The Psychology of Selecting Toys

Puppies have a lot of energy. Well, much more than I have. They play hard and then fall asleep. My foot serves as Charlie’s pillow. This way I am required to stay in place while he naps. Did I say he is so smart?

Charlie is 6 months old. Sometimes I feel like I am getting better at being able to read his mind. Other times, I know that he knows how to manipulate me to his whims. So how do I keep my Charlie amused, tired, and out of trouble? A game of Fetch is a good start. We look for a ball, I throw, he retrieves, and gives it back. Repeat. This works for both the outside and inside. Food is a good motivator and a frozen Kong in his “room” can occupy about 15 minutes, tops. Then … off to look for something to chew.

He just loves to chew, and chew, and chew. Given Charlie’s determination to chew I have to watch him with his toys. He sleeps with his Snuggle Puppy, but the other day he proudly took his puppy out of his room (crate). Then proceeded to shake it wildly. Ok, not a problem. Then he settled down, and quickly eliminated the tail. In short order, I looked and his puppy was tailless and missing an ear. I felt bad taking the toy away, but now I worried if this toy would create a health issue. Carefully watching his behavior, and reading his poop. Yup, my new pup has put me in charge of poop patrol. Given a stuffed toy he picks an appendage and works at it until it just disappears. Swallowed up. I am so nervous that he will hurt himself with his compulsive eviscerating of stuffed toys. Even called my vet, and asked if I should be worried. The advice given was if he eats, plays, and poops without a problem then he is probably ok. The fibers are probably concealed.

So now I am searching for that toy that will satisfy the urge to chew that lasts more than 10 minutes. I look online, read reviews from other pet owners, and visit my local Petco.

I skip past all the cute stuffed chew toys. Even the ones that say “Tuff”. I brought home a toy made from the same material as a fire hose. No problem for Charlie. Then I enter the aisle with hard stuff for chewing. I have one blue dog bone that I had for Libby. She never cared for it. I liked the fact that it was actually made here in the USA. Well, Charlie is not a fan either. I guess that is why it looks perfectly new. No teeth marks. I look at some softer rubber toys in a variety of shapes.

What appeals to a puppy? Does your puppy have a favorite toy?

This looks like a long stick, and the material has some give to it.

As you can see, not destroyed, but not a winner either.

Again, Charlie pretty much ignores it. I looked in the bargain bin. Figuring if it gets destroyed my pocket won’t feel too bad. Here is a squeaky bright green figure of a character doing a yoga pose. I start up a conversation with another pet owner. I tell her that there is another larger “Yoga Hero” in the bin for $4.00, but she says her retriever would attack the foot in a matter of minutes. I can’t tell if it will be too big for Charlie’s mouth but I decide to take a chance. It is a hit with Charlie. He likes to make it squeak. When thrown Yoga bounces randomly. It took a while but the yoga foot has been crippled.

Charlie will search for his Yoga toy on command

Luckily, I found the missing piece, so there will be no ongoing poop search.

Charlie loves food. He perks up when he hears the word Kong. I freeze his kibble and top it off with peanut butter.

Charlie is about to consume his frozen Kong

But the search to find the best chew toy continues. I just have to learn to think like a puppy!

Introducing Charlie – It’s a boy!

The wait is over. Born on February 7, 2020 Ginger and Ace produced a litter of 10 multi-gen Australian Labradoodles. From the moment these puppies were born I was able to see them on a video cam daily. I called it my “Puppy Show”. Jo also posted photos weekly along with all vital statistics.

Lime Boy at one week. Photo courtesy of Jo Ubina-Smith

On March 14th my husband and I traveled up to Orland, Ca. to visit Serenity Springs Labradoodles. Greeted by Jo, Ron and a large litter Australian Labradoodle 5 week old puppies.

Eyes open and sitting pretty. Photo by Jo Ubina-Smith

To give the pups the best experience, Jo introduces the litter to noises like the vacuum cleaner, and a wide variety of toys with different textures, and purposes. When stuck at home she dresses the pups up according to their color name.

Jo plays dress-up with Lime Boy

Due to the increasing pandemic of the Corona 19 virus (CoVid) we were not able to handle any of the puppies. We were practicing “Social Distancing”. Originally, I planned on adopting a girl. But one of the little boys captured my heart, Lime Boy. First up was to pick a name. Listened to friend suggestions, and finally decided on Charlie.

I began ordering puppy supplies. I could not go to a “Puppies R Us” store. Amazon Prime left many packages at my doorway. I am getting used to shopping online. My breeder sent information each week with suggestions for puppy preparations. Crate, grooming tools, puppy food, and a puppy playpen for traveling. I have been reading up on training a puppy. After all it has been over 9 years since I worked with a puppy.

Here we are getting our Charlie.

Saturday March 28th we headed back to Orland for a drive-thru pickup. Jo Ubina-Smith videotaped my instructions, presented us with a bag of supplies, and Charlie’s Notebook. I can’t say enough about this breeder. Every detail is carefully thought out. No question is too small. She is an organized, experienced, patient, caring, and thoroughly researched breeder. I could go on and on.

Charlie relaxing on a huge dog bed that has become his playground
Charlie stops his playing to pose for a photograph

Charlie has been with us for one week, and I think I am starting to get into a rhythm. Jo told me that Charlie approached new things cautiously. He takes a bit more time but then gets more confident.

This “Stay in Place” will definitely not play to Charlie’s advantage to socialize early, and experience many new things, but I will work with what I have.

Charlie seems to act more confident outside.
Had to order a much smaller ball for Charlie to fetch. The Kong squeaker ball does the trick. Charlie eagerly retrieves it!

And like a new Mom, I have to get up to speed for all the bending, ups, and downs my body was not prepared for. Today, I spent catching up with sleep and giving some distance from Charlie. I don’t want him to become too dependent on me.

Tomorrow, I will take Charlie for a ride to our Petco store where I will “Socially distance” have some items brought up to the car. This will give Charlie a new experience.

And so Charlie’s journey begins!