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    The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Dog Toys for Your Dog

    Like humans, no two dogs are the same. Your furry friend has his own play style, body, and personality that make it super important that he has the right toys. Knowing exactly what to look for when it comes to choosing toys, however, isn’t always straightforward. There are so many dog toys to choose from out there, and it can feel overwhelming knowing where to even begin!

    What’s more is that the most high-quality dog toys in the world can pose dangers to a dog who’s just not made for that toy. For example, a small toy could pose choking hazards to a big dog, while a big toy could strain a little dog’s jaw. 

    Here at Chopper & Otis, we want our furry pets to have the best experience with their dog toys. That’s why we have created the ultimate guide to help you select the best toys for your dog. In this post, we’ll look at common playstyles in dogs, different chew strengths, and dog temperaments that all work together to play a part in choosing a toy your dog will love.

    Find Your Dog’s Playstyle 

    First and foremost, understanding your dog’s playstyle is crucial when it comes to selecting the best dog toy for your furry friend. Let’s look at a few of the most common play styles in dogs to help you get started.

    • Helicopter Dog

    Like a helicopter parent, your helicopter dog means well. This playstyle is the ever-watchful type. Your dog probably dislikes being a part of the main group and prefers watching and barking from the sidelines. At times, your dog might even play the referee. If other dogs in the playgroup are getting too aggressive, this can help calm the other dogs, but it can also make aggressive dogs more hyped up. 

    • Wrestler Dog

    If your dog has a wrestler playstyle, he enjoys physically slamming into other dogs. He might even enjoy being slammed into by other dogs. These dogs often bare their teeth and may even bite each other’s necks. Though it can seem concerning, as long as the dogs aren’t pinning each other down for too long or are snarling, chances are it’s harmless. Definitely keep a watchful eye on any rough play between dogs.

    • Chaser Dog

    This dog playstyle is often breed-specific. For example, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Greyhounds, and Siberian Huskies are hunters and might be more inclined to chase other dogs for fun. High energy dogs also love to chase each other around and need a lot of space to get their energy out. Your house is never quiet with a chaser dog. From squeaky toys to barking and running, your dog loves to go, go, go! We also recommend flyers, balls, sticks and other fetching toys for these speedy dogs.

    Chopper & Otis: Ruffdawg Gladiator

    • Tugger Dogs

    Tugger dogs love to tug and tug. Your tugger dog probably steals your socks on the regular and tugs playfully when you try to take it away. Your pet has probably ruined a good few socks in his quest to tug! You can avoid this type of play by giving him dog toys for tugging.

    • Mastermind Dogs

    Is your dog a genius who needs to be mentally stimulated on the regular or he’ll get into trouble? If so, chances are your doggo is a mastermind dog! Masterminds need constant stimulation and love a good challenge. The best play toys for this type of playstyle are advanced interactive treat toys.

    • Chewer Dogs

    If you have a puppy, chances are, you have a chewer. Some adult dogs don’t ever outgrow their chewing tendencies, too, though. Either way, chewer dogs love to gnaw on toys. This playstyle needs durable, high-quality chew challenger toys that won’t break down quickly or pose a hazard to your pet.

    • Independent Dogs

    Your dog doesn’t need anyone or anything, except for toys and you, that is! Independent dogs aren’t interested in playing with other dogs that much. They benefit from interactive toys that can entertain them for long periods of time. Like mastermind dogs, independent dogs love trying to get treats out of hidey holes through interactive toys, only independent dogs might need entry-level or mid-level puzzles.

    • Snuggle Dogs

    Not all dogs are high-energy dogs. If your pet is more snuggly, he might enjoy cuddling with toys, people, and other dogs. In this case, a snuggle buddy is a great toy for this type of playstyle. 

    Chopper & Otis: Cycle Dog: Duraplush Fuzzball

    Factors that Affect Playstyle in Dogs

    Your dog’s individual playstyle isn’t the only factor that determines the kinds of toys you should choose for him. Ask yourself the following questions to determine how your dog’s playtime fun might change from the above playstyles:

    • What’s the environment? If your indoor play areas have slippery tiles or a closed layout, your dog might want to play outdoors and might seem more reserved inside. Meanwhile, if you’re in a grassy dog park, your dog is more likely to be hyped up and ready to go.
    • How many dogs will your dog be playing with? If you plan on having a doggie playdate, keep in mind how your dog plays with other dogs. 
    • How’s the weather? If it’s cold or hot outside, your dog might prefer to play indoors. Likewise, if it’s raining or if there’s loud thunder, your pup might be too anxious to be his usual, playful self.

    These are just a few examples of how situations can change how your dog experiences his surroundings. Always keep in mind where you choose to play with your dog and consider changing the environment if your dog is displaying different playstyles, as this may be a sign of nervousness, especially if there are multiple dogs involved.

    Consider Your Dog’s Chew Strength

    Chopper & Otis: Different Sizes Dogs

    Before you select a toy based on your dog’s playstyle alone, you also need to consider your pet’s chew strength. You don’t want to purchase a toy that isn’t designed for your dog’s powerful jaws. Likewise, your little chihuahua won’t have much fun with that large toy made for bigger dogs!

    Keep in mind that some commonly used chew toys are actually dangerous to dogs regardless of your dog’s chew strength. These include:

    • Bones
    • Hooves
    • Pig ears
    • Rawhide
    • Sticks
    • Antlers
    • And even ice!

