Dog toys

There are many different types of dog toys and we stock a wide range of products – more than just tennis balls! – but what suits your pooch will depend on her natural instincts, so we have complied a breakdown to help you choose the right ones.

Food dispensers

Mental stimulation is one of the most exhausting activities a dog can do, so making them work for treats is one of the easiest ways of keeping your dog happy and entertained. Just be careful that you don’t overfeed your dog and cut back on the normal daily allowance if you are regularly loading a treat dispenser for him.

Kongs dog playing with a kongare perhaps the most tried-and-tested products and are rubber cones which can be stuffed with anything (see our Kong recipes here and here). They come in various sizes and chewing strength required, so bring your dog in and we can find the right one for you. If your dog likes it, consider buying two so you can always have one stuffed and in the freezer, ready to go.

Dogs really have to use their brains to get food out of the Tug a Jug as treats are stored in a bottle and are only dragged out as the dog pulls the rope.
Buster ActivityMatIf your dog loves these type of toys, then you can introduce a puzzle dispenser where the dog has to open the treat pockets in a variety of ingenious ways. We stock a wide range of brain games from Trixie and Nina Otterson, but perhaps our best selling toy of this type is the Buster Activity Mat.

Not only does it fold up into its own neat little travel bag, but once you have purchased the mat, you can add new games at a relatively low cost and you can mix and match the combinations to always keep your dog guessing.

Tug toys

GallyTug toys are robust two way games to simulate a tug of war between you and your dog. They are a popular alternate to food rewards for those of you taking your dog to agility classes. The Kong rope animals are a good option as they have two handles, but any strong rope-based toy works well.

As tug toys are interactive, they are best kept out of sight until you are ready to play with your dog so that the perceived value of the toy is increased. Some owners are concerned that this type of play can encourage aggression, but you simply have to set rules around the play – if your dog’s teeth travel beyond halfway, the game stops. Don’t forget to let your dog win occasionally and allow him to run around parading the toy as a prize.

Ratting toys

Any soft toy which squeaks or crunches when the dog chews on it will simulate the kill of the natural prey drive. Shake-a-frog (or badger, or pheasant) are great options as they don’t have any stuffing and can be easily tossed in the air or shaken in the mouth, while some of these types of toys have an opening to insert an empty drinks bottle to mimic the sound of bones crunching.

Things to fetch

s&f chewballCollies and retrievers naturally love to chase and return items to their owner, but other dogs too love a good game of fetch. Dogs with this natural tendency often have good recall and are great at flyball.

You can buy any number of balls (and probably will as they invariably get lost in the park), and lobbers certainly help your dog cover good ground when chasing the ball, but you could also consider an oval rugby-shaped ball for an unpredictable bounce. Alternately, mix things up with a frisbee which your dog will have more trouble to accurately predict the line of flight – the Durafoam one won’t hurt your dog’s teeth like hard plastic types. While you can usually find a never-ending supply of sticks to throw in the park, they are not very safe as your dog can easily trip and cause injury to his mouth or, worse, throat with splinters. Instead, why not throw a Kong Safestix which is a rubber version which floats if your dog likes to follow a stick into the water.

Chew toysstagbars

You shouldn’t leave your dog unsupervised with chew toys, but there are a wide variety of options if your pooch likes something to chew. Puppies do well with teething rings when they are losing their baby teeth, but adult dogs still love to chew. Rather than losing your favourite pair of shoes to his insatiable desire, try offering a range of natural products, such as tendons, rawhides and stagbars and antlers.

Stuffed toys

Some dogs will tear a stuffed toy apart in a matter of seconds, but other dogs will love snuggling up to a stuffed animal and can’t go to bed without their favourite teddy bear.

Why not bring your dog to either of our stores in Aylesbury or Winslow and see which products she would prefer.

Written by: Lucy Ellis