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Home / Dog Training / Puppies / Best Training Toys for Puppies

Author

Peter

Date Published

September 4, 2021

This is our review of the best training toys for puppies in 2021.

Training toys for puppies are integral - some toys are very useful to train dogs (such as fetch toys to work on fetch and 'dropping').

The other sort of toys, such as chew toys are great as rewards when they successfully learn a behavior. 

In fact, you can combine some of the toys with their favorite dog treats to turn them into high value treats that they'll love, further increasing the chance they'll learn a new behavior faster and to your liking!


Top Pick


No time to read the entire list? Here's our top picks per category:

Chew Toys: Benebone Bacon Flavor Wishbone Tough Dog Chew Toy
A bacon flavored chew toy that is designed for easy gripping for your puppy to chew.



Tug Toys: Mammoth Cottonblend 5 Knot Dog Rope Toy
A massively long rope toy that is meant for all dogs of all sizes, and flosses their teeth as they chew and play.

READ REVIEW



Treat-dispensing toy: KONG Puppy Dog Toy
A toy that is designed for a growing puppy's teeth, and fits a variety of treats and snacks!

READ REVIEW



Fetch Toy: Chuckit! Ultra Rubber Ball Tough Dog Toy
The super durable version of the classic tennis balls. They last really, really long!

READ REVIEW



Plush Toy: Frisco Plush Squeaking Cow Dog Toy
A wonderful comfort toy for your puppy, and has a squeaker to encourage them to play more!

READ REVIEW


Buying Considerations


Some people have asked us why we need to get toys for training puppies - especially if you can already train them with just treats alone.

While that is true, there's also a special reason why you should also consider using toys: Some puppies are NOT food-motivated.

Yes, you heard that right - some puppies just don't like treats as much as they love to have fun.


Plus, puppies in general are also teething - this means that they'll be biting everything in your home. Every. Single. Piece. Of. Furniture.

And probably you as well.

So toys are one of the biggest ways to reward your puppies as well as help them bite and chew on something that is also good for their dental development.


That said, there are a few considerations to think about when buying dog training toys:


Breed


Some breeds were bred for hunting with high prey drives, such as the Beagles.

So naturally, they might prefer to have plush toys that look like prey, and prefer chasing something chewy.


Of course, dogs that were bred to be lapdogs, like the Pomeranians, have a far lower prey drive than the Beagle.

So, they might not like the same type of toy for training.


Of course, this is just a general indicator - the more important consideration is the next point:


Your puppy's personal preference


This is the most important factor - and only you can determine what your puppy likes the best.

Unfortunately, this also means that you'll have to experiment with the different types of toys to determine which type it responds to the most!


Toy types


Different toy types are also used for different purposes, as listed below.


Tug Toys


Tug toys are perfect for mouthy, bitey puppies - this makes tug toys one of the best to engage their teeth.

It's also a great exercise for the dog to pull on something and help develop their muscles (some trainers believe that tug toys engage a dog's full body musculature).

Tug toys are also great for training your puppy on impulse control - specifically, teaching them to "drop it".

Lastly, it's also a great way for you to bond with your puppy by tugging on it too!


Chew Toys


Chew toys are great to help with cleaning your puppy's teeth, especially the ones with unusual shapes.

Apart from that, it's also great as an 'idle use' toy for them - they can learn to use chew toys for their own entertainment and let off steam, rather than vent their energy on your furniture.

Or your ankles.


Mentally stimulating toys (Interactive)


Mentally stimulating dog toys are generally great to force your dog to think about getting a treat.

For example, a KONG stuffed with a treat inside forces your dog to think about how to get it out, and works them quite hard to get at the tasty treat inside!


Others, like the treat dispenser toys, force your dog to think how to get the treat by manipulating the toy itself to finally unveil the treat.


Fetch toys


Fetch toys are excellent for training your puppy to retrieve toys, or for impulse control as well.

Fetch toys work exceptionally well for retriever dogs, like the Golden Retriever, or the Duck Toller breeds.

It's also great exercise for your puppy to toss a fetch toy and have them burn a ton of energy off by chasing after it!


Dog Plush toys (with or without squeaker)


As mentioned above, some dogs have a higher prey drive, and as such, prefer biting toys that resemble prey they would hunt in the wild.

Add a squeaker into a plush toy for added reward - once they do a task well, give your high prey drive puppy a squeaking plush toy and watch them go wild!


11 Best Training Toys for Puppies by Type


Chew Toys

Benebone Bacon Flavored Wishbone, Tough Dog Chew Toy

This bacon-flavored ergonomic wishbone will keep your dog chewing with delight! Each prong has deep flavor grooves to keep him interested and the unique, paw-friendly shape makes gripping extra easy. 

Recommended by 91% of customers!


