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There are hundreds of toy options out there, but how do you know which ones to get for your Golden Retriever?
Some are easily destroyed, some are boring to your dog, and some are even bad for your pup.
So in this post, you’ll see what the best toys for Golden Retrievers are.
You’ll also learn:
- The top mistakes Golden Retriever owners make with their pup’s toys
- How to use these toys to train your Golden Retriever (or at least keep them out of trouble!)
- When to use these toys (and when NOT to use them)
- And much more
Let’s dive in!
Best Toys For Golden Retrievers
Below is a list of the best toys for Golden Retrievers.
They’re all tested and approved by my Golden, Oliver, and the last toy on this list is his absolute favorite.
The Kong Classic is, well… a classic.
Some dogs will love to chew on this rubber toy, but you can supercharge it by soaking some kibble in water, filling the toy with the soaked kibble, sealing the opening with peanut butter, and freezing it.
This is called a frozen Kong and it works wonders.
If your dog has tons of energy, this will settle her down.
If your dog hates being in the crate, this can distract and entertain him.
Tennis balls are another classic.
Playing fetch with them in the backyard or even just letting your pup chew them and kick them around will make any Golden happy.
And if you want to throw your tennis balls farther for more fun for your dog, you can get a Chuckit! Launcher to throw the ball like a major league outfielder.
I listed Penn tennis balls specifically here because my Golden just hasn’t enjoyed any other types of balls as much.
We’ve tried Kong and other brands of tennis balls made specifically for dogs, but he seems to only like real tennis balls made to play tennis with.
Zippy Paws Avocado
This Zippy Paws avocado is one of Oliver’s favorite plush toys.
The reason it’s my favorite is that it lasts longer than most plush toys.
You can get cute bears or lambs, but they have ears, tails, and limbs that dogs love to rip off.
Avocados have no appendages and therefore last longer than most other plush toys.
The only problem with the pineapple is that the leaves on top are easily chewed off, but once they’re gone, it becomes just like the avocado with no appendages.
You can even cut them off and beat your dog to the punch.
Nylabone Double Bone
The Nylabone Double Bone is one of Oliver’s favorite chew toys.
There used to be a problem with the white ends falling off, but we haven’t had that issue in about two years (yes, we’ve been getting him this same toy all his life because he loves it that much).
As an adult, the XL size is perfect for him.
Benebone Bacon Stick
Benebone toys, like this bacon stick, are excellent chew toys for dogs.
They’re a little softer than Nylabone toys and dogs love them.
Oliver loves this stick as well as the Benebone Wishbone.
Tug ropes are like 2-in-1 toys.
Your dog will love playing tug with you and the rope, but they’ll also like chewing it.
The good thing about dogs chewing rope toys is that they can be almost like floss for their teeth.
However, dogs easily rip and tear them up and swallow pieces of these toys, so be sure to only give this to them under supervision.
The Kong Wobbler is a fun puzzle toy that will make your Golden think to get a reward.
This is great to mentally stimulate your pup so that they don’t have pent-up mental energy that may otherwise be taken out through unwanted behaviors like barking, tearing up a pillow, or chewing up a shoe.
Quick note: if you feed your dog Royal Canin Golden Retriever kibble, the food may not fit in the hole.
If this is the case, then you can use an empty Gatorade bottle (a tip I learned from this online dog training course).
I’m not sure if you classify bully sticks as a chew toy or a treat, but either way, Goldens love them!
These are the 12″ sticks so that they’ll last longer for your pup and they’re less likely to swallow them right away.
Your dog will love this rubber, squeaky pig, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how long it lasts.
This is another toy that we’ve been getting for Oliver all of his life.
West Paw Zogoflex Zwig Stick
This is Oliver’s absolute favorite toy.
It’s a 3-in-1 toy: he likes to chew it by himself, play tug with me with it, and play fetch with it.
It’s rubber and waterproof, so you can play fetch with it in the pool, lake, or ocean, and it’s dishwasher-safe.
Not to mention, it’s pretty much indestructible.
Top 4 Mistakes Golden Retriever Owners Make With Toys
Here are the most common mistakes dog owners make when giving their dog toys:
Letting Your Dog Play With Toys Unsupervised
Some toys, like the chew toys listed above, are usually fine to let your dog play with unsupervised.
But if you let your dog tear up a squeaky toy without you in the room, it could be dangerous.
They could rip out the squeaker and stuffing and swallow them, potentially choking on them or needing surgery to remove them.
- Getting a Golden Retriever puppy? Check out the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook.
