This is what everyone wants, but do they really know what that is or is it really what they want?
We sell pallet loads of dog toys at K9 PRO, hundreds of different types, materials, designs and shapes and sizes and whenever we advertise we have a new toy, there is always someone that pipes up to say “I bet my dog can destroy it!” It’s not a challenge guys!
1. Some dogs enjoy the natural dissection of prey, removing piece after piece of their quarry and this is how THESE dogs enjoy their play. When you give a dog a simple tennis ball for example and your dog strips all the fur off the ball, this is what your dog LIKES and finds REWARDING. Give your dog a toy that they can’t do this to and it will lay around your yard getting no attention.
If you think this is a good value toy then perhaps you should ask your dog.
2. Many dogs go crazy for a toy because they don’t get enough mental stimulation, many owners feel that giving their dog a toy to play with by themselves is enough, when for some dogs (MANY dogs) it is far from it.
Due to frustration, the dog tears the toy to pieces. Try getting a toy that you can play WITH your dog. A game of tug, a Frisbee or a ball can really light up your dog’s life and you might enjoy it too. This can turn into a great reward system and help with training too and then toys won’t need to be left outside to entertain your dog whilst you’re not there, as your dog will get to play with you when you are.
3. The wrong size toy. Getting a toy that is too small for your dog can be very dangerous, the dog may swallow the toy in excitement causing an internal obstruction which can result in death.
When it comes to toy durability a toy that your dog put right at the back off their mouths is going to cop a beating. The jaw of a dog is very strong, they do everything with their mouths and those back teeth are meant for crushing and grinding bones. Once a dog traps a toy between their paws or against a hard edge and engage their back teeth, not much will take that type of attack.
The motto is get the size bigger than you think you need, or the biggest available.
4. Get the toy to suit the play style. We have had people buy plush toys (which ideally are an indoor pacifier) and use these as tug toys. When their dog is on one end and handler on the other, the toy tears in half and we get an email saying “this only lasted 20 minutes!“.
If you want to play tug, get a tug toy, we make professional tug toys that are both durable and purposeful. People will get a ball style toy and let their dog use it as a chew toy. It is a ball, meant for throwing, retrieving, fetch and find games, balls are not chew toys.
Next, we need to understand how dogs destroy toys, as knowing this should help us choose toys that will give you value.
A dog that removes the outside covering, covers, furs of toys will often use their front teeth for this job, these dogs like this as I mentioned above. If your dog is one of these, toys with covers etc will not last with your dog no matter what brand you buy. So either give them a very big toy that they cannot de fur, or give them a toy that has no cover, it perhaps is solid. The dog will probably still remove pieces but as the toy is solid it won’t be destroyed in minutes.
Remember, these dogs like doing this, so perhaps sacrifice a toy once in a while.
Trapping is something dogs do naturally, and when we see the more durable toys chewed up we know the dog has “trapped” the toy against a solid surface and worked hard with the back teeth, gnawing away there until the toy surrendered.
The trapper is very often a dog that needs more stimulation and these guys can destroy practically anything.
The Hard Mouth.
1. The ball is not good quality, tennis balls are made for tennis, not dogs, get a ball aimed at being used with dogs and the correct size.
2. The dog has been a ball lover for a long time and has developed super jaw power, and now the dog is able to annihilate even good quality fetch balls. When this happens you need to make sure that you get balls for your dog that are labelled very tough.
Even when you do the above you might still see balls fall to pieces in only a few weeks.
That is called life, my kids grow out of shoes all the time too.
I teach my pups how to play, this means things like chase the toy, bring the toy, tug on the toy, get food out of the toy etc. This helps the dog learn appropriate play styles rather than just seeking to kill and separate the toy.
Make the focus something else…
Put some food in a toy like peanut butter etc so the goal isn’t hammer the toy, it is figure it out.
Hide the toy so the goal is finding the toy rather than chewing it.
Hang the toy up so that it can’t be trapped and gnawed to death.
Put something inside the toy (perhaps another toy?) that changes the goal to get the inside thing, outside.
Use a puzzle toy to engage your dogs mind rather than his brute force.
