When I brought Millie home for the first time, I didn’t have a lot of dog owner friends. They seemed to come out of the woodwork after she arrived and so those early days were hard. I just didn’t have a huge amount of people around me to ask if I was doing the right thing and that first visit to the pet shop was daunting. There were just so many different toys and games to choose from. It was difficult to work out what the best dog toys were for this gorgeous new puppy who had turned my world upside down.
When a fellow CMA member mentioned he had just picked up his new puppy Juno last week, those early puppy day memories came flooding back. If you have a dog, you’ll also remember those first few weeks of trying to crate train, toilet train and get some sleep, all whilst being couped up indoors whilst waiting for final vaccinations. I have so many great memories of that time but do remember how tough it was. I certainly bought far too many dog toys as I worked out which ones lasted the longest (think chewing!) and gave Millie comfort in her first few days away from her own mum.
With that in mind, I’ve pulled together my best dog toy recommendations for your new puppy.
Juno – tell your humans to get down to their nearest pet shop and buy these for you – you have the best eyes to make them do whatever you want them to right now. With a little practice, those puppy eyes will work for years to come (and Millie can definitely vouch for that!) but failing that, just grab the closest shoe and chew. They’ll be straight off to buy you one of these great toys.
Best Dog Toys for Your New Puppy
Priced around £5, this is one of the few toys that I still have from Millie’s first few months. I’ve kept it partly due to sentimental reasons but also due to the fact it survived that whole time! An easy to wash toy, essential during crate training, I found Millie started to carry this around as she got older. It was never far from her crate and a real lifesaver and worth trying!
It’s such a great product that stays warm for up to 60 minutes. I would heat it up in the microwave for 30 seconds and pop it in with an old bit of clothing just before tempting Millie into her crate at nights. The aim of the pad inside is to help provide some warmth, calm, and relief to the puppy. I guess it looks to stimulates the warmth of the puppy’s mum and litter that it’s no longer with.
It worked amazingly well with Millie and on nights where she was anxious during the night, it was easy to reheat and help her settle back down again.
Priced around £8, this was a late addition to my list of toys. Millie had become interested in her brother Harley’s red star and I could see how focused she would get whilst chewing it. Strangely Millie didn’t ever get interested in the Nylabone Puppy bones but something about this star got her attention. It may have been the diff textures on each of the points and the main part of the star body.
As with all chewing toys, you do have to supervise your puppy and I did find after a while she found a way to demolish each of the stars pointed ends. But I have to say that along with this toy and other chew based toys, the stimulation and soothing of the teething phase mean I don’t have any chewing horror stories. Cables, shoes, walls and well everything has remained intact! A win for me.
Whilst I’ve now swapped this version out for a larger adult version, I can honestly say, I have used one of these Kongs since Millie was just a few months old and I wouldn’t be without it. Do ask any dog owner and they’ll strongly recommend the Kong range and in particular these toys – they really are indispensable. I personally now have two as I find Millie will ‘lose’ one under the sofa as I’m rushing to get out of the door.
She does now know that whenever going in her crate, she’ll get a Kong toy filled with treats and it is seen as reward time. From biscuits, to peanut butter, you can fill these with any treat and when I’ve prepped ahead and frozen one with her favourite treats inside, she loves it even more. This dog toy really does keep your puppy occupied for a long period of time and I tend to always pack this one when travelling with Millie.
Do remember that as your puppy grows, you need to ensure they haven’t outgrown this small puppy size version (priced around £3).
Looking at my shopping history, I didn’t buy this toy until Millie was around 6 months old. Thought again like the other Kong dog toy above, I still use it now, some 2 years later.
The main reason for purchasing this particular dog toy was to hep with Millie barking in the morning. Whilst she was crate trained as a puppy after letting her out and feeding in the morning, she would then bark whilst I was getting ready for a day at work or in the shower.
Having spoken to a few trainers, as Millie didn’t bark any other time when left in her crate, they suggested this durable toy. I started to split her breakfast kibble into two and feed her the second amount via the toy whilst I got ready for work. It did the job and kept her occupied and happy.
Priced around £12 for the large version (small available), it is dishwasher safe and your dog will have to push it with a paw or nose, to make it wobble. With one small hole, it spins and rolls until it successfully dispenses a treat. Great additional mental stimulation for any dog and I find I use it more over the winter months too.
Quality is key with rope toys and the Rosewood range has always lived up to the madness of an English Springer Spaniel. The rope itself staying intact for several months whilst also being colourful.
Having a ball shape along with traditional rope toy, it helped encourage Millie’s early obsession with tennis balls but appealed also to her love of fetching toys to obtain a treat (aka Millie showing off that she is a tad clever!).
When I spotted she was chewing the toys a lot more than usual, I was given a tip to also soak this toy with water and then freeze it. Millie seemed to love this and definitely helped during big ‘chew’ stages in her first six months.
But what about Soft Puppy Toys?
Nope there are no cuddly bears on the Best Dog Toy List
Now I will admit to having two large baskets of soft toys for Millie. Yes, today, downstairs in my kitchen I have two baskets full of toys! One of which is soft toys that require a needle and thread as Millie has managed to rip them apart and the other with toys that have been mended.
There have been very very few soft toys that have lasted any length of time with Millie and at a young age, there were occasions where some soft toys lasted less than a day. I’ll share with you the more indestructible of these in a Millie’s Best Dog Toys blog soon, but it’s the main reason that no soft toy made it into the list above. They just didn’t last. But yes.. those cuddly toys are cute and I doubt it will stop you giving into some treats for your new puppy.
Do remember that whilst I can’t guarantee that your pup will adore every single toy I recommend, each one featured is made by a trusted manufacturer, is sturdy and safe and has the benefits of being a great teething toy. In addition to being tired-and-test by Millie herself of course.
If you remember to look for firm, flexible materials that are well constructed and not hard or thin plastic, you’ll find they last longer. Also as puppies have short attention spans, I find rotating the toys they have available to play with helps and you’ll find they last into your puppies early years.
Let me know if you’ve recently adopted or bought a puppy – I’m a sucker for pictures so please do share, just like the gorgeous Juno below.