No matter what dog breed you have, playing and chewing are natural canine behaviours.
This is where dog toys come in. They are essential to provide our dogs with a proper outlet to their instincts. In fact, your pooch can develop many behaviour problems when his mental and physical needs are not met.
When it comes to dog toy options, they are endless.
That’s why choosing toys for your furry friend can be overwhelming. And you might end up with a bunch of toys gathering dust because your dog has disregarded them.
So, how do you choose a dog toy that your pooch will actually like?
It’s time to find out!
P.S.: Don’t miss the table below which matches dog groups and breeds to activities and toys.
Many doggies love fetching frisbees. Others enjoy chasing after unpredictable bouncy balls.
But dog moms face a challenge when they are not sure what toys their pups like or what is adequate for them.
Follow these 5 steps to discover what toy your dog loves.
Your dog’s toy preference depends highly on her personal style of playing and chewing. This is dictated by the dog’s breed.
Most dogs have been bred for a specific trait or job. As a result, some instincts have gone through further development than others.
This means your dog has specific instinctive behaviours and is why not all dogs play the same way.
Start with this fill-in-the-blank question to assess your dog’s instinct:
“Is my dog a …?”
“Think about the amazing senses that your pet at home has andHeather Bacon, BSc BVSc CertZooMed MRCVS.
how your dog spends his or her day. What could you do to engage your dog senses and use those unique abilities in a more challenging and interesting way, to improve the welfare of your pet?”
Using my dog toy finder, you’ll quickly discover which toy would best suit your dog.
If you are not sure what your dog’s playing style is yet…
This table can help you understand your dog’s natural instincts and what activities, games and toys she might prefer, according to what dog group your pooch belongs,
|BREEDS||SENSE, INSTINCT||GAME, ACTIVITY, TOY|
|Puzzle toys, |
|Flying disc, |
|Jack Russells, |
|Pest control.||Tug, digging, |
|Bichons Frises, |
Shiba Inus, etc.
|No longer |
the duties for which
|Pointers, Setters, |
walking and hiking.
Also, therapy dogs, assistance dogs, and search and rescue dogs.
Dogues de Bordeaux,
Saint Bernards, etc.
|Performing specific tasks for their owners.||Obedience|
Miniature Pinschers, Papillons, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, etc.
|Companion.||Squeaky toys, tricks and games.|
P.S. Use the guide in my dog toy finder for ideas for your dog’s group and instincts!
When choosing a toy, your dog’s age is a key consideration:
Be sure to buy toys of appropriate size for your dog:
As a general rule, when choosing a toy’s size make sure your pooch can carry the toy easily whilst also checking that it’s not small enough to become a choking hazard.
For example, fetch balls should be large enough to carry, but not too small that your dog can swallow them. Herding balls should be big enough that your dog can push them easily.
Use the guide in my favourite dog toys for a complete range of toy options depending on breed traits and preferences.
I’m sure you’ll agree that safety is a top priority and should never be neglected, so you want to make sure that your dog’s toys are “dog-proof”:
Also, follow these last two safety tips for safe play:
According to a study by researchers at the University of Bristol’s Veterinary School, novelty is the most important quality in a toy.
The study, published in the animal behaviour journal Animal Cognition, researched dog’s preferences on toys.
Here are 2 interesting parts of the study that I found interesting and that you should know about:
“Because we think that dogs perceive toys in the same way that wolves perceive prey, they prefer toys that either taste like food or can be torn apart. However the latter can cause health problems if the dog accidentally swallows some of the pieces.”John Bradshaw, study co-author and University of Bristol Veterinary School researcher.
“The perfect toys should be soft, easily manipulable toys that can be chewed easily and/or make a noise. Dogs quickly lose interest in toys with hard, unyielding surfaces, and those that don’t make a noise when manipulated.”Anne Pullen, study co-author and researcher at University of Bristol.
However, regardless of the characteristics of a toy, dogs were more likely to go for the toy that was new versus the toy they had already played with.
That’s why monthly toy services can be a great option. They provide a variety of new toys and treats each month. Find out more at my favourite toys and treats solution.
Finally, the research team concluded that when we get involved with the toys, our dogs have way more of an attention span. 🙂
“For an animal as social as a dog, toys only become really excited when they are part of a game with a person. Few toys will sustain a dog’s interest for long if the owner is not around to offer encouragement.”John Bradshaw, study co-author and University of Bristol Veterinary School researcher.
Here’s a list of some toys to consider:
And don’t forget that with my favourite dog toys guide, you’ll discover more about toys for each dog instinct and which toys are suitable for your furry companion.
When it comes to toys, I am an advocate for tidying up dog toys after playing for many reasons: