Our Favorite Tug Toys

Last week one of my commenters mentioned being overwhelmed by picking a tug toy for her dog. There are lots of choices out there. Today I’m going to talk about our favorites. Later in the week I’ll be posting some things to consider as you look for your own.

Silas, let me just say, is an equal opportunity tugger, as you’ll see from his bizarre collection of favorites.

(Not pictured: packing tape, preferably just pulled off a box; twisted up bits of brown paper bag; and real sticks, which I only allow in park emergencies.)

I rummaged through our collection and pulled these out as the best of the best:

Best dog tug toys

I thought I would be able to number these. It turns out that I’m not that patient. So, working roughly from top to bottom, left to right:

1. Salty Dog Canvas Raspberry

2 and 3. J.W. Pets Hol-ee Roller, big and little I don’t think these are officially a tug toy, but they’re great for it. I can see them being especially awesome if your dog tends to get your fingers instead of his toy. You’ll notice that we have lots of toys in two different sizes. 30 pound dogs apparently aren’t a marketing niche, so we usually have to pick between too big and too little.

4. Salty Dog Canvas Orbee

5. A random rope toy. This used to have rubber chewy parts on it. I untied the toy years ago and got rid of the rubber bits,  and then used this nice length of skinny rope to teach Silas his “out” cue.

6. A homemade braided fleece tug.

7. (Onto the second row now) Jute Bite Stick with Handle. Silas was mad for this, until the jute started to get a little hairy. Now he’s more so-so. But if you have a dog who seriously bites down, you should give this one a try. Sturdy with a great handle.

8. Another random rope toy; I believe this one is Pet Co’s Organic Cotton line. Looks boring to you; Silas loves it.

9. West Paw Hurley. This one is the large size. We also have the small one, buried in a park bag somewhere. Silas is only okay with the small one because he has excellent mouth placement on the toy. If you have a big, indiscriminate dog, even the bigger one might be a little short. I like these because they have just enough flex.

10 and 11. Kong Wubbas.  A classic for a reason. I can’t remember if our big one is the Large or the X-large. It’s almost too big for Silas to hold. The little one is tiny, and he adores it.

12. Flea Toy, a gift from my mom. I’ve seen these in stores, but I don’t know the brand name to look it up online. I can put Flea Toy on the ground and waggle his legs, and Silas just goes crazy. It’s held up to this surprisingly well, but Silas isn’t that hard on his toys.

13. The Udder Tug. There are not words for how much Silas loves this thing. It’s probably his favorite toy in this pile. Warning: these are recycled from the dairy industry, and they will smell exactly like a cow barn for quite a while. Strongly. But it’s a great toy.

14. This is some kind of real fur (sorry, my vegan friends) on a wee little tug toy. I’m 97% sure I bought it from Clean Run, but now I don’t see it on their site.

15. Kong Tugga Wubba. This one is Tugga Wubba 2.0. I bought the bigger one this time, hoping it would hold up better, but it hasn’t really. It’s also a little too big. I’d say get the small size for dogs Silas’s size and under and save the big one for dogs over 40 pounds.

16 and 17. Tiny Kong plushies. These are really pushing the boundary of tug toy. Silas’s favorite toy on the entire planet was a little beaver from a hide-a-toy. When I went to buy a new version of the hide-a-toy, and thus secure two backup beavers, it had been remodeled to include squeakers. Squeakers meant we couldn’t use them in obedience class. I bought these (with removable squeakers) instead. These are seriously only about two inches long, but they’ve held up pretty well. Silas has a preference for the frog, probably because he has legs to pull on.

18. West Paw Bumi. Another toy that we have in multiple sizes. This is the larger one, which is (again) really a little big for Silas. I’m not sure where the smaller one has gotten off to.


What’s your dog’s favorite toy?


