Since I’ve been staying home more than usual these past few months, I’ve been pretty much wearing the same clothes over and over again.  Initially, this was a great perk!  I was more comfortable and definitely doing less laundry.  But now that it’s been going on for a while, the novelty has worn off.  I’m getting bored with my current wardrobe and find myself wanting to go shopping.  As I got dressed this morning, I realized I can go shopping in my own closet! I flipped through my own clothes and put on something I hadn’t worn in months.  This may sound silly, but this small change in my daily routine made me happy.  I feel as if I’m sporting something “new” today and have an extra spring in my step. Dogs may not be wearing different clothes each day, but they flourish by playing with different toys.

A Toy for Every Occasion

Part of getting a new dog is purchasing a variety of wonderful new toys for them to enjoy!  In turn, this becomes their “wardrobe.”  They play with different toys depending on their interest in any given moment.  Some toys are “indoor” toys that stay clean, (similar to our “work clothes”) and some toys are better left in the yard (representing “play clothes”). Some toys dogs enjoy playing with for longer periods of time (maybe our weekend wear), and some toys are better saved for active interaction with their owners (workout clothes). However, we quickly learn that some toys our dog simply doesn’t use or enjoy.  Furthermore, similar to how I felt with my own wardrobe, everything eventually becomes boring. Then, our dogs start to enjoy digging in our yard more than playing with any of their toys.

Old Can Become New

Instead of hitting the stores to purchase more toys, clean up the house! Collect all the toys, put them in a basket or box, and put them out of sight from your dog. Leave out only 3 toys at a time, composed of different textures, firmness, and sizes. Rotate your toy collection every few weeks and you will find your dog acts as if its their birthday, getting something brand new!

Special Toys for Special Events

Lastly, think of certain toys, such as balls, a favorite tug toy, or a Frisbee as that special outfit that is saved for holidays or momentous occasions. If you wear that outfit all the time, it looses its value, becomes “every day” and is no longer exciting to wear. It’s that same exciting feeling we want to build upon with our dogs. By controlling access to particular toys, we also can control our dogs’ desire for them. Remember, you always want what you can’t have!  We want to increase our dogs’ desire to play with toys that require interaction with us, therefore increasing their desire to want to be with us.  If the desire for a toy is higher, dogs are more likely to offer a behavior we want, to get the toy they want.  As a result, they prance around with a “special” toy, and we become the direct source of more fun!  It’s a win-win!