A dragon that… squeaks?

Last night found me in the dog toy aisle at Petsmart, looking for a Christmas present for one of the special dogs in my life. I don’t usually buy gifts for animals, but had chanced upon a fun one for the dog’s kitty sister—a canvas cube with entrances in the sides to satisfy her box-obsessed side. I didn’t want to cause jealousy, so I went on a canine toy hunt, too. Several facts made this a challenge:

  1. He is a large dog, and quite able and happy to rip apart anything that is given to him; thus, it couldn’t be anything too weak or made of too much plastic or rubber (he tends to ingest toy shreds).
  2. He already has some balls, chew ropes, and Wubbas (brand name for a squeaky ball toy with several canvas tails), so none of those would be original.
  3. He will be getting a rawhide bone as a Christmas present from his own people (don’t tell!).

As quickly as I saw most of the available toys, I dismissed them. Loopy ball? Too much rubber.  Stuffed animal? Too easily demolished. Specialty Christmas toys? Too cutesy. Chew rope? Has that. Squeaky dragon toy?

Squeaky dragon toy?

squeaking dragon

A dragon that squeaks? Image borrowed from Petsmart’s website.

I couldn’t help but laugh at that one. There, hanging by the stuffed animals, was a red dragon with a big, flat belly. That belly was divided into sixteen compartments, each with a separate squeaker inside. It was big enough for a big dog, and my buddy does like squeakers… but as was pointed out to me by his human housemate, he likes to surgically extract squeakers with his teeth and then play with them by themselves. As much as he would have had a blast with the dragon, I figured that sixteen squeakers lying around the house would probably have been enough to drive even the most loving dog parent up the wall in a hurry.

So what did I choose for the Christmas present?

Petsmart was about to close, so I didn’t actually make my final purchase just yet. If you promise not to tell him, though, I’ll let you in on the toy that probably makes the final cut: It’s a fat ring made out of the same material as a tennis ball, and it squeaks, too (just not with sixteen separate squeakers!). It should survive more than a day or two, entertain him, prove harmless if ingested, and stand out as unique. Not quite a dragon, but in a dog’s eyes, still cool.

I leave you with two questions to which I’d love to hear your answers:

What are your favorite dog toys? Do you think pets should get Christmas gifts?

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6 thoughts on “A dragon that… squeaks?

  1. Zerubabel Joe

    A smart dog has about the same awareness of the world as a five-year-old human, so I would say they are definitely not a waste to give Christmas presents to. (anyone who doubts that comparison should consider what kind of interaction they would have with a five-year-old from a different culture who has different body language and speaks a language you’ve never head before.) The best dog toys are radio-controlled cars, because they provide both exercise *and* chew toys.

    • Have you tried radio-control cars with your dog? If the dog were to get a hold of the car, I imagine it would go “crunch” a little too quickly to be a good chew toy. What do you mean by “awareness of the world?” Dogs are smart, but there are things that set humans apart from animals that I think they lack. I’d be curious to hear which are your areas of comparison.

  2. I don’t believe dogs can understand gift-giving per se. Isn’t everything we give them a gift? At the same time, you do need to provide stimulation, or risk the animal stimulating itself by wrecking its surroundings!

    To me, the best gift for a dog is time with people. If your dog is sufficiently trained to take it, you could get the dragon toy as something you BOTH play with. At other times, put it away where the dog can’t get it. He only gets to play with the dagon toy when he’s playing with you or a family member. This will also allow you to monitor the toy’s condition, especially as you already know he might eat pieces of it.

    Some dogs may become angry and destructive when you put the toy away, so know your pet. Others will regard it like a leash, as a sign that something awesome is about to happen — play time!

    • That’s a good point about gifts. While I imagine they have some sense of difference between “things my human pack leader provides for my needs” and “favors my human pack leader bestows on me,” I’m guessing it would be unreasonable to expect a dog to know that a gift was associated with a specific event, like Christmas. The closest you could get would probably be the occasional older dog’s memory of “when there is a tree inside the house, there are cool things wrapped in paper!”
      Your point about the dragon about an only-at-times toy is a good one. The dog in question isn’t actually mine, but he is definitely smart enough to enjoy the terms you propose, and it’s something I’ll probably keep in mind for when I have a dog of my own (something that isn’t possible at this point in time). You’re definitely dog-wise; have you had dogs of your own? What did/do they like to play with?

  3. That is a fearsome dragon. I’d be more impressed if each squeaker had a different tone, so it made some sort of music as the dog chewed on it.
    Also, my family used to wrap pig’s ears and cow hooves in Christmas paper for our dog (before she passed away). When she saw small packages in wrapping paper, she’d get excited and follow the person holding it around.
    Our new dog hasn’t gone through Christmas yet. I think she’ll just get some tennis balls.

    • I didn’t try every single squeaker, but the few I did squeeze sounded about the same. You’re not the first person who suggested the multiple tone idea to me, though! 😀
      Things like ears and hooves sound like good dog presents; looking at all those fancy toys in the store aisle just made me think that there’s no way a dog actually cares about all that variety. Simplicity seems better. Of course, I sometimes think the same about kid toys these days….

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