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Have you ever been to the pet store and gotten overwhelmed at all the options for dog toys?
What’s the difference between them all?
Does it matter which ones I get my puppy?
If you’re a new puppy owner you might not realize that there are different types of toys, and they each serve a specific purpose for your pup.
For instance, toys can help with important things such as:
- Obedience training
- Crate training
- Separation anxiety or isolation distress
If you Google what are the different types of dog toys, you’ll get a handful of different answers from different sources.
However, the Four Dog Toy Types video by Simpawtico Dog Training is by far my favorite breakdown of toy types.
Check it out below.
The Four Dog Toy Types [VIDEO]
1. Chew Toys
Chew toys are some of the best toys for your dog.
Chewing releases endorphins that calm your golden and keeps them happy.
Without chew toys, dogs can turn their chewing desires towards household items like shoes or furniture.
[Watch our video about the best chew toys for teething puppies here]
Some examples of chew toys are:
Nylabone Dura Chew Ring
Mammoth Tire Biter
Because of the benefits of chewing and the problems that can arise if this desire is not satisfied, you should always have chew toys around.
However, just because you should always have them around doesn’t mean that they should all be constantly available.
Dogs can get bored with toys very quickly.
To combat this, keep toys in a box or bin.
When your dog seems like he wants to chew, but not on the toys that are available, bring out a “new” chew toy.
The presentation of a “new” toy will excite your dog and they’ll happily chew on it.
The Peanut Butter Trick
Some dogs like to chew on everything but what they’re supposed to chew on.
To get him to start enjoying chewing on chew toys we lathered a little bit of peanut butter on there.
That got him to lick the chew toy, and then eventually the licks became bites, and he started to enjoy chewing on it.
With nearly every new chew toy we give him we have to go through this process, but he always gets it and has learned to love chew toys.
Create Training With Chew Toys
Chew toys can be especially helpful with crate training.
By putting a favorite toy that your puppy loves to chew in his crate, they can get distracted, release those endorphins, and get used to being alone in their crate quicker than if they were just sitting in there sad and bored.
Kong toys filled with their regular food is a great choice for this.
2. Dental Toys
Dental toys, like chew toys, should always be available.
They have similar benefits to regular chew toys, like encouraging chewing to release endorphins, but because they have extra ridges and knobs, they also provide dental benefits such as:
- Cleaning teeth
- Massaging gums
- Promoting blood flow
Examples of dental toys include:
Nylabone Double Bone
Nylabone Pro Action Bone
Tip: throw your dental toys in the freezer when your puppy is teething to help soothe their sensitive gums.
Warning: with both chew toys and dental toys, be careful when they get too mangled because pieces can easily break off and your dog can swallow them.
3. Interactive Toys
Interactive toys, like the name implies, are for you and your dog to play together with.
Games such as tug and fetch are likely to be your dog’s favorite.
Good examples of interactive toys include:
Mammoth Rope Toy
A note on interactive toys: unlike chew or dental toys, which should always be available, interactive toys should be special toys that you bring out when you want to play with your dog.
This will enforce that you are in charge, and keep the occasion special.
Training With Interactive Toys
By keeping interactive toys and playing with you special, you can leverage the toy or the game as a reward in training.
These toys are also great opportunities to teach your dog “drop it” and “take it”.
Another benefit of interactive toys is that it offers an opportunity for you and your dog to bond.
By forming a tight bond, your dog will want to please you, which will make training easier (not to mention you’ll get the wonderful joy of bonding with your pup).
4. Plush Toys
Plush toys are the stuffed animals or characters that often have a squeaker inside.
If your golden is anything like mine, this will be their favorite type of toy.
Some examples of plush toys are:
Multipet Stuffed Duck
A note of disagreement: in the Simpawtico video at the top of this article, Ian says to not let your dog tear up plush toys, as this will lead to tearing up other things, such as shoes, purses, or even small animals like your child’s guinea pig or the neighbor’s chihuahua.
My golden’s favorite activity is tearing up his plush toys.
He has not torn up any household items and plays very nicely with my sister-in-law’s tiny rat terrier, so we have not been strict on not allowing him to destroy his plush toys.
However, if your dog does like to ruin things he’s not supposed to, or is not good with tiny animals, then you might want to heed Ian’s advice and not encourage destructive behavior.
Although the toy aisle at the pet store can be overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be.
Remember, there are four types of toys:
- Chew Toys
- Dental Toys
- Interactive Toys
- Plush Toys
Chew toys and dental toys will help your golden take out his chewing desires on something he’s allowed to chew on, and can also clean his teeth.
Interactive toys will help you bond with your dog, serve as a reward for training, and help you teach them “drop it” and “take it”.
Plush toys are toys that your pup will be tearing up one moment, and then cuddling with the next.
What is your pup’s favorite toy?
Let us know in the comments below!