This is Eddie, our Boston Terrier, about 40 pounds, of which the vet says she would be happy if he lost two or three! He loves his toys, and as Christmas is coming, we will be thinking about what presents to get for him to add to his basket and get at his will.
With that in mind, I Googled “favorite dog toys” and clicked on this one: www.dogster.com/dog-toys/ It is interesting, but I don’t agree with everything said on that site, especially the topic at the end of this post.
But, as for the toys, they review many kinds, including chew toys, fetch toys, food dispensing toys, and tug toys. Most of the descriptions mention that they come in different “chewability” characteristics, from the light chewer to very powerful chewers. For the majority, the site suggests not allowing your dog to have the toys without supervision. This is mostly related to their ability to chew the toy into pieces.
We have to class Eddie as a powerful chewer. If a toy is stuffed, the cover is ripped, the stuffing let lie, and the new rag becomes a pacifier to carry around or go to sleep holding in his mouth. Once he gets it to the rag stage, he doesn’t tear it anymore. If a toy is rubber, it has to be really hard rubber if it is not to end up in small rubber pieces lying next to where he is chewing it! We finally found a tug-of-war toy made of really hard rubber that he hasn’t chewed up, although he still does some chewing on it. Every evening about the same time, Eddie brings that toy made of interlocking rings to my husband, sits by his chair, and waits patiently until Bob takes his end of the toy. Then the tug-of-war begins! So much fun to watch. Eddie’s jaws are very strong, and he usually wins when I try to play that game with him!
Because he is such a powerful chewer, we try to provide the rawhide and “bones” that are either meant to be eaten, or ones that he can’t destroy at all. He doesn’t get real bones, though, for safety reasons.
Many of the toys described on the site mentioned were food-dispensing toys. A suggestion was made that food bowls should not be used, and that a dog’s means for getting food should be through a food-dispensing toy and only given as a reward for meeting training expectations. I was just sitting there, reading that, and shaking my head in disbelief. How would those people like it if they were only given food if they performed an expected behavior? And what if they had to somehow get it out of a container instead of eating it from a plate? I have to confess that the idea made me more than angry. I know all about Pavlov and his method used to train animals. I don’t disagree about giving treats when dogs are learning to do something expected by their people. But, that is a reward. It isn’t the dog’s main feeding. We feed Eddie about the same time every day, and shortly afterwards, take him right out side for a walk so he can answer Nature’s Call. And when he is back inside, he does get a dog biscuit as a reward for taking care of business. Others may disagree with me, but I didn’t like that suggestion at all about only getting food after performing an expected behavior.
It was interesting reading about the different toys. In my thinking, the important thing is to know what your dog likes, and make sure it is safe for him or her to have. And treat your dog as you would like to be treated with regular feedings, play and exercise, and tons of love.
This post written by Pam Todd, a member of the Crafting for Animals Guild on Art Fire. Pam’s shop, www.bagsandmorebypam.artfire.com features hand-crocheted items for people, pets, and homes. Pam is an avid animal lover, supports the Elephant Sanctuary (www.elephants.com) in Hohenwald, Tennessee, and participated in the Close to Home Animal Rescue support project in October through the CFA Guild.