Make the game about fetch rather than chew.
Supervise your dog with a new toy for the first few times your dog plays with it, if your dog is trapping or stripping the toy, then perhaps it is a toy that you should play with your dog.
My Tips for dogs that destroy toys
The Cagey Cube and Hollee Rollers are great for satisfying the stripper, because you can put material like cotton off cuts inside them or another toy and the job is to get that out. The focus with most dogs isn’t then to destroy the toy but get the goodies out. The Stripper will have trouble with a ball that has no cover. My favourite balls are the Ultra Ball by Chuckit. Grab one, feel the quality of the material and the finish is great. Bright, bouncy and has an air vent so the dog won’t burst it. Chuckit make a few different balls and the Erratic Ball they make is another favourite of mine, it is a little tougher than the Ultra Ball too.
The Soft Flex balls have no cover and are pretty tough, though the trapper will kill even these. Soft Flex toys are big so that overcomes the toy being too small.
Bob a lot will stop the stripper in his tracks, Bob is made from very hard plastic and the goal is to get Bob to give up his belly full of treats. Bob is very generous with treats if the dog interacts with Bob, nosing him around or even pummelling him. Bob comes in two sizes too and he can be adjusted so that he isn’t quite as generous after your dog gets used to playing with him.
Trappers are the most powerful toy destroyers of the universe, the jaw power of a dog combined with grinding teeth is always going to outmatch a dog toy. Defeat the trapper by hanging the toy up, it becomes a bit like bobbing for apples you can’t get a bite because they move away. Great fun though!
Many Trappers will be defeated, at least short term, by the very durable Zogoflex material that is used in the Westpaw Design toys such as the Hurley, Jive, Bumi and Zisc, with the Jive being the toughest out of these. Our new range of Goughnut toys also offer a life time replacement guarantee and they are by far the closest we have found to a quality indestructible toy.
The Hard Mouth.
Balls won’t last in your dogs mouth? first make sure that you are using a quality correct sized ball for your dog, again the Ultra Ball is pretty good and I know many dogs that are bitework trained and have crushing grips that have not destroyed Ultra Balls.
If your Hard Mouth needs something harder, look at the Jive, a solid Zogoflex ball that is both large and very tough. WestPaw offer a money back guarantee on their products, if your dog can destroy them , they will give you a onetime replacement or your money back. (Conditions apply).
Get your dog to play with you!
Chase! Get yourself a Chuckit Launcher, these are not your $2 launcher and one flick of the wrist will show you why. Chuckit invented the Launcher and they are the best, come in all sizes from the little dogs right through to the Mega Launcher. I use the Chuckit Launcher with Venom, it takes the medium sized Chuckit balls (tennis ball size) and drives the ball the farthest. A full football field in distance is child’s play!
These can help your dog focus on the prize rather than destroying the toy, the internet is full of recipes that you can use to stuff your toys with, from basic peanut butter recipes to more elaborate delicacies.
These will keep your dog engaged for longer and they usually last ok. I already mentioned Bob a Lot and he is great for the dryer style foods such as kibble, where as the Hollee Roller Extreme is great for filling with Chicken wings and raw meaty bones.
Get yourself a Kong Stuff a Ball and wedge liver strips into its grooves and fill it with your softer fills like cream cheese or peanut butter. Plug the bottom hole and fill with Beef Flavoured Stock, freeze it and it’s a beefy ice block!
These are very durable and also dishwasher safe, so if they get a little edgy just wash them.
Toys I won’t use
I don’t like the toys from supermarkets and $2 shops, the materials they are made of often can be poisonous to dogs and abrasive on teeth, little pieces flaking off and cause more harm than good, steer away from these.
I don’t like too many of the home made dog toys, seen too many dogs come to grief with these, things like old soft drink bottle filled with gravel. No need to say any more.
I promised you the indestructible dog toy though right, so I won’t let you down. We don’t sell these but most sports stores do. They call it a Shot Put, it has no cover to be removed by the Stripper, The Hard Mouth will become soft on one of these and the Trapper has no hope against its Steel Exterior.
Of course it will destroy your dogs teeth, most dogs won’t play with it but it will last forever!