Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Saffy's toys

Saffy’s a very lucky little dog who has plenty of toys to play with, and she can often be seen carrying one of them around the house with her. In this post I’m going to tell you all about the toys she loves, and how we keep costs down when it comes to getting them.
Now Saffy is very destructive. We think this could be down to the fact she’s a terrier, and so she instinctively has to tear her toys apart. When we first adopted her, we bought a small soft toy with a squeaker in it from a pet shop. As a puppy, she loved this little toy and it lasted her a couple of months before she learned to pull it apart. But once she’d figured out that toys come apart, she went through them very quickly! She has a method for doing it now- with teddy bears, the eyes, noses and ears come off first before she gets to work on finding the seams to pull apart.
Something we also had to deal with was teaching her what she was and wasn’t allowed to play with. Things that were on the floor were ok for her to take, but toys from beds or put up high weren’t allowed. She actually learnt this very quickly, and will even lie on my bed alongside soft toys without picking them up. Occasionally there is the odd accident when something is left in her reach- she did manage to chew up half my sister’s Sylvanian collection. This was just something we had to accept though, that if we were going to encourage her to play with toys we had to be careful about leaving things out. Other people that I know have gone the other way to protect their things by not having toys for the dog other than maybe some balls.
We started off by buying toys from pet shops, but soft toys especially didn’t seem like all that good value. They could be expensive for what they were, and often were designed to be torn apart easily- Saffy could destroy one within about an hour. Instead, we took a trip to the local RSPCA charity shop which has a well-stocked soft toy bin. The toys are almost all priced at under £2; in fact most of them are only about 50p. Obviously not everything is suitable for dogs and I do spend some time choosing the ones that are most appropriate for Saffy. What she really likes is toys that have lots of bits to pull off- so teddy bears with clothes on and holding things are great! I also like to choose ones that aren’t stuffed with beans- she got hold of one of mine once and it took FOREVER to clean up! The white stuffing that many toys have is annoying, but believe me, it’s much easier to tidy up. I like the fact that when I buy Saffy a toy from the RSPCA shop I’m helping more animals as well.
Other things Saffy loves to play with are tennis balls. We used to have a great supply of these because our neighbours had a lovely dog who would find the discarded ones from some nearby tennis courts. They would come back from walks and leave them outside their house for us to help ourselves to. Unfortunately though, their dog became ill and had to be put down a while ago.
I do sometimes use one of those flinger sticks for tennis balls with Saffy, but we have had some problems with those because she gets very overexcited, and also barks at people in the park who have them. I might do a separate post in the future specifically about this so that people can share their own advice about it.
Just to add- I did spot an article online about tennis balls maybe causing damage to dogs’ teeth if they’re getting wet and dirty. So from now on, I will be making sure to change her tennis balls regularly to look after her teeth.
Recently Saffy has taken to chewing holes in her tennis balls. Seeing as they don't bounce very well in this condition, I decided to try and find another use for them. I put some treats inside the tennis ball, and then put it into an old sock to stop them falling out. Saffy spent ages chewing at the sock to get the treats out- I don't think she's ever been kept occupied for so long before!

All in all, playing would certainly be in Saffy’s list of top things to do (somewhere alongside sleeping and eating!)
Poor teddy's got no face now :(

Looking innocent- next to a sorry looking toy rabbit

She had a bit of a job destroying this one, in fact I think
it got thrown away for being smelly before it got too
ripped up!

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