When you own a large and energetic dog like a German Shepherd, it is very important to keep them entertained. After all, a bored dog is much more likely to get into trouble.
That’s why a few well-chosen dog toys can make your life a lot easier. Toys for a German Shepherd have to be a little tougher than most, so you will find only the most durable options here.
Chances are, you don’t have the time to play with your German Shepherd as much as they would like. As such, these toys can serve as a stand-in for those times when you are not around.
Just remember that there is no substitute for human interaction. With that in mind, let’s look at six of the best German Shepherd toys that we could find on the internet.
Best Overall Product: iDogmate Big Dog Ball Launcher
In case you don’t know what this machine is, it might be described as a throwing machine since its only purpose is to launch its specially-made tennis balls.
For dogs that love to run and play fetch, this might be the perfect toy. Like a standard tennis ball launcher, it spits balls up to 40 feet away.
If your dog learns how to use this toy properly, it will provide many hours of fun. They simply drop the ball into the top of the device, where it falls into the mechanism to be launched again.
The launcher is powered by two wheels, and they are custom-formed to hug the sides of the ball and prevent it from slipping or catching.
A German Shepherd should be smart enough to figure out the process before long. Obviously, they won’t understand how the machine works, but they will understand what happens when they drop the ball into the basin.
We like the fact that this machine can be set for different distances and power levels, and we really like the fact that it uses either AC power or battery power.
Of course, there are some problems here. First, this thing is pretty expensive. Many dog owners won’t be able to afford this item. Furthermore, we don’t see any mention of a warranty, and that is always concerning.
Most reviews for this product have been positive, but most of the complaints we found related to durability issues. Thus, you might want to be a little bit careful with this one.
- Uses special non-toxic balls
- Can launch balls up to 40 feet
- Good for indoor and outdoor dogs
- Can be used with AC power or battery power
- Provides many hours of fun
- Pretty expensive
- Some durability complaints
Best Budget Product: Chuckit! Sport Launcher Dog Ball Thrower
This is a cheap and simple toy that can enhance your games of “fetch” in a big way. You just put the ball into the “claw” (that’s the socket in which the ball goes) and sling it forward.
The flexion of the shaft combines with the power of your swing to give you a much longer throw.
This device works similarly to an Atlatl, an ancient Aztec weapon that was used to launch spears at great distances.
Similar tools existed all over the world, so this design has definitely stood the test of time. If you need something that will make it easier to throw a ball, this is the simplest tool for the job.
This product is great for older German Shepherd owners, who might not have the energy to throw a ball across the yard repeatedly.
This tool makes it a lot easier, allowing you to play with your dog using minimal effort. You also don’t have to bend down and pick up the ball when retrieving. You can just put the claw over the ball, gently push it down with your foot, and then throw it again.
The only problem with this toy is the fact that it might be too strong. If you have a small yard, there is really no need for this thing.
In fact, it’s easy to go too far with this device, which could make your neighbors a little angry. Thus, you should only use this thing for long throws.
- Very inexpensive
- Greatly increases your throwing distance
- Available in many different sizes
- No need to bend down
- The very small learning curve
- Easy to throw it too far
- Not necessary for small yards
The Runner-Up: Arm & Hammer Super Treadz Dental Chew Toys
Rubber chew toys are one of the most common dog toys, and this is one of the best ones we have seen. We named this one as our runner-up because it is the only product on our list that offers a real benefit to your dog’s health.
If you don’t want to brush your dog’s teeth on a regular basis, you need a toy of this sort. Obviously, you don’t need to buy this specific brand, but there are a few good reasons to do so.
First, this thing is made by Arm & Hammer and infused with their trademark product (which is baking soda, of course). Some dogs will be turned off by the taste of the baking soda, so be aware of that.
As you probably know, baking soda is frequently added to toothpaste, and can even be used to clean teeth on its own.
As such, it promotes good dental health and gives your dog a pleasant activity at the same time. It does all of this at a very low price, so its value factor is pretty high.
We like the fact that this thing is made from soft, natural rubber. That means less chance of hurting your dog’s teeth and makes a great choice for older dogs.
