Rotating dog toys (or, living with dogs and staying sane)

You people know: Having dogs is not the best strategy for making it onto the cover of Good Housekeeping or House Beautiful. Our furniture and our floors are covered in an almost constant coating of fur (German shedders). The floor is almost always muddy and/or slick with the sheen of slobber or dribbled water from the bowl. We’ve basically given up on finding all of the stray bits of kibble that are hidden under crevices after nightly feedings from the puzzle toys. You get my drift.

But the one thing we do to help keep our home life reasonably sane is keeping the dog toys to a minimum.


Like your beloved dogs, I imagine, Pyrrha has more toys than she actually needs. But we keep them all in this basket in a utility closet. This means that Pyrrha can’t see her stock of playthings and she can’t go and pick one out at will.

Our strategy is to rotate her toys on a regular basis. She usually has one or two toys out to play with at any given time. That’s it. This accomplishes two things for us:

1. Our tiny house isn’t strewn with dog toys, which are often walking hazards.

2. Pyrrha gets SUPER-EXCITED about being reintroduced to old toys! Just like a little kid with toys: If they’re out of sight, they’re out of mind. This also means that we don’t have to keep buying her toys to keep her interested and engaged; we just “recycle” the old ones.


What are some of your strategies for keeping your dog-friendly house a people-friendly zone?

18 thoughts on “Rotating dog toys (or, living with dogs and staying sane)

  1. We keep Tala’s toys in a drawer – although erroneously it is a low drawer so when she’s bored she starts scratching it. We also started a ridiculous, if rather hilarious, policy of letting her ‘choose’ a toy which usually results in indecisive whining and her choosing a toy which she promptly regrets…

  2. Oh German Shepherd hair! I just bought a fancy dust-buster to control the flurries since my mom’s Shepherd has been here a lot. We have a few memory foam beds with removable covers that I try to wash often. And their toys stay outside which helps a lot too. I also got some cute jars for their treats:)

  3. German Shedders! Bwaaaa ha ha! We have several different stockpiles of toys on different levels of the house and for some reason, finding them in a different spot is really exciting! 😛

  4. I have a basket similar to that for Elka, though smaller. We’ve made lazy gestures at teaching her to put her toys away.

    The squeaky (read: fragile) toys go on top of the fridge, and she’s always super happy to have one of those. Those are the ones she plays most actively with on her own. The others, forced absence or not, she isn’t always interested.

  5. We’ve decided not to invite people over to our house unless they’re dog people. Not true really, but we don’t get a lot of guests because we live so far away. We do shake up the toys. Our dogs have access to all of their toys, but I find that if I mix up their toy box sometimes, they’ll find new interest in old toys. 🙂

  6. Wow! What a great, and simple, idea! I can’t believe we haven’t thought of it… thanks so much for sharing such a clever tip, we will definitely be putting this into action in our kennel… err, house!

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