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Dogs Toys in General

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17 Reviews
  • Prevent boredom
  • Distracts from chewing precious items
  • My dog isn't interested
  • Lots of cheap toys that are flimsy or dangerous
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    17 Reviews
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      16.12.2014 12:04
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      • "Distracts from chewing precious items"
      • "Training aids"
      • "Prevent boredom"

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      • "My dog isn't interested"

      Toys For Dogs

      I think my Westie, Joey, is an unusual dog.
      He is disinterested in toys. He was the same as a pup, although when younger he did like a few toys.

      Joey has lots of toys to choose from. They arrive in Christmas stockings and as gifts from dog loving friends. But really these are mostly a waste where Joey is concerned.
      The only toys he seems to like is a thick silky knotted rope which he will chew sometimes, and his Nylabone, which he doesn't chew but walks around with it in his mouth. To be honest I'm not sure if he does like it!

      When he was younger he liked playing with medium sized plastic balls.

      Other dogs that have been my pets have enjoyed toys so I was surprised by Joey’s lack of interest. Now I have to accept that Joey’s favourite game is being chased around the garden. He decides when it’s time to play.

      Previous pets favoured rubber bones especially those that are easy to grip. Some dogs like a bone with a bell in it. Make sure these are made from a reputable company and are safe.
      Rope toys are usually enjoyed by dog and owner as these can be used for tug of war games.

      Tennis balls can be fun but many dogs destroy these quickly and try to eat the rubber. I had a dog once that throughout her life would eat anything. Dogs need to be watched with toys in case of wear and breakages making them a danger to the dog from eating or choking.

      A more modern day toy for dogs is the Kong type toy. Treats can be put inside and the dog has to figure out how to access the treat. A former pet of mine would have loved these, but Joey doesn't!

      Fortunately with Joey the chewing stage regarding furniture and shoes didn’t last long, although he did manage to chew the odd shoe and slipper and was partial to a soft toy-my daughter’s not his!

      Although Joey shows little interest I believe dogs should be supplied with a few well-chosen toys. Toys will help keep a dog from chewing things around the home; they will help to teach the dog, provide exercise through play and prevent boredom.

      Sticks should not be used s they are dangerous.

      Dog toys can be bought very cheaply. Whether toys are cheap or expensive they need to be checked often to ensure they are safe for your pet.

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      26.10.2014 23:33
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      • "A dog will see almost anything as a toy.."
      • "Lots of toys on the market"
      • "Dogs are clever and need to be entertained"

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      • "Lots of cheap toys that are flimsy or dangerous"

      Give mans best friend a toy to remember.... there's a lot out there to pick

      I love dogs and since as early as I can remember I've always tried to have a pet dog in the house, be that when I was growing up as a child, through school, later education and working life... but sometimes my life and a dogs life would not sit right.
      Now, these days, my life is not as stressful as it used to be, with someone being in the house 95% of the day, so that the dog we have had for many years now, does not feel as thought he is living on his own.
      But no matter what dog I've had I've always tried to keep them entertained, which sometimes means getting them a load of toys to keep them happy. But what toys are right for dogs …..?
      well, I have always stuck to a simple rule of making sure that a dog toy is as tough as the dog who wants to play with it. By that I mean there's no point in getting a Chihuahua a foot long thick rubber bone, just like there's no point in getting a Great Dane golf ball to chase...
      In other words the toy you get your dog should suit the size of the dog.

      A lot of people give their dogs shoes and soft toys to play with, then, when their dog chews up the owners expensive Givenchy leather boots or their childs favourite cuddly toy.... the way I see it is that if you give your dog a shoe to chew or a soft toy to rip apart then they see all shoes and soft toys as 'theirs', which results in chaos in the household and lots of chewed up shoes and toys.

      A dog always need to be entertained, even if it means throwing a toy around on his own, but most times a simple 'toy', such as a rope to play tug of war, will keep him happy for ages. The most favourite 'toy' for any dog is the good old fashioned tennis ball as any dog loves to chase the bouncing ball until they catch it in their mouths. It doesn't matter what size the ball is, or what size the dog is, a dog will always chase a ball in the hope of trying to get it in their mouths.

      There are many 'cheap' toys for dogs on the market which you think are a bargain, but at the end of the day those cheap toys can be a danger to your dog, or they last for minutes once your dog has got hold of it. So, in my opinion, it's worth paying a little extra for tougher toy so that your dog can have fun and stay safe.

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      14.11.2012 19:49
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      5/5

      It's an assumption that all dogs are playful but that's not completely true. When I got my first dog, a rescue dog when I was fourteen he hated playing. He'd been abused and tormented badly by his previous owners and if we gave him a toy or treat he would become scared and run away from it. If we left him with it he would get slowly closer and then become very posessive of it. Giving toys to dogs like this is quite a stressful and pointless process. I thought I'd mention this briefly as a lot of people just assume that all dogs are toy mad!

      Normal, healthy dogs on the other hand are completely different - I've got four of them! Anyone who has more than one dog will know excactly what I mean when I say that they have different personalities as well as different preferences when it comes to toys. While all of them go nuts for soft, squeeky toys, only my husky and labradors are fond of balls - my jack russel who's a little dumpling isn't that interested as fetching balls = running!

      I make sure that now that I have a child that my dogs know which toys are theirs and we keep their toys in a large plastic tub in the garden which we obviously cover up when it is raining. This box gets rummaged through daily and the dogs usually empty it and get which ever toy they want and go off and play with it. Seeing as they usually pick the same toys out over and over I think that this pretty much proves that dogs do have individual preferences. My yellow lab is a fan of bones which she usually throws around and then gnaws on. My chocolate lab usually opts for a soft toy or a tug toy and my husky usually goes for the kong. My jack russel will get out anything that he can chew - usually the old slipper that we gave to the dogs!

      We have around twenty dog toys but the ones that we get the most use out of is the kongs. We have a normal one, one shaped like a squirrel (bizzarre I know!), a round one and a pyramid shaped one. Kongs come in extremely handy whenever my boyfriend is at work and I need to pop out as it keeps them entertained and stimulated as they need to work to get the food. We did try a Nina Ottosson dog toy a while ago but unfortunately Clyro (husky) chewed it up when we were out. Before he chewed it up we got a few days of use out of it and it was fascinating watching them work out how to get the treats out - I was really impressed!

      Dog toys overall are great and my dogs would be lost without them. Everyday they will play tug of war whether it be with a proper tug toy or a dressing gown belt. That's the great thing - dog toys can be made really easily with basic stuff and don't have to be expensive. If you can't afford a kong then just line the edges of an old plastic jar with soft cheese, meat paste or whatever and give it to your dog. If you don't want to spend money on soft toys, stick a few chunks of cheese into an old pillow case and knot it tightly. Your dog will spend ages attempting to get it open as the cheese will smell like heaven! Old shoes are also great dog toys and if you have some plastic cups it's a great game to hide a treat underneath one and watch your dogs sniff it out!

      Thanks for reading.

