They take mere seconds and pennies to make

DIY Puppy Toys

by Ruth Dawn Lewallen

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The problem with most dog toys is that they don't last as long as counting the money you spent on them. Well, that doesn't have to be. This week I'm going to give you some ideas for pet toys that take only seconds to make and cost a dollar or less.

The first one is one I've found to be the most popular among the K9 set. Make a quick trip to a large hardware store or a farm supply place. Get at least 3 feet of soft cotton rope, 1 inch or larger in thickness. You might as well stock up while you're there, because rope like this is a great starting place for a lot of toys. If you can find some of the 2 or 3 inch thick soft rope grab it!

Now raid your trash or recycling bin for empty milk jugs or 2 liter soft drink bottles. Drop 2 or 3 pebbles inside the bottle and put a drop of glue on the cap and seal it shut. Take 2 feet of rope and tie it tightly, through the handle on a milk jug and around the neck on a pop bottle. Tie another knot at the end of the rope. Give it to your dog! Gee that was tough. Your dog will have a blast dragging this thing around the yard, tossing it in the air and playing fetch with you.

Want another use for the rope? Simple, take a 2 or 3 foot piece of rope and tie a hard double knot in the center. As the rope unravels your dog will have hours of fun flipping the strands around as he proudly kills this fuzzy prey. If your dog is into tug of war you can take a 3 or 4 foot length of rope and tie hard double knots at each end. You grab one and your dog gets the other. All of these toys as described are about the right size for a German Shepherd. If you have a smaller or larger dog just scale them up or down as needed. But don't worry, even a tiny little toy dog can drag the milk jug around and have fun doing it.

Can't afford a pro? Give do-it-yourself dog grooming a try.

Another way to give your dog a lot of fun for little money is to stop by the toys stores (human, not K9) after Christmas and other holidays that have a lot of stuffed animals. If you look around you can find a table of shopworn stuffed toys that will go for a song. Some of them will be missing eyes or ribbons, but that doesn't matter. When you get the toy home you need to remove plastic eyes and loose ribbons anyway. As for a little dirt or stain, your dog will be adding his own soon so what does it matter anyway?

If you enjoy a bit of sewing the fabric store is a great place for you. Keep your eyes open for some of that nice fake fleece. If you find a nice size piece snap it up! One that's big enough can become a flea killing bed for your dog, (or cat). Cut a piece of stout close woven fabric the same size as your new dog bed with a few inches extra at one end. Stitch them together around 3 sides wrong sides together leaving 2 inches of the fleece free. Stitch Velcro across the unattached fleece and turn right side out. Fill the bed with cedar shavings, (Cheapest and freshest at the plant nursery) and tuck the bottom fabric in over the shavings. Attach another piece of Velcro to the right side of the bottom fabric where the free flap of fleece folds down and as far in as it will go. Every 1 to 2 months empty out the old shavings, (they make great plant mulch) and trough the bed in the wash. Your dog will bless you for this not to mention your nose.

Ruth is a Professional Kennel Master, (she takes over kennels when the owners want to leave town for a while) for 20 years. She's also a K9 behaviorist and has testified in court both for and against dog owners. She works with problem dogs and does advanced personal protection training. She has 4 cats, one of which is leash trained and is certified as a veterinary EMT both small and large animals.
(c) Ruth Dawn Lewallen

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