Toys are generally a requirement to having a healthy and happy dog. Without the right sort of stimulation, dogs can develop bad habits and find other destructive ways to vent their energy. Toys provide an outlet for that energy that is safe and non-destructive. A simple toy, such as a chew toy, can help a dog cope with stress and vent pent-up spirit. There are a plethora of different dog toys available in basically any pet section in any store. When it comes to those big department stores for animals, like Petsmart or Petco, the choices seem even more overwhelming.
There are a range of toys, each serving a slightly different purpose or having a slightly different quality which makes it fun or cute. Some are more durable than others, some squeak, others even offer dental protection. The bottom line is that every dog is different and there will be some degree of variability for any given dog. Some dogs prefer different kinds of toys than others. While some may love balls and toys which bounce, others prefer the ones that make sounds. A lot of this just depends on how your particular dog plays, because some do play in different ways than others.
There are also dogs who love any kind of toy and play all kinds of games, from fetch to tug-a-war. If your dog is particularly picky the first thing to remember is that a dog will look at a toy the way a wolf looks at its prey. This explains why the majority of dogs prefer toys which appeal to this predator instinct; and that means toys which are soft, can be torn apart, taste like food, or make sounds are best. Toys which are harder and don’t emit any noise are generally seen as much less interesting to a dog.
Another thing to note is that dogs are generally most interested by new objects, but after they have familiarized themselves with a place or an object, they can become somewhat bored. This is normal for any dog, but you can almost always peak their interest once again by engaging them and playing together. Because dogs are naturally social creatures having a person to play with makes the activity much more stimulating for them. Besides, without you who will play tug-of-war or throw the ball for them? The best way for a dog to play is with someone else, then the toys they have don’t really matter so much.
Have you ever played fetch with your dog using a stick? This is evidence enough that the most important thing is the interaction and the ability to run, chase, and pull. Be careful about using certain things as toys, however. Anything which can be swallowed by a dog could lead to very serious health implications. Not all dog toys are actually safe for every dog. If you have a fairly large dog, make sure that you give them size-appropriate toys which can’t be swallowed. Some toys may also be easy to rip apart and in certain cases the dog will swallow pieces of plastic, material, or the little squeaker in the toy. If your dog has a tendency to rip things up avoid this type of toy.