Chew On This: 6 Ways To Enrich Your Dog’s Life & Keep Things Fun

Chew On This: 6 Ways To Enrich Your Dog’s Life & Keep Things Fun

metropolis striped sock monkeys - dog toys

Chew On This: 6 Ways To Enrich Your Dog’s Life & Keep Things Fun
By Christine A. Bournias


Playtime Enriches Your Dog’s Life

Do you ever notice when your dog wants to play or “go potty?”

What about knowing the signs when your dog needs to go outside to use the bathroom? They may pace or whimper. They may even ring a bell hanging on the door. They might try anything to get your attention! 

But, sometimes they chew on things.

Dogs often will start chewing on something to communicate to you that they need to go out. They suddenly get playful and work hard to entertain you. And if they’re a young puppy, they might even run to get your leather shoes—or make a dive for your sofa’s wooden leg. Chewing on your heels or furniture—not a good outcome.


Toys And Your Dog

Dog toys. We love them. We buy them for our dogs. Well, let’s be honest, we buy them for us. 

We let our dogs play with toys because it’s fun for both of us. Funny looking plush toys seem to make life more joyful. Toys make us smile because our dogs suddenly get happy when they’re allowed to run around with a pink cupcake in their mouth. Besides, striped monkeys in your dog’s toy bin make for a great topic of conversation.


Dog’s Want To Play. Give Them Something To Chew On.

As it turns out, there may be more to the statement “give that dog a bone” than we think. Gnawing on something pet friendly, healthy, and sturdy can provide hours of chewing enjoyment. Chew toys can be a positive, proactive approach to a dog’s desire to chomp and munch. Stay one step ahead of your dog’s chewing needs and get familiar with all the chew choices available.


Many pet parents find these favorite chew picks at Best Friends Pet Hotel. They’re beneficial at enriching your dog’s life. Pick up these gems next time you visit the Hotel:

    • Barkworthies Bully Sticks 
    • Barkworthies Elk Antlers
    • Barkworthies Bones
    • Etta Says Mega Chews

Etta Mega Chews


dog with chew toy antlers

© Photo Credit: Barkworthies


“All I do is give him one of those smoked beef shin bones, and Buddy is occupied for hours! He LOVES his chew toys.” —Denise T.

How To Keep Your Dog’s Life Fun & Happy In 6 Easy Steps

1. Switch Things Up

Much like children, dog toys are more exciting when they’re new. To peak their interest, switch out your dog’s toys from time to time. Toggle their toys in the toy bin every month—or at the very least, with the change of seasons. Different toys at times of the year will accommodate puppy growth spurts and will keep things exciting for your adult dog.

  • Play Trade You: Every once and awhile, ask your dog to hand it over. In exchange, give them a high value treat. Repeat this ask back and forth several times. Soon, trading becomes a fun game.
  • Limit Time: Keep them wanting more by varying toy or chew times. Playtime will become something special.
  • Freshen Up Plush Toys: Besides getting dirty, soft toys can collect dust mites. Place your pet’s plush items in the washing machine on the gentle cycle with a natural laundry detergent. Or, sprinkle plush toys with baking soda and add two (2) capfuls of white vinegar during the rinse cycle.
  • Chew Toys: Keep toys clean by soaking them in warm water, then rinse under running cold water. Towel dry. Always check your dog’s toy labels for cleaning instructions and administration directions. Most long lasting toys are top shelf, dishwasher safe.
  • Purchase New Toys: It’s a good idea to have a bunch of fresh, clean toys available.
  • Good Stuff: Try adding a dollop of peanut butter, plain yogurt, or cottage cheese to the end of your dog’s chew toy. This special dap often initiates chew time.
  • Toy Names: Do you want to impress your friends? Keep things fun and interesting for your dog. Teach them the names of their toys. Name games keep their cognitive ability sharp by enhancing their vocabulary. Start with one (1) or two (2) objects. Allow your dog the opportunity to nudge each toy from scent before saying the word out loud. Mark and reward small successes. First, keep things simple, then build their vocabulary by gradually adding more complex items to the mix.

How Many Toy Names Can YOUR Dog Learn? 

