Wonder why your pup doesn’t like that new toy you got her?  A recent study published in Animal Cognition explains why dogs prefer some toys to others.

According to researcher John Bradshaw (from the University of Bristol's Veterinary School), “...dogs perceive toys in the same way that wolves perceive prey, they prefer toys that either taste like food or can be torn apart, however the latter can cause health problems if the dog accidentally swallows some of the pieces.”Adding to that, Co-author Anne Pullen said that the toys should be "soft, easily manipulable toys that can be chewed easily and/or make a noise."

While dogs always showed interest when presented with a brand new dog toy, they quickly became bored if the toy had hard surfaces or didn’t make any noises.  Even with soft and squeaky ones, dogs eventually got over the novelty.

The solution? Play with your pup! "For an animal as social as a dog," Bradshaw explained, "toys only become really exciting when they are part of a game with a person. Few toys will sustain a dog's interest for long if the owner is not around to offer encouragement." He added, "If a dog has to be left on its own, it is most likely to enjoy toys that can be chewed, make a noise when played with, or are designed to be eaten as they disintegrate (such as a chew)."

At P.L.A.Y. all of our toys feature super soft materials and a squeaker inside for hours of fun. Check out our whole line here!

To read the full article, visit Discovery News.

By Play Admin on Dec 03, 2012 at 12:48 pm 0 Comments

Every dog has a favorite toy. Owners often recall stories of how the stuffing was ferociously ripped from the poor bear, or how the ears were chewed beyond recognition. Despite the damage, dogs keep going back for the same toy. The same ragged, torn, disgustingly stinky toy. Some will say it's the smell, some will say it's the texture - but I say it's purely nostalgic. Maybe your pup remembers the wonderful day he was introduced to said bunny or bear. Or maybe the stuffed toy was there during a particularly dull day and helped your pup survive the boredom.

For Momo, this is her beloved Kygen Squirrels in a Log toy. That girl can spend hours sticking her head in that stuffed log, searching for squeeky, squirrel treasure.

Now all of us have come home to find what looks like a cloud explosion in our living room. We've all been upset, but have held back laughter and smiles when our pup gives us the "I don't know what you're talking about" look. But did you ever think that the dirty, crusty, smelly, destroyed toy... could be art? No? Us either.

Introduce Chewed by Arne Svenson and Ron Warren. After spending years photographing sock monkeys for a previous book, they were surprised when their friend's pup greeted them happily with her beloved chewed up sock monkey. This display of love was the inspiration for their new book, Chewed. They decided to photograph "portraits of chewed toys as seen through the eyes of the adoring chewer." 

This insanely adorable book tells the story of dozens of beloved toys. Sometimes the story comes from owners, sometimes from pets, and sometimes even from the toy itself! Brilliant.

Our personal favorite? SQUIRREL: A CAUTIONARY TALE... - by Andrew Zimmern. In the pup's own words, "I knew I wanted to eat it. Why wouldn't I? I had joyfully devoured this primeval delicacy years before, in the hollers of West Virginia and yeah, it was really f***ing good. Never shy away from a plump squirrel, that's my motto."

For a sneak peek of the book, check out the Chewed website. But trust us, you'll want to see the rest of the 140 hilarious photos. Chewed is available for $24.95 at your local book store or on Amazon.com.

Does your pup have a gross, chewed up toy? (C'mon, you know she does.) We'd love to see! Post your photos on our Facebook page!

By Play Admin on Sep 26, 2011 at 4:55 pm 0 Comments

It's that time of the year again - most kids dread it, most parents look forward to it, and most dogs... get a little confused about it. Back to school can be a stressful time for families, but the transition can also be especially hard for dogs who are set in a routine. Your dog has gotten comfortable with the constant attention during summer - with kids (and teachers) going back to school, she can get confused with all of the alone time. To alleviate anxiety and boredom, here are some great trips to help your four-legged family member adjust to the fall.

  • Don't make it a big deal when you leave - your dog can sense your anxiety for leaving, so if you're relaxed it will help fido relax. If possible, turn on a radio or tv for background noise.
  • If your dog is food motivated, play hide-n-seek! If your dog has free roam of your house, leave little treats in random spots (I like to put some under my dog's bed, underneath throw pillows, etc.) and have him forage for food throughout the day!
  • Leave something to keep your pup occupied! We love interactive toys like Kyjen's Puzzle Toys. (Momo loves the squirrels in a tree). 

  • If your dog gets seperation anxiety, keep her in a smaller area. Whether a crate or laundry room - many dogs feel safe in smaller sheltered area. If your pup isn't crate trained - don't start the same day as back to school... you're just going to create additional anxiety. If you're going to be gone for a long stretch of time, ask someone to come let your pup out. It's not fair to keep her confined for so long without access to the bathroom.
  • Try a doggy day care! This is such a GREAT way to keep your dog socialized and to wear him out! Before dropping your pup off, make sure to check to do your research. A doggy day care should be clean and spacious and have enough trained professionals to handle the rowdy group. When you dog comes home he should be happy and content, not anxious and stressed.
  • Finally, don't make it a big deal when you come home. Parents make sure to have your kids for your pup to settle down before greeting him. This can take a few minutes - but after awhile, your pup will get the routine and will be excited (and relaxed) when the kids come home.

How does your dog cope with you leaving? Leave us a comment below!

By Play Admin on Sep 02, 2011 at 5:15 pm 0 Comments