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The Australian Cattle Dog is a herding dog with a tough and enduring character. It is also very intelligent making the list for the overall top ten smartest dog breeds. But most importantly, they are very independent and this means they can get bored very quickly without the right mental and physical stimulation. It is essential to find the best toys for Australian Cattle Dogs to keep them occupied and out of trouble when you adopt them as a house pet.
We found that the best overall pick from our list of toys is the Jolly Pets Push-n-Play Herding Ball. This is because it helps them practice their pushing and herding skills while remaining safe because of the hard plastic they cannot bite down on. But our list has a variety of choices so read on to determine what is best suited for your dog.
Let’s get right into the list and check out the best toys for Australian cattle dogs and also answer some of the frequently asked questions about them.
Related post: How Much Exercise Does An Australian Cattle Dog Need?
Best Toys for Australian Cattle Dog
Best Overall – Jolly Pets Push-N-Play Herding Ball
The Jolly Pets Push-N-Play Herding Ball is an excellent toy choice for a herding dog. It enables the dog to incorporate play with learning the crucial skills needed for herding. The ball cannot fit in their mouth, so they are forced to herd and push it along with their nose, chest, and sometimes paws.
This ball is constructed from hard, tough grade plastic so your dog can’t bite down on it or deform it. It comes in five sizes but for an Australian Cattle Dog, the 14-inch size is ideal. You can fill it up with different materials like water or sand and use it for conditioning the dog’s muscles.
It is available in three colors: Purple, blue, and red. This is a useful toy especially if your cattle dog is still active in herding or for a pup that you are rearing specifically for this task.
Best for Mental Stimulation – Outward Hound Store Interactive Puzzle
Australian Cattle dogs are highly intelligent and they are problem solvers by nature. And when herding a large number of cattle, they need to be mentally sharp in their problem-solving. This Outward Hound Store Interactive Puzzle Game for dogs helps provide a challenge for your dog, keeping them active mentally.
The toy has levers that your blue heeler pushes to discover hidden treats. It is safe because the levers move to the side and do not come off. The material used is composite which is very durable, tough, and easy to clean. The puzzle features seven compartments, each with seven flaps and cups.
Moving the flaps around helps with heDo not be surprised to see your cattle dog applying the same problem-solving skills during herding. Washing with warm soapy water and air drying is all you need to maintain this toy.
Best Budget Option – Nylabone Flavored Durable Dog Chew Toy
Herding dogs love to chew because chewing helps them with mental stimulation and keeps them preoccupied. They are highly energetic so they need a safe outlet for their energy when they are not busy outdoors. The Nylabone Flavored Durable Dog Chew Toy is affordable and can withstand the chewing of even the most aggressive herding dog.
It is made from sturdy nylon material. In case some bits of the nylon are ingested by very aggressive chewers, it will pass through the digestive tract safely. The toy also helps with cleaning the teeth of the dog during chewing as well as stimulates the gum.
The Nylabone flavored dog chew toy is available in different flavors including original flavor, bacon flavor, peanut butter flavor, chicken flavor, and the flavor variety bundle pack. It is also available in various sizes for all age stages of life. This toy is excellent for dogs experiencing anxiety, teething, and also for correcting destructive chewing.
Best Ball Launcher – iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher
iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher is the best in class ball launcher on the market. It comes in a compact design that you can carry with you anywhere. Fetch is a popular game that dogs love, but it also provides excellent exercise for your furry friend. The unit comes with a ball compartment at the bottom where you can store the balls. This is a great feature because it keeps your iFetch balls safe. Regular tennis balls are not compatible with the launcher and replacing the iFetch balls can be expensive.
The automatic design can even be operated by the dog once you train them to know what to do. It can be used outdoors with batteries or indoors by plugging it into an AC adapter. The batteries are rechargeable so you don’t have to keep buying standard batteries all the time.
You can set the throwing distance to suit both the indoor and outdoor environments. It offers three throwing distances: 10, 25, and 40 feet plus an additional setting to allow you to choose any random distance you may want. This toy offers both physical and mental stimulation. It throws 1.6-inch tennis balls which are safe for the dog to carry in the mouth.
Best Chew Toy – Kong Extreme Rubber Chew Toy
The Kong Extreme Rubber Chew Toy is an affordable toy that meets your cattle dog’s need for both play and mental stimulation. It can dispense treats and with its unpredictable bounce, it is a fun toy to play exciting games. If your dog is a chewer, it can withstand the vigorous chewing. Since the Australian cattle dog is an outdoor dog, it needs strong jaws to survive the rigorous outdoor activities.
Vets and dog trainers recommend this toy as a basic for dogs because of its enduring quality and ease of use. It features different erratic rebounds when playing with it giving your dog plenty of exercises. It can be put in the freezer to freeze the treats and provide a longer play period for your dog.
The all-natural rubber material is safe for chewing because it doesn’t disintegrate under the dog’s sharp teeth.