A Border Collie from South Carolina, Chaser—fondly named a canine Einstein—learned the names of 1,022 different objects. She lived with her Ethologist master, John Pilley who even  taught his dog verbs to apply to toy objects. (i.e. “get it”, “paw it”, “nose it”) Thanks to Pilley’s guardianship, Chaser, who passed in 2019, was considered the smartest dog in the world to date.The Last Word, Time Magazine


2. Monitor Playtime

A healthy dog is a playful dog—that includes their desire to toss around plush toys and nibble on chew toys. Always monitor your dogs when they have any kind of toy. The best toys are satisfying and safe for your pooch. Keep harmless, healthy products on hand. 

Teach your dog how to share their toys at an early age, especially if you have children or other pets in your home.


Be certain to always supervise your dog with any toy. Learn about resource guarding  and other animal behaviors before introducing valuable chew treats or plush toys to your dog.


Dogs are a descendant of the wolf family. Therefore, it’s in their nature to guard what they consider to be a valuable resource. In their mind—and at any given moment, a stick could be considered theirs. A stuffed animal is theirs. A chew toy is theirs. Even their owner or other four-legged housemates are theirs. Anything that they view as “theirs” is a treasured source.  

When your dog plays with toys, monitor them in a controlled, safe environment.


3. Limit Chew Time

Your dog’s dental health is important. Chewing is a good way to stimulate your dog’s gums and clean their teeth. However, it’s good to space out chew time. Limiting nibble time will allow your dog a chance to save energy for a well deserved chomping session at a later time. 


TIP: If your dog ever gets bored or uninterested in their chew toy, try dowsing it in bone broth and placing it in the freezer. When cool, this yummy treat is now a whole “new” toy!


Always make it a good thing when you take any toy away from your dog. Teach them your presence is a positive thing and that your hands aren’t the enemy. When you exchange out their toy, have an equally high value reward to replace it with. Toss a treat to them at a distance before moving close and work with them for weeks or months until it’s just a common part of their chew time. Monitor children and inexperienced dog owners.


4. Play Games

Games allow your dog to think through and solve problems on their own. Supplement your chew toys with things that are interactive like puzzles or treat dispensing toys for encouraging mental stimulation.

Teaching your pooch new tricks like pushing novelty buttons, ringing door handle bells, or turning on and off light switches can be fun, yet useful in urgent circumstances.

Most notable, games are helpful in communication between you and your dog. When dogs learn tricks, they learn how to bond with you.

dog playing game


5. Keep Your Dog’s Toy Bin Full

Even a few plush toys and chew products in the toy bin are a smart idea. Playful toys can enrich your dog’s life.

Keep the “fun” in funny toys. Yes, goofy toys are entertainment for us mostly, but they can be quite enjoyable for your dog too. What’s more fun than to see your pooch parade around with a stuffed bottle of champagne or a little mailbox filled with love letters?

Ziggy paws mailbox - dog toy



    • Brut Rose Champagne Bottle Dog Toy
    • Puppy Love Bone Toy
    • Squeaky Mailbox with Love Letters Toy
    • Striped Sock Monkey Dog Toy
    • Valentine’s Burrow Hide & Seek Heart and Bears Dog Toy

lulu belles puppy love bone - plush dog toyPLAY IT SAFE: 

    • Supervise playtime
    • Inspect chew toys to avoid splintering
    • Watch that your dog doesn’t remove the stuffing out of their toys
    • If toys have plastic eyes, remove them to prevent swallowing
    • Check that inside squeakers are in tact


6. Get involved

Just like children, without playtime, dogs can act out. Stay connected. Spend time playing with your dog often. Being playful isn’t only good for your dog’s health, but it’s good for you too. Make time to be silly and laugh with your pooch. Not out of obligation—just for fun. Be in their world, they’ll love the time you invest in their well-being. 


Ever open the door for your dog to go outside in your backyard? “Go potty!” Your dog just stands there, watching you. Then your dog wants to come inside. Then they want to go out. Then they want to come back in. Then go out. Come in. Go out. Come in. This could go on all day, if you let it. Did you ever think your dog just needs you to be in the backyard playing with them? Take a quick five (5) minutes out of your day. That time commitment could very well be the best few minutes of their day!