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        30.09.2010 16:45
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        Dog toys

        Having two dogs in our household results in a lot of dog doys both outside and inside our house. They come from different extremes to a King Charles puppy named Sandy who is four months old and is excited over every little thing to a Collie named Rusty who is more docile and calm being 8 years old but takes his game of fetch very seriously!
         
         
        We have a vast variety of these toys but I think the ones that get the most use by my dogs are the toys that make noise. They think there is nothing better than grabbing a squeaky toy and shaking it as hard as they can to stop it from making noise. Our puppy Sandy just likes anything that she can grab out of his mouth and run away with! They also love rope toys that they can play tug of war together and chase one another.
         
         
        The amount I spend on balls for fetch every year is far too much as my Collie adores the game but they have a habit of getting lost when he goes on his own travels. I find the bouncier the better for dogs that play fetch because even if you havent much room if you can bounce the ball high the dog loves leaping into the air for it too. I like to buy packs of tennis balls when they are on offer because you can get a lot of use from them.
         
         
        I think toys for dogs are essential as it just isnt possible for people to be with them all the time and give them attention so these are the next best thing to keep them busy. They can be either really cheap and really expensive it doesnt make a difference at the end of the day its all down to the individual dog.
         
         
        Not only can they entertain dogs but they can help to keep their teeth healthy and clean and they are also good at preventing your dog from chewing your own furniture!
         
         
        My dogs would be on their own for a bit when I am out and about and I think their dogs keep them from getting too lonely. My neighbours dogs howl when left at home alone and I recommended she get them a few toys to keep them busy and it has really helped them take their minds off being in the house.
         
         
        Although I wouldnt recommend you get a dog at all if you are going to be leaving them for long periods on their own.

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        25.09.2010 17:44
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        I sometimes wonder how many toys our German Shepherd Ben will acquire in his lifetime. He is only 18 months old but I am certain he could open his own dog toy stall and still have plenty left after having a massive sale! He is spoilt. There is no getting away from it but he is worth every penny! He is the most amazing, beautiful dog I have ever known and is every bit protective as he is loving and he idolises my daughter.

        He has a a vast range of toys which vary from rope tuggers, to squeaky toys of all different shapes, sizes and characters as well as balls and one of my slippers!

        One of his favourite is his rope tugger which has two knots and tassles at either end. He loves it and has always had one (though the one he did love ended up in the lake due to my husband and his not very throw! So we had to get him a replacement). His rope tugger is definately one of his most used toys - he chews it, he tries to bury it, he plays tug with it, he chases it and even sleeps with it. When we go out, he carries it with him. He simply loves it. Ben's favourite activity with this toy is tug of war. I know some people do not agree with playing tug of war with your dog as it is supposed to encourage them to hold on to whatever it is they are tugging and develop are harder grip. I can honestly say that Ben knows tug of war is a game and he still gives up toys or anything he should have in his mouth without fuss or viciousness.

        Another toy Ben plays with alot is a little rubber frisbee. He loves to run and chase after this in the park. He jumps after it and when he catches it he always brings it straight back to me to throw for him again. Fetch is one of his favourite outdoor games.

        His Kong toy is another toy which comes out to play very often too. He has had a Kong toy since he was a puppy and we upgraded it to an adult one when he outgrew his puppy sized one. If there is one dog toy anyone should buy for their dog it should definately be the Kong toy. Dogs just have so much fun with them. Ben loves nothing more than knocking his Kong about to try and get some treats out of it and if he has eaten all his treats he will plod about with it, playing happily. He has even more fun with the Kong in the summer as I fill it with gravy and then freeze it, making it a yummy tasting ice lolly for him to cool down.

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          16.08.2009 23:57
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          There are alot of toys available, the best are usually the basics.

          There are so many dog toys available now, balls, frisbees, bones, teddies, kongs etc... The list is pretty much endless. You could go into a shop spend a fortune on toys and the dog would favour one in particular.

          My two lovely hounds have played with all manner of toys since they were little. Below I will state what toys they have had and what the pros and cons are of each.

          The teddy: A few times there have been soft toys that were going to go in the bin which were given to the dogs to see what they would do. The result was a pile of fluff and teddy parts strewn across the back garden. I wouldn't recommend giving a soft toy to a dog unless designed for that and definitely not without supervision.

          The frisbee: The frisbee my two had was made out of plastic. I bought it from Wilkinson, if I remember it cost me around £1.49, obviously I had to buy two. They did enjoy playing with the frisbee, it's light, easy for them to pick up and gives them alot of excersie running to fetch it. Unfortunately I left Boomer (my dog) with the frisbee in the back garden and when I came through it was in little pieces, also I managed to get it stuck in a tree as well, luckily I got it back. All in all a great toy, can get ruinned or lost easily though.

          Rubber bone: The rubber bones were also bought from Wilkinson and were around £0.89 each. I don't rate them very highly, they don't do much. You can throw them and the dog can fetch and thats about it. Again with the bones my dogs would sit and chew them instead of play with them so they lasted around 1 week before I threw them in the bin for safety sake. Not that great, I wouldn't buy them again.

          Tennis ball: My dogs have had a few tennis balls from time to time, these are extremely cheap I think if I remember I bought 5 from poundland for well £1. The dogs love the tennis balls, there great for throwing as there light, great for bouncing and rolling along the ground. Unfortunately with the tennis balls the dogs teeth would penetrate them and they wouldn't bounce anymore. They didn't last very long either around 2 weeks.

          Football: I'm not sure how much the footballs cost as they were mainly given to the dogs when my younger brother got a new one. The dogs loved the football would run around chasing it and picking it up in their mouth. Great for kicking around for the dog. They do get ruined easily with one lasting for probably 1 day with Boomer. An expensive toy if you were to buy them.

          Rubber balls: The rubber balls were again bought from Wilkinson and are around £0.79 each. They come in alot of different colours, blue, green, red, yellow, pink etc. These are by far the best toy my dogs ever had. They are made purely from rubber. They are great for bouncing, rolling and throwing. My dogs would spend hours fetching them when I bounced them off of the back wall. No downside at all, my dogs never managed to chew one although we did lose a few over the back fence.

          I would say for 79p the rubber balls are by far the best toys on the market, basic but brilliant.

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            10.08.2009 10:21
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            Choose your pets toy's wisely

            Having recently acquired a beautiful five an a half month old puppy to our household, we decided to buy him some toys. As he is teething, we looked for the "Tough" toys that would sooth his gums and keep him occupied at the same time.