Best Rope Toy – Generic Dog Bone Rope Chew Toy
Rope toys are excellent for an Australian cattle dog because they are fun, versatile, and offer adventure. You can play tug of war with your dog or allow your furry friend to chew on it. The Generic Dog Bone Rope Chew Toy features a bone design and is made from a combination of sisal, hemp, and jute fiber – all of which are safe to chew on and durable.
This rope toy can be machine washed so keeping is hygienic is easy. You can also opt to hand wash it. The fibers do an excellent job of keeping your blue heeler’s oral health in check. As they chew on the rope, it massages their gums and also cleans the teeth. Also, this tug toy strengthens the dog’s jaws.
When you need to discard it, it is 100% bio-degradable. To keep your dog occupied with this toy for hours, consider boiling it in beef or chicken broth and freezing it, then giving it to the dog. We would like to point out that the natural fibers used on this toy tend to shed, so it may be a good idea to use it outdoors.
What to Consider When Buying the Best Toy for An Australian Cattle Dog
Level of Interaction
Australian Cattle Dogs are natural doers so they need toys that prompt them to do something physically or mentally stimulating. Automatic toys are an excellent choice because they allow the dog to use the toy with or without your input every time they want to play. The best interactive toys like kongs and puzzles are also ideal because they stimulate the dog while dispensing treats.
Australian cattle dogs are very energetic and they also play aggressively. The choice of the toy should feature sturdy construction and durable materials that can withstand the pouncing, hard chewing, and shaking. Dogs typically have strong canine teeth that can easily tear through a flimsy toy.
Overall make sure that the toys are able to withstand everyday use. However, you must also ensure that the toys are not too hard that they can hurt the dog during play. A simple test using your index finger to see if the material gives way a little is sufficient to tell how hard the toy is. If it doesn’t give way at all, it may be too hard for your dog.
It is essential to keep the toys clean so make sure they are either machine washable or can be disassembled and cleaned thoroughly. Dogs tend to use their mouths and paws to handle their toys. They can pass germs onto the surface of the toy which can easily end up being ingested during play. Clean the toys regularly, especially if they are used outdoors.
Avoid toys with small bits and pieces that the dog can swallow. These can become a choking hazard for your dog. Consider toys that are big enough to fit into the dog’s mouth but cannot be swallowed. Most dog toys come with a size chart letting you know which dog size they are suitable for. Always refer to the size suitability when purchasing any toy.
The personality of your Australian cattle dog should also guide the type of toy you buy. Aggressive chewers need hard, durable chew toys that can withstand constant teeth action and not soft plush toy toys. Highly active and energetic pups and young dogs need toys like ball launchers to keep them active and athletic, while senior dogs are happy with a kong filled with treats and a rope toy to play tug of war with you. Such interactions are easy on the aging bones while still keeping your furry friend mentally engaged.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a plush toy a good choice for a cattle dog?
Plush toys are considered to be comfort toys. They are an excellent choice for dogs that see their toys as companions and like to carry them around. However, blue and red heelers are very active dogs that are more likely to shake their toys than carry them gently around. The hazard posed if the toys are ripped apart and exposed the stuffing is great and puts your Australian cattle dog at risk of choking.
Consider distraction and active toys for this breed because they are built with durable material, and their designs can generally stand up to aggressive playing. Active and distraction toys include chew toys, puzzles, and balls.
How do you entertain an Australian Cattle Dog?
This breed is happiest when physically active so invest in play-oriented toys like frisbees and balls. They also love challenges, so you can train them to help you find things around the house like a scavenger hunt. They have a sweet personality so they love to bring you these gifts that they find during their scavenger hunts.
They also hate solitude because they are used to being around many animals in a herd. So, if you have to work during the day, keep them entertained with puzzles. A regular weekly scheduled visit to a dog sports gym is also a great idea to increase their physical activity levels.
What is the difference between a red and a blue heeler?
The difference is only in the coloring but they are the same breed. The Australian cattle dog is known by several names including the halls Heeler, Queensland Heeler, Blue Heeler, and the red Australian cattle dog. They are called heelers because they nip at the heel of the flock they are herding to keep them in the herd and under control while moving.
The red heeler’s coat is speckled with red markings and a red patch one either or both sides of the face. The blue heeler features a similar patch on the face but it is black in color. This particular breed also has white markings on the chest and tan legs.
What is the best dog food for Australian Cattle dogs?
The best dog food for the Australian Cattle Dog features lean protein to help with building muscles, some complex carbohydrates to offer energy throughout the day, and veggies and fruits for fiber. Active herding dogs need 25% or more protein in their food to maintain their muscles, while Australian cattle dog puppies need over 28% to grow healthy muscles.
The dog heeler breed puppies and younger dogs need a higher quantity of food because they burn more calories in their day. Do not forget to factor in fat which provides insulation and cushioning to the dog as they face the elements outdoors.
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Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API