Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: Toys and Treats for Your Tripod

Oh, hi!  It's been a while since I've pontificated at you, huh? 

When I got Prada, she had no interest in toys of any kind.  Some dogs just don't.  However, because I wanted her to have an occupation other than getting my attention, and because I enjoy a game of tug myself, I taught her.  It took a while.  It's only in the last couple months that I can show her a new toy and she'll be excited about it, rather than me coaxing her into playing with it.

Of course, we've never had any trouble with her being excited about treats.

My biggest concern for treats is whether or not they are good for her.  It's important she doesn't get tubby and put more stress on her joints.  The people where I train her are huge fans of Stella and Chewy's brand treats.  They are made of freeze-dried meats or sometimes vegetables, and can be given to your dog as-is or re-hydrated for a different texture.  They're pretty expensive, though, so I haven't purchased any.  (Prada did snag a free sample of them at an event, though, and she gives them three paws up.)  I have been getting an off-brand I've found at TJMaxx a couple of different times.  Prada like the chicken and liver a ton.  She's still a bit iffy on the sweet potato, but that's really good for dogs, too.  The freeze-dried treats also crumble easily, so you can give just a little at a time, or sprinkle one over her dinner for a special surprise. 

In general, I try to stay away from treats that have lots of carbohydrates as the first ingredients (flour, wheat gluten, corn anything, etc.) or anything that has lots of ingredients I can't pronounce.  I look at it this way:  if I had kids, I would rather they snack on grapes than candy.  Grapes are better for them and less likely to give them a tummy ache, but a piece of candy every once in a while isn't going to do any harm, either.

For longer-lasting chews, I try to find things Prada won't have to chase around.  Nothing rolly.  Ring- or knot-shaped chews work well, though Prada's favorite is the Quado, made by N-Bone.  It's unique shape is perfect for being held secure by a single paw.  Best of all, because Prada doesn't have to work so hard to hold it still, she doesn't have to chew just from one side.  That's much better for her teeth.  (They make her breath smell nice, too.)

I've heard a lot of people talk up Kongs, and I've always liked those.  My last dog, Hans, thought they were the greatest thing since peanut butter.  Prada, on the other hand, is not a fan.  She wants to roll it to make the treats or kibble fall out, but the placement of the hole isn't conducive to that.  I've replaced the Kong with a rubber ball that has a hole in it.

As for plush toys, as long as it has something small enough for her to get her itty bitty mouth around, she's happy.  And the ones that have legs or such that will whip around when she shakes it are the best, obviously.

I'm not saying any of these are going to work for everybody, but talking about it can help you come up with new ideas.  Every dog is different.  But if you keep trying new things, you're bound to find something that is really the cat's meow.  (Sorry.  I couldn't help myself.)

What does your dog love/hate?

(I'm not paid to talk about particular products--I'm not nearly that important.)

Kellan is not a tripod.  He doesn't have limited mobility, either.  But he used to be completely paralyzed, so you know he's a special boy.


  1. Ooh! Ooh! Must try the Quado! Well, Roscoe and Peaches must try the Quado...I'll just watch ;). Roscoe loves stuffed toys, especially once he chews through to the stuffing. That's when we "liberate" the critter though and replace it. I doubt stuffing is a healthy treat!

    1. Prada is generally pretty gentle with her toys, except the stuffed rabbit. That she promptly ripped the brains out of.

  2. Prada's a zombie? A BUNNY zombie! hehehe!

    1. That's a campy horror movie waiting to happen!