            We've had him now for about six weeks and he's gone through 6 tennis ball type toys. Most have been either on ropes or have tape going through them. My first complaint with these type of toys is that once the ball has been bitten through, there is a piece of rubber/plastic left inside from where the manufacturers have threaded the rope or tape! This could give cause to choking but so could the rest of the ball once it's broken through. To be fair, my dog has a very strong bite, so these tend to last him only a short while. So we've given up on those. But saying that, he seems to prefere the rope any way. So following his preference we bought him a tyre on a rope. The tyre is made from flexible plastic/rubber and he doesn't appear to be able to bite through this one as the tyre gives to his bite. What started out being a substantial rope now looks like an octopus, but he loves this toy and shakes his head vigourously and charges around with it or he can just sit quietly and chew it to death.
            I have invested in a Nylabone which is brilliant for those dogs with a strong bite. It is virtually in-destructable and is made of extremely hard plastic. When his teeth are playing up that's the one he heads for and has proven to be one of his favourite toy's.
            Another teeth soothing favourite is his treat ball. This is about the size of a tennis ball, but is hollow which enables you to put small treats inside and whilst he rolls it around the floor, the treats fall out. That is a long as you keep to tiny treats. I had a treat that would not come out and had to disinfect the ball, which I do periodically anyway, but the food had gone off! But even when the ball is empty of treats, he loves to play fetch but will also sit quitely and chew to his hearts content. I personally stay away from playing tug games with my dog because I think it's only teaching him to bite harder and keep a good grip. By not allowing him to do this I finds he always gives or drops anything which he shouldn't have readily.
            To round up, I don't think he cares what he gets to play with as long as it's safe and fun. All the toys we have bought him were under £6.00 and almost all are readily available. If he's content then so are we and that's what's important.

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              26.01.2009 21:02
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              worth the expense

              Over the years I have spent a fortune on dog toys, some last for months, others are eaten in two minutes. These are the top three that I would recommend for destructive doggies!:-

              Firstly-the original red Kong toy, These graduated cone shaped toys are ideal for all dogs,either as a chew toy or filled with treats to keep them occupied when alone. If you fill the Kong with dry treats interspersed with some peanut butter you can freeze it to make the treats harder to get out, ideal on a hot summers day as well to cool the dog down a bit. The Medium sized Kong costs £5.37 from Pets at Home,they are also available in variations for puppies (pink and blue), senior dogs (purple) and extreme chewers (black)

              Next- Nylabones, these are bones made from nylon (hence the name!) they are extremely tough and last for ages, I paid £7.99 for a big one that has been chewed by my Collie for months now and is still going strong. You can get them in various sizes and they are impregnated with flavour such as beef or chicken. As the dog chews very small slivers of the bone can come away but these pass safely through the dog. Chewing her Nylabone keeps my dog amused for hours.

              Lastly, a latex pink pig that she was given for Christmas, I passed it by when I saw it on sale at a local garden centre as it looked very flimsy and my dog will destroy toys in seconds,however she has been playing with it for three weeks now and it has no signs of damage. It is a squeaky toy but it grunts instead of squeaks! When she chews it the sides squash in and the latex rubs against itself, I think this is why she can't get a hold on it to bite it. I'm not sure of the make because the tags were removed as it was a gift but it cost £5.99 it's about 6 inches long and it very lightweight, this makes it ideal to play fetch with especially indoors.

              So there you go-keep your dog entertained with these toys

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                15.07.2008 22:45
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                Make sure you get one your dog won't destroy

                My dog is a cocker spaniel and although he used to go through toys very quickly when he was a puppy, nowadays he has not needed a replacement for any of his toys for about two years! That said, I would never buy him one of those supermarket novelty looking dog toys- they maybe ok for some dogs, but for him it only takes about a minute to chew through! The same goes for squeaky toys - he tends to chew until he makes the squeak stop. On the other hand, I've found there is no point in buying one of those expensive Kong toys or something similar. Instead the best is a solid ball or his frisbee, both of which are near impossible to chew through, only a few pounds in cost and he absolutely loves them both and won't leave them alone, even trying to bury them on a couple of occasions!

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                  06.09.2007 22:59
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                  Everydog needs a toy!

                  I have two dogs who are the best of friends but also very different in different ways. Firstly I have Benson, who is a 2yr old Bernese Mountain Dog, everything Benson does must involve toys or he just isn't happy, I can tell he is going to be one of these dogs who will never grow up and think he is a puppy for the rest of his life. And then theres Ruby, a Cavailer King Charles Spaniel who is nearly 13, although she will join in the occasional game of fetch or tug with Benson she much prefers to laze around with her beloved 'Ellie', a teddy bear I brought for her when I rescued her 7 years ago!

                  My dogs have a little box literally overflowing with thier toys, they enjoy most of them but their favourites deffinatly seem to be..

                  --Kongs--
                  Benson always makes sure that wherever he is, his Kong isn't too far away. It comes on our walks, in the car, to the vets, out in the garden and just about everywhere else. These toys are great for strong, large and playful dogs like Benson as they come in different sizes and strenghts for all breeds and are tough, durable and able to withstand hours of chewing from even the strongest of dogs. They can also be stuffed with treats, or used as fetch toys (just make sure they don't hit anyone as they are really heavy!).

                  --''Ellie''--
                  Ellie is Rubys little pink teddy that I got for her when I rescued her from the animal shelter 7 years ago. Ellie is Rubys version of Bensons Kong, it goes everywhere with her and although its looking a little bit worse for wear now I don't have the heart to chuck it away! Soft toys should only really be provided for dogs which don't have a habit of chewing as they can be easy to rip open and the stuffing can be harmful if swallowed.

                  --Tennis Balls--
                  Like I mentioned before, Ruby does like to join in the occasional game of fetch with Benson and tennis balls are always popular with both of the dogs, as they are soft to catch and easy to pick up and carry. I like them too as they are cheap, easy to throw long distances and are just the right size for both the dogs to pick up. You should make sure your dog doesn't chew on tennis balls as they aren't very strong and could be swallowed whole by larger dogs.

                  --Squeaky Toys--
                  When Benson was a puppy he loved squeaky toys and would generally always carry one around the house with him. Thankfully his love of squeaky toys faded as he grew older.. and now he doesn't have much intrest in them apart from one squeaky carrot which he likes to play with every now and then. Dogs should always be supervised when playing with squeaky toys as they aren't very strong and are normally chewed to bits in minutes.

                  --Rope Tugger--
                  This is a favourite with both Ruby and Benson, they each grab an end and have a good game of tug of war until Ruby gets in a sulk because Benson has tugged the toy right off her! They have had this toy since Benson was a puppy so it has lasted them pretty well, although its started to get a bit frayed so will probally have to be replaced soon.

                  --Nylabone--
                  Ruby doesn't normally like hard toys, but she has took a shine to the Nylabone I originally brought for Benson. As it is the extra large she can't really do much with it, she just likes to carry it around the house with her and tease Benson with it, waiting till he gets right close then shoots off down the garden or up the stairs. Both the dogs have had the occasional chew on it and its still in excellent condition, they are extremely tough and would be suitable for any dog no matter how strong, providing you buy the right size.

                  --Frisbee--
                  Benson seems to have a never ending supply of energy, and I've found playing frisbee is one of the best ways to try and burn some of it off! I usually only let him take a frisbee on his walk if we are going to the beach as there is plently of space to run and no trees or other things to run in to. Jumping up to catch the frisbee is great exercise just make sure you start your dog off lightly if he hasn't played frisbee before, you don't want him to pull a muscle when he jumps up or brake a bone if he lands awkwardly. Frisbees specially made for dogs are best as they are softer to catch and won't crack. I reccomend the Kong Flyer.

