Written By: Olivia Connatser CPDT-KA

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I work with a lot of people who have dogs and puppies that chew on furniture, shoes, or even their owner’s arms and fingers. One of the first things I always ask them, is if their dog has plenty of appropriate toys and chew items. The response is typically along the lines of “yes, my dog has so many toys, but he won’t play with any of them!” When I dig further in and ask more questions, I learn that although they do have lots of toys for their pup, the dog has access to all of toys, all of the time, and now finds them boring. The good news is that it’s really easy to keep your dog interested in their toys for a long time!


Rotate Your Dog Toys

In order to keep your dog interested and excited about their toys for years to come, it’s important that they get to play with novel toys frequently. And no, I don’t mean that you need to go out and buy brand new toys every few weeks. Thankfully, it’s really easy to make your dog’s toys seem “new” and fun! By simply changing up which toys your dog has access to every other week or so, it gives your pup the sense of novelty and excitement.

Think about if you had to read the same book over and over again for entertainment. After a few reads, you’d likely become super bored of that book and you would stop reading it. This is similar to how our dogs can feel about their toys! So when a client tells me “yes, my dog has so many toys, but he won’t play with any of them,” this is likely the case.

So, instead of leaving every dog toy that you own out all the time, try changing it up. Every two weeks or so, I collect the toys around the house, clean them if necessary, and store them away. Then I bring out the other half of their toys that have been kept up and give them to my dogs. They’re always excited to see which toys I’ll be bringing out for them that day and they continue to stay interested in these toys for longer.

Pictured above: Kong Wubba

Benefits to Toy Rotation

Besides keeping your dog interested and excited about their toys, there are some other bonuses to this practice that you might not have considered before!

  • Less clutter – fewer toys out in the house means less mess!
  • Relieve boredom and excess energy – by keeping them engaged in their toys, they’ll stay occupied and entertained.
  • Create good habits – having interesting toys and chews will encourage your dog to chew on the things you want them to chew on, rather than your furniture or shoes.
  • Save money – after a while, old toys that have been put away and are reintroduced to your dog later will be like a new toy in their eyes, so you won’t need to spend as much money on actual new toys!

Other Tips

Every dog is different and finds different things exciting. Some dogs prefer soft plush toys, while others prefer rubber or nylon toys. Having a variety of textures, materials, and types of toys will help to keep them interesting to your pup, too. If your dog has a favorite toy, you can always leave that one out for them all the time! Remember – there are no rules to this; simply find a routine that works for you and your pup and stick to it!

Below are some of my dog’s favorite toys!