Dog Toys – the 4 Types and How to Use Them Right

Walking down the toy aisle of your local
pet supply store can be overwhelming; there are hundreds of toys to choose
from. Most people just get whatever looks interesting or at least whatever their dog picks up
and slobbers. On today I’m going to show you the four types of toys you should
have and how best to use them. Hey everybody, Ian here with Simpawtico Dog
Training. hey before we get to the toy stuff,
please make sure you click that “subscribe” button so you never miss any
videos, and don’t forget to check the description for notes links and
resources about the stuff we talked about. Now, let’s get to it! So, in all things there’s a strategy if
you dig a little deeper. Toys are no different. You can use your
toys to develop your relationship, to teach important skills and behaviors and
generally make life a lot more fun. To start, understand that dog toys break
down into four main categories. They’re chew toys, dental toys, interactive toys and
plush toys. The nature’s of these toys is fairly
self-explanatory. Info on how to use these in the smartest ways, however, is
not so easily come by. Worry not friends, you’re in good hands. Let’s go over these one at a time: Perhaps the most obvious and ubiquitous
category is chew toys. These are designed to be chewed, mangled,
punctured, gnawed on, and beat up on a regular basis. Consequently they are generally made of
tough rubber or silicone or even antler, and come in tons of shapes and sizes. Dental toys are also a pretty obvious
category. An augmented chew toy of sorts, dental toys are designed to scour teeth,
massage gums and promote blood flow. These can be supplemented with doggy
toothpaste if necessary, although most of them are designed to
work alone. These have ridges, knobs, fins, and scales on them to work on the dog’s
mouth while he or she chews. Some dental toys are in fact fully consumable. With
interactive toys we’re now getting into much broader
territory. Interactive toys are ones like tug toys, balls, frisbees, retrieval
dummies, and variations thereof. Interactive toys also include puzzles
and games. As the name says these are things that your dog interacts with on a
higher level than just laying down and chewing. Interactive toys are great
because not only do they provide mental stimulation, which is just as important
as physical stimulation, but they also offer endless training
opportunities. Every moment with one can be a teachable moment. That’s huge guys, don’t waste it. Finally
we get to plush toys. These are primarily stuffed animals and
stuffed shapes, although it also includes the stuffingless “flatties.” Generally these kinds of toys look like little animals or cute
little characters. Like the others, they come in an endless array of shapes and
sizes for all kinds of dogs. Okay, great. Now we know the
classifications, so what the heck do we do with them? Well
what ends up happening in most households is that owners by a whole
bunch of toys from all four categories and then just go “Here you go, Rover!” All of
the toys are available all the time with little to no guidance or supervision. What a waste of an opportunity. Come on!
We can do a lot better than that! Here’s how it works with the categories:
chew toys are available all the time. You should have chew toy trained your dog
right from the beginning, either as a puppy or as a newly adopted dog. If you have not spent time chew toy
training your dog, start now. Chewing releases endorphins
that calm your dog down and produce feelings of contentment. A chew toy trained
dog is comfortable being alone and tends to stay out of trouble when they’re
unsupervised. Puppies and/or new dogs should initially be fed exclusively via
hand feeding or chew toys like a Kong or a Squirrel Dude. Forget all the fancy
recipes you find online and for sure don’t buy any of that cheese whiz looking
crap made to fill chew toys. Instead use their normal food. Measure it out, moisten it, and freeze it.
Now its on demand and convenient. Leave them with food when you leave the house. Use food-filled chew toys when you must
attend other things. Tie food-filled chew toys to the
insides of crates to facilitate crate training. Tie them to trees in the yard during
summer time for outdoor fun. Since you’re using their normal food, you’re keeping their nutrition balanced.
You’re not glutting them with treats, which should ideally only be about ten percent of their daily
caloric intake. You’re also empowering their food to be
a training reward all by itself. You can use dog food to train your dog
and save the treats for jackpots. Ultimately a food-filled chew toy will
create train a dog ultra fast. This makes potty training and
overall management a breeze. It also trains the dog to enjoy time
alone, circumventing the destructive behaviors
associated with boredom or isolation distress, which is commonly mistaken for
separation anxiety. Heck, even true separation anxiety can be
mitigated to some extent with strategic chew toy training. Regular chew toys also
make great coping methods for high stress or arousal; train your dog to
funnel excitement and energy into a chew toy. Now, dental toys can be left out to for
the most part. The exception to that would be if you plan to use a toothpaste
