In my never-ending quest to find a highly motivating toy for Lumen, we’ve probably spend a few hundred dollars buying toys. Balls, tugs, fleece, fur, soft-toys, hard-toys, rubber toys. You name it, I’ve probably bought it (much to Husband’s dismay). Lu seems to ‘like’ everything, and ‘love’ very little. Which is to say, she’ll play half-heartedly, or even whole-heartedly with almost everything, but get very excited and ‘drivey’ over almost nothing. So I, like many others, scoured the internet searching for the perfect toy. Here, I’ll review some that I’ve found particularly exciting for Lumen, though she’s a bit odd, so don’t take whatever we say as gospel.
Today I’m reviewing something a bit unexpected. If you google ‘motivational toys’ you’ll get a huge array of particularly tugging things, and particularly fur or fleece things.
Lu doesn’t have an issue with any of these things, but I’ve known since she was a puppy that she adores chewing up plastic plant pots. One day she found a half coke-bottle in the backyard and has proceeded to prance around merrily with it, or spend hours chewing it up (but not destroying it, interestingly enough).
Husband suggested the other day that we should get her another plastic soda bottle, since she loves the first one so much. No worries. I went down to the supermarket and got a home-brand one for 99c.
I decide to giver her a go on cik/cap with it- my ultimate test for how much drive it helps her obtain. I rev her up with the toy, she’s biting it, launching at it, tugging it – I’m hitting her on the side with it, using it as a shield so she doesn’t bite my hands. I don’t restrain her into the wrap, but rev, rev, ready, ready- we run- I hold the bottle out like a lure, and– lo and behold! More than a lazy canter!! Her exit was slow, but her entrance was fast- exits I can work on when I have more space than my backyard, it’s the entrance which is our real problem.
All this to say that I just had more success using a 99c soda bottle than with a myriad of other toys. Don’t be afraid to use things that you might have lying around. I reckon if I tied a glove to a string she’d be pretty excited about that too, and I’m thinking I’ll tie some rope around the neck of the bottle so I can run off with it bouncing along the ground. Lu also loves long bits of bark that come off gumtrees and can be dragged, chased, caught and tugged (and they taste like wood but are soft, so no danger of splinters or sticks). I just made a tug-toy out of an old t-shirt of Husband’s (Lu seems a little overwhelmed by my creation, and plus it might smell too much like clothes and therefore might be considered ‘off-limits’ for tug?), and one out of a tea-towel that had a hold in it as well. I once found that my usually mellow and hard-to-get-excited-about-toys dog Mal, went absolutely bananas over oven-mitts, channelling Shutzhund-style dogs as he bit into them and growled with excitement.
Obviously a bottle isn’t the most durable toy on the market, and you probably don’t want to leave your dog unsupervised with it (eaten bits of plastic aren’t the best thing for a pup!) but if your dog is like mine and enjoys chewing on plastic things rather than soft things, it might be a good idea to give it a go! And at 99c it doesn’t really matter if you go through a few here and there if it’s working.
Does your dog like unusual toys? Are there things around your home that your dog might really enjoy playing with? Or do you have a normal dog that just loves playing with normal toys? 😉