Introducing new Puppy Toys and Chews
Puppy toys and a variety of chews are essential to keep your puppy mentally happy and out of too much mischief!
However, when giving your dog any new item, please supervise to check he/she is safe
to be left with it. Some dogs eat anything!
The above items are described in the order from top left going clockwise.
As above, please remember that when you give your puppy (or any age of dog) a new toy or chew you must always supervise to ensure he or she is not going to:
- Destroy any new toy.
- Eat something unsuitable which may injure your dog.
Also, of course, decide if your pup’s health is good enough to deal with any new food items. Always err on the side of caution and introduce any new food items in small amounts and supervise to ensure your dog does not choke on any new chews.
Items in the above photo
Rice bone: These are good for pups to chew and eat. I cut them in half so you don’t have to over-feed. You can also put them in the freezer to make them last longer and to soothe new teeth coming through.
Vegetable chew: These are used in the same way as rice bones.
Nylabone puppy chews: These two small puppy sized fake bones are good for pups to chew on. The one on the left can have little bits chewed off as your dog’s teeth and jaws are bigger/stronger it so I stop giving this once you notice your pup can do this but the one to the right of it is much harder and cannot usually be destroyed until your dog is much older or if you have a dog with much stronger jaws.
Adult nylabone: This is a large plastic bone which most dogs are OK with. They are very hard and your dog should only be able to make small dents in it but should not be able to bite off any large bits.
Commercially treated bone: A real bone which has been cleaned so is safe for your pup. They come from pet shops with some filling inside but I remove that as it will be full of additives usually and instead I fill with my own ideas – see my play-biting article. Most dogs also just enjoy a chew on this bone even without any filling in.
Please do not buy the baked bones which allow dogs to bite off pieces – they can splinter
(and never give your dog any sort of cooked bone).
Deer’s antler: There is some controversy over these as I have heard one vet say they are too hard for dog’s teeth but I give them and have not had problems. Buy the size suitable for your dog. They can chew pieces of these and digest them but it should happen in small bits which do not risk injury. If your dog is able to bite off large bits you have probably given too small a size and you will need to bin that one and buy a larger size but supervise to check safe. Once any of these are reduced in size then throw them away before they can be a choking risk or an increased risk of larger pieces being swallowed.
Smoked bone: This is again a commercially treated and cleaned bone but with more flavour. I would suggest not giving on your best carpet – they smell quite strongly smoky and leave bacon coloured marks!
Rope tug toy: Your dog can play with this alone or with you. However, regarding toys you play with your dog with, it is a good idea to have a few toys which your dog only has access to when you are playing with him/her – partly to ensure best toys are not trashed but also to ensure you have some toys which your dog is crazy about and can then be used as rewards in training.
Kong: Most dog owners know about these now and you can buy a variety of sizes. You can stuff with a variety of food treats and give at room temperature or frozen – again, see my play-biting document.
Busy Buddy Twist and Treat: Another way to have dogs work for their food and so give some mental and physical entertainment by filling with food and twisting the toy so that your dog has to push and tip over the toy to get the food to fall out. There is a smaller version of this available to the size shown.
Rope knot: As the rope toy above but bigger and stronger so less able to be chewed. Top tip: these are heavy so do not throw and have it land on your dog’s head! I speak from experience …
Plastic puppy chew with rope: A favourite of my most recent pup’s as she can chew on the hard plastic and also the rope.
Some special toys for you to play with your pup with
These are just a few of the special toys I play with my own dog with:
Rubber figure 8: Good for teaching tug and ‘leave.’ The tug game must be played sensibly and only by adults until training is at a very good level. Contrary to some opinions on this, it does not make a dog aggressive but you do need to watch out for any signs of a dog becoming too excited or treating it as a competition. Most dogs do not want to rule the world, or your household, but just enjoy a good game of tug. There are a few however who are not best suited to this game either because they do play too competitively or they just become too excited. If this happens with your dog then I would suggest a one-to-one session to look at how best to play with your dog and improve his/her manners and training.
Rope toy: As above in previous photo although you can get much bigger versions of this toy. Remember to keep some special toys only for play time with you.
Shake-a-Pheasant (brand name): There are a number of ‘animals’ in this style and they all have a squeak so definitely do not leave this with your dog unsupervised as the squeaks are quite small and a risk of choking. A great toy to tuck in your pocket and take on a walk as they squish up small and also dry quickly on a wet day. The squeak helps get your dog’s attention too.
Tuff-e-nuff.co.uk stretchy tope tug toy: A good strong tug toy which has a handle at one end so very comfy to play with. You can also get a similar Fun with Fido toy which has Velcro at the end so you can put a food treat it in to get even more attention.
Cute and Cuddly – for snuggles and games
And include a few soft toys for your little friends. Please make sure they are safe dog toys, eg, no children’s toys which might have eyes which come off and could be swallowed. These soft toys can be for your pup to snuggle up to in bed and you may also want to keep some for special play-time, in which case you will need to keep them safely tucked away from your pup unless you are supervising.
As above, always supervise with any new toy. The fish toy above had a squeaky ball in its mouth but I removed this as it was too small and could get stuck in a dog’s throat so I removed it and sewed up the toy but my pup still loved holding it, squeezing it and chucking ‘Freddy Fish’ around …
Another fun thing to do with toys is to teach your dog the names of some toys – do this one toy at a time to keep things simple. You can start with things like, “Get Teddy,” as you throw out the teddy toy and then after a week or so of doing that switch to a different toy and repeat with a different name for a week and then see if your dog can choose the right one on command when you lay out both toys. A simple tip for success is to decide which is your dog’s favourite toy and send your dog for that one first so you can reward the success. When you switch to send for the other toy then place that toy closest to the dog and point to it. Don’t forget to reward well for getting this right. If things go wrong, have a think about it and see how you can make things easier for your dog to get it right – always a good idea in any dog training.
As mentioned above, you may also like to read more information on how to keep your puppy or older dog mentally entertained by reading my play-biting document.
Happy shopping and playing with your dogs …
© 2018 Sally Bartlett
Co-operative Canines Dog Training and Behaviour