Features


  • Features a dog-friendly ergonomic design, so your pup can get a good grip every time.
  • Delivers a wag-worthy flavor from real bacon that's fused all the way through the chew.
  • Made in the USA, including all packaging, tooling and all material and ingredient sourcing.
  • With your purchase you'll also be supporting animal welfare nationwide as a portion of all Benebone sales are donated to animal support organizations!
  • Helps satisfy your pup’s natural urge to chew, promoting relaxation and discouraging chewing on your favorite furniture or shoes.

Pros

  • Multiple size options for any dog breed!
  • Extremely tough and can last a long time.
  • it doesn't stain carpets.
  • It's recommended for 'power chewers' - dogs that chew a lot.

Cons

  • Relatively pricey
  • Not edible. Watch out for wear and tear!
  • May be too hard for small breed puppies.

Petstages Dogwood, Tough Dog Chew Toy

 Petstages Durable Stick chew toys use an innovative material that combines real wood with durable synthetic material to create a stronger, safer “stick”.

Durable Stick toys are sure to keep your chewing dog happy and engaged!

Recommended by 88% of customers!


Features
  • Chew toy that combines real wood with synthetic strength, non-toxic, durable material with a natural wood smell that attracts and keeps dog’s interest for hours
  • Shape makes toss and fetch play easy, even floats in water!
  • Safer than real sticks and great for dogs that love to chew
  • Available in multiple sizes for dogs of all ages and breeds
  • Made in the U.S.A.

Pros

  • Multiple size options for any dog breed!
  • Tough, and can last a long time
  • Made with a safe-for-dogs blend (they can chew and eat, and it'll pass safely through their system)
  • Great for smaller breed puppies and dogs

Cons

  • "power chewer" dogs will easily demolish this in a day.
  • Sometimes heavy chewers can leave sharp edges that can hurt your puppy.


Tug Toys

Mammoth Cottonblend 5 Knot Dog Rope Toy

Mammoth rope toys are made from premium materials in fun shapes for dogs of all sizes.

Rope fibers floss dog's teeth as they chew and play.

Rope fibers floss dog's teeth as they chew and play. Safe, long lasting great for games, fetch and play.

Recommended by 95% of customers!


Features


  • Made from 100% natural cotton
  • Rope fibers floss dog's teeth
  • Built strong to chew and play for hours
  • Safe, long lasting great for games, fetch and play
  • Perfect item for teething puppies and strong chewers

Pros

  • Machine washable for reuse!
  • It's tough, and can withstand serious tugging and chewing
  • For it's size, it's relatively affordable!

Cons

  • You can't choose the color it comes in, sadly.
  • Some dogs that really love to chew can tear this apart in a day (but that's if your puppy really chews it 24/7)

Bones & Chews Made in USA Cotton Rope with Bones Dog Toy

Rope & Bones Dog Toy offers a chewing challenge and a tug toy all in one.

The bone maintains optimal moisture in the roasting process to minimize splintering. Rope toys are great for play and help support healthy teeth and gums.

Recommended by 86% of customers!


Features


  • Offers a chewing challenge and a tug toy all in one. Made in the USA
  • Great for play and help support healthy teeth and gums
  • No fillers or artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Never treated with chemicals, bleach or formaldehyde
  • An array of beautiful vibrant rope colors ship at random for a fun surprise!

Pros

  • Once the rope is torn and shredded, the bones can be used as a chew treat
  • Excellent for hard chewer
  • On hot days, soak the rope in water and freeze - this will let your puppy enjoy chewing it more!
  • BONUS: You can put a little peanut butter inside the bones for added excitement and stimulation.

Cons

  • Voracious chewers WILL go through this in a day or so.
  • Depending on the condition of the bones, it it's splintered you should throw away in case it hurts your dog.


Treat-Dispensing Toys

KONG Puppy Dog Toy

Designed to meet the needs of a puppy's 28-baby teeth, it helps teach appropriate chewing behavior.

It also offers enrichment and satisfies a younger pup's instinctual needs.

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Recommended by 93% of customers!


Features


  • Unpredictable bounce is great for energetic puppies and helps establish appropriate chewing and playing behaviors.
  • Made in the USA from globally sourced materials.
  • Perfect for stuffing with KONG Stuff'N Puppy Easy Treat Paste and Snacks for longer-lasting play.
  • Relied upon by veterinarians, trainers, and dog enthusiasts for over 40 years.
  • Specially designed for soothing teething puppies’ gums.

Pros

  • Can be washed - simply use warm water, soap and a toothbrush or a bottle brush.
  • .You can stuff the KONG with any treats you want - peanut butter, solid treats, etc. You can turn it into a stimulating high value treat for puppy training!
  • Will keep your puppy occupied for quite a while, especially if the treat is hidden deep inside the KONG.

Cons

  • You can't choose the colors sadly (either blue or pink)
  • The KONG is not indestructible, and will be destroyed by 'power-chewing' puppies.

Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Brick Puzzle Game Dog Toy

This unique toy is a tricky and activating game for you and your dog.

Hide treats in the nook under the sliding discs, and let your dog look for the goodies by trying to pull the discs to the side with his paw or nose.

Increase the degree of difficulty by placing the white plastic blocks in the nooks in the middle of the DogBrick.

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Recommended by 87% of customers.


Features


  • Provides mental stimulation to help keep your dog's mind alert.
  • Level of difficulty 2 and 3, for the more advanced treat hunters.
  • Hide the treats and watch your pup paw and nose them to reveal their prize.
  • Enhances your relationship with your dog by rewarding him with treats he loves.
  • Change the difficulty by using the white plastic blocks placed over the treats or just sliding the brown discs.

Pros

  • A great toy to mentally stimulate your puppy to work for the treats hidden underneath blocks!
  • You can increase the difficulty of the puzzles for more challenge to your puppy
  • Excellent for dogs with high intelligence, like Border Collies (it keeps them occupied.. until they figure it out)
  • Large breed puppy friendly!
  • Also helps for puppies that eat too fast.

Cons

  • NOT RECOMMENDED for strong chewing puppies.
  • NOT dishwater safe - to wash, you'll need to hand wash with warm soapy water, rinsed clean and dried.

Pet Zone IQ Treat Dispenser Ball Dog Toy

A challenging way to give your buddy his favorite snacks, simply fill the ball, select the difficulty level and let your dog get to work!

. It’s not only a reward of treats, but it also rewards him with physical and mental activity—which has loads of benefits!

By keeping him engaged he’ll stay happy and healthy, and less prone to bored, destructive behavior.

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Recommended by 81% of customers.


Features


  • Mentally and physically engages your dog to combat boredom, anxiety and destructive behaviors.
  • Can help slow the pace of eating for healthier digestion and less weight gain.
  • 3-inch size works great for a smaller pup, plus you can adjust the difficulty level to suit his needs or to maintain interest as he learns.
  • Promotes long-lasting interest by dispensing just a few pieces at a time—fill it with treats or kibble and watch your best friend play for hours!
  • Disassembles easily for thorough cleaning with soap and water.

Pros

  • Easy to use, fill and easy to adjust the difficulty.
  • Great for fast eaters - helps to slow down and pace your puppy's eating habits.
  • Tough and can handle hard knocks and being thrown around by large breed puppies
  • It also doubles as exercise for your puppy - they have to push it around to get the treats out, which makes them run around quite a bit

Cons

  • Don't put on carpets or easy to stain flooring to prevent your puppy making a mess.
  • When filled, it's moving can be a bit loud.
  • NOT RECOMMENDED for heavy chewers


Fetch Toys

Chuckit! Ultra Rubber Ball Tough Dog Toy

Trees, rocks, earth...it doesn't matter what these bouncy balls hit, they're gonna fly!

Try the Chuckit! Ultra Rubber ball for hours of fun, with bouncy balls that keep on going long after being flung from the Launcher or thrown.

The natural rubber is easy to wipe off and floats on water, too. Available in multiple sizes to fit any launcher.

Basically, the tennis ball's really upgraded brother.

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Recommended by 98% of customers.


Features


  • High bouncing balls that can be used in the water for a splashing good time
  • Designed specifically for the game of fetch
  • Features and extra-thick rubber core and quality material that floats
  • Bright color gives increased visibility and help prevent balls from getting lost
  • Compatible with the Chuckit! Ball Launchers

Pros

  • No toy is indestructible, but this toy is close to it. It's extremely tough and durable.
  • Seriously. It's very, very tough, It can handle very rough treatment from large breed puppies, and even heavy chewing adult dogs.
  • Extremely bouncy and has a squeaker, which will excite your puppy even more!

Cons

  • The ball size might be a bit big for small breed puppies and dogs. Be sure to choose the right sizes!

Tourna Pressureless Tennis Balls Dog Toy

Give your fetching friend a big bag of Tourna Pressureless Tennis Balls for your next tournament-worthy game-set-match of toss & catch.

These premium-quality, regulation tennis balls are not pressurized like traditional balls, which means they won’t go flat or lose their bounce, no matter how often you use them.

Basically, like normal tennis balls, but tougher!

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Recommended by 83% of customers.


Features


  • Premium-quality, regulation tennis balls are perfect for hours of fetching fun with your best friend.
  • Pressureless tennis balls won’t go flat over time and delivers the same consistent bounce throughout its life.
  • Extra-durable felt is engineered to be long-lasting and stand up to rough canine play; it even keeps bouncing if he punctures it with a tooth.
  • Contains no toxic materials so you can rest assure they’re perfectly safe for your precious pup.
  • Available in two bulk-size packs that include a convenient, reusable tote bag; makes the perfect gift for active, fun-loving pups.

