Are Dog Toys to Keep Dogs Busy?
When it comes to dogs being dogs, having them rip apart a toy is much better than your leather sofa. A good part of why dogs need toys is so that they can chew on things other than upholstery or other furniture. While boredom can always play a factor let’s dig a little deeper into why dogs need toys.
Dogs in the wild learn through play and that behavior is passed down to every one of our domestic canines. When dogs chew, tug, chase or do their doggy things to a toy, they are at play. That is how dogs learn to be dogs, they absolutely need to chew on things and dog toys are made for that very reason. Different dog toys may be designed specifically for fetching, tugging, or chewing, but they are all an important part of our dog’s healthy lifestyle. Read along as we’ll expand on the subject of dog toy training together.
There’s More to Toy Training Than You Think
Now that you know why dogs need to chew and play, you must set them up for success and dog toys are a crucial part of that. They are tools to help you manage normal dog behaviors like jumping and play biting, preventing undesirable behaviors in the process.
Dog training works on many levels, and we tend to think of it as something only a professional dog trainer does. While that is partially true, you can certainly use dog toys to sway your dog away from unwanted behaviors with a few simple tips.
We can use toy training to keep dogs busy and provide them with an appealing outlet for their social and behavioral needs. This is especially important for teething puppies since they need to aggressively chew on things to help alleviate their discomfort caused by growing canine teeth. It can also be considered dog toy training to give teething puppies plenty of toys to chew on. They will learn that specially designed dog toys are much better than awkward furniture legs and what is and isn’t ok for them to chew on as you set boundaries.
Popular Dog Toy Types:
Mental dog toys can provide similar stimulations to keep your dogs satisfied while making sure their jaws stay away from your belongings. Most of these toys works on your dogs’ thinking capability with rewarding treats to maintain and encourage their attention.
Treat toys are the perfect option to keep dogs busy. Some can be frozen and used as treat toys to keep dogs busy for way more hours compared to unfrozen ones. These are particularly useful for heavily food-driven dogs. Dogs that are highly motivated by food will stay focused on the toy until all the treats are eaten.
Dog agility toys are a great way to get your dogs to exercise with the benefit of physically tiring out your dogs. They’re also great at working their reflexes, coordination, and spatial awareness.
Automatic ball launchers are a great option if you have the budget. These will keep playing fetch with your dog even while you are busy or at work. Just remember to keep their activity to a limited schedule as we’ll tell you why in the next section.
Get More Out of Your Toy Training
Single-behavior management is usually the focus when it comes to toy training. That remedy process should involve professional guidance of some sort from dog behavior experts. The last thing you want to do is to give your dog unproven training that could end up poorly in the long term. With that said, you can dial down the goal a bit and keep things simple between you and your mutt at the beginning. Spending time with your dogs and encouraging them to engage in play with you while using various dog toys is a great start.
Keep in mind that you still need to set boundaries so that your dog will learn to differentiate between what they should be gnawing on and what they shouldn’t. Don’t use dog toys to play with your dogs after your belongings are damaged. Solve the problem before it happens with regular play times and positive reinforcement to give your dog behavioral relief.
Something people seem to forget is that owners also need dog toy training! Store and clean your dog toys properly after every play session. This will not only keep your dog toys in tip top shape and free from bacteria growth, it also signals your dogs that their toys aren’t freebies. Over time, your dogs will learn to anticipate play sessions with excitement. They would then be inclined to exhibit behaviors that would result in those valuable play sessions, like a kid being on their best behavior so they can go play. Unorganized play sessions and leaving all dog toys out and about for your dogs will diminish their values and novelty.
Automatic fetch toys may give your toy more value in the long run if they’re on 24/7, but they will ever so slowly lose their appeal when used like that. Mental dog toys might no longer keep your dogs as busy as they used to after they have learned the most efficient way to get the treats. Dog agility toys may become boring for your dog as they spend more time lying around than actively being used by you.
Over time you will find it increasingly difficult to be able to use those toys to keep dogs busy beyond that point. It is then possible that your dogs will explore behaviors that will most likely get your attention which can lead to acting out and other destructive behaviors. Remember that your love and attention is very real and valuable to your dogs! And like humans, dogs can go through phases or energy levels and mature past certain interests or behavioral patterns.
Finding the Right Toys for Both You and Your Dog
Yes, you can buy a bunch of dog toys and throw them at your dog and then raise your voice at them when they continue to rip up your stuff and ignore your toy purchases. Not all dogs will have the same demeanor, and some will require professional training to help adjust their behaviors. How can you expect something from your dogs if you don’t put yourself out there and give them the love and attention they deserve?
Studies have repeatedly found that positive reinforcement is profoundly more effective than punishment delivery when it comes to dog’s learning. Dog toys help us communicate and engage with our irreplaceable canine friends while being a safe outlet for their chewing and playful energy. So, keep trying different toys and replace them when needed. Eventually, you will come across the right toys to keep dogs satisfied and busy for hours on end.