Our dogs often have more energy than us. It’s easy for us to want to come home and put our feet up. But, that’s when our dogs seem to need us most. They need our time. They want us to play.

Exercise patience with your pup. Give them 10-15 minutes of all out play. Get on all fours—and game on. Your dog will love it. Besides, taking time to play might complete your day as well. 

Dogs must process and acclimate into our world. It’s up to us to allow them to play a bit in their own world too. We owe it to them to try and understand this desire. If we own a dog (or three),  we have a responsibility. 

So, grab a little bone shaped tug toy with little red hearts and get playing.



  • Socialize with other dogs and people 
  • Research spacious, safe dog parks in your area
  • Take a walk in the park: (If your trot around the block gets routine, try going the opposite direction or explore a new route. Your dog will appreciate the new smells and sights.)
  • Try Doggy Day Camp! This option gives your dog a chance to be around other creatures like themselves. Camp is fun and it gives them an opportunity to expend pent up energy.
  • Set up individual play dates with their favorite dog bestie
  • Just for fun—pick a friend your dog plays well with, and exchange a toy with them
  • Give your dog playtime breaks on a regular basis to avoid overstimulation
  • If your dog likes to retrieve toys, sticks, or other toys, play fetch 
  • The game hide and seek allows your dog the chance to keep looking for you
  • Learn advanced tricks. Then go back to something simple like a “sit.”
  • Practice ‘sits’ and ‘stays’ often

dog chewing toy on grass


“When I started playing with my dog, I started loving him even more.” —Becky M.


Stay Fun And Safe: Enrich Your Dog’s Life Through Play

Toys are a good expression of our love, however, it’s not enough to just throw a toy at your dog.

Spend time with your dog, show them good play and long lasting toys. Enroll them in a supervised dog environment with trained professionals. Dogs interact best in a controlled environment with other dogs that share their size and temperament.

dog peeking over counter at dog treat


About The Author:
Christine A. Bournias resides in Michigan with her 2-pack; two new beautiful adopted miracles. As her “Angelwriter”, Nicodemus (1997-2010) is the wisdom behind the stories she shares. Christine champions the magnitude of building the bond between a dog and their person(s) by means of respectful communication and enduring admiration.

5 Ways Loving Your Dog Is Good For You

5 Ways Loving Your Dog Is Good For You

dog chihuahua in heart

Loving A Dog—A Healthy Decision

Life without a dog? Unthinkable. But did you know loving your dog is good for you too?

What was once a species for hunting and gathering some 14,000+ years ago, dogs have transformed into ‘best friend’—for both men and women. However, nowadays, we’ve become much more than mere best friends.

Over the centuries we have learned to understand dogs like no other creature. That understanding speaks to the bond between dog and human. Ask any dog person. Dogs and humans—the agreement between these two (2) different species—is a much richer relationship than once thought.

Dogs aren’t just pets.

Dogs were once used only for hunting and herding. In return, humans were responsible to keep them warm and fed. These days, that’s just not enough. The love between dog and human has developed so much deeper. The responsibility of dog ownership has amplified.

This kind of dog love is good for our health as well.


woman petting dog

Dog Love: A Healthy Connection

The need for species we call ‘dog’ to be used for hunting over the years has dissolved. As dogs became more attentive to us, we became more enamored with them. Over the years, we became smitten with this loyal, furry friend.

Today, we share our homes and meals with these creatures. (Some dogs are even allowed under the covers.) Dogs help us through the most trying chapters of our lives and assist us with activities of daily living. They keep us company when people aren’t around and learn to love us despite our faults.

Dogs know how to share our space.


dogs cozy under blanket

Loving Your Dog Is Good For (Both Of) You

1. Dogs Provide Companionship

There’s a natural connection between dog and human—a partnership and unmistakable bond between these two creatures.

The secret may be how dogs look at us.

