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Best Dog Toys to Entertain a Large Breed Dog

Updated on February 16, 2011


I thought my German shepherd puppy would drive me crazy before he got out of adolescence. All the small dogs I previously lived with had been content with rope bones, squeaky rubber things, and the occasional real bone. I swiftly learned that German shepherd puppies, on the other hand, can shred a rope bone in 45 minutes, eat said squeaky rubber things, and often grow bored with bones. After a little research, I bought a ridiculous number of tough dog toys to keep Max entertained (and out of trouble) while I was at work, away from home, or even just wanted to get a shower in peace! The following three toys quickly outdistanced the others as the most durable and entertaining for the energetic, tough chewer.

Max, the German Shepherd

1. Out of the numerous interactive dog toys I vetted, the number one toy in our house is the Kong Wobbler Dog Treat Dispenser and Feeding Toy. This ingenious toy is a large, traditional Kong red, oblong toy with a weighted bottom that enables the toy to bounce back to an upright position when Max pushes it over. A small hole in the side allows treats (or dry dog food) to fall out when he shoves it. Hence, dog noses Wobbler, treat falls out, Wobbler bounces back up, dog eats treat and gives Wobbler another shove, repeating the process. I found that I could put Max’s kibble in the toy and he would be entertained simply by eating a meal. I can’t help but wonder if somehow the toy satisfies his primal “hunting” instinct in a healthy way. This toy’s shape makes actually picking it up difficult for the dog, so I don’t have to worry about having to hunt a dirty, muck-encrusted toy out of the yard somewhere. I put it on my patio (in my very securely fenced backyard, of course) and let him go to town!

2. Second on my list is the Jolly Ball, or more specifically, the Jolly Pets Tug-n-Toss Ball Dog Toy. Max has the large size, and chooses it over any other when he wants a romp in the yard. This toy has a durable handle that allows him to pick up the ball and actually toss it for himself! It has held up well to his monster jaws and teething and is his number one pick for playing by himself when he is alone. He can actually flatten this ball in rough play and still bounces back to its “Jolly”, round form when released. The startled expression on Max’s face when he flattened it the first time (Oh *bleep* I ruined it!) was only matched by his thrilled look when it reverted to ball form. Nearly indestructible dog toys are worth their weight in gold!

3. Finally, there is the good, old, reliable Classic Kong. There is a reason these toys are classics in the field and many owners and trainers hold them as the standard by which all other dog toys are judged. After buying a cheap knock-off that Max destroyed in three days, I realized I needed something for a truly aggressive chewer, so I skipped the Puppy Kongs and went straight for the Classic Kong. The toy is durable, holding up to German shepherd puppy teeth and tons of chewing. I can stuff it with whatever I choose: kibble, peanut butter, or for a treat, a variety of Kong Stuffin’. Eventually, I decided that two toys would come in handy (one for the house and his crate and the other for the patio), and I went with the Kong Extreme this time. He has grown quite a bit since that first toy, and I want to make sure my bases are covered as he gets older!

I have found out the hard way that a bored puppy is prime for finding ways to get into mischief. These toys have been important keys in keeping my puppy entertained and out of trouble, preserving my lawn furniture in the process!

Here is an example of a dog with a Wobbler.

Here are some German Shepherds (not Max) with Jolly Balls.


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