Now that it’s puppy season, I get quite a few questions on what the best toys for your puppy are. Here is my top 5 list of toys I would purchase when bringing home a new puppy!
A KONG is one of my must-have toys. If I were on a desert island with a puppy and I was only allowed to bring that puppy one toy, it would be a KONG! They are durable, versatile and can be used for both an enrichment activity when stuffed with food, as well as a toy for fetch, or tug if you thread a rope through the small opening in the end. The KONG is a must-have for your puppy. I keep several on hand and in the freezer with yummy meat in them for many different training occasions.
The IQ Ball is one of the puzzle toys I use to get new pups used to the idea of working for their food and engaging their brain. (Check out CoolWhip at 8 weeks playing with it in the video!) I love that it is a simple toy and you can decrease the difficulty by removing the middle divider when first introducing the toy to the puppy. Plus, most puppies love to move and chase, so this toy provides both exercise and mental enrichment in one simple toy!
KONG Wobbler gets two paws up for a toy to graduate to once your puppy has mastered the IQ ball. The wobbler poses a bigger challenge because the bottom is weighted and will require your puppy to work harder to get all the food out. I also love it because it makes lots of noise and teaches a puppy not to worry about loud noises because good things come when you hear them! This functions as both a slow feeder, enrichment toy, and desensitizer all in the same package. I love this toy and they last a very long time if you get the correct size for your puppy!
Moving out of food toys, I love a long tug for a puppy. And when I say long, I mean LONG! Like 1.5-3 feet long. None of those 6 inch toys that the puppy can miss and easily grab your hand by accident. I want those sharp puppy teeth as far away from my hands as possible! Playing tug is a great way for your puppy to get energy out and bond with you. I also use it as a motivator for obedience, and to teach engagement and an “out” cue very early on in a puppies life. A nice long tug will give your puppy an appropriate way to play with you and burn puppy energy. But remember, tug only comes out when you’re ready to play, otherwise you’ll want to put it away so it doesn’t get gnawed on like a chew toy.
A soft plush toy can be some dogs favorite toy, while others will rip them to shreds, so purchase one, and see how your dog reacts. If they love to carry it around, play with it and sleep with it, you’re good to go. If you’ve got a destroyer on your hands, than the plush toy may not be the right toy for your dog. But, some dogs just love a toy to cuddle with and carry around. I recommend a more durable toy like the PogoPlush or the goDog Dragon which have limited stuffing inside, so less of a mess if your dog does turn out to be a destroyer!
With these 5 toys, you can keep your dog busy and engaged for hours. Remember to supervise them when they first get a new toy and to have fun. The best part about puppy toys is watching your little pup learn and grow through interactive play!
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