While there are endless puppy toys for sale out there, some of the best ones are everyday items from your own home.

Cookie scales the climbing wall to get to her homemade milk-jug toy.

For example, empty gallon-size milk/drink plastic jugs!  Above is an action shot of Sophia and Atticus playing with Cookie.  As they dangled a plastic milk jug on a string, Cookie scaled the rock wall in pursuit.  A solid half hour of fun, a lot for  a puppy!   Our dog trainer, Sarah Hodgson, told us early on that puppies love to play with empty plastic bottles, which they can scoot after across the floor, or play fetch with, or crunch or bat…bearing in mind you must keep an eye on the condition of the bottle and discard it when it becomes punctured.  (FYI: you really have to keep an eye on ALL doggie toys and bones to make sure they remain in good condition and are still safe in condition & size to chew.)  When we first started playing “skitterpins,” as Sarah calls it, with Cookie we used 12-oz water bottles.  When she was very small I used to like that she chewed on these, as they made lots of noise, and no matter what I was doing I could hear where she was in the house and what she was up to. (Those were the days before gates, friends.)  That game was a big hit, so we quickly move up to gallon-sized milk jugs – more bang for playtime and stronger plastic.  Right now in my back yard, there are 3 of them, very chewed up and dirty, and each dangling from a long string we drag around and hurtle through the air for her.  For added puppy bliss, you can place peanut butter around the rim of the bottle opening…but that’s just the cherry on the sundae of excellent play.  (Just so you know, puppies like ANYTHING better if it comes with peanut butter.)  Really these jugs are substitutes for sheep and they bring out the herding dog in Cookie.  In the spirit of the Aussie’s love of chasing sheep, I made an indoor toy for Cookie using a long pillowcase, which I stuffed with newspaper, knotted the end of, and attached it to a string.  This is Cookie’s indoor sheep for rainy days – it is fun for her to leap on (the paper makes a crinkly sound when she does) and she can drag and pull it around the house.  We can toss it or drag it on a string during playtime.  And when playtime is over, it makes a great pillow for a nap.  Hammocks are also great too! 

Cookie rests after a workout with Sophia

Don’t forget in this very hot weather to give your dog PLENTY of water and ice!   Warm & Fuzzy regards, Diana

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