Good weather is the time to enjoy your outside space, and your dog of course feels the same way. That makes it the perfect opportunity to have fun with games that build your dog’s attachment, coordination and obedience. Simple things like throwing a ball teach your dog to focus on you to see when the ball is thrown and to return the ball at your command so you’ll throw it again. It isn’t training per se, but it definitely shows your dog that following your lead is fun and rewarding.
It might seem like throwing a stick for your dog is a great idea, but surprisingly, this isn’t always the case. Sticks can cause some nasty health difficulties, like splinters in tongues, throats, gums and other places. Digestive tracts obstructed with wood pulp. Not to mention that you’re teaching your dog that chewing wood is okay – and they won’t see the difference between a stick in the garden and your kindling wood, a wooden spoon or even wooden furniture. It is well worth investing in a few sturdy dog toys for outside. But which ones?
What Makes a Good Dog Toy for Outdoors?
Dogs like all kinds of different toys, but if they’ll be playing with them outside, they need to be able to withstand the elements outdoors. The easiest things for fetch are balls and discs. Looks for ones with these qualities.
- Easy to Clean – Toys will get muddy outside, and you want to be able to rinse them off easily – we recommend some super washable K9 Connectables!
- Waterproof – Outside toys will be soaked with dog slobber and rain, so anything that isn’t made for that is likely to rot. While this one can be used indoors too, you just can’t beat a little something easy to wash under the faucet outside – that's why we love this Gor Flex Squeak Treat Ball!
- Brightly Colours – Make it easy to find the ball or disc you throw by picking brightly coloured ones. It might not make a huge difference to your dog, but it will help protect the toy from the mower!
- Right Size – A large dog can choke on a too-small toy, and a small dog will be discouraged by a toy they can’t easily lift and carry. The best dog toy is one your dog can catch easily and safely. The Trixie Dog Dish is the perfect choice for games like this!
Outside games are great fun for your dog, and your dog wants to please you. That combo can, occasionally, lead to injury. You can’t expect your furry couch potato to spend half an hour running, stopping suddenly and jumping in the garden without feeling some pain later. If your dog is a bit out of shape, start slowly with short sessions. Have a little warm up walk first. Be careful that you’re throwing the ball to a safe, clear space where they don’t have to charge into branches to get it.
In warm weather, remember that your dog can get overheated. Play in the morning and evening when it is cooler. And keep play sessions shorter. In wet weather, remember the ground can be slippery so don’t encourage your dog to run where they can easily lose their footing.