13 January 2023
Most dogs enjoy having access to and playing with toys. Toys allow dogs to express natural behaviours in a safe and non-destructive manner while enjoying themselves. Toys can be very useful when providing enrichment to protection dogs, and they offer high value in supporting training and overall wellbeing.
One of our favourite toys for protection dogs is the Kong. While Kong is actually a company, it is best known for making a red rubber chew toy with a hollow centre. Widely known as simply “the Kong”, this toy is beloved by dogs and their owners alike. It is near indestructible, and highly versatile. Many owners will use it in the same way as a ball to play fetch with, and it can also be filled with cheese or liver paste to act as a form of edible enrichment a dog has to work hard to access. Protection dogs love Kongs, and we highly recommend them.
Chewable toys are good as well. They can provide a healthy and non-destructive outlet for dogs who enjoy biting or otherwise using their mouths, and often have a calming effect. Younger teething dogs will benefit from being given access to chew toys, as will bully type breeds such as Cane Corsos. If you are crate training a dog, we would recommend leaving it with favoured chew toys. This will help build positive associations with spending time in a crate, and in turn make it easier for a dog to settle when left alone.
Flirt poles, snuffle matts, and treat puzzles are also good options. They are both fun and intellectually or physically demanding, so require a dog to use its intelligence or natural behavioural drives. These are very fulfilling types of enrichment, and often result in tired but happy dogs.