Strong Dog Toys for Large Dogs

Looking for a strong dog toy? Whilst no toy is indestructible, one of the best materials for dogs that are heavy chewers is a dog rope toy and an ideal toy for labs to chew on

Rope style dog toys are one of the best because of their durability. The fibrous material is strong enough to withstand vigorous power chewing, it is a natural product and the added bonus is that it is also good for teeth cleaning! One of the best toys for active dogs as they are very easy to wash after being thrown around outside.

Dog rope toys come in various shapes and sizes. Toy ropes can be braided or woven. Some braided dog toys may have multiple knots and some can have plastic handles or rubber balls attached. Whichever toy rope you choose make sure it has significant length and is big enough for your dog to chew on without swallowing. Always remove any plastic pieces that come adrift from any dog toy.

Playing tug of war with a rope toy is good esteem building, especially if the dog is lacking in confidence. Letting him win at tug will boost his confidence, but do not allow him to win too often as it may turn table and create a behavioural issue. Teach him that playing tug is fun, but when you want it to stop he has to accept the game is over. End the game with a command e.g. ‘finish’ or ‘end’, drop the toy and walk away.

Dog rope chews are appealing to most dog breeds. They are reasonably soft and flexible and if soaked in cool water, rope toys can be soothing for teething puppies and a great chew for general dogs teeth and gum health.  Labs and Spaniels in particular will love to carry the braided rope around. Always supervise pups with toys. Bigger dogs who are aggressive chewers may eventually shred the fibres and ingest, so again supervision is necessary at all times.

The monkey nut rope dog toy is a great idea for dogs that like to retrieve. It is easily slung by the handle making it a great dog toy for the outdoors.

Paws Plus One has a good selection of dog rope toys and we consider these to be the best chew toys for large active dogs.

Which is the best toy for your dog

Treating your dog with an easter dog toy? There are endless dog toys on the market. But which is best? As dog owners it is our responsibility to make sure our dog’s toys are safe for them to play with. We should always check that your dog’s toy is in good condition.

* It is not beginning to lose its stuffing

* It does not have loose pieces such as ribbons and string that can be swallowed

* The squeaker inside cannot be ‘got’ at and inigested.

* Watch the fluffy toys with dogs that love to chew

* Do not let dogs play with toys made for children. They are not always tough enough for a dog with lose bits such as eyes and fabric pieces that can be pulled off.

However, it may also surprise you to know that there are no government directives or standards for levels of toxins in pet toys. Toys for children in UK are covered by the Toy (Safety) Regulations 2011 and Safety Standard EN71. Although many of our children will play with and be in contact with the family dog toys!

In 2009 the Ecology Center in Michigan conducted a full study of levels of toxins in dog toys. The findings were quite startling and standards do not appear to have changed much:

* Almost half of the pet products had detectable levels of one or more hazardous chemical.

* A quarter of them had detectable levels of lead.

* Seven percent had lead levels greater than the safety standard for lead in children’s products.

* Nearly half of tennis balls specially made for pets had detectable levels of lead, while sports tennis balls contained none.

Top Tip: If your is very active dog, loves to play with tennis balls, always buy the cheap sport type and not the pet shop balls. They bounce much better too!

Plastic toys imported from China including some major brands, but more likely the cheap ones, are quite likely to contain high levels of lead and other toxic materials. Always check to make sure toys are labelled BPA free or made from 100% safe natural rubber. Look for natural products such as jute, wool, cotton and leather.

Paws Plus One will only sell premium quality and safe chew toys made from natural products. The Beco chew toys are all non toxic and made from natural recycled products. PP1 also has some great new leather chew toys which are safe and tough for all breeds. They are tough, but also soft enough for puppies to chew on to ease teething. Leather is also good to use outdoors as it can be washed down and are best toys for Labs to chew and Spaniels.

Why not treat your dog to a new Easter dog toy?

My Puppy eats stones!

Puppies are always exploring and picking up things in their mouths. More often than not it tends to be things that are rather dangerous if swallowed. There are things you can be doing to stop puppies eating stones.

Chewing stones is a common problem, particularly with puppies. They usually grow out of this behaviour, but sometimes the habit continues into adulthood and often surgery is needed to remove them. You can see here a Labrador who ate 13 large stones!

We are not sure why stones are so attractive to chew or swallow, but it could be a throw back to their ancestory as wild coyotes and wolves are known to chew stones. However, vets do not advise you letting your dog eat them as they can break their teeth and get caught in their intestines and lead to serious health problems.

