Making Safe Fetch Toys For Your Dog

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Making Safe Fetch Toys For Your Dog

by Michael Russell

Playful dogs love to play fetch. Playing "fetch" is an activity that is enjoyed by both the dog and the owner. Also playing "fetch" is an important training event which is a necessary part of teaching the dog to retrieve.

Sticks are the most often used "fetch" item for dog owners. It is common to pick up a stick and throw it for your dog. However a stick is simply too dangerous. Most owners get by with this time after time, but all too often the worst can happen and the stick will penetrate either the dog, or someone nearby. Sticks can be deadly in the mouth of a running dog. They can jam backwards into the mouth or jab into the eyes of nearby dogs or children. Another example of an inappropriate object is a rock, but unbelievably, there are numerous owners who think it is really cute that their dogs pick up rocks and bring them to be thrown. Unfortunately, rocks and the digestive system of the dog simply do not work well together!

It is important that you purchase safe fetch items for your dog. If you don't want to spend the money, you can make good fetch toys, toys such as braided rope items that are too thick or big for the dog to swallow. Individual socks that don't match make wonderful braided ropes, provided that they are tied together into a large enough knot that they can not be swallowed. Another excellent way to make several good throwing toys is to take an old garden hose and cut it into foot long strips. When you are teaching your dog to fetch it is a great training trick to have a whole set of these rubbery "sticks" handy, because you can throw one out and as the dog begins to bring it back to you, you can immediately throw another one...thus he will drop the first one and go after the one that you just threw. This is the first step towards training him to release the object to you.

Often dogs that are oriented to the water need to have "fetch" toys that will float. Here again, a stick is the one most often used and also the most deadly. It is far better to use a regular "bumper" type of toy. If you don't want to spend the money, especially since water toys can often be lost, you can make a much cheaper version. This version is a closed plastic bottle partially filled with water, (to give it enough weight to throw) with a rope tied around the neck. Give a good swing with the rope and you can sail this toy quite a distance out into the water. The toy has much the same action as a bumper toy and is very cheap to make.

Tennis balls are great toys but only for dogs who are small. Bigger dogs have bigger mouths than most folks realize and the tennis ball really can be swallowed or can end up actually choking the dog at the back of the throat. Bigger dogs often get the ball so coated with slime that it becomes really slippery and this will make it even easier to swallow! If you want to use a ball it is better to purchase a larger ball or make a tennis ball that can not be swallowed by putting it into the bottom of a long sock and tying it in place. Having the sock around the ball prevents the slime from building up and also allows for less chance of having it swallowed because of the "tail" of the sock.

Avoiding high vet bills and having fun with your dog with safe fetch toys can both be accomplished. A little imagination and keeping safety in mind can go a long way towards providing a safe play time and/or training time for both you and your dog.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Dog Training

Michael Russell - EzineArticles Expert Author

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