Cheap and Simple Homemade Dog Toys
Dog toys can be very expensive and can’t always stand up against the ferocity of chewing it will endure. Toy companies realize this and therefore they are able to jack up the prices on their merchandise. While kongs and tennis balls make great toys they don’t always realistically fit into the budget. There are other things you can do that are bottom basement prices or made from things you probably already have in your house. I have three dogs who are considered to be medium sized which to non-dog lovers usually means “big dog.” Dogs of medium sizes are able to chew quite a bit and can cause a lot of damage to personal items as well as structural things like yards, doors and even walls if not given something else to do with themselves. Here are the toys I like to give my dogs and directions on how to make them.
Tugs are super easy to make but can also be super expensive to buy. I sew and for me that means, I have scraps of fabrics stashed away. I like to cut 27 strips, the longer the better and make 9 braids. Take those 9 braids and braid again until all you are left with is 3 large braids. Braid the remaining braids into one final thick braid. I was surprised to find that because I was using very thin materials that even bunched up my braids were thin enough to work with and didn’t create an overly heavy rope. The tricky part is making sure the ends are knotted tight enough so they won’t come undone. If they do come undone you’ll have to repair all the braids. The way I do it is by leaving about 5 inches of material at the bottom unbraided. It’ll be a fringe. Separate the fringe into two sections and tie a good strong double knot. That’s it, you’re all done. If you don’t have scraps of material around the house old t-shirts, socks, towels that are falling apart, old bed sheets or whatever material you have on hand will work just fine.
Empty plastic soda bottles or water balls that are two liter size or bigger are a fantastic way to get your dog romping around. I find the bigger ones to be the better option because it takes longer for the dog to actually catch it. The smaller 16 ounce bottles are flattened and boring within seconds unless you have a Yorkie or some other tiny pooch. In the summer time fill them Gatorade and put them in the freezer overnight. Your dogs will chase these around forever and the Gatorade is good for them. It replenishes their body with much needed liquids. Plus they last longer that way. You can also put holes in the sides of the bottle and fill the bottle with very small bite size pieces of cookies or other treats. The holes will need to be big enough for the treats to fall out on their own but not so big that they loose interest in keeping the bottle moving.
Stop buying stuffed animals with squeakers in them at the pet store. Put down that cute little furry animal that you will buy only because you think it’s cute. First of all your dog will most likely chew it up in about an hour. Secondly your dog doesn’t care if it has a squeaker; he just wants to chew something apart. Now, go to a few garage sales. Stuffed animals can be bought at a garage for as little as a nickel a piece depending on the size and how quick the seller wants to get rid of them. Buy a bunch and when you get home cut a small slit in it and pull out all the stuffing. This stuffing is dangerous to dogs and it makes a mess all over the house. Once you gut the stuffed animal throw it in the yard or on the floor. They won’t last any longer than the ones you were buying for ten bucks a pop but it won’t matter because you only paid maybe a quarter for it.
Splurge. Run to K-Mart and buy the most inexpensive garden hose you can find. Cut it into various sized pieces. These make great fetch toys for training and are a cheap solution to teething pups. They float in a pool or at the lake which make them ideal for water dogs and retrievers.
In the toy department at Wal-mart there are large bins that almost reach the ceiling, full of giant brightly colored balls. I buy mine for $1.97 and if I’m careful with it, it will last for a few months. These balls are light and airy so they have a perfect bounce. My border collies love to herd them around the yard. Word to the wise though, if you have a fence with a neighbor on the other side, be careful because the ball will easily bounce over a 6 foot fence into your neighbor’s yard.
Dogs love bubbles. Mine do anyway, they go crazy as soon as they see them filling the air. All you need is a little time, a little dishwashing liquid, an old nylon and a fly swatter from the 99 cents store. Simply put a little dishwashing liquid in a bowl big enough to dip the fly swatter in and add water. Dip the fly swatter in the solution and blow bubbles. If you get carried away your dog will eventually vomit so don’t do this one too often and keep the soap to the bare minimum.
Teach your dog to run through the sprinklers in the summer time. Get your kids involved too because this is a fantastic way for the whole family to have some fun, cool off and bond with their pet. Throw balls through the water or a Frisbee and have your dog chase you. Your dog might balk at it in the beginning but give them time, once they see your family squealing and having a fun time they won’t be able to stop themselves from joining in.
The most important thing to remember is that playing is not just keeping your dog from being bored. It’s about bonding and building a relationship together. The more time, care and attention you put into the relationship the more love your dog will give back to you. Teaching young kids about the importance of respecting animals and caring for them offers them the chance to build a long and healthy relationship with a good friend. So get out there, get some exercise, playtime might not be a bad idea for you either.