Sometimes there is an underlying health problem that makes your dog eat pebbles. It could be ill or in pain or another possibility is that it could be deficient in phosphorus, calcium or iron. Or it could just be plain boredom and the dog needs more stimulation and exercise.

So, If you have tried changing your dog’s diet, given it more exercise and attention and its still chewing stones, then it’s time to take it to the vet for a check-up as there could be a health problem. If your dog’s stomach is hard and tight, the indications are that it is full of stones that he is unable to pass. Again a necessary trip to the vet!

For puppies, the best solution is distraction. Practise getting your pup’s attention and offering praise and rewards when he looks up at you. Take a variety of toys and play with him so he learns there is an alternative to stones. Try not to tell him off as this can reinforce the behaviour.

This is also a good time to begin to introduce the ‘leave it’ command. Begin practising with a toy that your puppy is showing interest in. Hold it in one closed hand and let him sniff it. Tell him to ‘leave it’. Wait for him to turn away and then immediately praise and offer him a better reward from the other hand. Using this principle continue practising bringing in other toys that he finds more tempting. Try the technique with items on the floor as well.

Fortunately, with time and patience and plenty of playful interaction with toys this behaviour can be stopped. ‘Leave it’ training will not only help with the stones, but will also be useful to use when out walking and your dog picks up something undesirable that you need him to drop and not create a game of tug!


Finding the best reputable breeder and puppy

You have done your research and decided on a breed. The next big step is to find a reputable breeder. The best way is to find a  reputable and registered breeder is with the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme here.  Being a part of this scheme makes sure all the correct guidelines are followed and that puppies are happy, healthy, vaccinated and wormed and socialisation has already started before leaving the litter for their new home.

Don’t be put off if you find a breeder that has been rearing his puppies in a kennel or barn outside. It does not mean they have been neglected. Most good reputable breeders will keep the mum and her litter indoors for the first couple of weeks and then transfer them to a safe area outside where they will have more space to romp around. As long as they receive plenty of socialising and they are kept in a clean environment, the puppies will be perfectly well raised. You will find that most gun dog breeders always keep their puppies and dogs kennelled outside. However, if pups whether kept indoors or outside, are shut away and only getting basic care, they will not be ideal puppies to buy as they will not have had any essential socialisation and life experiences.

It is unfortunate that there are so many shady so called ‘breeders’ and back street dealings with puppies. There are some that will buy in puppies to sell on and the ‘mother’ dog you may be shown has nothing to do with them. Always ask to see the puppies with the mother while they are very young and see how they interact. This will also give you a good indication of how they will look as adults. Whilst some bitches will be quite happy for you to have interaction with their pups, up to 5 weeks old the mother will be very protective of her young and some may not be very happy to have visitors around. Some can get quite distressed or even snappy and if that is the case and the pups have to be separated for your visit, this does not mean the bitch has a bad temperament as some of the sweetest bitches can get very protective whilst pups are so young. If the breeder does show the pups and mother to you separately and then when you have left the litter, allows the mum to rejoin her pups so you can see she is the real mother, you can be assured that this is a good breeder who is considerate of the mum’s needs as well as yours. Don’t expect to see the father with the puppies as they are often separated from the litter as most usually the bitch will not want any adult dog near her young.

Choosing the puppy

When looking at a litter, a well socialised litter of pups will come bounding up to check you out and bounce around. If you are looking for a bold dog, the first one to approach you may be the one for you. But bold dogs don’t always fit with everyone and you will need the pup to fit in with the family. There may be one pup that will stay a little longer to interact with you on its own and often this is the one that has chosen you and the one you should go home with.

The pup who is sitting apart from the rest of the litter and observing you from a distance, may not be as shy as it appears. Often these are the more intelligent pups and maybe a good fit for someone that is looking for a close one to one bond and able to spend time to develop it. This pup may not be good for a big noisy family. The shy type or ‘thinkers’ can be demanding to train, but still make good dogs, so don’t dismiss this one if you can manage a clever dog.

However, a pup that runs and cowers and appears nervous of human contact, could be a difficult one to raise and perhaps better avoided unless you are up for a challenge and a skilled dog handler.

The saying goes ‘never choose the last pup’, but don’t worry, process of elimination means there will always be one left! That doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice, it just may not have been the right colour, temperament or whatever, for the other families. If you like the last pup and it likes you, don’t be put off because the other pups have gone first.

Good breeders spend a lot of time with their puppies and get to know each one well, so sometimes they will direct you towards a pup they think will fit well with your family.

For the first few weeks or until your pup has had all it’s vaccinations and the all clear from the vet to start the big experience outside, all you will need as a start is a crate, a nice comfy bed and blanket and a simple collar and lead. Don’t forget the toys, pups love to play and training can start straight away through playing and teaching them to sit, stay and fetch.

