Plush and Squeaky Dog Toys

In contrast to the indestructible squeaky dog toys we have written about in another blog here what I would like to talk about is its dog toy counterpart, plush and squeaky dog toys.  Just as there are different dogs with so many different tempermants there are as many types of dog toys that they love to play with.  I have written before about my more voracious dogs, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Boutros and my current big boy a Schipperke-Kintamani dog named Thumper. Ok,Ok, Corgis and Schipperkes aren’t exactly big dogs, but they are bigger than my smaller dogs.  Can we say ‘relativity’?  Over the past 20 year I have had some outstanding smaller dogs though including 3 Shitzus, a Lhasa Apso and my current 2, a Yorki Poo named Bumble and a Shorkie named Doozie.  While Bumble is not really a toy player, she is totally food and affection driven, I will draw on my experience with Doozie and my earlier dogs to share here on the differing features of these toys and how they use and enjoy them.

The Plush

There are varying degrees of plush and dogs will like each depending on their personality.  With some dogs, like my shitzus, I have found the very plush – plush ones to be their favorites.  When in doubt Biscuit my tan Shitzu would always run around and look for her plush bone.  She would grab it and hold it to the floor and make it squeak and then run around and eventually up to me where she would let me take it out of her mouth, then she went into ‘ready’ mode for the toss.  And when dad was tired she was happy to go and lie with it and make it squeak until she would finally crash.  It’s obvious that the plushier a toy is the dirtier it can get, so the occasional washing was required. We often throw some plush toys in the washing machine when we do a load of dog beds.  Once we found this toy online we did end up buying multiple of the same one because when you have multiple dogs that can go in and out of a house they can get lost.

Plush comes in various degrees.  Some are almost felt like.  The next would be a fuzz that imitates an animals coat.  Next I would describe as the actual plush and these can come in varying levels of length and softness but they all remind me in a way of a shorter and softer kind of shag carpet.  Do they even make shag carpet anymore, or did I just date myself? Rut Roh.

The Squeak

My shorkie, The Doozer, loves some toys that are shaped like a bone but have a duck and a pig weaved on them, and a unique noisemaker that sounds like a honk, and are of course known as the ‘Honkin Duck’ & the ‘Honkin Pig’ in our house.  These are of a more durable cloth but have a material on the outside that is kind of threaded plush. The Doozer loves to get a hold of one of these, especailly when the Thumper isn’t around and we will play fetch with them forever, chasing after it, making it honk, and bringing it back to dad.  Looking at the pictures below it would seem that she may prefer pork over poultry.

The Honkin’ Pig
The Honkin’ Duck

The Purpose

Other toys that the Doozer loves are totally because of the Yorkshire Terrier in her. That makes her a ratter. We have a ‘no-stuff’ cloth toy that looks like a racoon but we call it ‘the squirrel’ and it has soft-plush material on its outside to simulate fur.  Being a no stuff toy I suspect makes her think she might have something dead in her mouth.   Then we have the 4ft loose Orange dragon with the crinkle paper inside of it and a big honking noise maker in the head. She absolutely loves to get a hold of either of those, run thru the house with it then bring it to her spot and proceed to shake her head, literally trying to shake the living daylights out of them.  I find it fascinating to watch knowing what she is trying to do.  The beauty of the no stuff toys is just that, they are not stuffed with anything and when the hole or tear does arise in these there will not be the ensuing mess and the toy basically retains it’s original shape.


The Squirrel

On a side note, there is a really informative show that was produced by the BBC with the actor Martin Clunes called ‘Martin Clunes: A Man and His Dogs’ (available on Netflix).  In it he describes dogs ancestry from wolves, how different dogs have different roles in a pack, and it has a great scene where terriers go into a barn to clear the rats. If you’re squeamish on watching one animal kill another you can fast forward thru that, but that has given me a better appreciation of my Doozer.

How to play with them

All of our plush dog toys are used for fetch or some form of gentle toss or tugger, usually indoors.

Playing tugger with them usually ends up with that tell tale sound of a thread tearing which almost always begins the demise and destuffing of the poor soft thing.  Corgis are a herding dog.  The way they herd is by chasing the animal and nipping at the back of its legs to make it move.  Corgis are a dog that naturally work with their mouth, it’s part of their job.  Giving a Plush toy to a dog like our corgi Boutros was futile and short lived, although there was a look of true joy on his face when he was lying there all done and surrounded by the stuffing.  If you have a mixed set of dogs as we do, the devourer will eventually find a poor unsuspecting plush squeaky toy, and you can’t get mad at him when you find him surrounded by is handiwork, it is just what he does.

Picking a toy

Whenever picking a toy for a dog it is helpful to know the breed or major breed if a mixed breed dog. Knowing the traits of a dog breed like herding or ratting or guarding or hunting will help in targeting the best possible toy for them, especially since they are not always the cheapest.  I can’t count the number of times I have gone into a pet store to buy my dogs a specific toy and found myself saying, “Oh they’d like that, and that, oh that looks cool….”  and then I am shocked when the cashier tells me how much it will all cost.  And then I rationalize it with “But they’re like my kids” to make myself feel better.  This is certainly not the dogs fault, but it is a pit I try to avoid stepping in nowadays.

Please, feel free to leave comments or stories below of plush and squeaky dog toys that are, or have been, in yours and your pets life

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