access to Toys All The Time
If your dog isn’t left alone with his toys he doesn’t have the chance to destroy them. My dog Laika only has access to a few toys at a time, and I rotate them on a regular basis. I originally started limiting her access to toys because of her resource guarding, but it’s also great at keeping her toys from becoming boring.
Do you like new things? Our dogs do, too. Just like us our dogs get bored with the same old stuff day after day. A recent study found that regardless of toy presented dogs exhibit boredom at roughly the same rate. How many times have you bought your dog a nice new toy just to have it end up ignored 10 minutes later? “Newness” doesn’t last long.
The research suggests that many dogs, if they had their way, would get new objects constantly (I’m sure the pet product industry is thrilled). The good news is that buying new toys is not the only way to keep toys “new.” Instead of leaving toys out all the time so that they lose their appeal, toys can be put out of sight. Old toys can be rotated back into sight as somewhat ‘new’.- Scientific American
When I rotate Laika’s toys she gets super excited – just as she would if it were a brand new toy. If you want to make your dog enjoy a toy even more pick it up and play with it. Dogs assign values to their toys and anything that becomes interactive is instantly way more fun and valuable.
By limiting your dog’s access to their toys you’re not only making them last longer — you’re making those toys “new” again. If your dog hasn’t seen that squeaky mouse in a couple of weeks they’ll be really excited when you bring it out again to play with.
Play More Interactive Games With Your Dog
We’ve all heard that a tired dog is a good dog. Beyond pure physical activity there’s supporting evidence that dogs need and thrive on lots of interactive play. Play enhances the quality of your dogs life; it affects motivation, behavior, and communication. It’s a great way to bond with your dog, relieve stress, and teach your dog some good manners at the same time.
When you engage your dog with a a game of tug, nose work, or fetch it’s giving them a mental and physical workout. It doesn’t take that long either – if I play tug with Laika for 10 minutes she’s tired (and so am I). Afterwards she’s content and relaxed and she usually ends up taking a nap.
When we give our dogs things to do it keeps them from coming up with their own ways of entertaining themselves. When dogs get bored they come up with their own forms of entertainment which often leads to unwanted behaviors such as excessive or destructive chewing. There’s lots of indoor games you can play with your dog to keep them entertained.
Save Money by Making Your Own Toys
If you want your dog to have a new toy now and then but don’t want to spend all that money make some of your own. The toughness and durability of these will vary greatly by project but they’re all pretty easy to make. Many are made from items you already have around lying around your home. If you’ve got some old t-shirts or an empty plastic container you’re good to go.
My favorites are the braided t-shirt rope toy ( add a tennis ball for more fun ), the easy restuffable DIY dog toy, and the interactive dog treat toy made from a plastic container. There’s something really nice and comforting knowing what materials are going into your dogs toys. And not to mention your dog will be thoroughly impressed by your craftiness.
How Do You Make Your Dogs Toys Last Longer?
What’s your secret to making your dogs toys last longer? Laika’s a tough chewer but she’s nothing compared to some of the dogs I’ve seen mentioned in dog toy reviews. What do you do with your really tough chewer? How do you make your dog toys last long? Do you have any recommendations on making toys last last longer than a day?