Is This Toy Too Small?

Fat sleeping Puppy

Fat sleeping Puppy

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.

Thanks Fosters and Smith for the Photo

Thanks Fosters and Smith for the Photo

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.

Thanks Ruffy Reviews for the Photo

Thanks Ruffy Reviews for the Photo

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

My Dogs Chilling with Their Jolly Egg Under My Supervision

My Dogs Chilling with Their Jolly Egg Under My Supervision

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.

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  1. Neil says:

    Really wonder if having an “attack” dog as a pet is a good idea. Read an article a few days ago about a woman that was helping train attack dogs. She decided to take the dog out on a break and play with it. No ball around so she grabbed a stick. She was going to us it for the dog and her to play fetch. When she raised the stick throw it the dog attacked her and tore up her arm. Seems the dog was trained to attack anyone that was threatening it. The dog evidently thought that when she raised the stick that action represented an attack. The woman had to have surgeries on her arm and it will never be the same now. All because she did not realize that the dog was trained to do that. If she had a ball to throw she might have been OK. She was new at training the attack dogs. From that story I would think that having an attack dog around children, other dogs or people that are not trained to handle them would be a very bad idea.


    Minette Reply:

    I am a professional, my dogs are sport dogs and I have done this work for 20 years. I know my dogs, I know people, I am very careful… however you are right for most people it is not in their best interests!


    Jeannie Reply:

    If the dog owner can’t train or have their dog trained or handle dogs competently, then very few dogs would be a “good idea”. Most people are not competent to train attack dogs and most people don’t need them, and at the same time, one of the best ways to control and direct a behavior is to train it in, on command, rather than train it out. Yes, people are hurt by dogs quite often, attack dogs or not, because they don’t understand dogs and don’t understand how to behave around them or train them. There’s a term for those people – they’re called irresponsible dog owners.


    Jan Schilling Reply:

    I have owned dogs for 71 years…trained them for 60 of that. An attack dog, if that is what this lady called hers, is a dog who will come to your side in a moment when you need protection or defending. They do not attack in your home, other animals, unless commanded to do so. My three are under constant scrutiny…they bark furiously at the window to let me know someone is there…and then at the door, til I let the person in the house…that is the key right there…”I let them in”…the barking stops instantly as I open the door. If someone were to enter my house without my permission. they will attack them….rightfully so.
    As for throwing a stick…i have played with my Shepherds and Labs for years throwing a stick. They leave my side from a sitting position, and are told to fetch the stick…and do so and br8ng it back to my feet…under my total control. I have never in 71 years been bit by any dog I owned and trained.


    birgit Reply:

    Dear Neil. first of all, the term “attack-dog” is wrong. The exam the dog goes through is called “Schutzhund” ( which is german – and I know that because it is my mother tongue ), which means direct translated “defence dog” or “protection dog”. A dog that is trained in proper circumstances and settings will never attack a woman or a child. I have trained Schutzhund I and II with my different dogs over the years ( it is now about 30) and I have never had reason to worry when kids or anybody for that fact played with any of my dogs. First of all you should never leave your dog with anybody alone anyhow – one of the first rules of having a dog. And a trained dog knows what is a threat and what is not. He will never feel threatened by a kid because it is on a lower level than him in the society of the “pack” which is his family.


  2. nancy says:

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing your knowledge with everyone. Our boxer puppy is 4 months old and is learning to come when called. Which she does at her own pace and time. We live on a busy street and I worry that she will stray into the road. So far she is doing great staying within our boundaries. As we’ve been working on walking around the space that is hers and rewarding her with pets and love when she stays in the yard, on lease. If she leaves the yard I turn my back and ignore her until she comes back into her space. It seems to be working I wonder if I’m doing the right thing? I want a well behaved dog that comes when called and not on her own time table. What can I do to train this, currently it only works if she knows I have a treat to give her. as soon as the treats are gone so is her ability to come when called.
    Thank you for your help.


    Minette Reply:

    Read this and the articles within


    Jeanette Reply:

    Just another note of caution – from experience. Many years ago my neighbors little boy had one of those small high powered bouncy rubber balls,it didn’t choke my dog but did necessitate an expensive op to remove it when it didn’t transit the intestine. I had no idea the child had thrown it into my garden and did not see the dog swallow it, so beware small toys are more than just a choking hazard!

