How do you select the best toy for your pooch? First and foremost, you must know you dog. No one will understand your dog like you do. This makes you the best person to select the optimal toy for your dog. Of course, you may want to get a variety because variety is the spice of life, and you just want to spoil your best friend. But you want to make sure that you get a toy that your dog will enjoy and will stimulate him in the way that will be the best for him and for you.
Start with your dog’s breed. You may have a large dog or a small one. An active working breed like a cattle dog or a couch potato. Different dog breeds were bred for different characteristics such as agility or speed or endurance or tenacity in hunting prey. Look up the breed characteristics from the American Kennel Club and see what it says about your dog.
When was the last time that you looked at your dog? I mean, really looked at and observed your dog. Not just a glance when you are moving through the house or when you are on a walk and distracted by traffic, but really observed your dog to do nothing more than understand her.
When you were dating your significant other, you were constantly gazing into their eyes and observing everything you could about them. You were enamored with them so it was natural that you wanted to learn everything that there was to know about the. It is no different with your dog. If your dog is your best friend, as mine is to me, then you will want to observe him to learn everything you can. Be careful though — some dogs may see eye contact as your attempt to attack them! Look away if they are staring back at you!
The purpose of this observation should be purposeful and mindful. You goal is not mindless stargazing, but to observe with the goal of learning your dog’s temperament, activity level, likes and dislikes. The more you know about your dog, the more you will understand what types of toys and play are the most appropriate for her.
Observe your dog at different times of the day. I’m completely different when I wake up than I am in the middle of the day or when I am ready to turn in for the night. It is no different for your dog.
On observing your dog, the first thing you will notice is your dog’s temperament. Is your dog happy and playful, or is he a quiet couch potato? Does your dog take things as they come, or is she curious about every rabbit hole and blowing leaf. Is every stranger a threat that must be defied, or a friend that hasn’t been met yet.
Different toys are suited to different temperaments, but you can also use toys to develop your dog’s less developed side. Do you have a quiet dog, you can use balls or sticks to bring out your dog’s more playful nature.
Does your dog have enough energy to power a small city? Or, like the hounds that live under the hillbilly’s front porch, does your dog sleep for 20 hours a day? Different toys will appeal to these two very different types of dogs. Which type is your friend? An active dog who can chase a stick or a ball for hours on end, or one that a simple squeaky toy will overstimulate?
Some dogs were bred for work and will go stir crazy if they must stay home and endure long times cooped up and bored while the family is at work or school. Imagine how you feel when you are sick and are not allowed to get out of bed.
Times of Days
Many dogs have different energy levels at different times of day, or at least their people do. Your dog might be more active in the morning and prefer an afternoon siesta; or your pup may prefer to sleep the day away and spend the nighttime chasing shadows. Of course, if you work during the day, and you have a night owl dog, you will need to find a way to keep this pup up and busy during the day so she will sleep at night (and so can you).
If you and your pup have different cycles of activity and restfulness, you can work with a trainer to get your rhythm into sync with each other. That will be better for the both of your and you can enjoy each other better.
There are some dogs who have serious behavioral issues. These are the types of issues that are diagnosed and treated by professional dog behavioral trainers. Some of these issues may be treated with different types of toys used either as distractions or a reward for good behavior.
Some of these issues can be mitigated by selecting a toy that can help your active dog burn off some excess energy by playing instead of chewing up your furniture and your shoes. You should always rely on the advice of your dog’s behavioral trainer.
In the end, your observations will determine what type of dog you have, and what type of toys will fit your dog’s activity levels and temperament. Using this you can select the best type of toys that will make your dog the happiest. Your pup’s best toy is still you and your time so spend it freely to gain the most rewarding time possible with your best friend.