                  Whatever toy you dog likes best, just make sure they are suitable for his age, breed and size and always supervise toy usage until you are confident they can be used alone.

                  * * * * * * * * * * *

                  -TOYS FOR PUPPIES-
                  I didn't have Ruby when she was a puppy as she was a rescue dog however when Benson was little he was just as toy mad as he is now. But puppies need very different toys to adult dogs as their teeth are often brittle and their gums sore. During Bensons puppyhood I found the Puppy Kong a priceless piece of equipment, it provided something suitable for him to chew on and distracted him away from the furniture or shoes. It could also be placed in the fridge to cool down so it helped soothed sore gums whilst teething and when Benson had to be left alone I could fill it with tasty treats to prevent him from becoming bored. An old (clean!) sock stuffed with newspaper then tied at the top also proved to be a big hit with Benson which was cheap and easy to make, he loved to drag it around behind him and then stop and try to shake it to death!

                  Whatever dog you have regardless of age, size or breed they are all going to need toys, so happy playing and remember..a bored dog is a destructive dog!

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                    02.01.2006 14:22
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                    Toys toys toys.

                    I have three dogs and all enjoy their toys in different ways.

                    First we have Denzil, a very timid collie cross, he's not into anything noisy and likes to just lay in front of the fire with his squeazy-flump. This means to anyone else his teddy. I buy him a couple at a time from the market, you can pick one up for as little as 5 pence, he will carry it about in his mouth and just squeaze it in his jaws, he never rips it or chews it , he just ... well squeazes and licks it. Unfortunatly the other two keep watch over the squeazy-flump and if it's ever unattended it gets kidnapped and subjected to having its stuffing pulled out. That's why i have a back up supply.

                    So teddies as toys?

                    I dont recommend soft toys a lot epecialy for young pups, the eyes are easily chewed off and swallowed and the stuffing should they choose to rip it out can choke, plus it leaves a hellish mess on the carpet.
                    But if your dog isnt into destruction then you can give one a try as long as he's supervised.

                    Next we have Dutch and his sidekick Sully.

                    Dutch is a dobermann and Sully is a staffie cross, they're best pals and where there is one the other is close by.
                    These two like more entertaining toys, role in the squeaky toy.

                    Squeaky toys are the bain of my life, all through the house all i can hear is sqeak, sqeak, sqeak, sqeak.

                    These toys are the most popular and most widely available in most pet shops, they are pretty cheap and come in every shape imaginable. We've had burger shapes, chickens, beer bottle, newspaper, a string of sausages. It's endless what you can buy.

                    The squeaky toys are made from soft plastic and are hollow with of course the squeaker at one end, simple to use, when the dog squeazes the toy in his mouth it squeaks.

                    The problem with squeaky toys apart from the fact they squeak is that they can get your dog in a frenzy of excitment and this can cause some knocked over lamps, cups and glasses swept off the table by wagging tails, running endlessly about squeaking the damn thing.

                    Dont worry the situation can be fixed with a pen, just push the pen into the squeaker hole and bingo, the squeaker is pushed in and will grant you blissful quiet. This can causes more problems though. Once the toy doesn't sqeak it looses its excitment and quickly becomes nothing but a chew toy. Because they are hollow and thin the plasic is easily chewed into little peices and swallowed. Do take the toy off the dog if it is showing any signs of this.

                    So i can only handle so much of the squeaker, what else is on offer.

                    One of my favourites is the rope toy. Made of well... rope, obviously, these toys are ideal for teathing puppies and any dog really. The rope and very tight and very firm usually pulled into a 'o' shape or an '8' shape. Other shapes may just be the rope tied in a knot or have a tennis ball attached to one end. My dog's play tug 'o war with their rope toys and chase each other about to see who gan get it next. The ropes are fairly durable depending on how determined your dog is to destroy it. They can handle a good chewing but not in the weak bit. Dutch found the weak bit pretty quickly. He chews the knots that hold the rope together and then pulls all the thin strands out, as soon as the knot it out the rope turns into what looks like a mop head. All the starnds go everywhere, it can be a pain.

                    Another toy is just the bog standared rubber chew toy. It comes usually in the shape of a bone, a hoop or a ball. Cheap and durable.
                    There isnt much excitement with this toy and my dogs dont really bother with it, Dutch will have a chew now and again but i havent seen the others near it since i got it really.

                    The ball!

                    Yes all dogs seem to like balls. When you choose a ball make sure it's quite big, you dont want your dog to swallow it, no cat balls, far too small even for a smaller dog. A tennis ball is a good start. They are light and cheap to buy. Get a good supply as they will get burst and lost.
                    Denzil likes his tennis balls, he used to hold them with his front paws and 'scalp' them. Using is front teeth he just nibbled all the yellow fuzz off and left it in a pile next to him.
                    Remember to bin them as soon as they show any signs of wear, splits and holes.

                    Treat balls are another favourite especialy if you have to go to work and leave your dog alone. Treat balls are hollow and usually plastic or rubber. They have a small hole in one end and are sometimes weighted so they aways role to the hole side up. You fill these balls with dry treats or dry dog food and the dog will role the ball about to get the food to drop out the hole. A great boredom breaker.

                    So what's left?

                    Well it's not messy, it doesnt squeak and it keeps my dogs occupied for hours.
                    It's the good old fashioned bone.
                    You can get bones from all pet shops and they come in many different shapes and flavours. I either get a couple of large hollow ones or/and some filled ones. The filled ones have some sort of meat inside that the dog can lick out.
                    If you get the hollow ones you can opt to fill it yourself, peanut butter and meat paste are your best bet.

                    Bones last ages, months and your dog will love it. It very natural behaviour for him because thats what he did when he lived as a wolf.

                    Toys are important.

                    Your dog should always have access to a chewable toy. He may opt to chew something else if he doesnt, he's not fussy and doorframes, shoes and even sofa's are all within easy grasp.

                    Keep him interested with his toys by switching them about, keep some hidden in a cupboard and swap them round now and again. As a special treat buy him a brand new one every so often and bin one of his old ones that is showing signs of wear.

                    Supervise your dog if he has a toy that can be dangerous.

                    Never give your dog a shoe to play with. To you it is just an old shoe that was going in the bin anyway. To your dog it is a shoe, exactly the same as all the other shoes in the bedroom.

                    Never throw your dog a ball if your near a road, you may not throw it in the direction of the road but your dog in his exitment may drop it or role it towards the road.

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                      03.08.2005 20:22
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                      Fun Fun Fun

                      As you all probably know by now I have 2 dogs so our house contains more dog toys than DVDs and as I’m a film buff that means a lot of toys.

                      The first is Hamish, a West Highland Terrier who has a tail that doesn’t stick up, ears that never stick up and is 2.5 stone so a little overweight in my eyes but apparently very healthy according to the vet. Now I love Hamish but he is now 12 years old and is more content to sit by the fire than play with toys.

