Congratulations on your new puppy! You are about to embark upon a fabulous journey, and no one can blame you for wanting to buy lots of shiny new things for the new arrival. The first few days with a puppy can be a bit stressful, so it does help to have all the supplies you need to hand.
Sadly, many puppy shopping lists are created by pet accessory companies (or indeed by pet shops!) and are designed to make you spend as much of your hard earned cash as possible. This one is different. It’s designed to make sure that you get all the important things that you need while saving you money at the same time.
The top toys I recommend to every new puppy person are:
- A Kong (for crate time, and “brain training” time)
- A Nylabone (for safe chewing and general play)
- One soft toy (for cuddles)
- One “Ragger” rope toy or similar (for chewing, or learning to retrieve)
Four toys might sound a bit mean, but by giving your puppy lots of things, you are actually making it harder for him to distinguish what items you want him to play with (YAH KONG!) and those you don’t (YAH REMOTE CONTROL!). You also don’t know what your puppy would “like” to play with yet, so by giving him just a few things you will get to know his likes and dislikes much quicker than by bombarding him with stuff he couldn’t care less about.
For example, my James HATES Nylabones with a passion– he really doesn’t see the point. But loves his Kong, so if I have to leave him I give him his Kong as I know that will keep him busy. If I left him with a Nylabone, then chances are it would be a case of “bye bye Mr. Sofa”.
- Make sure they are the right shape and size for your puppy, with the rule of thumb being if you think it’s too big, it’s probably the right size (within reason!).
- Check that all the stitching is secure and won’t easily come away. There are literally hundreds of types of toys out there, and all are of varying quality. Some of the cheaper rope toys may unravel too quickly, or some types of plastic toys may shred and pose choking hazards.
- Keep your wits about you, and watch puppy like a hawk with any new toy.
- If at all possible, try and avoid squeaky toys as these can encourage puppy to mouth or bite down on objects too hard, making it more difficult to “untrain” this behavior if directed at humans.
Pet Toy Shops
There are two main places to buy toys for your dog from, either brick and mortar pet shops like Petsmart which usually have a very large selection of dog toys or online pet shops like Ultra Modern Pet which usually have a smaller variety but more unique items like smart dog toys.
Dog and especially puppies need toys, but they don’t need their own toy box, nor should toys be used in place of one on one attention. Remember, the best thing you can give your dog is your time.