Most of all, enjoy your puppy, show him everything in the big wide outdoors – good socialisation is the key. They grow up so fast and it is such a fun time and the basis for a good all round happy adult dog.

If you require any other support or assistance in choosing your next puppy please contact us

Make Your Dog Play Nicely

Playing games with your dog is lots of fun for both you and your dog and it also helps to build strong bonds, but you need to maintain boundaries to make sure it is always on your terms and not his! This is key in how to make your dog play nice. Play brings lots of benefits from time spent interacting together and there are huge advantages to using play to train your dog.

Puppies play rough with their brothers and sisters which include nipping and biting to gain status. However, when you bring them home, they maintain that behaviour, so we need to show them what is acceptable and what’s not. Play biting or mouthing and chewing amongst puppies is perfectly normal behaviour, but we do need to train him to know that human’s have sensitive skin and that he needs to be gentle. This is especially so for a puppy that is going to live with and tolerate small children.

Bite inhibition is a learned response in which the dog consciously inhibits the full force of his biting ability. By helping your dog to learn this early on as a puppy it can help to avoid biting incidents with other dogs and people. Puppies who are properly socialised will learn bite inhibition whilst playing with his siblings and feeding from the mother dog. If a pup bites too hard, she will train them by standing up and walking away. When a pup bites too hard during play with siblings, a bitten pup will yelp and stop playing rough. That teaches the pup that hard biting will end play.

Humans can use the same idea to teach their puppy bite inhibition. If the pup bites your hand too hard, give a loud yelp and take your hand away and stop interaction. It reinforces the action if you freeze and avert your eyes away from the puppy. Offer your pup a toy to chew on in place of your hand or clothing, but if he shows little interest and wants to return to hard biting, walk away and end the play. He needs to learn that fun stops if he is not gentle.

Play fighting should be avoided and never encouraged especially with powerful or guarding breeds. Play biting can be painful and whilst it could be tolerated as a puppy, if not curbed it sends out the wrong message and the unwanted behaviour can continue into adulthood. It also establishes rank, so if you do play tug, make sure you always win and never the dog. If your dog will not let go of the toy, offer another one in its place and stop the game, so in effect you win.

Be aware of how you use your voice when playing. A high pitched tone creates excitement, whereas a lower calmer tone establishes control and leadership. The same goes for your posture during play and when training. Your height and stature, together with eye contact, reinforces your status as the decision maker.

Tips & Training

Using play and toys makes exercise fun and toys are also a good mental stimulant, but teach them the rules and decide what outcome you want. It may be to help with basic training commands such as sit and stay using the toy as a reward. Balls are great for that and most dogs will engage with a game of fetch. Or you could develop your dog’s enthusiasm further towards agility or competitive obedience.

The Beco range of dog toys are not only ‘eco’ friendly and made from recycled material, but also tough and long lasting and in particular the Beco dog ball can be stuffed with food treats which can keep your dog occupied for ages working out how to get to the goodies. The ball on a rope is also a great one for a game of fetch.

When using toys in training, keep those toys only for outside training. If they are around at home to use at any time, the excitement of playing with them is lost and therefore not such a useful training aid. Take the balls away as soon as you return home.



How to stop your dog chewing!

Chewing is instinctual and perfectly normal behaviour for a dog.  It is calming and makes him feel good and it also helps keep his teeth and gums healthy.  However, coming home to find your best shoes or new slippers in bits is not desirable, creates unwanted stress on you and your dog when he gets scolded and is obviously an expensive behaviour.  Dogs love to chew shoes and socks as they have the strongest body scent of his beloved owner.  In particular, try and keep your socks out of his reach as they can be easily swallowed and can cause stomach and bowel blockages and unwanted and unnecessary veterinary procedures.

Chewing can be prevented by understanding this behaviour is natural and providing an alternative is key to stop a dog chewing.  When your dog starts to chew on an undesirable object, ask him to leave or drop and distract by offering a treat or a favourite toy or something else for him to chew in place of it.  Praise him for leaving the favoured chew object and offer a chewable toy instead.

Chewing the right thing can also be an intellectual challenge so offering interactive toys that hold treats for him to work out how to get them out, is a good way to keep him mentally stimulated and happy for hours, particularly when you are out of the house if separation anxiety is a problem.  A good one for food obsessed dogs!
48904101 - two dalmatian puppies chewing shoes in front of a white background

two dalmatian puppies

Chewing keeps your dogs teeth and gums healthy and clean.  Cleaning your dog’s teeth with a toothbrush is not easy, most dog’s object!  A good alternative is a daily dental stick which is made up of edible abrasive particles to help clean the teeth and flavoured with chicken and meat to make them tasty.

