We all want our dogs to be happy and we know a big part of that is playtime. Whether it’s a romp around the back yard, playing with the kids, or playing with one of their favourite dog toys – it’s a huge part of your dog’s life!
But, did you know, toys are more than just for play time? They have a lot of mental and physical health benefits as well as aiding in the bonding process between owner and canine.
You may be asking yourself “What exactly are these benefits? And just how will they improve things for me and my dog?” Well, we’re here to tell you how. Below are the top six reasons that dogs need toys!
1. Dog toys provide mental stimulation
Most dog breeds were created with a job in mind. Whether it’s a terrier bred to hunt rats or a Newfoundland that was bred to help fishermen, your dog needs mental stimulation to replace the work that they were bred for.
Big or small, a dog needs to keep their mind sharp. There are a lot of toys out on the market that give your dog more than just something to play with.
Many dog toys can be stuffed with a favourite treat or food and then frozen. This gives your dog a goal or a job while playing. They can knock the toy around and chew on it to get the tasty reward inside.
This type of mental stimulation will help prevent your pooch from getting bored during the day and during playtime.
There are also puzzle toys that your dog will have to figure out how to open to get the treats! They range from the very simple to more complex types to give even the smartest of dogs something to do.
Afterall, a bored dog may begin to compulsively tail chase or chew up the furniture. By helping keep your dog focused on a job, you’ll both be happier and healthier without the stress of extra vet visits.
Toys like these are the dog equivalent of a human’s crossword puzzle or other activity!
2. Relationship building through dog toys
Not all of our furry friends are food motivated or perhaps the training you have in mind relies on some other type of non-food reward.
In either case, dog toys are your best friend! Not only do they allow you more control over the positive reward, they allow you to take a break with your dog during intense training. Don’t forget, you aren’t the only one that gets frustrated when training doesn’t go as planned.
Your dog wants to do a good job working with you, but repeatedly being told a command only for it to not work out will wear on your companion’s mental health as well. By using dog toys as part of the reward system, you allow your dog to associate good things with you.
They do good, and you reward them by playing with a favourite toy. Maybe you throw their ball or play a little bit of tug-o-war. In both of these cases, you build a positive relationship by associating good behaviour and reward with yourself and not just treats. You become part of the reward and strengthen the bond you and your dog share.
Not only is this good for the bond between the two of you, but it can help make future training sessions more successful.
By keeping your dog motivated, you help to keep their attention and interest in training sessions.
3. Dog toys aid in relaxation
Just like you, your dog can become overwhelmed or anxious. Do you ever find yourself chewing on a pen cap or even your nails during a stressful work shift?
Your dog can feel the same way! Whether they had a bad experience during an outing or a stressful vet visit, your dog also needs a way to decompress.
However, unlike you, your canine doesn’t understand that some habits can be physically damaging. You know you shouldn’t chew your nails, but some dogs will chew their paws or tail when they become stressed to help relieve the anxious energy.
They may even scratch or pick at their ears. By giving them a toy, you can redirect them from these damaging behaviours. Dog toys are a positive distraction from those nerves.
Not only that, but toys are an amazing reward to give during or after those vet visits! You want to build all of the positive associations that you can, because your dog will need regular check ups just like you do. The less stressful those visits, the better for everyone!
How nice would it be if someone gave you a toy just for going to the doctor?
4. Dog toys help provide exercise
A tired dog is a good dog! Just like you, your dog needs physical exercise. It’s good for both their physical and mental health.
A dog who isn’t worn out during the day may become destructive. To fill their needs for exercise, they might decide to run around the house and get into things.
If you don’t give them a job, they’ll find one for themselves.
Exercise with dog toys can help prevent this and it can also help your dog stick to your daily routine.
A tired dog will be ready for bed at night and won’t spend time pacing, because they’re still packed full of energy.
Making sure your dog has the right tools to exercise during the day makes sure that your whole household gets a good night’s sleep!
5. Stop unwanted destruction with dog toys
There’s nothing more frustrating than coming home to a chewed sofa, pair of shoes, or even a wall. While these actions aren’t malicious, they are still quite costly!
Giving your dog toys can help prevent these destructive behaviours by teaching your dog that some items are meant for chewing while others are not. Giving them toys to chew also helps satisfy their natural need to chew on things in an appropriate way.
They get to chew to their heart’s content and you can stop replacing your dress shoes. Everyone wins!
6. Dog toys provide distraction and are a valuable training aid
Do you have a dog that barks at sirens? Do they run to the door when they hear the mailman or try to jump on guests?
Dog toys can be a good way to redirect your dog and help prevent these behaviours. By giving your dog a task, they become distracted from whatever action they were originally going to take.
You could even train them to go grab one of their toys in these situations so that they associate play with the event instead of barking or jumping.
With all these wonderful benefits that toys bring, where do you start? Fenrir Canine Leaders is here to help! We have two amazing toys that can benefit your canine companion. The first is the Fenrir Hammer. This item comes in two different sizes: large and mini!
Regardless of your dog’s size, there is a hammer for them. Use it to bond while playing a game of fetch or tug-o-war, or stuff the head with treats and freeze for the ultimate chew toy.
This hammer will bring you and your dog hours of entertainment while providing all of the benefits we went over in this article.
If you're looking for the most durable and robust chew toy for your dog then you can check out our Fenrir Dragon Egg. It's been designed to provide an incredibly interesting and stimulating chewing experience for your dog, with scales that also aid dental hygiene.
It can also be stuffed with treats and frozen for hours of tasty entertainment and mental stimulation for your canine companion.
So, why not try one of our products out today and reap the benefits of dog toys for your canine companion?