10 thoughts on “Our Favorite Tug Toys

  1. Aww, so many nice, intact plushies! The accessible toys at my house (basket on the stairs which is still normally behind a gate, I like to pick out 3 or 4 for them each day) are all of the durable rubber variety. Precious fuzzies are kept in the coat closet in an organizer. Ruby of course knows where they are and stares/scratches/whines at the door several times a day. Boca has changed our toy dynamic – she loves to chew (i.e. destroy) some of the ones Ruby was gentler on, like the rubber Hide-a-Squirrel, so those don’t get as much play. Boca is not so much for tugging, but I will toss one of the plush dragons for her on the other side of the kitchen dog gate while I’m playing tug with Ruby. Ruby’s favorite toys are her Planet Dog snowball, her Walk-e-Woo tug (faux fur and nylon webbing) and another similar tug I got at a dog show. I will definitely be ordering from Salty Dog. Boca likes the West Paw Bumi quite a bit. She takes it and shakes her head all around.


    1. Silas is very easy on his plushies, until they show the first sign of weakness. Once there’s fuzz poking out, he has to pull it all out. Then we just play with the carcass.

      We’ve gradually tapered down the number of toys Silas has access to. When he was a puppy, I left out a lot. Better his stuff than mine. As he got older I would keep down one toy per variety–one fuzzy toy, one tug toy, and one fetch toy. These days I mostly keep them put away, except for a stack of chew bones. He doesn’t play alone at all, so having toys around just means he pokes me with them. I don’t really like that.


  2. So far, Riko doesn’t really have a favorite toy. It’s really just the execution of play that he has a preference for – mostly a toy being dragged or rolled just out of his reach. I’m impressed at your Flea! Elli extracted his innards within the first day she had hers, so now we just have the exoskeleton – that she still loves sometimes. Of course, her ultimate toy is the mighty Cuz ball. Nothing tops it. 🙂


    1. I am amazed Flea is still intact, because there is stuffing showing through his belly. I could really stand for Silas to finish killing it–it’s super gross.

      Silas has less preference these days than he used to. I like to think that this is because the value has transferred to the game itself, but maybe it’s just because I only buy good toys these days.


  3. I am so, so excited about this series. Excited in a way that only someone who was just dragged across the floor by her enthusiastically tugging dog can be. Oh, and that’s our best tug toy. And, since it is alligator-shaped and Nala has groomed its teeth away leaving a fun gaping hole from which she can fling poly-fill, it’s going to give up the ghost soon.
    Favorite toy: who knows? They are all just the very best thing, and they are all for sharing (unless it’s a plush with a weak point–then it’s for eviscerating). She does love her Orbee artichoke, though–and I love to watch my dog prance around thrashing my favorite vegetable, so everyone wins with that one. 😀


    1. Silas really loves his all equally, too.

      I am not a big fan of the prance and thrash these days. My husband apparently let Silas play a lot of keepaway while I was out of town two weeks in August, and now Silas doesn’t bring the toy back if he wins. Thumbs down. You can guess what we’re retraining right now…


      1. Ha! Yeah, I can see how that would ruin the joy of the prance and thrash.

        One bit of silver lining for not having had a dog long enough to have proofed any behavior reliably is that I can usually talk myself out of being irritated if she’s not behaving perfectly (for instance, when she sees a deer and nearly pulls me over; of course she does! She doesn’t even know what a leash is!). The bad part, of course, is that we have no reliable indoor games to tire her out when it rains every day, like last week (e.g., a dog with a beginning stay behavior can’t play hide and seek with one person).


        1. It rained every day last week here, too. I’m just glad that it took the heat away!

          At three and a half, Silas has mellowed a lot. Almost more than I like, to be honest. He’s not hard to entertain anymore.


  4. You have such a great collection! Lucky Silas! Cooper DESTROYS everything. He loves to play tug, though, so we have a few set aside for that game only. We’re getting one to test soon, the Tuggo, which I’m excited to try. The Hurley is one of our faves, especially when they have their little pool set up since it floats.


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