with it in which case they’re brought out at regular intervals to temporarily
replace a regular chew toy. These should be supervised when
toothpaste is involved and of course cleaned afterwards. Also dental toys
should be checked after each use. If any of the massaging studs or fins
start to come off, the toy should be retired. All chew toys for that matter
should be regularly inspected and retired when they get too small or too
mangled. Interactive toys are only brought out when a play session is
initiated by you. You keep them put away and you decide
what game to play and when. Your dog may have favorites, and that’s great, but he
shouldn’t have free access to the interactive toys. By controlling access you can leverage
the toy and the activity as training rewards. Training doesn’t always have to be done
with treats. In fact, toys are a gateway to phasing
out treats all together. You then also use the games and
activities to teach behaviours to your dog. For example, tug is an awesome game. Look if a well-meaning neighbor or pet
store trainer tells you to never play tug with your dog because it’s dangerous, please think them and walk away. That is
complete rubbish. As with all games with your dog, tug is a
great opportunity for learning and bonding. You just have to start out by teaching
the rules. Playing tug with a puppy is one of those activities that helps to
develop a soft mouth. It goes along with the bite inhibition
training that we do in the off-leash puppy classes, and every dog should know Take It and Drop It, two important and
very basic commands. Incidentally interactive toys are a
fantastic way to do just that. Dog toys without squeakers are the best.
Most dogs really go bonkers with squeakers, but a squeaker can trigger
higher levels of arousal and encourage them to dissect the toy to get it, which
is a bad habit. We don’t need our dogs to find that
activity fun and start dissecting the mail and your purse, or to go after other
things that squeak like the neighbor’s chihuahua, a kitten or your guinea pig. Finally plush toys. These are the most
misunderstood and misused category of them all. Many owners buy these for their dogs and
allow them to destroy them. Guys, this is wrong. Not only are you
missing out on a tremendous learning opportunity, but you’re also training
your dog to tear apart other things they find, like slippers and wallets. A dog
should never destroy one of these toys. In fact, a $1.99 plush toy
should ostensibly last indefinitely. Your chew toys and interactive toys
should get all the wear and tear; the plush toys are for teaching. A really
good play and learning session I’ve used in the past uses an interactive toy and a plush
toy, and it goes like this: The tug toy comes out first. The dog
can’t have it until we say “Take it.” And we play tug for a minute or so. This is a
great time to teach game manners and rules like, “Don’t ever accidentally get
me with your teeth.” Now we use “drop it.” Teach it, reinstruct it, reinforce it. The tug toy
goes away and the plush toy comes out. Here’s where things get interesting. we
squeak it and treat it like a baby in our hands. We treat it like it’s alive. We
want softness and kindness toward it. Any grab, bite or tug gets a “Hey! What have
you done?! You’ve hurt Mr. Toy!” See, this is a
violation of the take it rule. That is to say, the dog can’t take it in her mouth
unless and until we okay it. It also shows you the difference between
what you think the boundaries are and put your dog thinks they are. Very often
there’s a disconnect there. This is where we step up, and bridge that
gap. If they grabbed for it or if their drop it is sloppy, then we have a five-second instructive
time out in a Down stay. Now the plush toy goes away and we
repeat the cycle a few times. So, the interactive toy comes out again and we
use tug as a reward for being nice to the plush toy. Play this game between
five and ten minutes. When you’re all done say, “All done, thank you!” and put the toys away. Remember, access is restricted to these toys to
only times when games are being played with you. Don’t forget to praise
enthusiastically for every good thing. Reinstruct for slow responses. Repeat
exercises and have high expectations. Treats are not necessary here because
the rewards are intrinsic–they’re built into the activity. And for that to work this it’s got to be fun, so relax and
make learning part of your fun. It will pay off huge down the road. I mean look, imagine if you had other
small animals in the house, a guinea pig or a bearded dragon, or imagine if you
had a new baby or one came to visit or maybe your cat has kittens or maybe you
messed up your knee and you just need rover to take it easy around you for
the next few weeks. That’s what these activities are for.
Understanding how best to capitalize on these toys and their categories can help
you develop a lot of healthy dog behavior and build a rock solid bond. So there you go, fellow dog lovers. Thank you for watching, don’t forget to
subscribe to my channel, thumbs up this video, and connect with me in the
comments about how you use toys in your home. Check the description for notes and
resources, and until next time keep learning, keep practicing and i’ll
see you soon. Cheers!

