Is This Toy Too Small?
I was recently visiting friends who had just acquired a new Labrador Puppy that was 8 weeks old!
Talk about CUTE!
I absolutely love puppies!
It is so much fun to watch them experience all of their "firsts" and I enjoy peeping in when I can.
So when I come to visit I always have my fur entourage in toe. Truth be known the only reason they now have a new puppy is because their children fell in love with my Long Haired Dutch Shepherd "Fury" .
Fury is the proverbial "perfect dog", not that I believe in the "perfect dog" but if there was one it would be Fury.
She is good with kids and people and tolerant of other animals (although very jealous of "Minion" the new Lab puppy).
Plus she is also attack trained, so if I am in a bad neighborhood or traveling and I need to stop somewhere and get gas; all I have to do is leave the door wide open.
One command from me and she will come racing out of that car. Let's say no one really wants to be on the other end of the teeth.
She is such a good dog; because she has had such intricate training and she likes to listen!
So as I unpacked my things and set up crates (YES my dogs are STILL CRATED on occasion) crates help to make my stay with friends and family pleasant and it ensures I am invited again.
So I popped some toys on the ground in front of the crates and began building them.
I noticed the puppy had the cutest, tiniest toys laying about.
Balls were strewn around about the size of golf balls and chewies looked like they were made for a Chihuahua.
For a minute I had to look around and make sure that a Labrador Retriever was indeed what they had added to the family.
Sure enough, his fat Buddha belly was swabbing the floor as he chewed vigorously.
When I dropped my adult sized toys and chewies he came waddling over with joy (yes, there are lots of fat jokes when you spend time with a Lab puppy!).
I had just laid down a HUGE piece of elk antler (don't worry all of you animal rights activists they are only harvested AFTER they are shed for help finding them click here Elk Antler). I also left an antler that was cut in half and some nyla-bones and a few stuffed toys.
I always travel with toys and entertainment. You never know when you are going to want to train or play with your dog when time allows.
That fat yellow lab booger grabbed up the whole piece of antler and began running as fast as he could across the room.
To look at him you would think that he was being chased, or thought he shouldn't have the antler... but truth be told he was just being a puppy and was in hyper over drive.
After a few moments of trying to fling it about (to which he just didn't have the grace to do) he settled in and began chewing.
I Always Use Big Dog Toys
I always buy and use big toys.
I am worried about how quickly "Minion" will grow and how fast that once barely appropriately sized ball (golf ball sized) is now a huge choking hazard.
With two kids under the age of 9 and a puppy, it seems realistic to imagine that it will be hard to remember to take things up and replace them with bigger toys.
Small things are a choking hazard. Those tiny cute rawhide bones... are almost never safe; even for a Chihuahua. And, small things are shredded, ruined and swallowed easier.
I know a few dogs that have choked to death on tennis balls, yes, tennis balls... they catch or inhale them so quickly the ball works itself down the trachea and they can't get it out for more click here.
The Other Good Thing About Big Toys
You don't really have to replace them as quickly.
This also saves you a lot of money. Wouldn't it be nicer to have to just make one huge toy purchase and then slowly add to it?
Now imagine that giant sized Elk Antler... Until he is big enough that he has whittled it down in size by chewing it; there is no reason to ever replace it.
Even balls and nyla bones and other toys can be grown into, rather than grown out of.
So What If That Ball Seems Too Big
So what if that tennis ball seems too big for your beagle puppy?
He will grow into it.
And, until he grows into it; he can bat it around and it will build his drive because he can't as easily pick it up! I have Jolly Balls (c) and eggs and they make them too big to pick up to stimulate his desire to play and try and grab it.
It is that desire to do what you can't ;)
The Simple Rule
Safety First!!!! If an adult Labrador, Beagle, Border Collie... etc could choke on whatever you are buying; don't buy it for your puppy! Let him grow into his things.
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.