Besides you, who is your puppy’s best friend? A toy! Today, let’s talk about the toys dogs love. What do you get for your fluffy friends? Some usual dog toys and bones? Better yet, we are going to take a look at some fun interactive dog toys that can help you and your dog enjoy each other’s company even more. Let’s get your puppy its favorite dog toys!
What Are Interactive Dog Toys
Besides food and shelter, entertainment is a huge part of our commitment to taking care of our fluffs. That’s where the toys come in. Apart from the usual toys, there is a growing trend for puppy activity toys or active pet toys. These exciting dog toys are designed to stimulate your dog’s mind and intelligence including reasoning, motor skills, and problem-solving abilities. Interactive dog toys can be very different in forms and functions. They can be all kinds of engaging dog toys, such as self-play dog toys, automatic dog toys, interactive food toys for dogs, etc.
Why Does Your Dog Need Interactive Toys
Puppies are like human infants who need constant positive stimulation both mentally and physically. And simple toys like tennis balls or ropes cannot meet their needs. That is why you need to update them into interactive dog toys for puppies. Through games and puzzles, these toys can provide healthy stimulation through intelligent entertainment and physical exercise.
- Entertainment Time
Your puppies just wanna have fun! With interactive toys, dogs can play by themselves and stay focused on the puzzles at hand. They can enjoy the playtime unbothered and that’s the magic of the interactive dog toys.
- An outlet for Aggressive Behaviors
Dogs are social animals that need a lot of physical interaction. Otherwise, they can suffer from boredom and loneliness, which make them act out for attention through barking, chewing, or other destructive behaviors. That is why you need interactive toys to help them have a good time. For some clingy ones, there are interactive dog toys for separation anxiety; and for those who are super hyped almost 24/7, there are interactive dog toys for aggressive chewers. After a happy playtime, your puppy is most likely to unleash all the pent-up energy and go back to normal.
- Help with Separation Anxiety
Unfortunately, we have to leave our fluff at home at some point. And usually, it can be several hours or several days. For a dog that grows up with its human mommy or daddy, this can be tough. Some may suffer from separation anxiety. They can even feel abandoned when there’s no one or nothing around to help. However, with the busy toys for dogs, your puppy can enjoy some company and can be distracted from the negative emotions.
- Good Assistants for Crate or Meal Training
During house training, some dogs can feel stressed confined in a cage. With indoor interactive dog toys, your puppy can occupy itself with all the playing and chewing. They can be a good tool for crate training your young fluff and help it adjust to the training better and faster.
As for meal training, dog feeding toys can help your dog eat at a slower pace and reduce the danger of bloating or overfeeding, and in the long term, the risk of obesity. Your dog can take its time with the food and have so much fun earning its treats!
What Kind of Interactive Toys Are There
- Puzzle Toys
Have you ever been amazed by a famous dog solving puzzles on TV? Well, yours can too!
Puzzle toys are the best toys to mentally stimulate dogs. To solve the puzzles, they have to fully tap into their analyzing and problem-solving abilities. These toys can also combine food and become dog feeding puzzle toys. They are the dog toys you can put treats in, such as LOOBANI Dogs Food Puzzle Feeder Toys. This equipment can use treats as incentives and better engage your puppy in an immersive playing experience. Nothing says “fun” better than that piece of yummy treat after your fluff solves the puzzle!
- Chewy Interactive Toys
As we all know, dogs love to chew. And it’s essential for their health. So why not get your pup an interactive toy that it can chew or bite! There are a lot of updated new versions of chewy toys that are electronic or connected to the Internet. For example, an electronic dog ball is a ball for dogs that moves. We can also see the wifi dog ball, vibrating dog toy, or a toy squirrel that moves. These self-propelled dog toys can free you temporarily from playtime duty and keep your puppy hyped for a pretty long time. They are undoubtedly the gifts of technology.
- Treat Dispensing Dog Toys
Dogs have a hunting instinct and a treat feeder for dogs helps unleash this potential. They can keep your dog occupied with a lot of hunting and digging when it tries so hard to get those munchies out of the toys. They are also the best toys for lazy dogs because food is the best temptation to get them off lying on the ground all day.
- Ball Launching Toys
The ball launcher is a piece of electronic equipment that can play fetch with your dog. It shoots out the ball for your dog to catch. And it can relaunch when the ball is returned. It is perfect for outdoor quality time. You can sit and relax while encouraging your puppy to give its best performance.
How to Choose Interactive Toys
Although there are so many fancy toys to choose from, it might take you some time to pick the right ones perfect for your dog.
The first thing you need to do is to choose the safe ones. Don’t always buy cheap dog toys for your puppy! Cheap dog toys might be made from unsafe materials, especially for a dog chewing on toys. If you want to get safe toys to leave in a dog crate, and your pup happens to be an avid chewer, go for durable interactive dog toys. Be careful with you are choosing rubber dog toys or silicone dog chewing toys. Whatever you wanna get for your puppy, choose from those vet-approved dog toys.
Also, you need to pay attention to the size of the toys. If you are going for balls or other small toys for chewing and biting, remember to measure your dog’s mouth and make sure the toys are not too small so they might end up swallowed or even stuck in the throat.
Very importantly, know your pup well. The interactive toys are designed specifically for puppies with different needs. If you have an aggressive big dog, you might want to go for outdoor toys such as a ball launcher or big chew toys. If your pup is just a young teething baby, you can go for something smaller and softer, like a talking plushie or a small softball. As for treat toys, if your fluff is a heavy fast eater, you might want to use feeder toys to slow the gobbling down. And if you are dealing with a picky eater, use food puzzles to encourage it to take in more natural healthy food.