100 thoughts on “Dog Toys – the 4 Types and How to Use Them Right

  1. Thanks so much. I just got a new 3 year old dog with prey drive. Despite being part border collie the only thing he likes is plush toys. He’ll go get time and shake them around for fun (but not destroy them). I thought this was a good thing because I read he is fulfilling his instinct but here you say no. Do you have any videos on prey drive or training a dog to be less reactive to their prey drive? Thanks.

  2. I just want to thank you..and let you know that you are appreciated. You really helped me fix my "stupid problems" about the toys. Thanks for the Kong Advice too…I had no clue how to start with it.

  3. Thanks! I have 2 rescues and they always destroy plush toys. No one has been able to give me an answer before as to how to break them of this habit!

  4. I have a Belgian Shepherd Puppy from a rescue charity. Are there any basics you think I should know in terms of play and stimulation? I am starting dog training classes soon.

  5. New subscriber here! a month ago we got a husky puppy. She is full of energy. We have watched videos about puppy training especially with the biting/nipping/chewing. We have been doing everything wrong I guess! She still bites my hands, arms and legs. I will definitely try this one out. Thank you for your informative videos!

  6. OMG why did I just discover this videooooo!!!!! I just a question regarding plush toys with squeky in them, should my dog be allow to play with that?

  7. Great videos, Is it better to use a plush toy that squeaks/or no squeaking for teaching kindness/softness technique?(you stated earlier to not leave the squeaky plush toy out.)

  8. If you have other pets (cats, guinea pigs, ferrets, etc.), should you avoid the plush toy category for a new dog?

  9. I have a question about leaving a food filled kong in a crate for a puppy while I am out. If I am going to be out for a couple hours, won't the puppy have to relieve himself before I return?

  10. Question: I keep reading that adding water to dry dog food can cause bloat but then you recommend doing that with the Kong. Will my dog get bloat if I do that with the Kong?

  11. Gosh this is awesome and explains so much of my puppy's misbehaving!!! I was inciting him to kill the poor plush guys ?

  12. I’ve apparently been doing everything wrong. I guess I’ll just send this dog to the pound and get a new one and start fresh.

    I’m kidding of course. I am going to go buy some new toys that’ll have new rules. My dog destroys all the ropes or plush toys within an hour of getting them, i never realized that’s not a good thing.

  13. Hello and thank you for the great video. Could I perhaps ask you some guidance please? I have a puppy and he is extremely soft mouthed. Therefore he’s not really interested in chew-toys because he doesn’t chew…neither he is much into tug-toys because once more he doesn’t really grab hard with his mouth. I have tried to make the chew-toys more interesting with peanut butter and kong feeding in the crate but not much success. Any insight is very welcomed. Thank you ?

  14. you should have to know all this before you get a dog. my pups almost a year old now and i really wish id known all this before i got her. thanks so much!

  15. So helpful! I will admit that I stopped buying my dog toys because he just destroyed them immediately… I was punishing him for my own mistakes. I'll definitely be going out and replenishing them and training him properly, especially with a baby on the way. Thank you so much!