Leaving Toys Out All The Time
If you had your favorite meal for every meal, pretty soon you’d get sick of it.
Your dog’s toys are the same!
By keeping a box or bin for them and rotating them, you can keep them new and exciting, so your dog doesn’t get bored with them (and so you can save money by not having to buy so many new toys).
We keep chew toys out all the time so Oliver can always chew on them if he gets bored, but we usually rotate through the Nylabone Double Bone, Benebone Wishbone, and Benebone Bacon Stick every day or two.
Giving The Wrong Toy At The Wrong Time
If your dog is in the mood to chew, don’t give them a plush toy.
And if they’re in the mood to run around with a toy in their mouth, don’t give them a chew toy.
By learning what they want and which toy will satisfy that need, they’ll be much happier and you’ll save money on toys.
Getting Cheap Toys
Toys are an investment.
They’ll entertain your dog and can help you train them, so don’t get cheap toys that will break easily or aren’t fun for your pup.
The last thing you want is to get a cheap toy with lots of moving parts and have your dog break off and swallow a piece.
The second-to-last thing you want is to get a boring toy that your dog has no interest in.
When To Use Each Of The Toys In This List
The toys listed above can be categorized into four different types:
- Puzzle toys
- Chew toys
- Interactive toys
- Plush toys
These are great for mentally stimulating your dog and making them think.
This is especially important for Golden Retrievers because they’re so smart —if they’re not challenged mentally, they can act out or engage in destructive behaviors.
Puzzle toys can be used nearly any time, but frozen Kongs are especially great for crate training.
If your pup hates the crate, put a frozen Kong in there to keep them busy and entertained.
Like puzzle toys, chew toys can be used at any time.
If you’re busy, chew toys are great to help your Golden keep themselves entertained.
And if your dog doesn’t love chew toys, just smear some peanut butter on them.
This will get them started chewing and can help them build a habit of chewing on chew toys.
Interactive toys are for when you want to interact with your dog.
Whether that’s through fetch or tug, these toys help you two play together.
Plush toys, often with a squeaker inside, are like a child’s stuffed animals.
Your Golden will take them to bed with them, snuggle with them, and just love being with them in general.
However, they will also tear them up (see picture below), so they should only be played with under supervision.
(No, the rubber pig isn’t actually plush, but it serves the same function.)
How To Use Toys To Train Your Golden Retriever
Not only can toys entertain your pup and help you play with them, but they can also be used to train them.
Here are five ways to use toys to train your dog:
We’ve mentioned this already, but frozen Kongs are like the secret weapon to crate training your dog.
With a dab of peanut butter at the end, they can’t say no to them, and they’ll soon be having fun getting the frozen kibble out, and forget that they don’t like their crate yet.
- Want to potty train your Golden Retriver fast? Download the Potty Training Cheat Sheet here.
Stopping Chewing Up The House
If your dog has a problem with chewing up your shoes or furniture, then you should give them something they can chew: a chew toy.
If you see them chewing, or, better yet, before they start chewing, give them a chew toy with some peanut butter on it.
Keep doing this and pretty soon, when they’re in the mood to chew, they’ll go for a toy instead of your shoes.
Teaching your dog to drop it is a potentially life-saving skill.
If they get something dangerous in their mouth while on a walk, like roadkill or discarded rotten food, then you’ll be thankful you’ve taught them to drop it.
And playing tug is a great way to practice drop it, once they’ve learned the basics of the command.
Oliver and I will often play tug, then I’ll stop and ask him to drop it.
It’s part of the game, so he’s more inclined to obey.
I’ll also incorporate practicing other commands or tricks while we’re playing tug.
I’ll ask him to drop it, then sit, lay down, shake, roll over, or whatever else we’re working on at the time.
And the fact that I have a toy in my hand makes him all the more willing to listen.
Playing hide and seek is a great game to use to practice recall.
I’ll let Oliver see that I have a fun toy in my hand, then ask him to sit and stay.
I’ll walk to another room to hide from him, then call him to come to me.
His reward for coming to me is the fun toy that he saw in my hand before.
Using Up The Endless Energy
If your Golden is like mine, they have tons of energy and always want to play.
I love playing with him, but I don’t always have the time to.
In this case, I’ll give him a puzzle toy.
Your Golden Retriever’s Favorite Toys
What are your Golden Retriever’s favorite toys?
Do you have any questions about the toys mentioned in this post?
Let me know down in the comments!
And if you liked this article, you’ll love this article about the best dog beds for Golden Retrievers.
P.S. Getting a Golden Retriever puppy? Check out the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook.