Not All Dog Toys Are Alike

Not All Dog Toys Are Alike

Why do we buy toys for our dogs? Is it really for them or do the companies really market to the pet parents to sell ‘cute’ toys? Maybe a little of both?

A lot of toys in the stores sell dog toys that aren’t cheap but most don’t last very long once you get it home. Take time to shop around so that you can find toys that: 1) meet your dog’s need but 2) will last a little longer.

Know Your Dog

Does your dog like to hunt? chase? tug? dissect?

Being a dog owner you quickly learn what activity your dog can’t go without. Some dogs are biologically made to dig, some are made to chew, some are made to hunt, some made to chase, some are made to carry /possess, and so on. Dogs are dogs and are predatory animals. The behaviors described are all part of the predation action sequence. In some dogs, part of the sequence is more pronounced.

Here are some ideas to tap into your dog’s preferred activity:

Please be responsible and read all instructions the toy comes with and be aware of where the toy is made. Also, some of these toys should be given only under supervision. Avoid chews that may end up lacerating your dog on the way down into the gut (cow hooves); avoid toys that can end up being ingested and cause an obstruction (rope toys); avoid toys that the dog can end up choking on (tennis balls, slobbery rubber balls)

If they love to…..


I would get rid of the dog bowl for meals and feed your dog via puzzle toys and/or training.



  • Earth Dog Training (this can also go under Chasing)
  • Make a special sandbox and bury toys/scented items/treats so that they have to dig for it. You can also train your dog what spot of the yard is his/hers to dig in.


  • braided pizzle sticks
  • beef trachea chews that you can add stuff inside like peanut butter
  • benebone chews
  • water buffalo horns
  • himalayan yak chew
  • moose antlers
  • coconut husk




If you really have a super achiever, you may want to look at zoo toys. They may cost a little more but they will surely last a lot longer than the toys you buy at the store and provide your dog with months/years of activity and enrichment.

If you have an active dog you can also look at activities like:

  • Dog Parkour
  • Dog Agility
  • Flyball
  • Freestyle
  • Mondio Ring
  • Dock Diving
  • Skijoring
  • Mushing

If you would like more ideas or suggestions on creative toys to enrich your dog’s preferred activity, I can help.

Daphne Robert HamiltonDaphne Robert-Hamilton, CPDT-KA

Daphne Robert-Hamilton is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer- Knowledge Assessed by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. She was a Certified Equestrian Coach by the Canadian Equestrian Federation before moving into the dog training world. She competed extensively with her two Doberman Pinschers from 1997-2002 and achieved being a finalist in the Top 20 Obedience in 2000 and 2002 with the Doberman Pinscher Club of America. In 2002 Daphne graduated from the SFSPCA Academy for Dog Trainers, which is now defunked. She went on to intern at the SFSPCA Academy and graduated with honors in dog aggression. Daphne became the go-to trainer in the SF Bay Area for aggression cases. Daphne has done webinars, been interviewed in several dog magazines and has written a two part article on “sibling rivalry” for The Chronicle of The Dog. Daphne was the Head Trainer for Washington state for Pets for Vets for about two years. She has fostered many dogs helping them find loving forever homes. Daphne is a member of The Pet Professional Guild.

Daphne has been married for 24yrs and currently lives with her two Rhodesian Ridgebacks in Washington State.

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