The best in health, wellness, and positive training from America’s leading dog experts

Dog Toys

Best Dog Ball Brands for Playing Fetch

A rousing game of fetch is a team sport; it requires a thrower and a retriever. Dog and owner work together, or the game doesn’t happen. This partnered activity helps to cement the dog/human relationship. It’s also a perfect outlet for a dog’s excess energy. The ball-fetching dog gets to satisfy his hard-wired instinct to chase and catch prey, while benefiting from the regular exercise that promotes good physical and mental health. Besides, there is something intrinsically soul-satisfying about watching a dog in hot pursuit of a ball, stretching his legs in full flight across open space, whether it’s with the lithe grace of a sighthound, the determined strides of a retriever, or the scrabbling charge of a stubby-legged terrier.

Another Round of Dog Toy Testing – A Focus on Safety, Durability and Cost

Testing new toys! This is always our favorite assignment, since we get to spend lots of time playing with our dogs. We have once again perused the pages of various dog supply stores, catalogs, web sites, and trade shows to find a selection of new toys to review. This time, we found a greater than usual percentage of delightful surprises, though we were, as usual, also disappointed a few times. All in all, remember that proper toy selection is a very individualized venture – you must keep your own dog’s interests, propensities, and chew power in mind when shopping for her.

The Best of Dog Toys, the Worst of Dog Toys

Your dog needs to be mentally stimulated,” claim the makers of the Buster Cube, so they produced a product that purports to do just that. The result is a blue, hollow, hard plastic cube with rounded corners, designed to resemble a large die, even down to the spots on each of its six sides. The one-spot is actually a hole that you can pour kibble into, so that it fills the interior of the double-walled cube. When the dog pushes the Cube around, bits of food fall out of the hole. The theory is that problem behavior can diminish or even disappear entirely if a dog is given mentally stimulating tasks.

Safe, Non-Toxic Chew Toys

Let's get one thing straight: A dog's gotta chew what a dog's gotta chew. Dogs chew to exercise their jaws, to clean their teeth and gums, and to relieve boredom. It's a completely instinctive and healthful activity. Once upon a time, dogs chewed happily on bones that were left over from our meals. However, this age-old practice has slowly changed as humans have come to rely (largely) on processed foods. Today, few home kitchens provide a steady supply of bones to the household dog. As our eating habits changed, so have our perceptions of food safety.

Creative Dog Toys

Dogs can never have enough toys, and here at Whole Dog Journal we are always on the lookout for creative new toys to help you enjoy your canine companions. Good toys are crucial for several reasons. First and foremost, bored dogs are far more likely to engage in behaviors that – while perfectly natural and reasonable activities for a dog with time on his paws – are not the sort of things that will please you. Things like barking at anything that moves outside the windows of the house, attempting to dig out the source of a trail of ants in the kitchen, or chewing on the table legs.

The Many Uses of the Kong!

I still have the very first Kong I bought 20 years ago for my Australian Kelpie, Keli. The indestructible black toy looks like it could have been purchased yesterday, despite 14 years of intensely hard use by typically obsessive herding dogs. Pre-dating the popular sport of Kong-stuffing by more than a decade, Keli was dedicated to chasing the four-inch, hollow, beehive-shaped rubber object as it bounced and boomeranged erratically across the asphalt at the shelter where we worked. Dang, it was almost as much fun as herding sheep!

Latest Blog

Proposition: You Don’t Really Want to Train Your Dog

Most people aren’t interested in learning theory and the timing of the dopamine release and whether a dog is intentionally signaling aggression when his hair stands up—but I am fascinated by all of those things and can’t even resist telling you right here and right now that he’s not!