While dogs often use their eyes to dominate other species, they use eye contact to solidify the dog-human bond. According to a Japanese team of researchers, there’s a significant chemical change that occurs when humans gaze into the eyes of their best buddy. Oxytocin, a hormone known for social bonding, is determined to significantly increase when gazing between the two (2) species occurs.

“Urine samples were collected from 21 pairs of dogs and owners, before and after experimental sessions in which the owners petted the dogs, talked to the dogs, and often simply gazed at the dogs. The oxytocin levels of both the dogs and the humans were higher at the end of the sessions—and they were highest in the pairs in which the most gazing took place. In this friendship, chemistry—literally—matters.” —Jeffrey Kluger, Time Magazine


young girl and dog looking at each other

2. Dogs Are Family

Dogs provide companionship and they’re considered part of the family. They go everywhere with us. And when we can’t take them with us, we get a Sitter. Sometimes dogs stay at daycares or at exclusive pet hotels that cater to their every bark.

Accommodations for pets consist of lodging and boarding. However, sometimes these facilities host birthday parties, football games, “Gotcha Day” celebrations, and crazy-hat-dress-up gatherings.

This kind fur family fun makes for amazing photo opportunities too!

dog chihuahua birthday party hat red bowtie

Fur Kids

There’s a closeness between dog and human that’s often misunderstood. The bond is intense.
Dogs aren’t human children, but the bond can be just as intense. If given the opportunity, most people feel better knowing that they can select their fur family. In return, dogs will most often choose human company over other species too.

Children learn responsibility when they care for a dog. Research suggests kids with pets in the home have less allergy troubles. Also, they seem to learn empathy when they’re tasked with taking care of a pet—particularly a dog.

As a pet guardian, children have a better chance of becoming a healthy human being at an early age. Of course there’s always a sweet spot on what age is best for children to own a pet. That age depends on your individual household.

In addition, elderly individuals gain a sense of belonging with a beloved pet in their life. Dog ownership allows adults a way to connect on a deeper level. Most notable, caring for a dog gives seniors more opportunities to be social with other dog owners.

woman holding dog at beach

Your #1 Fan

When you arrive home, your dog will act as if they just won the lottery.

What other creature will be just as happy to see you whether you’re gone for five (5) minutes or five (5) hours? This cheerful greeting is always a welcome surprise. Now that’s a family you want by your side!

“They love you more than you love yourself.” —Bill O.


3. Dogs Have Important Jobs

Dogs are courageous and stand by their master.

Some dogs protect our country, others guard our family. Still others are trained to detect evil or imprint harmful substances. Dogs can also be a remedy for many human ailments—both mental and physical conditions.

Dogs are capable of picking up on things that we can’t identify. With this “sixth sense”, a canine can detect when there’s something wrong with us before we’re even aware there’s a problem.

Dogs can “see” with their noses. They use several hundreds of thousands of olfactory cells and can detect time, instincts, and human emotional states with the most immediate and visceral ability. With their nose, dogs experience the world much more vividly than humans.

Yes, dogs are fascinating.

More Than Love: Dogs With Occupations

  • Emotional Support Dogs
    • Library appearances (children reading sessions)
    • Travel necessities
    • Schools
  • Search & Rescue Dogs
    • 9/11 Heroes
    • K9 Officers
    • Military
    • Weather disasters
  • Registered Service Dogs
    • Drug detection
    • Explosive detection
    • Medical emergencies, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure
    • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Registered Therapy Dogs
    • Assisted living (resident visits)
    • Courtroom appearances (children bravery to testify)
    • Hospitals visits (patient healing)
    • Terminal hospice (end of life patient comfort)

military dogs training - German shepherd

“Without this dog, I wouldn’t know how to function.” —Robert S., Veteran


“Patients will show improvement in many more ways than just love. Having her around is good for everyone.” —John H., LPTA


Speaking about his devoted therapy dog, “Laycee”, Physical Therapist, John H., LPTA at Regency at Shelby Township confirms the important job his Black Labrador Retriever has at his place of business.

