Dogs easily become bored when they are stuck inside by cold weather and without the proper dog toys and chew toy stimulation, they can quickly become destructive. With winter quickly approaching, you may already be dreading those long, cold days stuck in the house with your precious pets. The good news is that there are many tools available to keep your dog entertained, happy and most of all keep them from destroying your home and possessions.
First, you need to understand why a dog’s behavior can become so destructive. The problem actually lays with us humans. Initially dogs were born and survived in the wild where they were naturally active and kept busy hunting for food and protecting themselves. Unfortunately, when we domesticated them, their lifestyles gradually became sedentary as they were brought into our homes and fed out of bowls instead of hunting for their food.
To compensate for their lack of natural activities, it is necessary to provide plenty of dog toys and chew toys to keep them entertained and properly stimulated. There are multiple dog toy choices available now and some of the newer puzzle toys are just the stimulus your dog needs to keep busy and out of trouble.
Unfortunately if you do not supply your dog with toys to both fill their day with constructive activities and satisfy their need to chew, they will likely find your favorite pair of shoes and create their own chew toy! This leads to the next question of how do you supply your dog with appropriate dog toys to suit their needs.
First, make sure you have a good assortment of toys for them to enjoy. They will get bored with the same one or two toys every day so only give them one or two each day and rotate the toys out to keep them interested. Make sure you choose quality toys for your dog to both prevent unnecessary choking hazards and to ensure that they are long lasting.
Many people give their dogs old socks or other household items to play with. This is a common mistake, which only confuses your dog and causes you grief later. For example, if you give them an old sock or maybe an old t-shirt to chew on, they will naturally think that every sock they find in your house is fair game to play with. You should also make sure your dog has a specific spot to keep their dog toys. Use a basket or plastic tub that they have easy access to and this will help your dog to understand which toys belong to them.
With so many dog toys to choose from, what are some of the more stimulating and boredom buster toys available?
* Balls – I have yet to see a dog who does not love their ball and it is a great way for you to interact and play with your dog as well. Make sure you have separate inside and outside balls so that they do not drag a dirty ball into the house.
* Chew Toy – Dog’s need to chew instinctively so make sure you provide them with good quality chew toys that do not have small parts that could come off or toys that are full of stuffing and noisemakers. The new stuffing free toys are an excellent choice for chewing and having a game of tug-o-war. In addition, I recommend a toy that mentally challenges your dog. There are tons of new dog toy puzzles available where your dog gets one toy that is full of smaller toys and has to figure out how to get them out. Another favorite are the rubber toys that hold either food or treats inside and your dog has to work to get the food out. All of these offer excellent stimulation and a break for you.
* Chew Bones – Offer both an activity and a way for you and your dog to unwind. With multiple variations of pressed bones, rawhide bones, rubber bones, dental bones and many others, you are sure to find one that is your dog’s favorite. Be sure to pick a bone that fits your dog’s size and chewing abilities to avoid choking incidents. If your dog does not finish the bone during their chewing session, pick it up and put it away for another day.
* Comfort Toy – Comfort toys develop when a dog is young and dealing with separation anxiety from their mother to a new home but many dogs do not outgrow their comfort toys. However, this type of toy still offers benefits to an adult dog. If you have to travel to unfamiliar places, leave them with a sitter, or vet for a few days, they offer your dog a feeling of comfort and have a reassuring effect. Many dogs also like to use their comfort toy for a game of tug-o-war or to simulate shaking their prey when in the wild.
By providing multiple dog toys for your furry friend, you will most likely avoid developing bad habits and keep them from engaging in destructive behavior. Most importantly, your dog will be a happy, healthy dog no matter how cold it gets.