    Many of these items are used as hard chew toys for dogs, but the truth is they’re big no-no’s to dogs. They can break your dog’s teeth, perforate his gums or tongue, cause upset stomach, or break apart and lead to internal damage. 

    Also, never leave your dog unsupervised while he plays with his chew toys. Even the most durable dog chew toy breaks down over time. Broken pieces can choke your dog, so inspect dog toys often and keep a close eye on your pup. 

    All dangers aside, when choosing the perfect dog toy for your dog’s chew strength, here are features to look for in a quality chew toy to help you narrow down your choices:

    • Cotton or hemp rope that is naturally woven
    • Places for your dog to grip the toy with his paws 
    • Multiple textures, like grooves, fun shapes, holes, and bumps to stimulate your dog
    • A variety of sizes to customize your dog toy to your dog’s size
    • Durable material that’s also pliable so that it doesn’t hurt your dog’s teeth
    • Non-toxic, high-quality ingredients
    • Green dog toys that are recyclable and eco-friendly 
    • Easy to clean, dishwasher safe 

    Now that you know the dos and don’ts of chew toys, you’re ready to discover which chew type fits your dog! Consider the following chew strengths when selecting the best chew toy for your furry companion:

    Gentle Chewers

    Starting with the lightest chew type, your gentle chewer enjoys soft, plush materials to gnaw on. Gentle chewers are most often puppies who are teething. As such, many gentle chew toys are designed specifically for puppies, not adult dogs. 

    Moderate Chewers

    Your moderate chewer also likes softer toys and isn’t set on chewing through hard toys. Maybe your pup is going through teething pains, or maybe your older dog needs a toy that’s gentle enough for sensitive teeth but strong enough to be engaging. Moderate chew toys offer your dog a variety of textures and interactive playtime fun. 

    Chopper & Otis: Planet Dog: Orbee-Tuff Bone

    Tough Chewers

    If your dog is a tough chewer, you might wish to kick the toughness of the toy up a notch by investing in heavy-duty chew toys. Some of our best-selling tough dog toys contain hidey holes that give your dog mental stimulation and a satisfying surface that can hold up against your dog’s mighty teeth.

    Power Chewers

    For dogs with a knack for chewing through even the toughest of toys, however, you’ll need to invest in extremely durable chew toys that can handle your dog’s love for chewing.

    Factors that Affect Chew Strength

    Your dog’s chew strength is determined by more than just your pet’s strength. The amount of time your dog spends playing with chew toys also plays a part in choosing the right chew toy. 

    For example, if your pet only spends a few minutes a week playing with his chew toy, you probably won’t need to buy a power chewer toy, even if your dog has a strong chew. Likewise, a dog who chews on toys for hours each week might need a moderate or tough chew toy, even if his chew strength seems gentle.

    For pet parents who are new to picking a chew toy for your dog: if your dog is new to chewing, you might want to start with the moderate chew strength to gauge your dog’s jaw strength. As your dog gets used to chewing on new chew toys, his chew strength will likely get stronger. You may need to go up in chew strength when this happens.

    Still not sure what level your dog’s chew strength is? That’s okay! Take this quiz to help you find out.

    Read More about How to Choose a Dog Chew Toy Based on Your Dog’s Chew Strength?

    What’s Your Dog's Temperament?

    Last but not least, your dog’s temperament plays a part in the kinds of toys that you choose. Not to be mistaken for your dog’s playstyle, your dog’s temperament takes into account all social and personal dynamics that affect your dog’s behavior. Your dog might have a few of the following personality traits, so take these characteristics into consideration when choosing the right dog toy.

    Troublemaker

    Your troublemaker dog is always getting into everything. Troublemaker dogs are naturally inquisitive and highly intelligent. That’s probably why they’re always getting into trouble! If this sounds like your dog, you will need to prevent unwanted behavior by keeping him stimulated with interactive toys. You’ll also want to keep toys out of reach when not in use to avoid unsupervised play.

    Chopper with Rumbl Treat dispensing toy

    Energetic

    Speaking of play, some dogs just want to play, play, play! They have high energy and need lots of running, so a chew toy will likely not be enough to entertain dogs with this temperament. Instead, opt for high-energy toys and activities, like frisbees, balls, and other fetching toys.

    Chopper & Otis: Puppy cuddles with duraplush bone by cycle dog

    Shy

    Anxious or quiet dogs might be sensitive to loud sounds or fast-moving toys. They might get over-stimulated easily and therefore need extra consideration in their toys, playmates, and play environments. One way to help cater to a shy dog’s temperament is by avoiding squeaky or crinkly toys that can startle your pet. Instead, try a squeaker-free toy that gives your dog fun without the noise. 

    Aggressive

    If your dog has aggressive tendencies, he might get a little too worked up during a game of tug-and-war or during playtime with other dogs. He might also be more inclined to chew through tough chew toys, so be extra watchful during playtime and choose durable chew toys for your dog.

    Things to Keep in Mind When Selecting the Dog Toy

    While we can provide you with as much information as we can to find the right product for your dog, ultimately, whether or not a toy is suitable for a dog is based on your pet’s unique personality. There isn’t a one-size-fits all when it comes to dog toys. Consider what your dog might like in addition to all of the information we provided above when making a decision.

    Conclusion

    By now, you’re a specialist in all things dog toys! We hope our guide helped you discover more about your dog and the kinds of toys that best fit your dog’s playstyle, chew strength, and temperament. If you’re still unsure, send us a message and we can suggest dog toys that your dog might love.

    Until next time--