                      The second is Patch, our young 1 year old Jack Russell puppy. Now Patch is a different kettle of fish all together and he loves his toys. Here I will take you through his favourite toys from what I can tell anyway.

                      -----

                      The Igloo.

                      Now I suppose you cannot count this as a toy really but I have to in Patch’s case. From when we first had him he liked to go under things so if we didn’t know where he was, we would just after go upstairs and look on all the beds and sure enough on one you can see a little lump under the covers that suddenly moves when you call his name. With this in mind, we bought a basket for him in the shape of a little igloo so he could go and sleep in it and still have a roof. We thought he would love this and we could place it in any room and he would just go in there and lick (Oh yeah he loves to lick surfaces and I mean any surface even feet). He loves it but not in the way we hoped, he had had it for just 5 minutes before he jumped on top of it flattening it and started to lick it. At least it was keeping him quiet we thought but oh no. Ten minutes later he had turned it over and was ripping the bottom of it off. We tried to stop him and put it the right way again but again he turned it over and started to rip it apart. Now we are about a month later and the igloo is still alive but only just. Now Patch’s’ trick is to go through the hole he has created in the bottom and sits down still eating the fabric it is made out of. It has become one of his favourite things because it is always with us in the living room even though whenever anyone goes through to the kitchen they take it with them.

                      -------

                      The Snowman.

                      For a birthday when I was little I was given a snowman which sings happy birthday when you press his hand. I loved it and now Patch loves it. He is quite an intelligent little dog and learned how to turn the music on. This as you can imagine drove us mad so we had to take the batteries out in the end but still he takes this toy everywhere even resorting to putting it next to him when he goes to sleep. Quite sweet really.

                      -----

                      The tyre.
                      This toy is a small rubber tyre toy which has a rope tug attached to it. Now i don’t know if you know but when dogs grab a toy they do this frantic head shaking thing where they shake the toy from side to side really fast. Patch does this with the tyre and almost always hits himself with it. I shouldn’t laugh really but I am human. Anyway this dog toy is good because it allows you to get involved, I always hold the tyre with Patch pulling on the rope. It keeps the dog entertained but beware of doing it for too long as your arms begin to hurt and you might find you cant bend them again.

                      -----

                      The good old ball.

                      Probably the easiest dog toy you can buy, whether it be a foam ball, tennis ball or a football most dogs will love this toy. Patch has not mastered the art of fetching the toy and bringing it back to us yet. Instead he fetches it runs at us and then as we bend down to get it he dodges us and runs away. Quite a stress less game for you to play with your dog, and actually quite fun. The dog gets good exercise so hopefully it will tire him out and in my case it actually gets me up out of the chair by the TV and doing something active.

                      -----

                      The Rubber thing.

                      Not sure what to call it but its an oblong made out of rubber and at either end holes are cut out. Very much like a rope pull toy the object of this game is to play tug of war with the dog. Patch is a nightmare to play this game with as I hate to admit it but he always wins. He has realised that if he does not open his mouth to continually get a better grab then he wont give me an option to get it off him. This toy is very durable and so far has remained intact escaping the wrath of Patch. Again your arms hurt after a while but when I have a little Jack Russell carrying it in his mouth and sitting at my feet, I just have to play with him.

                      -----

                      The Sock.

                      Now I know this wont be the same for every dog but my Patch is obsessed with feet. Shoes, slippers, skin on the sole of your foot but especially socks. Not sure if it’s the fabric or the smell but anytime I want to distract Patch or stop him from barking for 5 minutes I give him a sock. Hazard warning is that they don’t last long and you will end up with odd socks which are all I wear now.

                      In conclusion dog toys are great. They are fun for you and your dog, keeps the dog occupied and occasionally tires them out. They are relatively cheap and last a long time.
                      Beware though the more toys – the bigger mess. Patch has about 100 toys kept in a basket in the kitchen and every night guaranteed he has bought the majority into the living room.

                      In the end dogs are a mans best friend and if you love dogs then get them some toys and let the chaos begin.

                      Thanks for reading.