In fact, any dog with compromised dental health might benefit from using one of these. At the same time, that soft rubber is kind of easy for many dogs to destroy. When we look for negative reviews of this product, we see that most of them focus on durability issues.
- Promotes good dental health
- Pretty cheap
- Infused with baking soda
- Made from all-natural rubber
- Dishwasher safe
- Durability isn’t great
- Some dogs are repulsed by the baking soda
Honorable Mention: Wobble Wag Giggle Ball
This is another chew toy, but this one has an interesting twist. It is designed to make noise, but it’s nothing like the “squeaker” devices found in so many dog toys.
Instead, this ball has three tubes inside, and these make a funny noise when the ball is rolled around.
The noise is hard to describe, but it sounds a lot like the noises that puppies make when playing with one another.
The advertising for this product says that it’s meant to mimic the sound of human laughter, but we think it sounds more like another animal. Either way, it stimulates a dog’s natural predatory instinct and makes them more likely to play with the toy.
This one costs less than $10 and requires no batteries, so it does very well in the value department.
It can help a little bit with those separation anxiety issues, giving your dog something to do while you are away. Most of the time, this will make them less likely to dig in the trash or chew up the furniture.
Of course, that noise might get really annoying after a while, so make sure that you can tolerate it for long periods.
Furthermore, a lot of reviews claim that this product is not as thick and durable as it once was. If true, this would be a serious problem, as durability is one of the marketing points for this product. Some reviewers claim that their dogs destroyed this ball in ten minutes or less.
- Simulates the experience of playing with another dog
- Encourages dogs to exercise
- Very cheap
- Requires no batteries
- Can be used to dispense treats
- Not suitable for the most dedicated chewers
- The sound might get annoying after a while
Alternate Product 1: Kong Extreme Dog Toy
This is one of the most well-known and popular chew toys on the market, and it has the advantage of getting quite a few professional recommendations.
It’s basically just a knobby piece of natural rubber with a hollow cavity inside. This simple design gives a lot of benefits, however.
The shape is very convenient for chewing, as it consists of three bulbous knobs. Each one is smaller than the one below, allowing your dog to avoid opening their mouth more than desired.
It is easy for them to get a grip on this toy, but it has no sharp corners or edges whatsoever.
A lot of people recommend stuffing this toy with treats, and that’s not a bad idea. You can use kibble or dry treats, but we would advise against the use of canned or wet food in this toy.
It might sit inside for too long and develop mold, bacteria, etc. It is best to pack the treats loosely, so it isn’t too hard for the dog to get them.
The quality of this product might have gone down in recent years, as some reviews claim the older products to have been much more durable.
It does seem that this toy might not be good enough for bully breeds, who are among the most dedicated chewers of them all. However, it should work just fine for a German Shepherd unless they are particularly destructive.
This one is available in many different sizes so that you can choose one that is appropriate for your dog. Obviously your German Shepherd will need X-large or XX-large size.
You can also get these toys with varying levels of hardness in the rubber. In fact, some of the durability complaints might be the result of people purchasing the wrong grade of rubber.
If this toy has a weak point, it will probably be the top piece, which can be ripped along the seam by a serious chewer.
Some dogs seem to find it easy to rip off the top of this toy, so don’t make the treats too hard to get! On a lesser note, this toy also smells like a car tire, which might turn some dogs off.
- The shape is convenient for chewing
- Can be stuffed with treats
- Available in different sizes
- The hardness of the rubber also varies
- Extremely tough
- Can be easy to remove the top
- Smells like a tire
Alternate Product 2: Nina Ottosson Beginner Dog Puzzle Toy
Puzzle toys like this one are not as popular, but we should include one of them anyway. Some dogs really love these interactive pet toys, so it’s worth the trouble to find out if your pet is one of those.
Thankfully, this toy is not expensive at all, something that cannot be said about most other puzzle toys.
The concept is very simple. The toy has nine bone-shaped compartments, each one with a plastic cover.
You put treats or kibble under the covers and allow your dog to remove the covers with their teeth or their paw. Most of the time, a dog will use a claw to hook the cover and pull it loose.
If your dog is overweight, you can use this toy as a way to slow down their eating. They will have to work for each piece, so they won’t be able to wolf down their entire meal at one time. In the end, this is a toy that stimulates your dog’s mind by mixing mealtime with playtime.
