A Few of Our Favorite Things

The telltale sign of a household that is run by dogs? No, it’s not just the dog hair covering most surfaces. It’s the toys, strewn about from room to room, owners wincing when they step on the remains of nylabones or trip over rubber kongs.

It is no secret that our pups are a bit spoiled. There are three different rooms where the dogs are likely to be found, and in each, lives a bucket that overflows with toys. Many are simply scraps of fabric or plastic, remnants of toys that once were…. monkeys or snakes or piggies.

In a house full of three dogs, it doesn’t take long for us to determine which toys will stand up to the tests our dogs put them through. Here are our favorites, for your viewing chewing pleasure. (Many thanks to our friends Casey, Leroy, and Tofu over at Leroy & Co. for the inspiration!)

1) The Big Red Ball

IMG_0259This Paw-zzle Ball, found at Cabela’s, was such a winning purchase. If Gaige is outside, she is either chewing on this toy, chasing it, trying to find it, or trying to steal it. It is a large plastic ball, with a few holes around the outside. On the inside another ball is retained, which rolls around, enticing the dogs to try to plot its escape. This is an outdoor only toy, due to its size and weight, but it is incredibly durable. Its numerous holes make it easy for a few dogs to grab ahold and play tug. One warning: Gaige loves to hold this at the bottom, prancing around with her head high in the air (see photographic evidence, above). This creates an obstruction of vision, which may or may not have resulted in a dent to the back of Dad’s new truck!

2) Anything Nylabone

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Nylabones are a big deal in our house, but most especially for Gaige and Georgia (might it be their shared pittie heritage?) These hard plastic toys are not meant for playing fetch, ย but work really well for dogs that love to chew, chew, chew. I feel comfortable leaving them with the dogs while in their crates for the day, because I know they will not break off into small, swallow-able pieces. They come in a large variety of shapes/sizes/types, but I know that the quality of Nylabone toys is always impressive, regardless of the specifics. Tonka generally prefers toys that are more cuddly, but these will last long enough to be worth the money!

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3) This Weird Cheap Scrap Toy

DSC_0039This toy was a spur-of-the-moment purchase from a Marshall’s or Ross’s or similar discount store. I didn’t expect it to last long, because it was so affordable, but it has turned into one of our favorites. You know those tug toys that our dogs love, but we hate? They are twisted and braided together with rope, which then frays and sheds EVERYwhere. Well this is nothing like those. Sure, it is twisted and knotted and works great for group play. However, this toy is made out of scraps of what is a stretchy, almost T-Shirt-like material, so there is no fraying! While this isn’t a toy that our dogs will play with on their own, it works well for fetching or tugging, and it still looks cute if it is accidentally left out when company comes over. While I can’t tell you exactly where to find it, I can tell you that you could probably make this into a DIY project!

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4) Antlers

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Have you tried antlers with your dogs? Our pups cannot. Get. Enough. These are all-natural, and you can even provide them yourself if you have access to the necessary supplies (ie a husband that hunts!) They are silly expensive from pet specialty stores, but you can also get them online through Etsy, or from private dealers (again with the Cabela’s, but there is a man who sells antlers himself outside of this store on weekends, and they are only $1.00 per piece!) Regardless of what price you pay for the antlers, it is worth it. Ours last for MONTHS, even with aggressive chewers in our house, and will not break off into shards. They also don’t smell or stain your flooring. Our dogs like antlers so much that they are the only toy we have to moderate during playtime, to make sure no one is getting too possessive. If you have tried the antlers, and your dogs didn’t take to them send them our way, please! try running them under warm water, which will release lots of smells to entice your pooch.

Look at that concentration!

Look at that concentration! There is an antler under there somewhere…

We are very lucky in that, for the most part, our dogs are pretty good about sharing their toys with one another. As I said, particularly high-value toys (like the antlers) can cause a grumble, so we make sure to moderate the pups when they are out. We try to dictate the “finder’s, keeper’s” rule, meaning that if one dog has a toy, they are to retain possession of that toy until they drop it of their own volition. Furthermore, if two dogs are tugging on the same toy, we make sure that their body language is light and happy, or the game ends and the toy disappears. Gaige is not always good about taking the other dogs’ signals seriously, so we must sometimes reinforce their growls by removing Gaige from the room, or putting her in a down-stay with a different toy.

Georgia and Gaige have a funny little routine that they have worked out when it comes to sharing toys. If, for example, Gaige is chewing on an antler that Georgia wants, Georgia will come up to her, playing animatedly with a different toy (typically one that is obnoxiously squeaky). This will entice Gaige to drop the antler, at which point Georgia will drop her squeaker toy. Once Gaige goes for the squeaking toy, Georgia is able to steal the antler, and head off to an undisclosed location. What a sneak!

Wanna play??

Wanna play??

We still have a few awesome giveaways leftover from 2 Hounds Designs! For a chance to win a collar or a collar/leash combo, leave a comment with a suggestion for a post topic ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!

 

 

7 thoughts on “A Few of Our Favorite Things

  1. Love the first pic with the ball!

    I’ve never been impressed with Nylabone products. No matter which one I’ve tried my dogs end up killing them. I found a weird scrap toy like yours at a dollar store. My dogs love the rope toys but they really do make a mess. I now buy cheap fleece blankets (under $3) and make my own.

    I do want to try antlers but knowing my dogs chewing abilities I’m going to opt for moose, which is the hardest of the three types generally available ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Oscar loves Nylabones too! Interesting about antlers! I wonder if we could get antlers down here in Florida. I’m sure the pups would love them. Great pictures! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hmm…now for a post topic…I think you should do an interview with Georgia, from her point of view! It’d be cute, and I’m sure it’d get some laughs! She probably has a lot to say! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I’ve heard that you should only allow your dogs to chew one inch of antler per day because they wear down their teeth. Also, it’s important to buy antlers that are big enough for your dog. If the antler is too small, it can cause tooth fractures. I usually buy antlers from this eBay seller because they’re a great deal and very fresh. But please read his honest warnings.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Large-Elk-Antler-dog-bone-chews-toy-chew-treats-bully-stick-/140928504301?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20cffe51ed

  4. My pup loves her antlers- and she actually have a few deer bones as well. She chews on them, but doesn’t actually break any pieces off and so it hardly wears down- which means they are the toys that we’ve had the longest! I try to leave a bone in every room of the house so that if she starts chewing on furniture or blankets, I can redirect her. But she hates that! She’ll go around and collect them all so that she can be surrounded by her favorite toys!

  5. Yup, we love antlers in our house, too. We go for moose. Funny thing though…we always have 2, but the pooches choose one that they like best and will only chew that one! We have a whole antler that no one will chew until we throw the old one away. When we replace it with a new one, they will only chew the other one (that they didn’t want before!). Funny dogs – I will have to try the water trick!!

    As for a post topic…do your dogs have any “issues” or things they are working on? Or let’s hear from Gaige or Tonka!!

  6. Nylabones are the only thing that can stand up to my dogs chewing! My Emma has the same knobby ended one with the green middle. The dinosaur shaped ones are the only other strong ones. I’ve been hearing a lot about the antlers. Might have to try them!

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