                      xxx

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                        20.06.2004 23:13
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                        Skittle and Mokee, a Border Collie and a Collie cross, are spoilt rotten and totally adored! As such, they have a whole basket full of toys at their constant disposal, however, they?ve had loads more that have been and gone (mostly in tiny pieces) over the years. Far from puppies nowadays, as Skittle is seven and Mokee is five, they never grew out of their shared passion for chewing toys to within an inch of their lives (and often far beyond) so the toy basket has played temporary host to oodles of now-destroyed dog toys over the years, some of which cost a few pence, some a few pounds, and I?ll give my opinion on them now! Rope Tuggers: These come in many disguises, from the original coloured rope with a knot in either end to fancier varieties with tennis balls attached or double rope rings joined together amongst many, many others. However, all of these toys have one thing in common ? being made of rope they are really only suitable for indoor playing, as taking them outside on a wet day means that the tugger will come back indoors absolutely filthy dirty, and sopping wet. Having said that, you?re likely to get a similar result with one of these toys even if you only play indoors if your dog is at all dribbly. Skittle, I have to admit, is a bit of a drooler at times. Having a sopping wet, drool covered tugger deposited in your lap is pretty unpleasant at the best of times. Even worse, as I mentioned above, both of my dogs love to chew their toys, and chewing a tugger means that they inevitably swallow small pieces of the frayed rope, depositing the rest in chewed strands in a surprisingly large radius around their furry little bodies. In a really sustained attack it?s possible for either of my dogs to completely destroy a rope tugger in under an hour? Then, of course, if we use one of these toys to play tug of war (exactly what it was designed for) Skitt
                        le pulls so hard that she usually finishes up with a mouthful of strands of rope, that then get swallowed? On the plus side, rope tuggers are very cheap toys, readily available and there are loads of variants ? however, I won?t buy these for my dogs any longer, primarily because I don?t like the thought of them swallowing chunks of rope (although I?m sure it wouldn?t do them too much harm) but mainly because they are always destroyed so quickly, and are so unpleasant when even slightly dirty or damp that I consider them to be a complete waste of money. If I want to buy something for my dogs to destroy, I go to a jumble sale and buy them a second hand teddy for a couple of pence, instead! Squeaky Toys: Again, these are available in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes, and are readily available in specialist pet shops and supermarkets across the country. They?re usually made from a thin, light rubber, and normally reasonably cheap to buy. However, again I believe that squeaky toys are poor value, despite their inexpensive price, as they are so easily destroyed. One determined bite from either of my two can easily put paid to the squeak element of these toys, and it doesn?t take a great deal of effort from either of them to completely chew one of these to pieces, and that?s when I worry the most about this type of dog toy. The squeaking element is usually quite small, and would be very easy for a reasonably sized dog to swallow, along with the soft rubber of the toy itself, which my dogs find so irresistibly chewable? And that?s not all ? if my dogs don?t manage to kill the squeak on one of these toys immediately, I have to admit that the constant squeaking drives me absolutely insane. Not only that, but it gets the dogs utterly over excited, and often causes fights as they both want to play with the squeaky toy at the same time. So, although these toys are
                        great if you have one very calm dog who?s not particularly interested in chewing, personally, I don?t buy these any more either! Nylabone: I?ve already written a very long, scathing review expressing my deep dissatisfaction with Nylabone, but I?ll let you know exactly why. To cut a long story short I believe these toys to be dangerous for dogs. After paying about £10 (an extortionate price, I believe) for a Nylabone - as it is recommended for aggressive chewers, a tiny piece of the toy broke off and was swallowed by Mokee, resulting in her needing veterinary attention for an infected throat, where the Nylabone shard had scratched her. Needless to say, the Nylabone went straight in the bin? Oh, and the shard that Mokee swallowed wasn?t a malfunction, Nylabone toys are DESIGNED to do that. You have been warned! Canac Treat Ball: I?ve written a review about this one, too, but I have to admit that if I was to write that review now it would have ended quite differently. The Canac treat ball is a large, hard plastic ball with holes in it that can be filled with treats for your dog. The dog then needs to push the ball around to release the treats, thus keeping your dog occupied whilst providing a treat to encourage it to carry on playing. When the Treat Ball first came to stay with us, both of my dogs absolutely adored it, it was their favourite toy for some time. However, it has since been surpassed in their affections by another (which I?ll tell you about in a moment) and has lain, forgotten, in the corner of their room (yes, my dogs have a room of their own) for a very, very long time. There are a number of reasons why, mainly because the treat ball is so large and hard that it?s impossible for my dogs to pick up ? thus preventing Skittle from playing fetch, her fav
                        ourite game. It is also completely non-chewable, so whilst this is great in one way, because it makes it a very long-lasting toy, it also means that it doesn?t fulfil another of the needs of my dogs, they so love to get their teethe into their toys! So whilst I would recommend a treat ball, I do think that you need to keep changing the treats that you fill it with, as my dogs have gotten very bored with chocolate drops, and the treats are really the only item in this toy which held their interest. Winalot Shapes Ball: This toy works on the same principle as the Canac Treat Ball, and is the toy that has replaced the treat ball in my dogs? affections. The toy is specially designed by Winalot to be filled with Winalot Shapes biscuits, however, unlike the treat ball the shapes ball is made of chewable rubber, and though reasonably large, it is just small enough for my Collie to be able to play fetch with. Even better, because the rubber is reasonably flexible, my collie cross, who?s about the same height and size as a beagle, is able to carry the shape ball around too, as the ball squishes when she grabs it. This is far and away the favourite toy of both of my dogs, as it not only fulfils the essential requirements of chewiness and fetchability, but it also dispenses treats. The dogs are also able to play with this together, as Skittle loves to play fetch with the toy, whilst Mokee runs around behind her eating all of the treats that fall out. My dogs have played with this toy (with or without biscuits) for several years, and it is only just starting to show wear and tear, with tiny splits appearing here and there in the rubber. However, there are a couple of downsides with this toy. Firstly, my dogs sometimes get their teeth stuck in the holes, but a simple head shake usually dislodges it for them. More annoyingly, however, these toys were made specia
                        lly as a promotional item for Winalot Shapes ? it was necessary to send away tokens to receive the toy free ? which was great at the time, but now means that this 'toy without equal' is not available in the shops. However, I would seriously recommend that you keep your eye on Winalot Shapes in your local supermarket in the hope that they offer this toy again, it is well, well worth saving up the tokens for! Tennis Balls: Though not specifically designed for dogs, tennis balls are cheap, lightweight and great fun for playing fetch. Dogs particularly like the way that tennis balls bounce, and the tactile feel of the furry yellow covering as they chew. However, on the down side, the fluffy covering is extremely easily ripped off, tennis balls really don?t last long with my dogs as they get chewed to pieces very quickly. They also have the same problem as the rope tugger, they get dirty, smelly and wet very easily. Still, as you can pick a tube of three tennis balls up for around £1, it isn?t a big hardship to just throw them away when they get too dirty or destroyed. Tennis ball-like toys are also available from pet shops in unusual shapes, such as cubes and sausage shapes. However, as these are just as easy to destroy as ordinary tennis balls, at a much higher price, I wouldn?t recommend them. Glow in the Dark Ball (available at Tesco): I?m sure that you must be able to buy glow in the dark dog toys at different outlets, I?m aware of another one that?s available in pet shops and made by Kong, but I?ve only actually seen this particular product at my local Tesco store. Unfortunately, I don?t remember the name of the manufacturer, however, this ball is well worth hunting for, as it is a definite bonus in the winter months. It?s reasonably large for a dog-ball, and a slightly odd pale green colour, as glow in the
                        dark items usually are. It?s made of a very hard plastic type substance, and is big enough for large dogs to play with without the fear of the ball being swallowed. It is so large that Mokee can only just pick it up, and sometimes has trouble dropping it again. This ball doesn?t bounce very well, but rolls nicely so is perfect for playing fetch. It is also very robust, so chewing normally doesn?t have much effect on it. However, the ball really comes into its own after dark, as its glow in the dark properties really make it excellent for playing fetch even on those pitch black, winter evenings when an outdoor game of fetch would?ve been impossible otherwise (and it?s really fun to watch the glow in the dark ball floating back to me, as my black dog carries it through the dark!) I was concerned when I bought this ball that it would stop glowing after a while, as glow in the dark items so often do, but it still glows just as brightly now as it did a year ago when it was new. I?ve only got one complaint about this ball, as Skittle has a habit of taking her toys into the garden and leaving them there. When she did this with the glow in the dark ball, bringing it in again a few weeks later, the plastic had degraded and perished slightly where it had been in direct sunlight, making it softer, and very easy for Mokee to get her teeth into. However, even with a hole chewed into it, the ball is still perfectly usable, and still glows just as much. This toys definitely comes highly recommended so long as your dog is large enough to actually pick it up, even though it?s relatively expensive at around £5.99, just make sure to keep it out of direct sunlight! Pedigree Rubber Toys: Pedigree (the makers of Pedigree Chum) make a good range of robust, rubber toys for dogs which are all durable, easy to carry and specially designed to meet the needs of your dog. I can?t recommend pe
                        digree toys highly enough, even though they come at a premium price. Skittle has had several of her Pedigree toys since she was a puppy, and they?re still in great shape, though they are now showing some signs of age, including fading (where they?ve been left in the garden for weeks at a time) they also have some small chunks missing from previous chewing sessions, but are actually still in remarkably good condition seven years on. Pedigree dog toys are made in various colours of really robust rubber, perfect for chewing, and excellent for playing fetch as toys such as the pedigree frame ball bounce really well, which my dogs adore! Other pedigree toys are made to fulfil other needs. The wavy rubber ring is perfect for throwing like a frisbee, and both of my dogs love to chomp on the dumbbell shaped toy, and the toy with four, ridged prongs. Whilst the bigger toys, like the frame ball, are best suited for larger dogs, other toys in the range are perfect for even the smallest of dogs, and they?re almost impossible to destroy. I?ve never, ever had to throw one of these toys away, and believe me my dogs have committed their best efforts over the years to chewing their pedigree toys to destruction. These toys come highly recommended from Skittle, Mokee and me. They might seem expensive to begin with, but they?re worth their weight in gold, and they?ll probably last longer than your dog? Frisbees: I have to admit that I?m not a fan of frisbees. Ordinary plastic ones designed for human play are very easily destroyed by canine munching. Those designed for dogs are usually far too light, or made from such an agreeably chewy substance that they?re far too easily destroyed. I?ve usually found that my dogs much prefer playing fetch with a more solid toy, too, as frisbees are really quite large and difficult for a dog to carry as they tend to flap about when they run and whack them on the le
                        gs too. So for me and my dogs frisbees are a no-no. Kong toys: Kong toys are now available in many different variants, including glow in the dark and Kong on a rope, however, the original is still the best in my opinion. Having said that, when Kong was originally introduced to our household, it was ignored for quite a long time. Kong is relatively heavy for it?s size, and the smooth, shiny surfaces and Christmas Tree-like design (that?s the nearest comparison I can think of for it!) make it difficult to play fetch with, or chew easily. Stuffing the Kong with biscuits didn?t result in any increased interest from my dogs, as they found the biscuits almost impossible to get out. However, through trial and error I eventually discovered that the Kong comes into its own when stuffed with cheese, tiny biscuits (or mixer) or meat, which is relatively easy, though time consuming for the dog to remove. A well-stuffed Kong will keep my dogs occupied for ages, as they thoroughly enjoying dragging every last morsel out of the toy. Kongs are also really easy to keep clean, a squirt of washing up liquid and some hot water and your away. Kongs are reasonably priced and available in a whole range of sizes ? the smallest starting at around £2.99. Like the Pedigree rubber toys, the Kong will probably outlast your dog. However, if a Kong is beyond your budget, ?Kong-alikes? can be found in many supermarkets, which are just as good but usually much cheaper. My dogs have a real Kong, and a similar toy made by a different manufacturer, and I can honestly say that they have no preference for either one. Both toys are equally robust, of a similar size, and just as enjoyable to play with. However, if you have more than one dog, I would strongly recommend that you buy them one of these toys each, otherwise you?re likely to have a fight on your hands w
                        hen a stuffed Kong is produced and your dogs all want it at once! Chewing Bone (Available from Sainsburys): Again, I can?t remember the brand of this particular toy, but it is sold in Sainsburys for around £7 or £8. It is in the shape of a bone, with a white exterior surrounding a pink or blue area of raised, rubber spikes, and it?s marketed as a perfect toy for aggressive chewers. It isn?t. Skittle had one of these bones for twenty minutes, and utterly destroyed it. I was particularly unhappy as many of the spikes had broken off, and apparently been swallowed by the dog. Full marks to Sainsburys, however, who gave me the money back immediately when I returned to the store with the heavily chewed bone half an hour after purchasing it. These toys should be avoided in my opinion, as they are most definitely NOT suitable for aggressive chewers. Skittle is hardly a Rotweiler, she?s small even for a Collie, but this toy literally fell apart as she chewed. A total waste of money that should be withdrawn from sale. Home Made Toys: Benefits of making your own dog toys are obvious, in that they?re cheap, disposable and easy to make. Toys can be made from many items such as balled up tights or socks, balls of paper, empty plastic pop bottles or even empty toilet roll tubes. However, personally I wouldn?t recommend home made toys for dogs, and there?s a very good reason why. Skittle was allowed to play with all of the home made toys mentioned above as a puppy, as we had very little money and had to make do! Although she?s an intelligent dog, if she can?t find one of her own toys, she?ll bring me anything she can find, and it?s not a pleasant experience to wake up in the morning to find one of your husbands smelly socks (or even worse, smelly pants) sharing a pillow with you, I can assure you! When I?
                        m dropping the dirty laundry over the banister Skittle still thinks it?s a game, and brings it back up to me? Yes, this was cute the first time, but every time?!! Also, although she?s more or less got the message now that she is only allowed to chew her own toys, there are still occasions when she?s destroyed something she shouldn?t, and she?s got a nasty habit of sticking her nose in the bin to retrieve toilet roll tubes and empty bottles that she?s sure we?ve thrown away by accident, which can be dangerous of course, as well as not particularly pleasant. So, all in all I?d advise against home made toys if you can help it. Footballs: These are great for particularly large dogs, but not so good for smaller dogs, who just can?t get the large balls into their mouths. However, if some of the air is let out of a football it makes it much easier for even quite a small dog to pick up and carry, and footballs are excellent for chewing, too. Skittle has had her football for a good couple of years, and although I would only recommend them as outdoor toys (they can do far too much damage indoors) a football can certainly be a lot of fun, and if they are slightly difficult for your dog to fetch and carry, it?s much more challenging for them (and if you?ve also got a Border Collie, you?ll know exactly how much they relish a challenge). Footballs can also be purchased extremely cheaply, or even free if you win one on a can of coke! Sticks: The stereotypical dog toy of every childrens? comic. However, playing with a stick is extremely dangerous, and highly unadvisable. It is incredibly easy for a dog to become impaled upon the sharp end of a stick, or to swallow sharp splinters, which could result in serious injury, and even death. I can?t state this firmly enough, but dogs and sticks together are a lethal combination. If you really, really must play with wood with
                        your dog, then choose a large, sturdy branch to throw instead. I?ve more or less covered the basic dog toys above, and my honest opinion on them all, however there are countless different variations on the dog toy, and the experiences that you and your dog have had with them may be very different to ours. I can only hope that you get some benefit from reading what the three of us have experienced.

