By understanding why dogs need to play, we can better choose the right toys for our pet.
When choosing a toy for your dog, it's important to keep in mind exactly why your dog needs to play. Animal behaviorists say that there are three types of play, and a variety of toys exist to suit these different play types.
A dog can perform this kind of play on its own. It basically involves running, jumping, and learning about the limitations of its own body. This kind of play also involves fetch and is best reserved for outdoors.
This type of play happens when dogs interact with other dogs. If you have a one-dog household, duplicate social play by providing big fluffy toys that your dog can pick up and jump on and carry around the house.
When a dog explores its surroundings, it is engaging in investigatory play. Squeak toys help stimulate a dog's mind and allow them to act out on their natural instincts as hunters. The sound simulates the squeak a rodent might make once it's been captured. Likewise, since food is readily available to our pets, they have excess energy that can be worked out by chewing on twisty chew toys. Kong toys are especially good, since food can be hidden inside them, requiring your dog to work for the reward.
By keeping our dogs busy during the day, we can avoid all sorts of neurotic behaviors and ensure that our pets are happy and healthy for many years to come.