We only see two little problems here. For one thing, those plastic covers are not that strong. A rowdy dog could easily break them, and they are likely to be chewed because they smell like food.
The covers are also not attached, and so they can be lost with great ease. Also, you will want to anchor the device to the floor. Otherwise, the dog can just flip it over and get all the treats at once.
- Helps in developing your dog’s mental acuity
- Provides an instant reward
- A good way to make your dog eat more slowly
- Easy to wash with soap and water
- Great way to fight canine boredom
- Has to be anchored to the floor
- Covers can easily be lost or destroyed
After reading the above, you should have a better grasp of this subject. Nevertheless, there is still more to learn. Let’s answer a few of the most common questions on this subject.
How Long Should A Chew Toy Last?
The answer to this question will vary a lot from dog to dog. The first thing to understand is the fact that chew toys are meant to be destroyed. They are a disposable item, so don’t expect to find one that will last forever.
We would say that a good chew toy should last at least one month. For dogs that aren’t particularly destructive, you can expect to get 2-3 months from a well-made toy.
Do Interactive Toys Make My Dog Smarter?
There are a lot of puzzle-type toys or interactive toys on the market. Most of them claim that they will help your dog to develop their brains and become smarter.
It is a fact that brain-teasers seem to help humans to develop their problem-solving skills, so it makes sense that dogs would see similar benefits. You can actually do a canine IQ test on your dog very easily, enabling you to track their progress.
Will Dog Toys Prevent Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is one of the most common canine behavior problems, and it’s caused by loneliness. While dog toys will not completely alleviate this problem, they can be a big help.
There is no substitute for spending time with your dog, but the toys should help to keep them occupied when you aren’t home.
Best Toys For A German Shepherd Buyer’s Guide
Now let’s look at the essential factors that must be considered when buying a new toy for your German Shepherd.
Improperly-made dog toys have caused more than a few deaths, usually due to choking or toxicity. Although you might not want to think about this, you should always consider the safety factor first.
Avoid things with small pieces, as these are the biggest choking hazards. You should also avoid things that are too easy to destroy, as those tiny pieces can easily become lodged in your animal’s throat or intestines.
Every dog has different preferences when it comes to toys. Some owners take a “shotgun” approach, buying all kinds of toys until they find one that the dog likes.
This approach can work, but it’s a waste of time and money. There will always be a little bit of trial and error, but you can save time by learning what kinds of toys your dog likes.
If your dog doesn’t take to their toy right away, you should give them a good example. For instance, you could use the toy to play a game of “tug of war,” creating a positive mental association. You want them to associate that toy with you, so make sure that you take part in their activities.
As we said earlier, a dog toy (especially a chew toy) is not meant to last forever. However, you can save some money on replacement costs by choosing the most durable dog toys you can find.
For dedicated chewers, this will be a serious challenge. In general, you should look for things that are thick, made of sturdy materials, and which consist of one solid piece.
Taste And Smell
These things may not matter much to us, but they make a big difference to your dog. Most dog toys are meant to go in the dog’s mouth, so this factor will have a lot to do with how much they like (or hate) a particular toy. That’s why you should consider these issues carefully.
Many toys are infused with a meaty taste, and it’s hard to go wrong here. At the same time, they don’t always do a good job of capturing the taste and smell of real meat, leading to a product that smells artificial. The smell of plain rubber will be appealing to some dogs, while others will avoid it like the plague.
Many dog toys will incorporate little “gimmicks” to make the product more appealing. For instance, many toys can be stuffed with treats, providing the dog with both a challenge and a reward.
The list of extra features that you might find in a dog toy is very long, so we can’t cover them all. However, it is enough for you to know that these extra features aren’t always helpful.
Many of them are just marketing ploys, so make sure that any extra features will actually benefit you or your dog.
There are many options on the table when it comes to German Shepherd toys. Obviously, you have to avoid those weak little toys that are intended for smaller dogs.
At the same time, you have to find something that your dog will enjoy, and which will last long enough to be worth its cost.
We hope that you and your dog will find the perfect toy and that our efforts will have aided yours. If you have enjoyed our work, please feel free to fill out the contact form below.