There might not be anything in the world more universally fun than playing with your dog. But here’s the rub: Dogs can get bored playing with the same toys and so can you! So to keep them and yourself entertained, we created a guide on 4 interactive dog toys that you can make yourself.
Interactive toys are great because they aid in:
- Mental stimulation
- Alleviating stress
- Appropriate chewing
- Behavior modification
Making interactive toys is not only fun for you and your dog, it’s also inexpensive and allows you to reuse items you already have around the house. Dogs also love variety in their toys with an assortment of textures and sounds to keep them mentally stimulated and you can tailor your toys to suit those needs.
Today, we’ll look at four interactive dog toys you can make yourself that’ll keep your dog’s teeth away from your sofa, pillows, and shoes.
Toy #1: Plastic Bottle Dog Toy
Most dogs love the crunchy and squeaky noises plastic bottles make when chewed. The noise is similar to the sound prey animals make when they’re frightened. It brings out their inner hunter as the dog wrestles with the toy.
The hunter instinct explains why your dog may chew and completely destroy the bottle. When the noise stops, dogs believe they’ve “conquered” their prey.
Pet toy manufacturers have recognized dogs’ obsession with plastic and the mental benefits it can offer, and many now manufacture toys containing plastic bottles.
An exposed plastic bottle is not safe for your dog if left unsupervised. The cap, ring, and punctured plastic can cause injury. So be careful with this one. You’ll want to make sure you’ve removed any loose parts and have covered the bottle with fabric. However, after making the appropriate modifications, it should be fine for your dog to play with.
How to Make a Plastic Bottle Dog Toy
- Clean the water bottle and remove the cap and ring.
- Look for an old colorful fabric and spread it on the floor.
- Place the bottle at the edge of the fabric piece and wrap it until it’s thick to your liking (not too thick to muffle the sound).
- Tie both edges with another colorful fabric or a thick rope.
- Offer the toy to your dog and watch him have fun.
Bonus Tip: If you’re pressed for time, remove the cap and ring and insert the bottle into a sock.
Here’s a video of a dog enjoying playtime with a plastic bottle in a sock. Even the simplest toys can be a huge hit.
If you notice your pet is fixated on puncturing and eating the plastic, they could be bored, frustrated, seeking attention, or lacking a crucial dietary component, such as minerals and vitamins. Investigate further and address the challenge.
Toy #2: Dog Puzzle Treats
The best way to occupy your dog for an extended period is to give her a toy filled with her favorite treats. Add a twist by making it relatively difficult to access the goodies inside.
You can also use the puzzle toy during meals to slow down the feeding process and prevent overeating.
Its obviously very common for pet owners to frequently engage their dogs in physical activity by playing fetch, for example, or taking long walks. However, Mental exercise isn’t nearly as recognized, and is rarely scheduled into a pup’s daily activities.
Dogs need mental stimulation from puzzles to improve their brain function. Other benefits of using puzzle treats with your dog include:
- Preventing some brain disorders: According to Barkercise, dog puzzles help to prevent dementia in older dogs. They also keep younger dogs alert and improve their problem-solving skills.
- Acquiring new tricks: Puzzles force dogs to look for the best way to acquire the treats inside, which expands their mental capabilities.
- Preventing weight gain: Dog puzzles that use food and treats force dogs to remain active as they try to access food. For overeaters, it’s a better option than letting them eat from a bowl.
- Bonding with your dog: It’s fulfilling for both you and your dog to watch and cheer as they get their treats out. It strengthens your bond as you actively give them your undivided attention and praise.
You can make dog puzzles using readily available items in the home, as shown in the table below.
|Dog Puzzle Treat||How to Make the Puzzle Treat Toy|
|Treats in Muffin Tins||Sprinkle dog treats in each muffin cup, place tennis balls on top of them and let them figure out how to remove the balls to find the treat|
|Treats in PVC Pipe||Buy a PVC pipe with caps, and drill holes around it. Fill the pipe with treats and let the dog roll and shake it to remove them|
|Blanketed Treats||Wrap some treats in a towel and tie knots to make it more challenging to remove them. Let the dog roll, lift, and pull to access the food|
|Treats in a Box||Throw in some treats inside a box and partially seal it. Let the dog try to tear the box or remove the treats from the opening|
Make any of these treat puzzles and watch your pup do a happy walk like the one in this video clip (plus more clips of happy dogs).
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DIY Dog Treat Dispenser Instructions:
Toy #3: Tennis Ball and Rope Tug Toy
Most dogs go nuts when they’re given a tennis ball or a rope to play with. So a perfect interactive toy would obviously be to combine the two!
Tug toys help your dog release excess energy by engaging them in an intense workout session. It’s also effective in teaching them obedience basics and impulse control.
Dogs are naturally social animals, and playing with tug toys is an excellent way to interact with them and strengthen your bond. Some basic rules of playing tug are:
- Don’t pull upwards; it may injure your dog’s teeth.
- Teach your dog what drop or release means to allow you to control when the game should stop.
- Use a long rope to keep your hands far from the dog’s teeth.
- Stop the game for a while or until the next day if they touch your hand with their teeth. Pause the game until they learn to be extra careful.
This incredible video teaches you how to play tug safely with your dog. The trainer uses a tennis ball with a rope tug toy.
How to Make Tennis Ball and Rope Tug Toy
- Drill holes on both sides of a tennis ball.
- Pass a rope through the holes with the help of needle-nose pliers.
- Tie a thick knot to prevent the rope from slipping out.
Bonus Tip: You can add another ball to make this toy even more attractive. You can also use braided fabric instead of rope.
Toy #4: Braided Fabric Toy
Making a braided fabric toy with your old clothes can help distract your puppy from playing with your laundry. It’s also the perfect toy to give your dog when you’re away, as your scent can soothe them.
A dog’s sense of smell is forty times greater than that of humans. They possess 125–250 million scent receptors compared to a human’s five to six million.
Your dog can still detect your scent in a fabric even after washing. To make your scent stronger, put the braided toy among your clothes when not in use.
Giving your dog unaltered clothes to play with isn’t a good idea because their teeth and claws can easily rip the fabric, creating a choking hazard. Braiding strengthens the fabric and will allow your dog to play with it for longer.
How to Make a Braided Fabric Toy
- Lay the fabric on a flat surface and cut it into 9–12 strips that are approximately 20 inches long and 3 inches wide.
- Gather the pieces together and tie a knot at one end.
- Separate the pieces into 3 equal sections and start braiding.
- Leave room at the end to make another knot.
Watch this video to learn how to braid.
There you go! Four simple dog toys you can make at home to impress and occupy your pup. If not for your own dog, you can join the Rocky Kanaka community and start making toys for those in need at animal shelters.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do interactive toys really work?
Yes, interactive toys help to mentally and physically stimulate your dog. They significantly help to relieve anxiety, depression, and boredom. Interactive toys like Dog Puzzle Treat Dispenser can also help to make mealtimes fun and slow down the feeding process.
Which toys are dangerous for dogs?
- Tiny dog balls: Tiny toys can become slimy, and your puppy can accidentally choke while playing with them.
- Dog bones: Rib and chicken bones can easily pierce your dog’s mouth, throat or stomach. Make sure the bones you choose are big enough to avoid choking.
- Rawhide chews: Poor quality rawhide breaks into large pieces, which can cause intestinal blockage or choking.
- Substandard stuffed toys: Stuffed toys with loose or large pieces can cause choking in small inexperienced dogs.
Where can I get quality dog toys?
Rocky Kanaka offers high-quality dog toys that are:
- 100% polyester fiber
- Machine washable