Why do Dogs Need Toys?
Before dogs were domesticated, they didn’t use – or need – toys, as they had plenty to occupy themselves with, like finding food, staying alive and safe and maintaining order within the pack.
Nowadays dogs don’t need to hunt, aren’t in danger very often and they have a set place in the pecking order at home.
They do still need to stay alert and stimulated, so toys replace the “wild” activities. They make sure a dog stays fit and healthy, both physically and mentally. Toys also are a great way for humans and dogs to bond.
Toys for activity
Activity toys, like balls, sticks and rings are perfect for burning off some energy. They’re also great for training as they can be used as something to fetch, carry and drop, which should be on every dog’s CV. Your dog’s toys should be rotated regularly so they don’t lose interest or get bored.
Reward toys are for indoor use, or for alone time. These toys are more like puzzles, and often contain treats that the dog has to “work” out for himself. The Odin, from Up Dog Toy, is a perfect example, with its tough geometric body offering hours of mental stimulation and the occasional tasty reward.
These toys satisfy the chewing urge and also make the dog happy as they know they’re making the toy squeak. Some breeds of dog enjoy them because they seem like conquered prey animals.
Dogs learn about the world through their mouths, especially as puppies. They have an urge to chew, as it’s stimulation, as well as good for their teeth and jaws. Chewing an appropriate toy is comforting.
Not all dogs love cuddlies, but the ones that do find them calming and comforting, especially in different surroundings. They can act as transitional objects to ease separation anxiety, just like a small child and its favourite soft toy. These toys are also great for carrying and catching at playtimes.