a 8 reasons, Why are toys important for DOGS? - The Happy Puppers (Dog care, grooming, behavior and training)

Thursday, December 5, 2019

8 reasons, Why are toys important for DOGS?

"What did you get me mom? Is that a new chew toy? Give it to me. It won’t last two minutes in my mouth. It’s so much fun to destroy this new toy. You wait right here. I’ll bring you the carcass of this toy in no time". I bet this goes through Delta’s head every time he receives a new toy and true to his word, he annihilates his gift in minutes. But even so, we get him new toys whenever we visit the pet store.

So, why are toys so important for our fur babies?
As we all know, dogs are naturally born hunters. Seek and destroy is in their nature. In the wild, they hunt for survival. Overtime, domestication of dogs has eliminated their need to hunt on a regular basis. However, has this also rid them of their instinct to chase and kill? No. Their instincts of chase and hunt is still intact though curbed compared to their wild ancestors. This is the reason why they make great fetch players, tug of war experts and escape artists..!!

Lets have a look at why toys are important to the overall development of our fur babies?

  • Keeps them engaged and helps build independence: Toys are the best way to keep your little pooch engaged while you get some work done. Otherwise, as in my case, I have Delta following me everywhere around the house. So, I give him a toy full of treats. While he is busy trying to get that treat out of his toy, I can get some valuable work done either around the house or on my laptop. On the other hand, toys allow dogs to spend time with themselves and not feel the constant need to be around us. This is very important as it builds confidence in them and promotes independent behavior.

  • Tires them out: Just the way studying makes the brain tired and allows us to fall asleep, similarly, toys provide our furriends much needed mental stimulation which tires out their brain. Studies have shown that engagement with toys for doggos is equivalent to us solving a Sudoku puzzle. When I have a deadline and really need to finish my work, I would give Delta, a homemade chew toy full of his favorite treats to keep him occupied. Once he gets the treat out, he will bring the toy back to me. I will refill the treat and hand it back. This generally goes on for a long time, thus enabling me to finish my work.

  • Critical thinking and problem solving: Toys are like block puzzles for our pooches. It promotes critical thinking and problem solving behavior. It helps to develop the analytical part of their brain. It also makes them realize that you cannot get everything just by tearing it apart. When I give Delta a toy full of treats, his first instinct is to tear it apart and get to the treat. Eventually, he realizes that he won’t get any treat out that way. That’s when he will try to find other ways to get to that treat. He will try to insert his nails into the cloth, scratch the toy etc. thus keeping him thinking for a long time. A small time engagement with toy is almost equal to a 30 min walk.

  • Fun: This is one thing we are all familiar with. Toys are fun, even if they don’t last more than 5 minutes in our furriends hands. But as long a that toy is intact, you can be sure, your furbaby is enjoying himself/herself.

  • Encourages good behaviour: Dogs have a natural destructive instinct. Having lots of toys can help us teach them, what they can destroy and what they cannot. Delta sleeps with us and absolutely loves ripping the mattress. However, this behaviour only comes out when my husband and I are not home. Thus, purely out of boredom. A couple of times when I have caught him in the act, I have told him a stern ‘NO’. When he left the mattress and came up to me he was rewarded with a toy and treat (positive reinforcement). When he tore his toy, he was not stopped or said ‘NO’. After a few practice sessions, he understood that its okay to tear the toys but not the mattress. Thus, it promotes the good boy behaviour.

  • Increases bonding: Playing with our pups increases the bond of friendship. It builds up trust in them towards us. Trains them to let go, like in case of playing fetch. It also trains them to communicate with us. Like with Delta, if he wants to play fetch, he will bring his ball and put it on my chair or on my lap. If he wishes to play tug of war, then he will bring his homemade rope toy in his mouth and sit next to my chair. So basically, he gets to pick which game he wants to play.

  • Increases social behaviour: If your dog is not a visitor friendly and prefers to growl and bark at them, toys can provide a great solution to that problem. Before bringing the visitor in front of your dog, provide them a toy which your dog likes and ask them to give It to your pooch when they meet him/her. If the dog is presented with the toy by the visitor, it increases the chance of your dog accepting the visitor into your home.

  • Reduces behavioural problems: Delta has known me since the time he opened his eyes (His mother had abandoned the litter and he would not have made it without my help. You can follow his rescue story here. So you can understand how attached he is to me. He had high separation anxiety. If he was in a room and I was standing right outside, he would keep clawing at the door and whining till I come back. If I went out of the house for work, then I would be sure to come back and see everything that Delta could get his hands on, completely trashed, chewed or torn to pieces.
To be honest, I was never much bothered with the destruction he would cause in my absence. I always kept the most important things locked up. But I was very bothered with him eating something he should not. Thus, I started to make some homemade toys with treats for him. He would be given the toys right before I would leave.

The first time I gave him a toy and left, I came back to a house with no destruction. Thus, I have been following the same ritual till now and it works like a charm. If you want to know the details of my homemade toys (cheap and reusable), let me know in the comment section below and I will surely address it in my next blog post.

Thank you for reading and see you in my next blog post.

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  2. Hi very interesting post. Please share the details of how you make homemade toys.

  3. Thank you. I will share the details of the homemade toys and also put a video to go along with it soon.

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