Dog toys are intended to enhance the life of you and your dogs, and each one of your dogs will have a different approach to each toy. In a Multi dog household it is sometimes difficult to keep toys around, so it is important to consider what kind of toys are good for each of your dogs and, to purchase toys that are durable, safe and of quality. You absolutely do not want to give toys that are worth fighting over.
I Love Dog Toys that my dogs love! Having said that, I do not love some of the things that my dogs do with their toys, especially destroying them. Stuffed toys occasionally make their way into my home, only to be quickly un-stuffed and de-squeaked, but if the outside of the toy is made from a durable fabric, like canvas, and it is large enough, this toy can go on to become a fine outside toy that can be tugged, shaken, buried and drug around. And if I have a couple of old un-stuffed toys I can tie them together in a knot and maybe even put a squeaker back in.
Chew Toys and bones are a requisite for the multi dog household, but a few things to keep in mind:
- Always supervise when initially giving out new chew items. After a few days the new bones will loose their initial appeal and they will be available for general chewing..
- Always provide more then the number of dogs that you have.
- Stay Away from chew toys that can be easily eaten by any members of your pack. Besides being loaded with chemicals and empty calories, things like rawhides, bully sticks, and pig ears can cause coveting and guarding.
- Choose Items that are designed for the largest dog(s) that you have … or bigger! Once any toy gets small enough to cause a choking or ingesting problem for any of your dogs….. THROW it OUT!
My Favorite Treat to give my pack of dogs is Antlers. I prefer Moose antlers as most manufacturers use naturally shed antlers, Moose Antlers are also the hardest of the three antlers that are commonly used. Elk Antlers are not quite as hard and can splinter, and deer antlers are the softest and most common. My dogs will grind away on an antler for hours, and my moose antlers will last for months.
Nylabones are also a very good option, and in a multi dog household, a variety should be available.
Teaching your dogs to love to chew on antlers or Nylabones is easy if you already have a chewer. If your dog likes to chew on inappropriate things, the key is to make the Antler more appealing then your furniture or shoes, by redirecting your dog to it and showing him how happy you are to give it to him. Show our dog the new “bone” , talk happy talk and Physically hand the Antler to your dog and tell him “bone, get the bone”. You can purchase antlers that are flavored, and/or you can even spread a small amount of Peanut butter or cheese spread on the antlers. While your dog is preoccupied with checking out his new bone, and not watching you, now is the time to spray or wipe some deterrent on the object that was getting chewed. I like to use Bitter Orange
Things that squeak.
It is a mystery to me why, when given a toy with a squeaker in it, most dogs have to get that squeaker out ASAP.. So I stay away from stuffed toys with squeakers, but we love toys that squeak and have no stuffing. Two of my agility dogs have “special” balls that we use only for training that squeak, and for every day playing we use kong squeak air balls. Toys that are made of fabric, no stuffing, just squeakers are a favorite in my house. Plush Puppies snakes are large enough for tugging, and are fun to carry and squeak.
Ropes and Tugs
Years ago, I ended up with two puppies in one summer, both were rescues, one a German Shepherd and the other a little beagle mix. The beagle, Bandit, was a little older then the Shepherd, Bailey and for a little while they were the same size. One day, while I was peacefully managing the barn work, and they were entertaining each other, they got rather quiet in a stall. As I peeked around the corner to see what they were up to, they both stopped and looked back at me… each one hanging onto the end of a bailing twine. I took the bailing twine, added a couple more tied it into a bunch of knots, and it became our first rope tug toy. Tug Toys have come a long way , but the appeal to dogs is amazing. Fleece tug toys and tugs made with ropes come in a variety of combinations. Many in the Agility world use fleece or rope leashes that dogs can tug and pull, but in a multidog house hold a heavy duty rope tug out in the playing field can give your dogs a chance to play keep away with each other, and you can join in shake and tug and throw and let them run and have fun with a sturdy toy that will be around for a long time.
Power of the Toy
Remember that all the toys ultimately belong to you. You worked hard to buy your dogs the best toys, that would last long and play hard. Train your dogs with a release word, so that when fun time is over, you can put away the toys that are “special”. With the use of a high value treat in one hand, grab hold of the toy that is in your dogs mouth and tell him “give” or ” trade” or what ever you want your release word to be. When your dog releases the toy for the treat, give him the treat and place the toy out of sight .
Enjoy your dogs daily, have fun with them and remember to let them see you play!