Don’t Let the Big Dogs Fool You!

There’s been so much talk in the media about “bad” breeds of dogs. We all know that there really are no bad breeds, just “bad” owners. I grew up being terrified of German Shephards – not because they’re horrible dogs but because everyone around me (I lived in a very secluded rural setting) trained their dogs to be guard dogs and then let them run free on their properties. This made my daily bike ride to town to deliver the morning papers quite an adventure indeed as I tried to pedal faster than the dog could run.

Interestingly enough, the most vicious dog that I’ve ever encountered in my life was a very small, adorable Lhasa Apso named Tuffy (a very good name). Tuffy was my childhood dog. I can assure you that he was showered with love and attention. These funny looking little dogs were bred to protect the Tibetan monks and they tend to bond with one person.

That person for Tuffy was my father. When my father arrived home from work Tuffy would run through the living room and family room bouncing off of all the sofas. He’d make this circuit three or four times and then throw himself at my dad. He had some other strange proclivities though – he loved women’s underwear. In the morning my mom and I would find our “unmentionables” strewn through the hallway (slightly damp). I can’t begin to tell you how distressing this was to a 10 year old!

Tuffy had no concept of his size and limitations. He actually ate 9 of our chickens (including our prized Rooster) and he tried to attack a horse. You should have seen the look of shock on my friend’s face (pretty neat to have a friend just drop by on horseback – admittedly she only did it once). We had another dog as well. He was the most beautiful, docile Collie named Prince. Prince had broken his leg as a puppy and Tuffy would nip at the sore spot and start fights with the Collie. We, as a family, were terrified of the Collie becoming an aggressive dog and made the heart-wrenching decision to find new homes for the dogs.

That’s what parents always tell kids, isn’t it? They’ve gone to a nice farm in the country. God, I hope they didn’t pull that trick on me. I can’t see it happening. My dad was so soft hearted. We briefly raised chickens (which he called his “girls” – we even named our rooster Buddy). My dad decided that if he was going to make a go of it he was going to have to slaughter a few and put them in the freezer for the winter. As he plucked the feathers from his “girls” he cried like a baby, gathered up all the carcasses and feathers and drove them to the dump and we never spoke of it again.

Home Made Dog Toys

Ideas For Homemade Dog Toys

by Clare Bristow

puppy-chewingHere are few ideas for homemade dog toys that I’ve gathered from the web and comments that you’ve posted on this site.

<I hope they provide you with some inspiration for making your own dog toys – please add to the list with any other suggestions you have.

Plastic Bottle Toys

The plastic bottle is a much under rated toy in my opinion, Zoe has had hours of fun chasing plastic milk bottles around the deck.

Don’t let your dog play unsupervised with the bottles, they can easily crack and you don’t want your dog swallowing the plastic. Ideally, just use the bottle once and then dispose of it.
Here are some ideas:
The Plain Plastic Bottle – it doesn’t get any easier than this; just remove the cap and labels, squeeze the bottle so it makes a great crackly sound to get your dog’s attention, throw it up in the air and off you go, an instant toy for your dog to chase and fetch.

Stanley Coren shows you how it’s done (including the crackly bit) in the following video clip (originally posted in Lead in Dog Toys – DIY test kits unreliable), and he reminds you that you can always take the bottle back for your deposit once your dog has finished playing with it.

The Plastic Bottle with Beans – to make the bottle more interesting you can put dried beans into the bottle before screwing the cap on tightly. Here’s a dog showing you how much fun this can be:

A variation is the sock bottle dog toy – put a sock over the bottle and tie a knot in the top of the sock; this will make the bottle more chewable for your dog.The Plastic Bottle with Treats – put treats in the bottle instead of dried beans and cut a small hole in the side of the bottle. The treats come out as your dog is playing with the bottle.

Rope Toys

You can use an existing length of rope that you already have and tie a few knots in it for an excellent chew toy.

Bear in mind that rope can fray so trim the ends of the rope frequently so your dog doesn’t swallow the rope strands. Avoid nylon rope as your dog can easily shred this, and if swallowed can cause intestinal blockage.

An alternative is to make your own rope toys from fleece or tea towels.

Here’s a step by step guide to making a fleece rope, and many thanks to Paula raised the point that you should avoid fleece material that has been treated with a flame retardant.

Whatever type of rope you use it can be made more exciting by soaking it in broth before giving it to your dog.


Yesterday I mentioned that Denise had found that Penn tennis balls are made in the US, and so may be safer for your dog to play with.

Ball on a Rope – drill two holes in the ball and thread a piece of rope or cord through the holes and tie the rope tightly just above the ball.

Here’s Stanley Coren again to show you how to do it:

Treat Ball – make your own treat ball by slicing through the tennis ball and stuffing it with treats; your dog will be kept busy trying to prize the ball apart to get to the treats.Balls in the Tubing Toy – I found this idea on My Dog Parlance.

Attach a few pieces of water-pipe together (preferably corners), pop a ball in one end and then let your dog get the ball out again.

In yesterday’s article Dog Toys from China – the Alternatives I mentioned that PVC can be a hazard, so either use non PVC piping or just supervise your dog and don’t let him start chewing the plastic.

Socks and Trousers

Barbara said that she cut the legs off old jeans and tied knots in them, thereby making an excellent chew toy for her Rottie, Tank – thanks for that suggestion Barbara.

Old socks can also be made into great toys – this article shows you how to make a sock ball and a sock swing ball.

A caution about using socks, or any item of clothing or footwear as a toy is that dogs don’t know the difference between an ‘old’ shoe and a ‘new’ shoe – if you give them an old shoe to chew on then every shoe is likely to be treated in the same way.

Cardboard Boxes

Another Zoe favorite is the cardboard box – when she was a puppy I used to put a few treats inside the box and tape the lid on. She’d spend quite some time attacking the cardboard box and pushing it around the floor until she could get to the treats.

Quite quickly she realized that if she pushed the box up against a wall it crushed and this was the easiest way to get the treat out.

Any size box will provide entertainment, as Toby shows us below:

I hope this has given you a few ideas – have fun!

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