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Using Dog Toys to Stop Boredom

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/27/2007 | Pets and Animals

Many people complain about their new dog chewing up everything in sight and tearing up their gardens, and admit that they don't know how to stop the dog from doing this. There are some solutions, though they may take time to implement, which will help to stop this problem.

A dog usually chews and digs when it's bored. This is often the result of the owners working long hours away from the home, leaving the dog to entertain itself. One solution is to purchase a second dog, which will keep the first dog company. But this can also lead to two dogs chewing and digging, especially if they are only pups.

A better solution is to keep the dog entertained by giving it something to do. This can be achieved by hiding treats in the yard, designating a play area (like a small sandbox) or by giving the dog special toys.

Dog toys are readily available from most stores and can be purchased relatively cheap. The only concerns are the size of the toy - it mustn't be that small that the dog will be able to swallow it whole; and the material that the toy is made from - a hard, rubbery plastic is better than a thin, soft plastic that is easy to bite into small pieces.

Essentially you want a toy that will stand up to the dog's sharp teeth without falling apart too quick, and without small pieces being chewed off and swallowed by the dog. These small pieces can get lodged in the dog's stomach and cause all sorts of health problems.

There are a large variety of toys available which should keep the dog amused. Some are capable of hiding treats inside them, making the dog work for its reward by rolling the toy around until a treat falls out. Others can be placed into the freezer overnight and given to the dog on a hot day, letting the dog lick the cool treat over a period of time as the toy defrosts.

Many other variations can be found or can even be made out of existing household items, just be sure to make them safe for the dog.

An extra step that involves dog toys is to alternate or swap toys on different days, so the dog thinks it is getting a new toy to play with. Yet another option is to smear some edible paste onto the toy, like vegemite, marmite or promite. This is a method used by many animal shelters to give dogs something to do whilst confined to their kennels.

With a little ingenuity and planning, you can entertain your dog with a vast assortment of treats and toys that will keep them amused for hours.