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How to create a simple homemade toy for your dog

Updated on August 13, 2013
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A toy and a dog. What do they have in common? A whole lot.

Toys and dogs are almost inseparable entities. We need them to keep our dogs occupied while we cook, clean and look after the other members of the family. This is especially true of dogs of a more hyperactive nature; chewing a toy gives it something to do.

Toys are also used for reinforcing good behaviors and to stimulate a dog’s mental development. We cannot do without them when teaching our dogs basic commands of “sit”

“fetch”, and so on. Canines are very much like children, learning through play and toys provide great stimuli.


New pet owners would definitely want to consider a few details when choosing a good toys for their new puppies. Those who are concerned with expense and are inclined to be hands on may also be interested in making simple toys for their dogs.

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My dogs’ dependency on toys

When I said that dogs and toys were dependent on each other, I really was not joking. My Westie, Cloudy, has gained dominion over my stuffed bears, pigs, dogs - name any stuffed animal at home and it has probably got her name on it. We even had a huge stuffed dog that she used to sleep on and felt insecure without.

She recently had a flea infestation that forced us to dispose of all her toys, since a few ticks had made the huge stuffed dog their home. Of course, little Cloudy did not take to that kindly and pawed persistently at the side of the bed at night. It took a bit of nose tapping and “nos” before she once again settled down without the toys around.

My older dog, Misty, began whining because the stuffed toys were no longer there. Again, it took a bit of nose tapping and “nos’ before she settled down.

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What makes a suitable toy for your dog

It is quite easy and tempting to allow your dog to chew on anything that you may find and give to him. Pet owners, though, have to ask themselves a few questions before buying or giving their dog that toy. These are common sens

Is it safe?

The toy that you choose to allow your dog to chew on should not be something too small. The likelihood of it becoming part of his digestive system is raised with diminished size. Avoid giving him things like old pieces of lego to play with as it would most certainly invite disaster.

What is my dog’s size?

Big dogs would not derive a sense of enjoyment playing with toys designed for smaller dogs and vice versa. They would destroy the toys quickly and become bored.

Is it interactive?

Take into account what your dog enjoys doing. If your dog is the sort who likes playing fetch, a rubber ball is an excellent toy. Some dogs, however, love chewing, like my dog, Cloudy. Chew toys and bones that are safe should be on hand for him to nibble on. These also help reduce instances of bad breath.

Can the toy teach my dog something or keep my dog occupied?

Dog toys with treats in them can be used to both keep a dog occupied and teach the basic obedience prompts (sit, stay, fetch). If your dog is sort of demands a lot of attention, toys with treats can give him something to do for hours on end while you get other things done.

Is it expensive?

Owners who have old toys belonging to their children and wish to pass them to their dogs may do so, but do exercise caution as to WHAT toy you are giving him. Some toys, like beach balls, are suitable for games of fetch and are great for children and dogs to interact with.If the toy is too small it can be easily swallowed.

Alternatively, you may consider making inexpensive toys for your dog. This article will later describe how this can be done.

Be Careful!

It is essential to be careful not to let your dog have access to unsafe toys that he can swallow. If you have a more dominant, aggressive dog at home, dominance-aggression games like tug of war should not be played as they tend to encourage the dog to exercise dominance over its owner.

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Types of dog toys

You will want to keep your dog busy with a toy while something is being done or when guests who are afraid of dogs come for a visit. These toys will give you the freedom to do other things while keeping your dog distracted, at least for a little while.

The Kong

The kong is a chew toy made of almost indestructible rubber. It was originally based on a Volkswagen bus suspension device which the creator’s German Shepherd found hard to say no to. These toys can be stuffed with a wide variety of yummies within and your dog can spend hours trying to prise it open for them. These are not widely manufactured now, but you can occasionally search Dogopolis KongTime Automatic Dog Toy Dispenser on ebay.

Amos plays with Bob a lot

The bob-a-lot

Weighted on the bottom, the bob-a-lot wobbles around like inflatable bop bags or toys. The yellow part of it can be screwed off, so you can easily put dog treats within. You may even put entire meals in it and mealtime can last for a long time, occupying Fido while you get the grocery shopping done.

A sheltie playing with a tricky treat ball

The tricky treat ball

The tricky treat ball is very similar to the bob-a-lot. A single hole on top allows you to put any treats within. They fall out as your dog pushes it along. He will continue to play with it even after the treats are all finished in the hope that there is still one there.

An akita playing with a tug a jug

Tug a jug

The tug-a-jug unscrews at the bottom, allowing you to put dry food inside. It comes out through a hole at the top with a rope attached. Dogs have fun tugging and eating. When the rope frays, sticking an old unwanted sock for your pup to chew on does the same job too.

Daschund playing with Waggle

The waggle

Put dry food into the barbell shaped waggle and bits will fall out as your dog shakes it or rolls it about. Again, it keeps Fido occupied for longer stretches.

Dog plays with a dog casino

The dog casino

No, no, we are not encouraging Fido to gamble. Designed by Nina Ottosson, it is an excellent, interactive dog puzzle toy. Your dog has to figure out how to remove the bone shaped light blue pegs by pulling out the drawers. Work with your dog first until he learns how to remove the drawers on his own. Have fun watching him solve puzzles.

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Which is your favorite of all the dog toys here?

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Making your own dog toy

If you have a small dog and have an instinct for crafts, making this would be ideal for you.

Here are five simple steps you can take to make your own toy.

Get 2 sizes of plastic Easter eggs.

Get plastic eggs of two sizes, making sure that they are not too small for your dog to swallow.

Get your dog’s favorite treat.