Lastly, get toys of different functions for your pup, for example, some food-related; some to pet and hug; and some to bite and chew. So that your pup can always have the stuff to play with according to its mood.
How to Use Interactive Dog Toys
- Start from Scratch
If your dog is new to interactive toys, you should give some help. Start with simpler toys, such as food dispensers. If you start to introduce some more complex toys such as the food puzzles, you need to take out your best treats to get your puppy’s attention and to let it know that it’s worth the effort. Once your puppy is familiar with the toy, you can increase the difficulty level and make it more challenging for your smart fluff. That is also how you help train your dog intellectually.
- Take Turns with the Toys
If your puppy is blessed with many different toys, take turns with the toys you give it weekly. Remember to not flood it with all the toy stock, otherwise, it can either get overwhelmed or lose interest altogether very quickly. For those favorite toys, you should leave them aside when introducing new ones.
- Hide the Toys
Hiding toys may sound absurd but it helps if you are trying to get your pup to play with a new toy. If you get your dog’s attention on a new toy, hide it and encourage your puppy to find it. This can provide great incentive as the dog is looking for the toy as its reward. In this way, it will cherish and love the toy more.
- Be There During Playtime
Although some interactive toys are meant to free the owners from the entertainment duty, you still need to be there with your puppy and its toys. Play with it first to get your puppy interested. When you are watching your puppy playing with new toys, give some verbal encouragement such as “Do you like your new toy?”, “You like it, don’t you?” and “Good boy!” You can also guide it while it is playing with intellectual toys like puzzles. Also, you should monitor the situation in case there are any accidents like swallowing or choking, or other injuries.
You can also design new programs to train your pooch. You can teach your dog the names of all its toys and try to have it respond every time you say the name of the toys. For example, you can have a plushie squirrel in your hand and repeat the name to your dog while having it observe and sniff the toy. And then, put the squirrel on the ground and repeat the name to your dog. Once it touches or takes the toy away, give very positive confirmation and reward it with rubs or treats. After you are sure it is responding to the name of the squirrel, go hide it and ask your dog to find it by saying “Find squirrel!”. After a few tries, your dog should understand your command and the name of the toy and do accordingly. That is how you can stimulate their intelligence by giving them training that is associated with the toys.
- Careful with Food Toys
For food-related toys, make sure you are using them properly. The goal is to form good dieting habits, not the other way around. Make sure you don’t leave too much food in the toy and make sure the toy is not used too frequently. Set a schedule and stick to it.
Also, you should select the treats you put in the toy. Some examples include freeze-dried meat or munchies with low calories. And remember to empty the toys and put a new batch of treats in next time.
- Playtime Does Not Replace Exercise
The interactive toys are great at engaging your puppies with physical exercise, but it does not replace other exercises including walks and park time. Make sure your dog’s exercise schedule includes enough outdoor quality time. Sunshine and fresh air can never be replaced.
How to Clean Interactive Dog Toys
Every toy is different in its structure and material. For solid dog toys made from plastics or wood or metal, take them apart if you can and clean them with pet-friendly sanitizer. Make sure you clean the food-related toys, otherwise the crumbs can grow bacteria and your pup can get sick from eating contaminated treats from them. As for soft toys made of fabrics, wash them with shampoo safe for dogs. If they are ripped off or worn out, toss them away. As for rubber or silicone toys, examine if they are compromised with no debris or small pieces that can be inhaled or swallowed by your pup.
How to Make Homemade Interactive Dog Toys
If you are on a tight budget, it does not mean your pup has to give up the chance of enjoying interactive toys. Here are some tips on creating DIY interactive dog toys for your fluffy friend.
- Treat Tubes
Collect some paper towel tubes, and then close and glue one of their ends together. Feel free to make a batch so that every time you can just take one and put some treats in. Your pup will have a good time trying to get the treats out. These treat tubes cost nothing and if the tube is busted, you can just toss and get a new one!
- Flirt Poles
Who said flirt poles are just for cats? Dogs can enjoy them greatly as well. And a homemade flirt pole makes a fun toy for your pup. Simply take a long stick, a string, and a small fluff toy and bind them together. There you go! Enjoy some fun quality time playing with your pooch!
- Shoebox Treasure Hunt
Take several unused shoeboxes and place them in a spacey area like your living room or your backyard. Put some selected treats in some of the boxes and let your puppy go find them. It will sniff so attentively until it finds all the treats. It is a completely free and easy game to set up and everything can be used for the next playtime.
- Treats in Balls
Get a new tennis ball or a used clean one. Slash it open and make sure the cut is smooth so that your dog’s tongue won’t get hurt. Put some treats in the ball and give it to your puppy. Wait and see how long it takes for your fluff to get the munchies out.
- Treats in Pockets
Find some pieces of garment you no longer wear, preferably jeans or coats with pockets on them. Hide some yummy munchies in the pockets and place the pile on the floor. Your puppy will run over here and sniff through the pile. However, make sure all clothes should be washed and cleaned, so that your dog is safe to play in the pile.
- Cupcake Tin Puzzles
Another pet dog toy that you can make at home is a cupcake tin puzzle. Take a clean cupcake mold tin tray and put some treats in some of the slots or all slots and cover every slot over with a tennis ball. And you fluff can identify the slots with the loots and think of ways to get rid of the tennis balls. This puzzle is very convenient to make and the tray can be washed and reused every time your pup is up for playtime.
Now you have all the information about the interactive dog toys. What are you waiting for? Give your dog fun toys that they love and enjoy your quality time together!