There are lots of other chewable items on the market ; rawhide chews, pigs ears, imitation wood, antlers, and rubber bone toys to name a few.  As most vet’s would agree, giving dogs raw bones should be given with caution as bones can splinter and become lodged in the throat, stomach, intestines and bowel which can be life threatening.  Some bones are very hard and can crack their teeth and the sharp edges can cut the gums and tongue and get stuck between the teeth.  Never give cooked bones to your dog – particularly cooked chicken bones.



Keep your dog happy with toys

Dogs need toys and the right toy can provide comfort, entertainment and can even be used for training purposes. Picking the right toy for your dog is very important and your dog’s, size, breed and activity level should be considered to make sure your dog’s toy is safe to use. Very often dogs are attracted to items that are dangerous and you should make every effort to dog proof your home. Keep out of reach ribbons, string, rubber bands, baby toys and in particular socks and underwear and anything small enough that can be swallowed! Socks are a particular favourite and many a dog has had to have surgery to remove one.

If your dog is destructive, toys with soft fibre stuffing should be avoided. Always remove anything that can be pulled off and ingested such as ribbons, strings, eyes. Squeaky toys are a favourite. Some dogs will try and reach the squeaker and destroy the toy in the process, so make sure you remove it before it gets swallowed.

Rope dog toys, balls and frizbee’s are great activity toys. Balls are a favourite for most dogs, but always discard as soon as they get chewed through.

Toys can be used for distraction and are a good way to keep your dog happy when he is left alone. Dog toys that can be stuffed with treats are a good mental stimulant and can keep you dog happy for hours trying to retrieve the goodies

Dogs can find comfort from a soft toy. Some like to carry them around, others will try and ‘kill’ it!

So it is important to find the appropriate soft toy that is strong enough to withstand tough treatment. You can find some toys that are designed to ease anxiety in nervous dogs and will mimick an animal with a heartbeat. They do require batteries so obviously only for the right dog who will not rip it apart!

To keep your dog’s interest in his toys, don’t let him have them all at once, keep some back and rotate them to keep it interesting. Playing hide and seek with a favourite toy is great fun and provides plenty of tracking and mental stimulation, particularly for young dogs and puppies who need to be kept busy.

All dogs need toys to keep them happy and mentally alert, but do make sure they are safe to avoid an unnecessary visit to the vet.

The power of toys in dog training

Most dogs love toys and may particularly have a favourite toy that they take to bed and carry around with them. Many dogs are also obsessed with balls and a tennis ball or a very favourite toy is a really good focus aid to use in training. High energy dogs tend to engage readily with toys, especially balls or a Frisbee and provides the good workout that they need to keep them happy and calmer.

All training should be reward based, praising good behaviour and ignoring the bad behaviour. The reward can be a food treat, which may be the best starting point, but also the reward can be the ball or best toy. For example, rewarding a good sit, stay and come with a ball is an exciting result to a command and one your dog will want to repeat again, establishing repetition. Replacing the ball with food treats also helps stop over feeding and weight gain! Some trainers have to reduce the amount of food in their dog’s meal to make sure they do not get too fat. Some dogs may also become so obsessed with the food treats that they are unable to pay attention to what they are supposed to be learning!

A short training session should be incorporated into each walk and using a toy makes exercise a fun time for both you and your dog. Toys are also a good mental stimulant and will help keep your dog occupied and mentally stimulated when left alone. The Beco range of dog toys are not only ‘eco’ friendly and made from recycled material, but also tough and long lasting and in particular the Beco ball can be stuffed with food treats which can keep your dog occupied for ages working out how to get to the goodies. The ball on a rope is also a great one for a game of fetch.

When using toys in training, keep those toys only for outside training. If they are around at home to use at any time, the excitement of playing with them is lost and therefore not such a useful training aid. Take the balls away as soon as you return home.

Always use a command to ask your dog to release the toy so you can repeat your game. Use the same command or indicator such as a clicker or word ‘Out’, ‘Drop’, or whatever you like as long as its consistent.

There are so many different toys on the market, there is bound to be something fun for your dog, even for those dogs who have little interest in toys. They can be taught to enjoy toys with some imagination. Perhaps using food treats with a food focused dog to start with and giving a food reward if your dog picks up his ball or makes his toy squeak. Once associating the toy with a treat, you can gradually drop the food treat. Always make toy training fun and energetic – your dog will soon catch on!!!