  16. What are you thoughts about feeding in a Snuffle mat? We are about to get a puppy and learned about these as being a fun, interactive toy that promotes nose work, but does it also promote unwanted scavenging and/or chewing of other household items such as rugs?

  17. Before I watch this video, I thought my dog is crazy puppy. Now, I really realized that it’s my mistake, and understand the difference between those toy categories

  18. Oh man!!! Thank you so much because I need to teach my dog to tug and she won’t do it and now I know why. Thank you! Thank you thank you!

  19. I'm telling EVERYONE about this page. I just discovered you like 2 weeks ago. and I'm in a adopt Deaf dogs FB page, now I add you to all the Deaf training people. Once you get that part down, THIS is the page !!!! ALL THIS.

  20. I have 3 maltipoos and it can be a handful! (1 year olds) Your KONG advice and toy advice has been a lifesaver.!! I mix a tiny bit of wet food with their regular dry food, stuff the Kong & freeze! It keeps them busy for hours!!! Plus it has broken a bad habit of tearing their beds to pieces! Now for the big question… one of the pups is stingy and gathers up all the Kong’s and refuses to share. She’s a bit dominant and just lays on them. They are crate trained so should I separate them into their own crates ?? They usually just use the crates for sleeping.

  21. I just adopted a 5 month old pup this past weekend, she doesn't show a lot of interest in the two toys I bought her, one being a chew toy, the other a plush toy, she has gone for socks and shoes so far. I welcome any advice?

  22. So,.. what is the point of a plush toy then? Will my dog just cuddle with it, likc it, or just have it around?

  23. Absolutely great. Probably one of the best video. Okay so we have 2 male beagle pups, 8 & 9 months. (You may see them in my channel video). They are too energetic and at times too destructive. And they together keep wrestling and barking. Any advice how to lessen their barking and also teach them not to take their wrestling to extreme? I feel I so so so need your advice. Thank you ?

  24. Also, would you consider doing a video about grooming products you prefer, like shampoos and nail clippers as well as how to use them?

  25. First time puppy adopter here! Thank you for sharing your knowledge! It's helping us every day with training our beagle-rottie. Keep up the great work!

  26. Your tips are GREAT and I’m so glad I found you but I have a question – if they dog isn’t supposed to chew or destroy the plushie (which I totally get the idea behind), then what exactly are they supposed to do with it???? Help because like a dumbass- I bought our puppy LOTS and she’s already destroying them

  27. My 9 month old German Shepherd doesn't care about treats. She only responds to toys She wants to play all the time

  28. I'm curious how your dogs respond to plush toys when they see other dogs playing with them or tearing them apart? Do they follow suit or trust your guidance? How often do you practice this technique to get your dog to understand? (Five days till we take our puppy home! <3 I cannot thank you enough for the knowledge you have imparted, and the interest you sparked in being prepared for our new fur-ball! I remember the drive home from picking out our puppy, and the weight of responsibility I felt as we drove away, but thanks to your guidance, I feel not only ready but so incredibly enthusiastic about this new adventure with our canine companion. My husband and I are so excited!)

  29. We just got 2 puppies and seeing this is such an eye opener. I need to get back to the store… I know patience with training is required from us and it's up to us but watching these videos… i would like a live in trainer ? we're doing it all wrong.

  30. My dog never would respond to drop it no matter the amount of training. My mom told him to fuck off and he drops it every time, no matter the tone

  31. What are your thoughts on allowing a dog to win a tug game I have heard people say that if you want to remain the dominant in the relationship with your dog and if he wins at tug he won’t respect you

  32. The grab rule you talk about if the puppie was leftbwith it’s mother and siblings for the proper eight weeks it will have learnt to control it bite stegth becausr litter mates will automatically correct play that hurts or goes too far so they will have already taught a version of don’t grab so a nine week old pup should understand this fairly quickly unless it was weaned too early

  33. I came across this channel yesterday and I’ve been binge watching ever since. This channel is full of great information. By far the most I intelligent pet channel on YouTube. Keep up the great work.