Pros

  • Relatively affordable, as they're sold in bulk bags of 18, or 45 counts.
  • Great for non-aggressive chewing puppies!
  • More resistant to crush and tearing than standard tennis balls

Cons

  • For voracious, aggressive puppy chewers, their sharp little teeth can quickly damage and destroy the balls.
  • Not recommended for use with very active, working puppies and dogs.
  • Some reviewers report a strong smell with the balls - it's recommended to contact Chewy support if you receive such balls.


Plush Toys

Frisco Plush Squeaking Cow Dog Toy

Toss, squeak, repeat—make playtime extra cozy and noisy with the Frisco Plush Squeaking Cow Dog Toy. 

.It features a built-in squeaker to turn up the excitement and ultra-soft plush fabric for cuddly softness.

This dog-friendly toy has lining made of nylon and a touchable texture, so it’s a great nap buddy too. Plus, they come in different sizes, so you can find the one that’s just right for your pooch.

Recommended by 93% of customers.


Features


  • Plush cow dog toy features a built-in squeaker to make playtime even more exciting.
  • Ultra-soft plush fabric makes it cuddly enough for snuggling up to for naps too.
  • Squeak it, toss it, bring on the games, or get cuddly with it.
  • Paw-fect for a game of toss and fetch or as a comfort companion for your furry friend.
  • Available in different sizes so there’s a toy size to match most canine proportions.

Pros

  • A squeaker is present in the toy, which makes it great for puppies with high prey drives (it can be used as a high value toy for breeds like that)
  • Relatively durable for a soft plush toy
  • Most dogs cuddle this toy, rather than chew and destroy it
  • The squeaker is a bit soft, which is great for puppies who love to sleep with their toys (won't wake them so easily)

Cons

  • Does not come in a large size 🙁
  • Not recommended for heavy chewers.
  • Not machine washable, only spot cleaning

KONG Cozie Marvin the Moose Plush Dog Toy

The KONG Cozies are cute, soft and cuddly plush toys made with an extra layer of material, so they’re extra tough. Cozies are perfect for a game of fetch or as a comfort toy for your furry friend. 

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Recommended by 84% of customers.


Features


  • Soft and cuddly plush toys made with an extra layer of material, so they’re extra tough.
  • Minimal filling for less mess around the house.
  • Perfect for a game of fetch or as a comfort toy for your furry friend.
  • Squeaks to help entice play for extra excitement.
  • Available in two different sizes: Small and Medium, so you can pick the perfect size for your pup.

Pros

  • Machine washable!
  • A squeaker is present in the toy, which makes it great for puppies with high prey drives (it can be used as a high value toy for breeds like that)

Cons

  • Only comes in 1 color.
  • Not suitable for rough, aggressive chewers.

FAQ


Why Use Toys to train your puppy


As mentioned above, there are quite a few benefits to using toys to train your puppy:


Puppy Dental Care


Puppies have really sharp teeth. And they really love biting things.

So having a treat that functions as puppy dental care is also a great idea - helps them bite objects that are beneficial to their overall dental health and builds jaw strength!


Mental Stimulation


Sometimes, training your puppy to learn a new behavior or trick can get quite repetitive and boring, which can cause some puppies to not care about it too much,

A bored dog with pent-up energy often results in very destructive behavior, as can often be seen with highly intelligent breeds, like the Border Collies. 

Plus, throwing in a toy rather than a treat on occasion when training them could be a nice welcome surprise for your puppy!


Bite Training


Some toys excel at training puppies at biting - strength and develop their jaw muscles.

This is important if you're planning on training your puppy to be a police or working dog, where their bite skills are important.

A tough, bite toy is also a great toy for your dog to just gnaw on during non-training periods, and still lets them have fun with it!


Reinforcing learned skills


Some toys can mimic something that you want your dog to learn.

The most common use for toys (preferably a plush toy) is if you're training your dog to retrieve wild game and waterfowl if you're a hunter.


Exercise


Fetch toys usually work the best for this - throw a ball very, very far away and watch your puppy chase after it and bring it back to you.

After five or so long throws, your puppy will most likely be quite tired already!


Alternative to treats


Some toys can be used as a great alternative to treats - this also works well with puppies that are not treat or food motivated.

Plus, overfeeding of puppy treats can often cause them to get a little chubby, a definite no-no at their age.


Can be used with treats


Some toys, like the KONG, have a hole at the center that is designed to be filled with treats - thus making learning a new skill much, much more effective for dogs that love both treats AND toys!


How to Train your Puppy


We have quite an extensive list on how to train your puppies, and we've published it in a separate article.

Go ahead and have a look at the ways to train your puppy here.


Conclusion

In summary, there are quite a few choices for choosing the best training toys for puppies above, but we still stand with our main decisions. 

Go ahead and see our top picks table!