    Also the issue of crates, so much better for the dog, if they are initiated to them early it becomes their den/ safe refuge – not a punishment, Then they can safely travel in vehicles instead of risking breaking their necks (or worse crush you) when loose in a car. They can visit with you to other peoples homes and not be a nuisance and they can sometimes be welcome at hotels and guest houses. I use a crate regularly with dogs which are staying in my kennel who have trouble settling, it seems to help them feel more secure, with a blanket or item from home for comfort.


  3. Jeannie says:

    Maybe our situation would be helpful to someone in a similar one: I’ve always had medium large dogs but currently have four of those and two much smaller. Not because they’re puppies, but because they’re smaller breeds. We use crates for most of the dogs, and during the day if I’m home the doors are left open – the dogs choose to go in their “rooms” just to nap or chill out, and the only toys out in the house are the toys sized for the largest dogs. When I train with them I work one on one; the others all go to their places and I bring out the basket of smaller toys that fit the smaller dogs more appropriately. Also, when they’re in their crates with the door closed, because we’re going out or going to sleep, everyone gets a chewy that fits their size in the crate. (In fact, each dog has a favorite that they know is theirs!) This works really well. I wouldn’t realistically be able to teach the five pound dog to catch the ball that’s appropriate for the fifty pound american foxhound, and I can’t leave the tiny ball straying around the house. It really isn’t much trouble to organize it this way, and it keeps everyone safe. The little dogs don’t have any problem with free play with the big toys, it’s only an issue for chewies and training. Maybe this is helpful for someone?


  4. Jack says:

    Wow! Your Malinois playing with the red ball looks exactly like mine! He’s an awesome dog but very challenging to keep up with as I’m sure you know. I have a question about those antlers, are they like bones when they are chewed up? Because I had a really bad experienced once where my previous dog completely chewed and ingested a huge soup bone that clogged his intestines for a couple days and nearly required surgery. Luckily I was able to get him to eat some double fiber bread which got things moving again, however the vet said never give them bones of any kind. Are the antlers different, and is there a different quality depending on where you buy them? Thanks.


    Minette Reply:

    I suppose any insane chewer can get big pieces off, but this has not been the case with my dogs. Although they all chew them like wild fire they can only get small pieces.

    I like the ones that are cut in the middle because they can get to the soft spots; but they don’t last nearly as long.

    You can purchase the whole antler and it is much harder for them to get into but can be less rewarding.


  5. Chrissy says:

    Hi, Had a friend stay the other night and our dog she allows into the room to say hello in the morning but at one stage she looked around and she wasn’t breathing and then looked and her tongue was down her throat and she pulled it out so she could breathe.That is the first time that has ever happened.shes a Jack Russell about 2years old.We thought she got too excited.Have you heard of anything like this happening?
    Thankyou for your time
    cheers chrissy


    Minette Reply:

    I’m not sure that is possible, just like it is not possible with people but ask your vet


  6. Diane Pastore says:

    We recently adopted a rescue yellow lab. She is very sweet but shy with strangers. I think she was used for breeding purposes. She acts like she has been mistreated. We have purchased balls and toys but she will not touch them. Even bought a ball that holds treats and she ignored it. She is very food oriented. She is seven years old. We have had many labs and they all loved balls and toys. What would be a good way to get her started? She is perfect in every other way. I am enjoying your emails. Thank you


  7. Pat says:

    I have a Welsh Corgi. As a puppy, she received gifts from well-wishers. Someone gave her a Martha Stewart dog toy. I thought Martha Stewart was a reputable brand, and it would be fine. One day I noticed that the puppy had been chewing and chewing but there was nothing in front of her. I pulled the arm of the toy out of her throat just in time, it was stuck in there and she was in trouble. Turns out the toy was jointed at the shoulder, and the arm came out from inside the plush animal. I called the Martha Stewart company and they took my number. I kept getting calls from them asking me where I bought it. They called several times asking the same dumb question. They missed the point that they needed to recall the toy or stop marketing them as dog toys. So, people need to make sure that the toys won’t come apart into small bits. The arm of the toy was a choking hazards. That was a very close call.


