There’s nothing better than a playmate when you want to have fun. Brian plays with all dogs, Lily has chosen few. Brian and Dolly’s favourite game is ‘envy’. Pick an object, show off, pretending it’s the most precious toy in the world. The other player chases you trying to steal it.
Lily is fussy about her toys. She likes her hedgehogs, as many as possible, she builds a fortress with them and then unstitches them methodically. We replace the ‘dealt with’ hedgehogs often, they are soft, stuffed toys so keeping a ripped one is risky.
I buy a lot of toys. It’s my way of making up (to myself rather than to the dogs) for the fact I have the ‘unwanted’ dogs. It makes me feel better. But I know no toy can compensate for the lack of company. So I participate in the play as much as I can. I play tug-of-war with Brian (and Lily, using the hedgehogs), I chase them, I throw toys and ask them to bring the toy back (doesn’t work with Lily and her hedgehogs). I make a lot of noise, go down to their level and let them win sometimes. They are learning by playing, but so do I. I know the types of toys they like, I know their styles of playing. I adapt the toys (shape, size, material, noisiness) to their tastes as well as their ages, sizes, activity levels. I also make Brian toys and he likes them more than the most sophisticated, shop bought ones, which makes me happy.
It’s not a post about how to choose a toy, but I feel the urge to add: make sure your dog’s toys are safe for him (her). If you buy them, check for certificates (CE should be a must) and use your common sense (ignore colours, the less paint/dye the better, no small detachable parts, no strong, artificial smell). Or, if you’re like me: support local craft or make your own.