Your living room will never be as exciting as the dog park but with the right toys you can keep your pet from turning into a total couch potato. One important reason to keep them busy? Inactivity can lead to boredom, and boredom can lead to dogs creating their own fun (i.e. wreaking havoc). So how do you pick the right indoor toy? Well, there could be lots of right ones (in fact, it’s best to switch up your dog’s toys regularly to keep them happy and interested), but there are a couple of key categories to consider.
Treat-dispensing toys and puzzle toys are great because they force your dog to solve a problem (“Where is that delicious treat?”) to earn a reward (“Found the TREAT!”). But what about when you want to play too? Tug toys are good for a bit of healthy indoor exercise. Hold on to your end then let your dog do his darndest to win tug-of-war, and he’ll be worn out in no time. It’s also a great way to satisfy their animal instinct to put those jaws to work.
Speaking of animal instincts, dogs love to pretend they’re on the hunt. But even if they wouldn’t have the slightest idea what to do in the wild, plush toys make the perfect indoor prey. They’re best for gentle souls who want to chase something but not totally destroy it, or dogs that just like to carry something around in their mouth. Plush toys are also easier for small dogs to play with, unlike bulkier toys that require giant jaws. But if your pet is hell-bent on opening his toys to find out just what exactly is making that squeaking noise, stuffless toys are the way to go. They’re all fun, no stuff. Shake it, gnaw it and drag it but there’s no insides to spill out. Bonus: even the most determined of toy destroyers tends to chill out when playing with stuffless toys. No guts, no glory.