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Dog Toys: How to Figure Out What Your Dog Likes Best

By: Renae Hamrick, RVT

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Fetching Dogs

Are you greeted at the door by a dog with an offering, such as shoe? Does your dog have excess energy to burn and love to run? Do you toss a banana peel in the trash only to have it returned at your feet?! Yes... A game of fetch is in order!

There are many toys for playing fetch... rope toys, Kongs, tennis balls, stuffed animals... they all work great. However, there are some designed especially for fetch.

GoDogGo and Chuckit! are made to throw tennis balls long distances and wear your dog out, not you! GoDogGo is a battery powered, remote controlled, tennis ball launcher. You select the distance of the toss, press the button, and watch your dog run. Chuckit! is a plastic catapult-type thrower powered by you which allows you to throw the tennis ball long distances with ease. It also allows a hands-free ball pick-up so you don't have to bend over only to be slimed by a yucky ball.

Frisbees are a classic which are great for talented dog/owner fetching teams! Not all dogs are proficient Frisbee catchers and picking up a Frisbee from the ground can be a challenge for some dog jaws. There are Frisbees made especially for dogs which are durable and gentle on a dog's mouth.

Floating retrievable toys are available for the dog who loves to fetch in the water. They are easy to clean, easy to spot in the water, and you don't have to worry about your playful pup diving underwater to snag his toy!

Creative Dogs

Is your pooch an Einstein? Has he devised a plan to steal a snack from the cupboard or the refrigerator? Does he get easily bored or lonely during down-time? Yes... Your dog is brainy and needs a toy to utilize his smarts.

Treat balls make your dog think and work to get a snack. Load the ball with treats when you are leaving for work or when you are busy and can't entertain your needy canine, and he will be occupied by the challenge his toy presents. The ball must be rolled about for the treats to be dispensed from the openings. Your dog will be mentally stimulated, and he will be physically exercised.

Kong toys that are hollow on the inside are also great for treat stuffing. Peanut butter works especially well in Kongs; your dog will be entertained licking the sticky treat out of the toy. When he is done, the rubber Kong can be easily washed with soap and water.

The Joy of Toys

Even the most sophisticated dog has a fun, playful spirit. Just like all children need toys to entertain, enrich, and exercise their bodies and minds, so do dogs. Provide your furry child with multiple appropriate, safe toys. Rotate them; put some away and get different toys out each week so your pet doesn't get bored. Though toys are great to occupy your dog when you are busy, don't miss the opportunity to appreciate your dog's playful energy. Use the toys to bond with him, play with him, and laugh with him.

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