Making your own dog toys is a great way to save money, especially since some electronic, automated, ball-throwing toys cost upwards of $200. All you need are some old clothes and at the very least, the ability to tie knots. Find out how you can make your own DIY throw, tug, solve, and chew dog toys for your pup.
Tennis balls are great, but did you know you can make your own throw toys? If you have a small dog, ball up a lone sock that lost its partner in the dryer and you’ve got yourself a soft throw toy. For big dogs, you can stuff several lone socks into a long tube sock. Push them as far down as possible so that you end up with a round-ish shape and then tie a knot in the tube sock. Cut off any extra fabric and/or fold it around the ball and tie it up. The thicker the sock, the longer this toy will last. You can reuse the stuff and just change up the outside tube sock as it wears out.
There’s really no reason to spend money on expensive tug toys. Take a pair of old jeans, rip them up, braid the pieces together, and tie knots at either end. Voila, you’ve just made a tug toy out of some pretty durable material. For small dogs, use thinner strips of cloth. For big dogs, use thicker strips or double or triple up each strip. Feel free to experiment with materials other than denim. You can use old T-shirts for a more stretchy rope or burlap strips for a more rough feel.
Do you have an old stuffed animal you can give to your dog? Instead of just letting your pup rip it up, turn it into a treat puzzle. Just make sure you take out the stuffing and any plastic parts, like noses and eyes. Restuff the animal with cut up strips of old shirts by cutting a few openings in the ears, tail, or body of the animal. Then, stuff the treats inside. Let your dog sniff and figure out how to get the treats out.
You can also make a puzzle toy out of a plastic water bottle. Simply fill the bottle with a few treats and close the top. Cut several holes in the bottle that are just big enough for the treats to fall out. To make the game more challenging, make the holes smaller so that the treats only fall out at a certain angle. Roll the bottle around the floor and let your dog get to work at getting his treats.
For a cooling, refreshing chew toy that’s perfect for teething puppies, take an old sock, ball it up, soak it in water and freeze it. If you’ve got a fluffy dog, this is also a great toy for hot summer days. You can create different shapes with the stuffed sock and keep them in your freezer. When one thaws out, swap it out with a fresh one.
Whatever toy you decide to make for your dog, remember that dogs love the interaction. As Cesar Millan, renowned dog behavioralist notes, “Dogs are more interested when you participate. As social creatures, our dogs become more excited when we’re excited. Engaging a dog in play using a toy is much more engaging than playing alone. A tug toy isn’t much good if there isn’t someone on the other side.”
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