  34. Hello! I’m going to be getting a puppy. You mentioned you should hand feed or chew toy feed dogs, but wouldn’t you want to feed them at specific times? If not, you’d have to transition them to scheduled feeding, right? If so, how?

  35. My dog is anxious and she follows me everywhere. And every time she’s alone outside she cries and whimpers Got any Tips?

  36. Any advice on how to make my chew toys interesting? My dog doesn't seem to bother them. Nips on the sometimes but that's it. She rather chews on shoes and literally the ground. I try to always redirect but it's hard if she doesn't like the toys at all

  37. My 8wk old pup aims to go for my hand during tug play. Every time. He starts biting the toy as close to my hand as possible, and then bites my hand. Any vids/tips on this? I will teach bite inhibition separately without toys, but do not want him going for my hand with tug.

  38. ✔✔?❤?????‍???????❤?????????????✌?????????????‍??‍??‍??‍??‍??‍?✔?✨????? I LOVED IT I KNOW WHAT TO DO KNOW YOU WERE GREAT HELP! HALILUYA

  39. @Simpawtico Dog Training, how do you get an 8-yr-old newly adopted sheltie mix interested in toys? We've tried all four types but she's just not the slightest bit interested. She appears to have had minimal training ("sit" and "bed" are the only reliable ones so far) although she seems to have been wall-taken care of by someone, as a beloved pet, before she ended up at the shelter. She was in foster care for the last 2 months, and her foster mom said "she's not too bright," but shelties are known to be very intelligent, so I think she just hasn't yet come out of her shell after a bad shelter experience.

    We'd love to find ways to get her interested in toys, including the dental ones to help her teeth and gums. The Kongs arrive today and we'll be trying your suggestions from your Kong video tonight! 🙂 Thanks so much for any suggestions you might have to help with our sweet baby girl.

  40. Hey! We've learned a lot from you videos. Our new pup is coming along much better than our old dog, which we were clueless on training ( she's still a good dog). question though, Would ouch! Be acceptable if he gets rough with a plush toy? It works great when he's chewing on us.

  41. This video is excellent! There are hundreds of negative reviews of plush toys due to uneducated owners giving their dogs free range, unsupervised access to plush toys. I have provided the link to this video to many of these frustrated owners. I hope they watch this! If they do, both the dogs and their people will benefit greatly and be so much happier! Thank you!

  42. Hi, Thank you for this great video. I can understand what a dog is not permitted to do with a plush toy, but i can't quite see what we are in fact supposed to allow them to do with one. I'm very interested in this question, because we have a 5 year old spitz in the house who is super gentle, and now have adopted a dobermann, who is a little on the energetic side. He is not aggressive, but he's rough (he's already 2 years old and we are his fifth owners). My guess is that he was taken from the litter too early and so never learned to play properly. So, if i can find ways to help to integrate him into our home and, above all, learn to be loving and gentle to our existing dog, that would be super helpful!!

  43. I have a Doberman who will be 2 in September. I got her at 10 weeks, and she would lay in my lap and pacify herself on a stuffy, a hedgehog as big as her. She is 60 pounds now, and still runs to get her “baby” to lay in my lap in the mornings and evenings for her suckling behavior. It is the same stuffed hedgehog, we buy them at Walmart. Not sure what I will do when they quit selling them. Other than that, she does play tug, tries to chase the bunnies in the yard, and sounds like the Tasmanian Devil when the doorbell rings. Working on that one. I guess I was wondering if the sucking on the stuffy is something I should be discouraging?

  44. My 2 year old rescue Feist/mix (chihuahua or dachshund) is very quiet and passive, she is totally uninterested in toys, doesn’t know how to play with people or dogs. All she wants is to cuddle and be petted. She is extremely friendly with people, small children, even babies. She tolerates other dogs but doesn’t interact with them. Should I be concerned? I’ve tried to play with her but she just rolls over, puts her paw on my arm and wants to be petted. Advice?

  45. Ian, this is so amazing! Thank you so much for all your content is being very useful with our 3 mo th Malamute, l have a question, in what category will you use bully sticks?

