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Top 5 Dog Toys to Enjoy with Your Favorite Pup

Updated on January 25, 2015

There's no question about it - dogs absolutely love to play. And most dogs love to play even more when their favorite humans join in the fun with them. My German Shepherd mix, Rusty, is almost 8 years old but he still definitely loves his play time as much as any puppy. And I love to play with him too. It's a great joy to watch a dog you love be so happy from such a simple pleasure as playtime. And in addition playing together is a great way to strengthen the human-dog bond as well as a time to work on training in a way that is enjoyable for your dog. Playtime provides a dog with wonderful physical exercise, mental stimulation and it can be a great stress reliever (for both the dog and the person playing with him).

The following are mine and Rusty's favorite dog toys to enjoy together.

My Top 5 Dog Toys to Enjoy with Your Four-Legged Best Friend

1. Kyjen Hide A Squirrel (or other such interactive/puzzle toys)

2. Kong Extreme (or other treat dispensing toys)

3. Plush Squeaky Toy

4. Rope Toy

5. Kong Wubba

1. Kyjen Hide A Squirrel (or other such interactive/puzzle toys)

Interactive puzzle toys aren't just fun, but they're a great way to keep your dog's brain working over the years! With the Kyjen Hide A Squirrel toy you hide each of several squeaky stuffed squirrels within the openings of the larger stuffed tree trunk. Then you get to watch as your dog uses his natural instincts to search out and capture each squirrel. This definitely isn't a toy to leave your dog to play with on his own, as it just isn't durable enough to stand up to a tough chewer (as Rusty is) when left to his own devices. However, this and other interactive toys are meant to be just that - toys you and your dog enjoy together. I think they're great not only for your dog's mental stimulation, but also for you two to bond together as you participate in his play time and teach him how to solve new puzzles. Not only does Rusty love searching out the little squirrels and getting them out of the tree trunk, but he gets great kick out of making them squeak as he does it - every single time.

2. Kong Extreme (or other treat dispensing toys)

Rusty actually eats his breakfast of kibble out of his Kong Extreme every day. This toy is great because it's one Rusty loves, and it's definitely durable enough for us to not only use it together, but for him to keep out and use when I'm at work all day. We bought our first Kong Extreme shortly after adopting Rusty, which was 3 and 1/2 years ago, and despite his German Shepherd teeth, it doesn't have a dent on it. Rusty wags his tail when he sees me filling it with kibble in the morning, or later in the day with peanut butter and doggie cookie bits as a treat. When it has kibble in it he's even figured out how to pick it up and drop it, to purposefully dislodge the small pieces of food. Rusty loves working for food or treats, and in addition to our Kong Extreme, we also have the Kong Traxx and the West Paw Design Tux, which serve similar purposes and are great for mixing it up to keep things interesting for Rusty.

3. Plush Squeaky Toy

Rusty, like many dogs, absolutely LOVES anything that squeaks. We have had a variety of plush squeaky toys, and he enjoys playing with each and every one. While they certainly don't last as long as his Kongs, he gets much enjoyment out of each one before ultimately ripping out the squeaker and sealing the toy's fate to end up in the trash. He loves to play keep away from me or my husband with them, tug-of-war, or fetch if we toss them for him. And by himself he'll even prance around the house with one of his various stuffed animals in his mouth, switching positions every few moments to get his mouth around one or another squeaker to make it squeak. Or, he'll get in a mini wrestling match with one of his plush squeaky toys, which needless to say is pretty cute to watch.

4. Rope Toy

Tug-of-war is one of Rusty's absolute favorite games to play with his family. Pretty much every day when we get home from our morning walk, the first thing he'll do is run and grab his rope toy (or the nearest plush toy or Kong Wubba) and look up at me with his eager brown eyes, begging for a game of tug-of-war. I of course can't help but oblige. Tug-of war is great for dogs, as both a mental and a physical challenge. And teaching your dog the rules of tug-of-war (when to 'drop it,' when play time is over, etc.) is a great training opportunity. Like any other times you play with your dog, it's also a wonderful time to bond; I can certainly tell how much Rusty enjoys each bout. He'll also gnaw at the rope sometimes after we play which I've heard is good for his teeth.

What's your dog's favorite?

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5. Kong Wubba

Speaking of tug-of-war toys, the Kong Wubba may not have been designed solely for tug like rope toys, but it's one of Rusty's all time favorite toys to play tug-of-war with. He'll hold onto the bulbous end in his mouth, while I tug at the long tails on the other end. I think the best part for him is the fact that not only does he get to play his favorite game (tug-of-war), but he can also make this tug toy squeak at the same time. The squeakers in the Wubba are sewn in very securely, and although I do have to replace his Wubbas from time to time, they last much longer than any of his squeaky plush toys. Besides tug-of-war Rusty also enjoys playing fetch and keep away with his Wubba, and this is another toy that he'll also play with on his own, when I'm not around.

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