  1. Residents who are in therapy sessions will have noticeable improvements from their sit to stand to walk exercises. There’s a noticeable difference in residents. They follow Laycee across the room and they’ll begin to move more. When she isn’t here, they tend to shy away.
  2. Once in the mere presence of Laycee, patients will become more verbal if they’re normally quiet.
  3. Residents (and staff alike) who are non-expressive will suddenly become more exuberant and will tend to perk up with a therapy dog by their bedside.
  4. In contrast, with Laycee in the therapy room, patients with a high level of anxiety instantly change. She allows people to stay calm and remain even tempered.
  5. In the presence of Laycee, we notice significant heart rate reduction in patients. Positive neurotransmitters in the brain ignite and the resident’s body tends to relax more.

If you ever sit and watch residents at a nursing facility, they sometimes get hostile. An irritated man who was ready to run people over and collide into them with his wheelchair, suddenly becomes calm when a therapy dog enters his space. As it turns out, all he wanted was to pet the dog.


4. Dogs Keep You Active

If you have a four-legged workout buddy, you’re more apt to move more. Make time to get out and get active with your dog.

Studies have shown that people who own a dog are more active than people who don’t own a dog. People are overall healthier and happier when they exercise. Therefore, when you exercise with your dog, there’s double benefit.

girl with dog winter snow

“My dog got me moving again. When Buffy hurt her knee, I had to take her to water therapy to strengthen her legs. The aquatics peaked my interest. The next week, I signed up for my own water aerobics class.” —Denise T.

Whether you stroll to the end of the street, or you’re training for a marathon, exercising together provides an opportunity to stay in shape together.

No longer are dogs just your snacking buddy. They can become your best workout partner! And, they’ll hold you accountable for your actions—or for your inactivity.

Have to run errands during the weekend but still want your dog to get their workout in? $10 Weekends: Doggy Day Camp is now available in your area. Stop in today, ask questions, and schedule your evaluation for your dog.


5. Dogs Need You

More than love, dogs need you.

Dogs give you the chance to be responsible for something other than yourself. They show extreme loyalty, hope, and devotion—just by looking at you.

Dogs show you how they see the world from their perspective. In exchange, we have a responsibility to provide them more than just food and shelter. You need to allow them playtime and toys. And, you need to play with them too.

dog playing with tennis ball

So there is a bit of condition attached to that ‘unconditional love’ after all.

“Dog owners tend to think they’re doing right by their pets, but most could do better; improving communication between dog and human is an important first step.” —Jeffrey Kluger, Time Magazine

Your dog allows membership into their world. You owe it to them to bond with them, any opportunity that you have. Communication goes both ways. Listen to them, pamper them, sing to them, love them. What about teaching them a new trick ?

Be in tune to your dog’s needs. Your snuggly friend needs you! When you master understanding your dog, loving your dog is real good for both of you.

Now that’s love.


Be Good To Yourself. Love Your Dog.

Your dog has the uncanny ability to love you back.

Dogs and humans take on each other’s characteristics. Our lives intertwine. Learn from your dog’s behaviors and attributes. There’s always room in your heart to love a dog.

Love them like they love you.

Whether you believe in dog love, or not, we might agree that dogs give our lives more meaning. With dogs, we live in the moment and we laugh more. We might even know people that share your endless capacity to love dogs.


Your Dog’s ‘Best Things’—With Love, From Our Dog People:

  • Cuddles
  • Faithfulness
  • Humorous
  • Hope
  • Loyalty
  • Snuggles
  • Tail wags
  • Unconditional love
  • Undeniable bond


dog with heart ornament in mouth, hat, outside snow, winter, Valentine's Day

The More Love The Better

Your dog, your family—your life. There’s no replacement for this kind of bond. Your dog looks at you and you melt. You’d do anything for them. You’re just that kind of person—you’re our kind of person.

And this kind of love is good for all of us.


What will YOU do for love? Visit: Best Friends Pet Hotel or call your favorite Best Friends center.


About The Author:
Christine A. Bournias resides in Michigan with her 2-pack; two new beautiful adopted miracles. As her “Angelwriter”, Nicodemus (1997-2010) is the wisdom behind the stories she shares. Christine champions the magnitude of building the bond between a dog and their person(s) by means of respectful communication and enduring admiration.