Dogs LOVE toys. There’s no doubt. Toys provide stimulation, challenge, and of course fun! You likely have toys in a toy basket, your dog’s bed, or even strewn around the floor.
But, what you might not realize is that a dog toy will lose its value if it is available to them all the time. Your dog will soon lose interest, if he hasn’t already. This is when I hear things like, “my dog won’t play fetch anymore” or “my dog won’t play with me anymore” or “my dog has become possessive of his toys and attacks other dogs when they get close to them.”
Reboot your dog’s toy drive. Take away the toys and only bring out one toy or one ball at a time. The toy should be paired with your presence only. They will appreciate the toy and, you, a lot more!
All toys should be owned by humans, and when we bring a toy out, your dog will be focused and driven to play, because he knows it’s time with you. The toy should never bring your dog joy or satisfaction by itself. He should crave the interaction with you, not toys or other dogs.
When you do give your dog a toy, you should be playing fetch, tug, or hide and seek only. Don’t let him chew on a toy or destroy it. He will learn the art of destruction and you will wonder why your shoes or pillows are ruined, not to mention the health hazards of chewing toys.
Your dog doesn’t know the difference between destroying a tennis ball and destroying a child’s toy. I recently learned about a family Doberman who lost his life from abdominal trauma from ingesting Velcro.
A chew, however, is not a toy. All dogs should have a Nylabone available to them at all times, whether it be in the kennel, or on his “place.” This is especially true for young dogs and puppies. A Nylabone is a nylon chew that’s sold at all pet stores and Walmart.
Don’t forget that dogs do everything by instinct. If they’re doing something we don’t like, it’s because we have taught them to do that without realizing it.