We've all seen a puppy or adult dog playing with toys and having a great time doing so. Did you know, however, that different types of toys actually teach your dog different skills and help him develop? They provide mental stimulation and exercise, help teach instructional commands like "give it", and are just plain fun. To help dog owners navigate the toy aisle at the local store, AKC's Canine Good Citizen Director Mary Burch breaks down the different dog toys and what they do for your four-legged friend.
- Balls: They can teach your dog motor skills and provide exercise while doing it. Puppies can also learn the basics of other skills, such as retrieving, while playing with balls.
- Chew toys: These help your dog during his teething and are very important in the development of his teeth. Playing with chew toys also helps your dog strengthen his face and neck muscles.
- Noise toys: Toys that make noises teach dogs not to be afraid of unusual sounds, which is great for socialization. They also teach your dog cause and effect -- squeeze the toy and it will make a sound.
- Interactive toys: Hard toys with food inside are great for mental stimulation. They keep your dog busy and help reduce separation anxiety.
- Soft toys: Familiar soft toys help provide comfort and familiarity for your dog. Many times dogs will take their favorite stuffed animal to their bed. It's also a good idea to bring your dog's favorite soft toy along on trips to make him feel more at home.