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Homemade gifts make the best gifts. They offer that personal touch that store-bought items just can't imitate and are cloaked with a little extra love. We'd like to alleviate some holiday stress by suggesting a few cheap, at-home projects and "stocking stuffers" for your dog that can also serve as gifts to your dog-owning friends! In addition, faithful to our eco-conscious spirit here at W&H, we'd like to encourage this practice of reusing during the holidays in order to promote recycling. Okay, let's get creative!
The thing about your dog is: he doesn't know the difference between store-bought and homemade. With that in mind, feel free to transform the following discarded objects into fun times for you and your buddy. We've scoured the web and talked to dog trainers and come up with three simple and cool ideas for you.
After some research one fact has come to our attention: fleece is your friend! Old fleece pajamas and outdoor sweaters can be re-purposed into dog toys readily: the fabric has a "bouncy", stretchy quality to it, making it easier to braid (and often comes in ludicrous patterns).
The name says it all! Dogs are stimulated by two aspects of this toy: the crunchiness and noise of the bottle. When covered in a safe material, it becomes easier to chew. That being said, use otherwise discarded plastic bottles of water and wrap them in an orphaned sock (or an old T-shirt), tie a knot on the end and crinkle the toy to get your dog interested. Hours of fun will ensue!
Passed the toy test
Knotted rope toys get destroyed SO FAST, meaning you have to replace them regularly. Recently, we've come upon a treasure trove of different ways to re-use fabric around the house that may otherwise be cast away. For instance, ever wonder what to do with those "fleece-y", holiday-themed pajama pants that your relatives keep giving you every year? We amassed quite a heap of pajamas that were passed their prime and suffering enough wear and tear to be unwearable and transformed them into tug-o-war toys for dogs! A detailed video by Mitchell Crisp of eHow Pets shows how fleece can become a toy in two shakes of lamb's tail!
One of our favorite ways of re-using fleece, however, is the four-way knot toy! The idea is to have two different patterned fabrics and to section off two strips, roughly four-inches wide, of each. Once that is done, braid them in a four-way cross section to make an ultra-resistant tugger! This tutorial, by the Texas SPCA, is a comprehensive one and we hope it helps you make your own tug toys!
Office dog Mina selects a Rudolph patterned fleece for her project
If you are like me and tennis balls have a life expectancy of five minutes in your household, chances are you've amassed a fair quantity of battered ones over the years. A good way to breathe new life into this timeless favorite it to made an incision and stuff the used ball with treats. Sure, it may have lost its bounciness, but the presence of treats will keep your pup infatuated!
Mina takes an active interest in the treatball making process
We took a piece of driftwood, some jute rope, and fastened a braided bunch of old t-shirts to the string. This "flying" toy is very good for training your pup to be patient! It also has a very seasonal advantage: on days when the weather outside is frightful, stay inside and enjoy play so delightful! You see, this toy (often called "flirt pole") is a good way to exercise your dog without relying on large outdoor open spaces. Also, important note: it tires out your pooch without tiring you! Here's little video for some comprehensive training tidbits, copyright of BadRap training classes!
Alright, we hope these quickie tips will help promote the idea of reusing during the holidays!
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