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                          02.11.2002 00:01
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                          Our dogs have not always been paragons of virtue. In fact, they have both, in their time, been known as "the hound from hell". They're Rhodesian Ridgebacks, which, if you don't know them are a large dog originally bred to hunt lions in South Africa, a skill which is absolutely essential in the Yorkshire Dales. Rosie will be four years old tomorrow but at the peak of her Hell-Hound phase she ate three alarm clocks, hundreds of curtain hooks and metres of telephone cabling. Kia is just 14 months old and is still in the Hell-Hound year. Currently she'?s into resuscitating people, but if I'm walking about I think she ought to accept that it isn't medically necessary. Dogs act like this because they're bored, not because they'?re willful. Imagine leaving a child with no toys, or television, or books and expecting them to behave. It simply isn't going to happen. Well, dogs are no different. They need to be involved, to have their brains and their bodies working. Enter Kong, or Kongy as he is known in this household. In fact we'?re a multiple-Kongy household - I'll explain why in a minute. The best way I can describe Kongy is to say that he's a hollow cone, usually red, with Michelin-man ridges. There's quite a large hole at one end and a small one at the other. He comes in a variety of sizes, from the 70gr Small through to the King Kong at 580gr. So where did he come from? Well, Joe Markham had a German Shepherd Dog called Fritz, an ex-police dog who enjoyed chewing stones. His teeth were getting worn down. In an attempt to tempt Fritz away from his rather destructive hobby Markham tried to encourage him to play with parts from a Volkswagen Van. Yes, strange, I know, but when he gave him one of the suspension parts, Fritz forsook his stones. Whether he then started pursuing camper vans in an attempt to chew their suspension isn't recorded, but Joe Markham saw the pos
                          sibilities and in 1976 production of the Kong, made from a super-strong rubber formula, began. First of all you should choose your Kong with care. It needs to be too big for the dog to swallow but not so big that he could get his nose stuck inside it. Don't go by the height of the dog - look instead at the size of the jaws. There's a useful size chart at www.kongcompany.com/how2use1.html. The red Kong is virtually indestructible - two of ours are nearly four years old and although they're showing some signs of wear they're still useable - but if you feel that your dog is a particularly aggressive chewer you could go for the specially toughened black Kong. So, what can you do with Kongy? Well, you can throw him and his bounce is unpredictable, which means that a dog has to use his brain as well as his legs. A word of warning though - please make certain that you throw the Kong far enough away so that the dog can see where it is bouncing. If a dog jumps and twists to catch the Kong this can cause injury. You can roll him. He rolls in a circle. I can sense your excitement. No, Kongy's great attribute is that he can be stuffed with things to eat or drink and then given to the dog who will devote himself to extracting the food. Start off with something simple. Put a few pieces of broken dog biscuit into the Kong and let the dog extract them. He'll quickly learn the knack of getting the food out. The older of our dogs settles down with her paw holding the Kong firmly on its side so that she can loosen the biscuits. She'll then pick Kongy up and squeeze so that the biscuit falls out. Kia, on the other hand, lacks Rosie?s delicacy. She always starts by picking Kongy up and bouncing him to see what will fall out. When it gets particularly intractable she has been known to drop the Kong from the top of the stairs and she collects what falls out on her way down. Once the dog has got the i
                          dea it's time to move on to providing a bit more of a challenge. Both of our dogs love fruit and vegetables and their favourite Kong menu is a small plug in the bottom of the smelliest, sweaty-feet cheese that you can find, topped with a mixture of carrots, red peppers, grape and apple with everything held firmly in place with a plug of a soft cheese. For variety I'll also include things like dried fruit, cooked pasta, banana and their favourite - dry cat food. I often save a little of whatever food we're having - generally only a teaspoonful between the two dogs - but a little fish or meat under the vegetables can make for a very tasty interlude. I occasionally do a cooked Kongy. This is usually when we've had a family breakfast and there's some scrambled egg left over. I add in a few vegetables and put the mixture into the Kong. A small amount of cheese is sprinkled on top and this is then microwaved on high for 20 seconds. You must allow this to cool completely as the cheese can burn the dog's nose and tongue. If you haven't got any scrambled egg just pop a favourite mixture of biscuit and vegetable into a bowl and mix with some grated cheese. Stuff the Kongy and microwave for 20 seconds. I stand the Kongs in a cup when I microwave them. In summer I do frozen Kongies. Plug the end and then fill with chicken stock, or gravy or even water, stand the Kong in a cup and freeze. On a hot day a dog will love to lie in the shade and drink the liquid as it melts. I wouldn't try this in the house though - it makes an awful mess. I'm sure that you'll think up ideas for your own dog - you'll know what he loves to eat. Just remember to put the smelliest food towards the bottom so that the dog remains enthusiastic until he's cleaned the Kong. I give the Kongs to the dogs if I'm going out or if I'm expecting them to stay in one room for quite a time. It's a us
                          eful distraction when we've got visitors. It can take 15 or 20 minutes to clean out a well-stuffed Kong and by that time they've entirely forgotten about what else is going on and will settle down quite happily. A full tummy helps this too! When we've had an enthusiastic puppy who needs to get rid of a bit of energy I put a length of cord through the smaller hole in the Kong, fill it with something just a bit sticky and then suspend the Kong so that it's just about at the height of the puppy?s head. Quite a lot of energy will be absorbed in trying to extract the food! All of this works best with dogs who are not overfed. If food is constantly available in a bowl no dog is going to waste time trying to extract it from Kongy's innards. Our dogs' minds are concentrated wonderfully on the task of eating as each knows that if a meal is not finished quickly assistance will be given by the other. It's just about unknown for any food to stay in a bowl for longer than five minutes! Be sure that your dog's food allowance is reduced by the amount of food you put in the Kong or you'll soon end up with a dog that looks like the Michelin Man! We have four Kongs in total and each dog will usually have a couple of Kongies in the course of the day. I'm conscious that putting food into something that's been licked by an enthusiastic dog and rolled around the floor isn't particularly hygienic so each night a load goes through the dishwasher which is limited to all the dogs' food and drinking bowls, the chopping boards, knives and spoons and the Kongs. They haven't suffered from being in the dishwasher, microwave or freezer. Bearing in mind that we are dealing with an animal that regularly licks its own backside I do sometimes wonder if all this cleanliness is perhaps misplaced! You should expect to pay from £3.10 for the smallest Kong to £10.75 for the largest size and you'll find
                          them at most good pet shops. I wouldn't recommend making an initial purchase online as you really do need to look at the size of the Kong in relation to the size of your dog's jaw. Happy stuffing! (Please ignore the ratings below - they don't seem relevant!)

