These are toys that Lucy or Beau has decided they really enjoy. You can get them at most online or brick and mortar stores. I try to find something I’d have fun with if I were a dog or something that I’ll have fun using with the dogs. Safety is a big factor as well, inspect all toys frequently for signs of wear.
Soft-Bite 6″ hedgehog- Lucy got one of these the first week with us. She loved that thing. Tried to get it to nurse on her, eat from her dish, dropped it in a bucket to make it drink. She set it up by the door (“guarding”). Our Basenji disemboweled it. And the second one. #2 got re-stuffed and put back in service with no squeaker. The third never squeaked, but the Basenji started looking at it funny again, so he got put away for safe keeping.
Generic fleece stuffies-I bought one of these for Beau after he decided it would be fun to take Lucy’s little hedgehog and play with it– all the time. I figured it would be better that he have his own toy so as to avoid fights. He carries it all over, plays with it, babies it and tried to potty train it (takes it outside, sets it on the ground, that sort of thing). Beau’s is a little hot pink pig and Lucy’s is a lemon yellow puppy (I can’t find the little hedgehogs anymore, but she likes the puppy fine). There aren’t any tiny buttons or anything (sewn on felt eyes and noses), so it’s safe for any age/size dog. The Basenji did get the little yellow puppy, but he was sewn back together petty much okay. Supposedly dogs like them more because fleece holds their scent (you are warned) but mine like anything soft and fluffy, so there’s that, too.
Treat Ball- I got this in a package of Purina O.N.E. jerky and biscuits (after Christmas sales ROCK!). Beau thinks it’s the neatest thing in the world… well, he thinks that about any toy. I like it because you can play fetch with it, it’s soft on puppy teeth and you can stick cookies inside and give them something to do for a couple of hours.
Kong toys- Just about the same as the cookie ball, but these you can fill with cheese or peanut butter or whatever. When it bounces it rolls funny so it’s more interesting for the dog to chase. They make some that can be frozen for teething or in the summer, as well as a version that floats for training water retrieves. Red is for normal chewers and black for monster chewers. Different sizes for different dogs. We have one that teethed 5 puppies and play with 8 dogs. We got another, brand new, one for Beau. It’s a nice toy for all the dogs. We put Beau in his crate and a Kong o’ peanut butter and he’s happy. The others will play keep away with it and just have a ball.
Nylabone/Gumabone- These are a lot of fun for the dogs. Help to keep their teeth clean and they seem to like the flavors. Just note, the ‘rainbow’ variety of the gumabones don’t come flavored and you might have to flavor it with hotdog juice/boulion, that sort of thing. You can boil them to sterilize them if needed or ‘recharge’ the flavor by boiling with a juice on it.
Hercules- This went through teething 4 puppies and play by 5 dogs and is just starting to get worn out. Expensive, but definitely worth it. For tough chewers, but they really fight over this one. Usually the Basenji wins and carries it around, even though it’s really hard for her to do it– the size we have is for a Catahoula!
Galileo- The dogs like to play with this one, especially Beau, Tommy and our German Shepherd. It’s the strongest bone on the market, but really should be used only for tough chewers. Don’t use it for teething (too hard) and don’t play catch with it. It’s too hard and might damage teeth. They do like to just sit and gnaw at it from time to time. Not at the top of the favorite toy list, but it’s nice for a change of scenery.
A good, old fashioned, tennis ball is great fun too. They love to chase them around the yard or just sit and destroy them. I get them at the dollar store in three packs. The dogs skin them and I buy them more. I figure they can chew up their own stuff if they want to if it means my stuff is safe. If you have a hockey player in the family you can train your dog to shag balls for you as you practice your slapshot in the yard. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can train your dog to play goal. (the GSD likes to sit in the net and catch the balls as they come by. Lucy has a mean hip check and is the enforcer for the team). Of course, there’s also Flyball. If none of that sounds like fun there’s always fetch and catch.
I’m going to be testing out some Frisbees and flying discs this summer as well. Lucy won’t play Frisbee, but will retrieve them. I use promotional ones for the cost factor, but she still destroys them in about a half hour. I’m trying to find one that will hold up to hard Catahoula Jaws. Beau will be helping with the testing. That’s about all the toys I have for reccomendations right now. If you have some toys that you’d like to see added, e-mail me.