You’ve booked a Labrador puppy
What happens next?
For many people the very next thing they do, is to head for the shops.
And why not – what could be more fun than shopping for a puppy
Shopping for dog toys
Most new puppy buyers get their puppy’s crate and bed ready well in advance. Complete with blankets and toys.
There is nothing more adorable than the image of a tiny puppy curled up asleep in a nest full of gorgeous cuddly toys, and they are great fun to choose and buy.
So in this article, we’re going to have a look at a few of the best soft toys available for puppies. And for older dogs too.
But before you reach for your wallet, we need to talk about ‘chewing’.
A ripping time
Some puppies are lovely to their cuddly toys. They carry them around, sleep with them, and play gently with them.
But here’s the thing. These puppies often belong to someone else.
Many puppies will attempt to disassemble any toy they are given within minutes.
I have looked wistfully at dogs belonging to friends, all cuddled up with their teddies, or carrying around a toy elephant. Very sweet.
But in over thirty years of owning Labradors, I have never personally had a puppy that did not rip up every single soft toy they were provided with, up to the age of around 18 months.
So my advice is not to spend too much, until you find out what kind of puppy yours turns out to be.
But shouldn’t toys for dogs be chew proof?
Perhaps they should, but in reality, this would exclude all but a very few strong rubber toys.
It would certainly exclude anything cuddly. Because to date, I don’t believe any kind of fabric toy has been invented that a determined Labrador could not disassemble in the space of thirty minutes.
It would probably need to be made of kevlar to survive!
In fact this also applies to many other kinds of toy too. Including treat dispensers, puzzle toys, and so on.
You sometimes see bad reviews for these products, giving them a low rating and stating that the dog destroyed the toy.
But these toys are not actually designed to withstand the power of a large dog’s jaws. Only specifically designed chew toys are built to that standard.
So do I give him a soft toy or not?
The answer is, you can try it and see.
Soft toys aren’t compulsory, and I no longer buy them for puppies, but many people want to and that is fine, provided you are careful.
Supervise puppies, and older dogs closely with new toys, to see how they behave.
If your dog begins tearing at the toy and breaking it apart, the only answer I’m afraid, is to remove it, and replace it with a properly designed chew toy, such as a kong.
Here are a few toys to try
The first toy we are listing here is unstuffed.
This makes it a better choice for dogs that tend to nibble a corner off their toys and pull out the stuffing
It’s called Happy Pet Unstuffed Chipmunk and has some great reviews on Amazon.
Winston the Walrus is available in a larger size.
Suitable for an older Labrador that is not too destructive.
And he comes with a ‘squeak’.
Not very many reviews yet, but they are all good, and include Labrador owners.
This one might just help settle a small puppy at night.
The Puppy Cuddle Pal by Rosewood can be pre-heated.
You just pop it in the microwave.
It may be comforting on those first few nights away from Mum
This one is just a bit of fun
It’s the Dog Lips Dog Toy by Ancol
It is a bargain price too.
But be aware that the type may vary, and a number of reviewers comment that it isn’t strong.
So definitely one for gentle dogs.
Finally we just love this one.
The Cudleez Noodle Buddy Dog, another toy by Rosewood
It is quite small, but suitable for new puppies under supervision.
And it will look great in your puppy’s crate
Don’t forget, like all soft toys, none of the above is suitable for really determined chewers, so don’t forget to supervise your dog.
If your puppy or young dog rips up whatever you give him, stick to the Kong toys for the time being. You can try again later when he is older.
And let us know your Labrador’s favourite soft toy, in the comments box below
More help and information
If you enjoy Pippa’s puppy articles, you will love her new book: The Happy Puppy Handbook – a definitive guide to early puppy care and training.