Prepare kibble or any dog treat that Fido enjoys to put in the smaller egg.Make sure that he sees that you are about to put the treat into the egg so that he will want to play with it.

Put the smaller egg into the larger one.

Make sure Fido sees you put the small egg into the large one to get him motivated to play.

Tape it shut.

Let your dog chew on it and try to remove it for a while, After a while, remove the tape.

Conclusion

Whether you choose to make them or buy them, toys are a useful way to distract your dog or teach him a skill or two. Have fun preparing a present for Fido if you have not already gotten him one for the season!

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    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hi Sasha! Yes, you're great with crafts/.. do one for your dogs!! Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      I have linked how to Cheer Up a Dog to this article as well! Thanks Mark, hope to connect more with you over further dog hubs too.

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 4 years ago

      Lovely hub Michelle ^_^ I especially like your idea for making your own dog toy... I happen to have some easter eggs in the house ^_^ Thank you! Voting a bunch ^_^

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      I would like to link back to this excellent hub in my new hub on "How to cheer up a dog". Getting a new toy is one of the ways to get a dog out of depression, and this outlines the options really well.

      Thanks. I really enjoyed reading this again.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hi, Glimmer Twin Fan! Nice to know your dog loves the kong. A toy to keep them occupied! Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Mary, dogs certainly love their toys, particularly biting them, so it is necessary to get them something they cannot swallow. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      My dog loves the kong. He also loves is tough bunny and snake which he carries from room to room. Great hub with some toys I have never seen before!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Some dogs can't exist without their toys, well, at least not if you want the rest of your house safe! My MinPin loves toys that have squeakers in them...the more noise he can make the better. It is always necessary to buy a 'safe' toy as you've pointed out.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hi Clark, glad to see you here too!! Will stop frequently by the Wakefield Doctrine here as well. Kongs can stimulate a dog's cognition like what you mentioned. It's fun for them too! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Mary, it's good for schnauzers, a very intelligent breed! (Though all dogs are.) Make it a new year's gift for baby!! Thanks for sharing!!

    • clark farley profile image

      clark farley 4 years ago

      Good Hub! The Kong toy was a total favorite of our first German Shepherd, Ola. I think it was the unpredictable motion once thrown, she really got a kick out of it when she managed to anticipate it's path and catch it before it came to rest.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Great informative Hub! I've never heard of the dog casino, but I like the way it sounds. Baby just loves her tennis balls to play fetch. She has never liked stuffed toys of any kind, but I'll bet she would play with that casino.

      I voted this UP, etc. and will share.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      The dog casino is a good cognition booster, Deb. Hope she's happy with the new hedgehog you've bought her! Thanks for sharing!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 4 years ago from Iowa

      My dog does love her toys, especially her stuffed hedgehog that she carries around with her everywhere. She lost it once (I think she may have taken it into the woods behind our house and forgot it there) so I had to get her a new one just like it. Some of these toys you mentioned are new to me. The dog casino sounds interesting.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      HI Paula, do have fun with the egg toy here or creating toys with socks, as Dawn has suggested! Perhaps your Border Collie is already 4 and more adult....less of a necessity for him! Thanks for coming by!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      midget...Strange as it may seem, I have these 2 fur babies with no interest whatsoever in any sort of TOY. I can't figure it out. 2 different breeds...one Amer. Cocker and one Border Collie....both nearing 4 years old.

      Border Collies are known for their incredible athletic abilities...especially with the FRISBEE. This is MY fault, of course, because I did not ever work with him on it....but, the fact that they both ignore toys is a mystery to me.

      I love your hub though, because my son has 2 gorgeous Choc Labs (brothers) "Bourbon" and "Bosley" who are the sweetest, most playful kids ever. I can create some toys for them. After all, they're my grandchildren. .....Thanks.UP+++

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      That's an innovative and inexpensive suggestion! Thanks for telling me about the tennis ball....will try stuffing it in a sock too. Dogs and socks go hand in hand! Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Yup, it's fun to see them try to get at the treat. It sure keeps them occupied! Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hope he likes it!! Thanks for sharing, Mark.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hope it helps all dog owners! Thanks for coming by, my friend!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hi eslucky.Dogs love stuffed toys! Thanks for sharing! Hope that you and they had great holidays!!

    • eslucky profile image

      Elizabeth Crane 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      The markup on dog toys is so astronomical that making your own is a great option. My dogs love stuffed animals but they have to be well-made. Some they have had for years and just carry around and others have fallen apart after a day or two.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      After spending the last few days with my sons dogs, I totally understand the importance of dog toys, so this was great! mind you paddy the dog really loved just playing with socks! lol! voted up! nell

    • Nature by Dawn profile image

      Dawn Ross 4 years ago

      My dogs have tried all but the Bob-a-Lot and the Dog Casino. Both look like a lot of fun. We will have to check them out! I also make dog toys from old socks and clothes. With old socks, I buy cheap tennis balls and put them in the socks and tie a knot at the end. Or I stuff socks in a sock and tie a knot at the end. With old clothes, I cut them in strips then braid them into a rope toy. I always supervise my dogs so they don't "eat" the toys.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      We have one of those tricky treat balls and our one dog will sit there for hours trying to get to the treat. Pretty entertaining for us adults. :) Great article and sharing.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Interesting collection. There are not a lot of toys available here so I am going to try the homemade suggestion and see if my dog likes it. I am sharing this. Thanks.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Awesome article for dog owners Michelle and especially loved the homemade dog toy at the end of the article. Have of course voted way up and shared all over, too!!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      This is an article that highlights how to choose toys for dogs wisely and give simple instructions for making a simple chew toy.