Did you know you already have free fun puppy toys at home? You can also create simple games and customize it to your puppy’s preferences.
Finnegan’s (my puppy) current job title is Sir Master of the World of Puppy Fun. As an active and curious five month old pup, he created many of the following (patented) featured recreational activities. He was kind enough to share his ideas with me.
For cheap toys, nothing beats a cardboard paper towel roll. Once you use your paper towels, be Green, and repurpose the roll. You’ll be fashionable, reduce the carbon footprint and satisfy puppy.
A used roll is a wobbling and chewing diversion. Be sure to retrieve it within a reasonable time as he will soak it with puppy saliva and construct little pieces to redecorate your flooring.
Rolls can also be used in a bowling game. Line several up at one end of the kitchen. You toss one down “the lane”. Puppy will run headlong into them and score a strike most times. This will guarantee you, the puppy parent, lots of fun.
You can also use a wad of aluminum foil as the ball or an actual puppy ball. The National Bowling league doesn’t care and doesn’t discriminate.
Empty Kleenex tissue boxes are really fun. Toss one and watch the pup grab the opening with his teeth and tear off. Better fun is to watch him try to take it out a door or upstairs. Finnegan also likes to put his head into it and wear it as a hat. He gets to sniff, snap his head around and then shake it off. Life is good.
What do you do with used water bottles? I heard you shouldn’t reuse these for your own drinking water. THEY say that weird things will grow in them after repeated use and kill you. I know you put the bottle in the recycler, as I do, but why not get another pet friendly use out of it first.
Finnegan chases empty water bottles. They snap and crackle. You can put treats, gravel or ice cubes in it so it has an even more pleasing racket and shake ability.
My dog loves ice skating. Freeze small ice cubes in trays. (For those of you with icemakers, you can still buy trays at the Dollar store or fancy ones at Bed, Bath and Beyond – made of soft material in eye popping colors.)
Toss a cube or two on your tile, linoleum, concrete patio or other slick floor surface. Watch your pet skid off in search of the cube which he will put in his mouth. He’ll suck, spit it out and watch it slide and gleefully run off after it. This sport also soothes sore puppy gums as they go through teething.
Duck hunting is a fun diversion. If you have a little baby pool, put a couple of yellow ducks in the water (toy ducks, not real ones…). Dogs see only a few colors, yellow being one of them. Finnegan hops into his baby pool and captures the ducks. He also watches them closely lest they attempt escape and stares them down. You can put the ducks in your own bathtub and alert puppy to their invasion.
Finnegan’s pool also serves as a large water bowl. He loves the taste of H2O flavored by his feet. Go figure. If you don’t have a puppy pool – I mean baby pool – Wal-Mart’s has small plastic ones starting at $11. Don’t make the mistake I did getting one of those rubber blow up ones…duh…puppies have nails and teeth. They can’t eat plastic pools.
Duck hunting can be varied to become ice fishing or fish fishing. Just toss in a couple of ice cubes, a sardine or a can of tuna.
If you are interested in more free, cheap and easy puppy games, watch for my new book, “The Puppy Games”. Happy Puppy Olympics.