New puppies are bundles of energy, so you will want to provide them with productive ways to expend that energy such as going on walks or playing with toys.
Since puppies are always on the lookout for something fun to play with, playing with dog toys is a great way to help you bond with your puppy, or to distract them while you take a little break.
Here are a few types of toys to consider buying for your puppy to distract them, train them, and just to have fun:
- Squeak Toys – Some puppies love to get a reaction from their toys and squeak toys are perfect for that. If your puppy has a hunting lineage, you may notice there will be a ‘kill’ in the making with this sort of toy. Once the toy is ‘killed’ (the squeaker removed) the puppy may lose interest in the toy. The constant squeaking may be a bit disturbing since puppies don’t really care what you’re doing when they’re ready to play. If puppy is very young, do pay attention as the squeaking device may be small enough to swallow if they should happen to get it out.
- Chew Toys – Buy hard plastic ‘bones’ and real rawhide, or other bones and toys for puppy to chew on. Be sure to limit the amount of time puppy chews on the real rawhide as it is difficult to digest and you want to avoid letting them break off and swallow large chunks. A big supply of good chew toys and bones are a necessary investment. Buying bones specially made to hold up for a long time will help the budget.
- Frisbees – Toys that fly far are perfect for playing fetch. This is an opportunity for you to teach puppy to retrieve and return. Find a safe, wide open field and your puppy will run off a lot of energy. The exercise is great for both of you.
- Ropes – Tugging on a rope and carrying it around is always fun. You can buy thick, strong ropes at the pet store just for this purpose. Be sure not to get too aggressive with this play. You are probably quite a big bigger than your dog, and certainly your puppy, and you can tug too hard and hurt your puppy’s jaw, neck, or teeth. Keep the play more about chasing the puppy while he runs with the rope than about tugging it away from him or her.
- Balls – Puppies love chasing balls. Your puppy will bat a ball around and keep entertained without any help from you. However, the real joy your puppy will have is playing fetch with you. Make sure the ball is large enough so it doesn’t pose a choking hazard. Also, make sure the ball is solid enough not to be chewed up easily. Tennis balls are a favorite choice for many dog owners.
- Stuffed Toys – You’ll find many stuffed toys that are shaped in all sorts of amusing critters and objects. These are great play toys especially for puppy because they are soft and give puppy something to sink those tiny little baby teeth into while offering a cuddly factor. Be aware of broken seams and stuffing coming out.
When choosing toys for your puppy, you’ll want to be sure to keep some safety and training issues in mind. Here are a few:
- Only keep a few toys out – If you’ve bought your puppy a lot of toys, don’t present them all at once. One or two toys at a time will excite your puppy; any more than that will just be overwhelming and your puppy may ignore them all. Then, as old toys get destroyed or no longer useful, introduce one new toy at a time.
- Watch for choking hazards – The easiest way to avoid buying toys that may present chocking hazards for puppies is to buy them from a good pet store. Pet stores have a big selection of puppy-safe toys to choose from. If you do get puppy toys that you’re not sure about, check them over for objects that are sewn or glued on that won’t hold up to your puppy’s chewing. Just cut them off before giving to your puppy.
- Keep toys in a bin nearby – To keep your own sanity you’ll probably want to have a bin or toy box for the puppy toys. This
is a place where puppy can always find them and you can show him where they go when finished. That way, when puppy wants to play he knows exactly where to go to find the toys. You will also be able to quickly grab something to distract puppy when needed.
Puppy fun time is one of the great joys of being a puppy, and a puppy parent. Make sure you take the time to get your puppy the best toys for the hard work of playing. Be sure you also get in all the playtime you can with your puppy. Time flies quickly, and your puppy won’t be little for long!