You are sitting on your couch, watching your dog destroy the plush toy that you bought him the same day. He is digging his snout into the toy, ripping out the stuffing and desperately searching for the squeaker. As you sit there watching, you vow to never buy plush toys again because let’s face it, each dollar a stuffed toy is worth equals the number of minutes it will survive…. if you're lucky! At that moment, you know that no plushie will be safe with your dog, but at the same time, you know that plush toys make your dog the happiest.
It is unrealistic to vow to never buy them again because you know that when you see the most adorable plushie for your dog, you’re going to have to buy it. Instead of swearing off stuffed toys for good, follow these simple tips to buy, enjoy and sustain the life of a plush toy for your pup.
1. Buy tough toys!
2. Don’t give your dog free reign with stuffed toys. The toy should be an experience that the dog gets to enjoy and then gets put away once play time ends. By bringing the toy out for play time and taking it away after playtime is over, you are preventing the toy from being destroyed, increasing the value of the toy and sustaining the novelty of it, which will keep your pup interested longer.
3. Use the plush toy for a fun training session! Training sessions typically involve food and treats to help motivate a dog. Food is a great motivator but so are toys! Especially new and exciting ones. Use plushies to create a fun training session with your dog by instructing your dog to do commands in order to earn playtime with the toy.
Here are a few fun training sequences that we love:
- Play "fetch" using the toy and practice “drop” when you want your dog to drop the toy for you so you can throw it again.
- Elevate fetch by having your dog do the “turn/spin” command and then have them catch the toy when you throw it in the air.
- Practice “leave it” by throwing the toy while your dog is in a “down stay” and then release your dog, using the release word of your choice, to go get the toy. If you don’t have a release word, you can use ours, which is “okay”, since this tells the dog it’s okay to break the command you told him to go into!
4. You can elevate play time by incorporating games into the training session! Fetch is a popular choice, as mentioned above, but you can also make up your own games or play tug of war. Games and sequences keep your dog's attention and also burn off some of his or her mental and physical energy.
- For tug of war, you can teach your pup commands like “sit,” “jump,” “tug/pull,” “leave it,” and “off," which are all great and useful and fun to practice during this game.
By introducing interactive games and training into plushie playtime, you are mentally stimulating your dog, physically exerting him and refocusing his attention towards using the toy as a reward and fun activity. Elevating playtime using these techniques are sure to mentally and physically exhaust your dog, strengthen your bond with your pup and make your plush toys last longer!SHOP NOW