  8. brenda says:

    Good idea about big toys. I bought some silly putty for my 16 year old nieces’s Easter basket this year (yes they are on the candy payroll until they go to college) and decided against putting them in on the grounds that they have a Yorkie-poo pup and if a pup CAN put anything in its teeth it WILL. so I threw them out the other day. We used to have a little pitbull, with the guard dog face and she was my mom’s favorite dog, no question. We used to give her Kong toys, b/c all other brands could not hold up. She loved the Kong as opposed to a regular ball b/c she could not sight its trajectory. As for regular balls, she could catch any throw. If she were a person, she would have made millions in MLB. I used to call her the best little shortstop ever. One more thing: are deer antlers the same? We have deer (no hunting) and sometimes Lucy finds bones which smell bad inside but so far no antlers although I find deer rubs so someone has antlers. . . .


  9. Kay says:

    we have had dogs for over 25 years and found the best food was raw bones.

    They would be frozen & I would give them frozen as it took them time to eat it. NEVER give dogs cooked bones from soup etc as it shatters in their intestines and blocks them. We had a dog that got to a BBQ left overnight & it cost over $400 to clear their intestines & we could have lost him.

    I then found that we would get RAW turkey necks, chicken carcasses which we would cut if too big, brisket bones, lamp ribs/flaps, lamb necks (about 4″ long), sometimes kangaroo tail.

    I would freeze the bones so any young dogs teething worked like a teething rusk & they had to work on their bones. The lamb neck we would keep for special Saturday and they loved the neck column to get to the marrow.

    Bones for breakfast and at night we cooked a sloppy mix of fatty mince with veges, rice, bit of pasta, spoonful of vegemite. Best liquid was when we cooked corned beef & use the liquid with all the fatty bits, apple pieces etc.

    Our dogs were very healthy & fit with lots of energy. Never gave them any small bones & really never had any splintered bones around & if I did picked them up so they couldn’t choke. Also their teeth were very clean with no tartar.

    Hope this helps.


    Minette Reply:

    I use sterile bones not cooked bones.

    I also don’t care for raw feeding; way too many risks.

    They can choke and on bones and have raw bones splinter as well.


  10. Anne Malsbary says:

    This is in response to Neil’s letter. I’ve never trained an attack dog but have discovered that if you are threatened, and your dog loves you, don’t worry, it will become an attack dog. I had that happen when we were having some plaster repair work done and my dog kept staying right at my side. This dog was a rescue dog and of many breeds mostly shaggy hair breeds. The plasterer came into the room and my dog ran to my side and growled. The man asked if he would bite and I decided to go with my dog’s instinct and I said ” on command “. The man stayed away from me and my dog that normally is wagging his tail and loving the repair people, kept right with me until the man left. That was true love.


    Minette Reply:

    A lot of dogs will show aggression when you are threatened which is enough to keep people away.

    But in my years of training I have seen many of an “attack dog” run off the field by someone showing true aggression. So if even a dog trained to bite can be threatened and will run away so will most house pets that don’t know how to control a person when on a bite 🙂

    The good news is most people won’t threaten a big dog


  11. Jo W says:

    Reagarding choking hazards: Everyone with a puppy should know what signs to watch for and how to dislodge a toy or piece of rawhide, dog treats etc. from your dogs throat. Any non-barking dog that is rubbing it’s mouth frantically with it’s paws may be choking. Had this happen to my pup (westie), and luckily was able to save my dogs life. I couldn’t reach the stuck chewy, so turned her over and did the back slap manuver, same as I would do for a baby, until the food came up. I used to be a pediatric cpr instructor, so I just did what I knew right or wrong. Of course her immediate reaction was to put it into her mouth and swallow it again. No more chewies for her until she was much older. A nylabone was great for her teething needs.


  12. Joyce Gilmour says:

    Can you please send me the information regarding the COME command… I tried forwarding the email to my husband, and now I can’t find the Come Command link. Thanks so much!! We need it 🙂


  13. Eleanor Cacace says:

    I have a 9month cockapoo.she is sweet and very smart. BUT, stubborn . The other day I found her chewing the door jam. First time doing anything like that. Can you help please. I’ve heard of hot sauce and the apple stuff. What do you recommend? Thanks for listening .


    Minette Reply:

    She needs a lot of exercise


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