So many toys – so little time.
No Such Thing as “Indestructable”
Every time I see those words on the packaging of a chew toy it makes me chuckle. I’ve yet to find a toy that a Great Dane can’t destroy. So the only question that remains is how long will it last. We will be doing some personal reviews of specific chew toys in the near future, so I won’t go into deep detail here. We’ve had good luck with the Ultra Kong – this is probably as close to “indestructable” as you can get, but that’s not the only thing that makes for a good chew toy.
We’ve also had good luck with rope toys like this one. It was a chew toy but we could also play catch or fetch with it (We’ll talk more about these game shortly). While she was able to pull it apart over time, the natural fiber rope helped clean her teeth and there are no tiny rubber pieces to bite off and swallow.
All Toys are not Chew Toys
Chewing isn’t the only thing Danes like to do. Lucy also loves to play “ball“. Her favorite move is to rear up slightly and pounce on the ball with both front paws, sending it across the room and instigating a short chase sequence.
She’s not much of a retriever and doesn’t fully grasp the concept of “fetch“. If I take her to the back yard and throw a ball she might go get it but chances of her bringing it back to me are 50/50. And if she does bring it back and I throw it again, she will look at me with a face that says, “What did you do that for!? I brought it back to you once, if you want it back again you’re going to go get it yourself this time.”
Lucy does however like to play “catch.” This is a short range high arching toss which she may catch or choose to let it bounce off her head before picking it up.
Balls come in a variety of sizes and materials. Again the Kong balls are good but too heavy for a game of “catch”. Half deflated soccer balls or footballs are fun (as long as you don’t want to use them any more). But they can quickly cross the line into a chew toy if you’re not watching.
To Tug, or Not To Tug
The rope toy we discussed earlier coud be seen as a “tug toy” but we are careful to not encourage that game. From a very young age we train our Danes to not tug or pull on toys (or thier leash for that matter). Primary reason for this is because they’ll win! Understand that I’m over 6′ tall and weigh well over 200 lbs., so I can hold my ground with her but my wife, not so much. The last thing I want is for my Dane to drag anyone to the ground while “playing.”
It’s a matter of safety that we choose not to play “tug” with our Danes.
She’s a Lover not a Chewer – Well sometimes…
In Lucy’s quieter moments she loves her stuffed animals. Our children are grown and we don’t have any grandchildren yet, so when we’re on vaction (or sometimes just out shopping) Lucy usually gets a new stuffed animal. And she absolutly loves to love her stuffed animals.
Not all dogs will treat a stuffed animal with love and affection and sometimes we have to remind Lucy to “be gentle” if she starts playing too rough (by playing rough I mean shaking violently back and forth). That being said some stuffed animals are better than others as companions for your Dane.
We try to avoid toys with small appendages that can be tempting to chew off. And of course durable construction will help. You can find plush toys that are made for dogs but honestly many of them are just too poorly made for a Dane.
One of Lucy’s current favorites is her skunk. Over the past few years Lucy has tried to make friends with a skunk that lived under our front porch more than once. (I say “lived” because I finally encouraged the skunk to find a new residence just this year). So when we saw this skunk plush dog toy we knew she had to have it. This toy is great it checks all the boxes: durable construction, no small pieces to chew off, sized to fit comfortably in the mouth, and of course, the squeeker – the best toys have a squeeker. (Best for her, not necessarily best for us.) If you can’t find one at a local store like we did, you can get your very own “safe skunk” at this link.
Toys are Relative
So what is a “toy” anyway. Like any 4 year old who on Christmas morning is found playing with the box rather than the toy that came in the box – some of the best toys are the ones you find. For instance, Lucy thinks my fire wood is her personal stash of chew toys. Before mowing the lawn I have to go collect all the firewood that’s been distributed evenly around the back yard.
The Best Toy for Your Dane
In short the best toy for your Dane depends greatly on, your Dane. We’ve had 3 Danes so far and it’s safe to say that every Dane is different. They have different personalities – different dispositions – different likes and dislikes when it comes to play. Your Dane may have figured out how to play “fetch” while Lucy is content with running a quick lap around the yard (or the house if it’s cold or rainy outside) then go pick out a plush toy from her Toy Box to keep her company in the middle of the living room rug.
Try a variety of chew toys, balls, rope toys or plush, then let them pick out their favorites.
Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about about your Dane’s favorite toys.