Creative Dog Toys Help Alleviate Boredom

The old adage that a tired dog is a happy dog is all too true.
And even more to the point, you could say that a mentally
stimulated dog is a well-behaved dog. Boredom is often the root
cause for a whole bunch of behavioral problems such as chewing
things in the home, destroying furniture, digging holes, self-
mutilation or even barking constantly. If your dog is exhibiting
any of these chronic traits, chances are your dog is bored. And
boredom almost always leads to trouble. Here’s some ways to

To better understand your dog and help to maintain a good
temperament, you have to realize that dogs like to work. They
also like to play. They like to be involved. They also need a
certain amount of physical exercise EVERY day. And they like to
do it with you! Dogs, as you well know, are pack animals that
crave interaction with other living things. Since your dog no
longer has a pack of dog playmates, you and the rest of your
family are the defacto pack. It’s your responsibility to care
for your dog’s mental well-being just as much as it is to care
for her physical well-being. Putting the dog out in the yard
by itself with a squeaky toy just doesn’t cut it.

The point of this article will be to help you identify a class
of indoor dog toys that elevates your dog’s play to a new level.
We all have limited time, right? So if you’re going to play with
your dog or encourage them to amuse themselves for a bit, the dog
toys we’ll discuss will help you maximize playtime as well as
the mental stimulation your dog receives. These dog toys will
improve your dog’s indoor playtime beyond simple throw and fetch
games or basic tug and play games.

The Hide A Toy Series

The Kygen company makes an adorable set of “hide and seek” dog
toys called “Hide a Squirrel’, “Hide a Bee” and “Hide a Bird”.
Each plush dog toy includes three squeaky toys that “hide” in a
plush base: tree trunk, hive, or bird house. The object of the
game is to get your dog excited about getting the 3 squeaky toys
out of their plush base. Dogs that like to dig and gut their
plush toys will love this innovative dog toy. Only with this
toy, it lives to play another day!. And once the dog succeeds in
removing all 3 squeaky toys you can stuff them back in (squeaking
them like crazy to get your dog excited) and have them work at it
again. I think this is a great dog toy for smaller dogs under
40lbs. Perfect for any type of terrier, for sure. Great toy
for all puppies, too. Helps develop a dog’s thinking and puzzle-
solving skills.

Egg Babies

A similar line of seek and destroy dog toys are the Egg Babies.
Also made by the Kygen company, these cute plush animals (ducks,
fish, turtles, dinosaurs, etc) have a velcro slit up the center
of their stomachs with 3 squeaky eggs inside. This is also the
perfect activity toy for smaller dogs (under 40lbs) or puppies
who enjoy gutting their toys. Except that with these clever dog
toys, you can simply reinsert the eggs and press the velcro back
together and the fun starts all over again without having to
break out the needle and thread.

Treat Toys

While Kongs have lead the way as a must-have chew/treat toy in
your dog’s toy box for years, a couple of lesser known treat toys
I like include the Buster Cube and the Havaball. The Buster Cube
is a hard plastic cube that comes in two sizes, one for smaller
dogs (20lbs and under) and one for larger dogs (20lbs – 80lbs).
The cool thing about the Buster Cube is that you can adjust the
difficulty level to make it harder or easier for the treats or
kibble to come out of the toy. As your dog gets better at
getting the treats out, you can increase the difficulty to
keep your dog challenged.

The Havaball is a personal favorite because unlike the Buster
Cube, the Havaball is a grooved rubber ball that not only
dispenses treats but helps to clean your dog’s teeth and gums
just by playing with it. By biting the slits in the ball, the
teeth sink into the grooves helping to clean the teeth and
stimulate the dog’s gums, all the while dispensing treats.
Havaball is also sold under the Kong brand as the Kong Treat
ball. Same toy, different licensing. It also comes in four
sizes for toy breeds all the way up to extra large dogs and
even includes two sizes of black ultra-tough rubber versions
for really tough chewers.

All these innovative dog toys can bring an added dimension to
your dog’s play time. What they each have in common is the
ability to reward your dog as the task is completed, whether
it’s removing certain parts or being able to dispense treats.
Participating in this type of mentally stimulating play will help
calm your canine by allowing them to divert some of their excess
energy to something positive and interesting. Something that
gives them positive feedback just by playing with them. And
with ALL dog toys, we recommend you supervise your dog’s play
and discard any broken pieces that may break off over time.


Article Written By:
Gene R. Sower
Lucy The Wonder Dog, LLC
“For The Health & Wellness of Your Dog”
Copyright © April 2005

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