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                            16.08.2001 00:20
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                            I have got two female Chihuahua's, one is four years old and the other is just over a year old. During both of their first years, they used to be very playful, I always found it easy to buy toys for them to play with, I used to buy them all different kinds of toys, such as balls, squeaky toys, and soft toys, and they would play with them all day long. But now I find that I have a problem as they both seem to be past their playing stages. Every time I go out I see different toys which I buy in the hope that they will both play with them. I have bought squeaky phones, and animals, I even bought them a ball that you put nuts in and as it rolls along the nuts drop out for them to eat. But nothing I have bought keeeps them amused, I am now left with a big box of dog toys that they won't play with. Last month my daughter went for a day trip to Skeggy (Skegness), and come back with a toy for each one. She got a mouse for Candy, the mouse has a piece of string on it, and when it is pulled, the mouse vibrated. Candy loved this toy, and believe it or not, she can work the string all by herself, clever or what. For Cindy, she bought a ginger cat, when the cat is pressed it miows just like a real cat, Cindy can also work this toy buy herself, and she can amuse herself for hours with it. These toys never ended up in the bottom of a box, like the others. Altogether the two toys cost around £10, but to me it is a real bargain, as it is nice to see them having fun. It has given them a new lease of life. I would just like to mention, that if anyone is worried about me giving my dogs soft toys, my dogs are very small, and delicate, and don't rip toys up, so there is no danger what so ever to them. However I wouldn't recommend buying these toys for a large dog, in case of injury.

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