  46. Am I understanding correctly, that you don't actually ever give the dog the plush toy? Are you using words like easy or gentle?

  47. Guys don’t use rope toys because they are dangerous , pieces of rope over time will be swallowed by ur dog from constant chewing

  48. How long should puppy be fed exclusively via hand or chew toy? Shouldn't they also start to get used to the bowl very early on? Thanks!

  49. Hi! So, I want to have my dog have something to do when he’s in a crate alone to help “stimulate his brain”. Is it alright to keep a puzzle toy in the crate?

  50. Jesus…I've mostly bought my dog plush toys not knowing too much about them. Just that they were dog toys, My dog has ripped up like 5 of her plush toys and I'm here thinking she's done well Lol.

  51. I'm about to get my first own dog and your videos are so lovely and informative! My sisters dog has been with me for a while now and i've been training him successfully thanks to you and other channels like yours! But you definitely have a fun personality and talk really nicely!

  52. Very nice tips. Though you talk very slow. This video could've been a lot shorter. I played in 1.75 it was still very understandable. Play it in 1.5 and it's the normal speed. Play it normally and it sounds like the video is in slow motion.

  53. Wow this is super helpful! I adopted a 4 year old dog a few months ago and I have had such a hard time trying to figure out how to get her to play with toys so she can get more comfortable in her carrier when we have to go somewhere and when she's home alone while I'm at class. Can't believe I haven't found this channel sooner! So helpful

  54. My dog trainer hooked me up with your site. I'm so excited with ways I can reinforce the dog training my 6 mth. old American Eskimo male pup. He was kept in a kennel for 5 months before we purchased him. So many issues with him coming into an home environment, so many new things to chew on, a whole new wide eyed world with a puppy highly energized with owners who are senior citizens. With the help of Mandeville Canine Academy, Ted Carlson, we don't have to return a pup to breeder. The first two weeks were horrific, then we enrolled him for a month of classes with Ted. Ted is doing marvelous with a shy, fearful and untrained energetic pup. I'll be watching more of your utube videos. Thanks for sharing with the public. God bless, Barbara

  55. Hi I have a comment to make I actually walk the dog this past Thursday and the problem was that the dog kept on coming out of the leash actually three times day the doctor came out out of delete so my question is how to make sure this doesn't happen and I think that it would be very good for you to make a video on it because a lot of times when you walking the dog if you turn the leash to wrong way like for example if I want the dog to go right and and she's going left or I want the dog to go left and she's going right sometimes when you pulled the lead sometimes the lead actually come off and I realized that I'm the first time dog walker before I adopt a dog I want to walk the dogs see how the dog is going to be and luckily I was with somebody with experience so just letting you guys know that this things do happen and when it does happen how to prevent it from happening again and when the leash actually fell off the when the dog sorry I apologize when the dog actually got out of the lead was when she was shaking back and forth like like you know the way dogs do sometimes when you are holding them you put them down to the smaller dogs but it's what the bigger dog and she was like shaking back and forth and all of a sudden the lead just like fell off her like it was never tight on her but of course it was and it was very securely tied so that's my question how to prevent that from happening thanks and God bless I am looking forward to seeing your your answer thanks and God bless and if you can and if you can please make a video of it thanks again

  56. getting a dog when i move

  57. Thank you for this video. I was clueless because my previous dogs naturally treated plush toys gently as if by instinct and only chewing on chew toys. One week ago we adopted an adult dog from a shelter. He was passed over by other people for a long time and we wanted to give him a chance. Any toy we give him is destroyed in less than five minutes yet he is otherwise a gentle dog. Now I have an idea of what I need to do to help him. Thanks again!

  58. Great video – hope this isn’t a silly question but if you are teaching and playing fetch / retrieve games does it matter which category you use… I don’t want the toy destroyed or “disappearing” just retrieving? This might be a bigger subject matter – Thanks so much

  59. Great advice, thank you! We have just started fostering pound dogs, so this will be great for the four month old puppy guest we currently have.

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