I bet you already know that Australian Shepherds are considered to be one of the smartest dog breeds out there. And that's for a good reason!
We'll get back to this later..
But if you do nothing with all that amazing potential, your pooch may as well act as he has no brain at all.
One of the best ways to keep your dog mentally and physically active is finding the best toy for him. And finding one that would challenge him in both ways is not such an easy task. As you'll soon find out...
So today we present to you our favorite toys to keep our beloved Australian Shepherds physically and mentally active and help to train them.
Our Top 6 Favorite Australian Shepherd Toys (Updated List For 2019)
Top Pick: Chuckit! Ultra Rubber Ball Dog Toy
Pick #2: KONG Flyer Dog Toy
Pick #3: West Paw Design Zogoflex Bumi Tug-o-War Dog Play Toy
Pick #4: Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel and Puzzle Plush Squeaking Toy
Pick #5: Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball Dog Toy
Pick #6: Outward Hound Zip & Zoom Indoor Agility Kit
*Note: The links in the list above, as well as several links in the remainder of the article below, will take you to over to Chewy.com where you can find out more information about the products, such as current prices and customer reviews.
A Closer Look Into Our Top 5 Australian Shepherd Toys
Pick #1 - Chuckit! Ultra Rubber Ball Dog Toy
As we'll be explaining in a section below in just a few minutes, one of the Australian Shepherd's favorite physical activities to take part in is fetching/chasing objects, something these rubber balls perfectly fit the bill for.
What we love most about these rubber balls, and this issue had great importance in us picking this toy as our #1 recommendation, is how tough and (virtually) indestructible they are, unlike the majority of similar rubber ball dog toys being manufactured and sold on the market today.
So, when playing fetch with your Australian Shepherd with these rubber balls next time, you won't have to worry about them getting a bit overly excited, biting into them a bit too hard and destroying them, as these are some of the most durable, chew-proof rubber ball toys you can get your hands on today.
Pick #2 - KONG Flyer Dog Toy
And, since Australian Shepherds absolutely love toys they can chase after and physical activities that include interaction with their owner and a whole lot of fetching, our #2 recommendation is the KONG Flyer Dog Toy.
This toy is one of the best, virtually indestructible and durable Frisbees you can get for your Australian Shepherd today.
Unlike other low quality Frisbees that damage your Australian Shepherd's teeth when they bite on them during a game of fetch, this flying disc from Kong was specifically manufactured with rubber that's gentle as possible on their teeth and gums in order to avoid any potential dental problems that no one wants their Aussie to go through.
Besides fetching ball toys and Frisbees, what's one of the favorite activities an Australian Shepherd likes to partake in? Tug of war!
With the Australian Shepherd being as social as it is, and with the fact that it enjoys playtime most when it's interacting with either you (its owner) or another pet friend it may have, this Tough Tug-o-War toy perfectly fits the bill.
It was specifically designed for interactive play between a dog and a human being or your pooch and another canine.
This is also one of the rare Tug-o-War toys that Australian Shepherd owners report are still in great condition after a significant amount of time has passed since purchase.
Generally, an average Tug-o-War dog toy will last your Australian Shepherd no more than a few days (that's if it manages to stay in one piece after a single day of play).
However, this one was specifically designed by West Paw to take into consideration the physical abilities a canine like the Australian Shepherd has in them while playing Tug-o-War.
What says "interactive dog toy" better and louder than a puzzle toy manufactured for dogs who love interactive and intellectual play just like your Australian Shepherd?
Depending on the size of the Australian Shepherd you've got at home, you can choose between a variety of different size options that would accommodate well with the size of their nose and mouth area so that they could properly play without facing any obstructions.
Outward hound have got your Australian Shepherd covered pretty well, with sizes that range from "junior" for small sized and young Australian Shepherds, all the way to "ginormous" for large sized Australian Shepherds.
This makes for an excellent toy for your Australian Shepherd to keep themselves busy with when they're home alone or you just being busy and not available to play around with them at the time being.
Pick #5 - Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball Dog Toy
Not exactly the most chew-proof of dog toys for an Australian Shepherd, most certainly not as durable as our other top 4 picks mentioned above.
However, this Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball toy is one of the most entertaining dog toys you could give your Aussie to play around with.
The philosophy behind this interactive toy is simple - as your pooch rolls this ball around and, as a result, are engaging in physical activity going after it, treats will fall out of it which will act as a reward for them engaging in exercise.
The more your pup interacts with this food dispensing toy and the more they get used to it, you'll want to make it more difficult and challenging for them to get treats to be dispensed from the inside to the outside.
This way, your Australian Shepherd can eat them - which is exactly what Our Pets have given you the ability to be in control of.
You're also in full control at all times over the volume of treats/goodies you want to fall out of this toy for your Australian Shepherd to it, which is very important in making sure they don't go overboard with the treats and experience health problems as a result.
What Makes The Best Dog Toys For Australian Shepherds?
In this section, we'll cover what criteria you should consider looking for in a dog toy in order to make sure it fits your Australian Shepherd's needs and will be a surefire toy that grabs their interest for a long time to come.
Intellectually Challenging: The best toys for Australian Shepherds are always going to be intellectually challenging, given the fact that this working herding dog breed is one of the smartest ever known to mankind.
So, the more a toy is interactive and the harder a challenge it gives your Aussie, the better and the more fun they're going to have with it.
Just make sure not to go overboard and get them a toy that's too hard of a challenge for them and makes it impossible to have fun with.
Strike a balance somewhere in between.
This means that you're going to have to steer away from the mainstream toys out there that offer your pooch nothing but the ability to chew on them, as such toys offer them very little (if any) mental stimulation and intellectual challenges.
For intellectual challenges that'll really get your Aussie going, consider taking a look at dog toys such as puzzles - now that's more like a challenging game!
Check out this video to see more ways to keep your companion mentally stimulated!
Physically Demanding: Given the fact that Australian Shepherds are athletic, working dogs that need to get a good amount of physical activity under their belts on a daily basis, you can ideally "hit two birds in one stone" if the toys you buy for your Australian Shepherd are ones that can offer them means for physical activity and give them a good workout while enjoying playtime.
Australian Shepherds need an average of 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity on a daily basis in order to stay healthy and happy, so if you're able to cover a significant portion of that during play time where they're having fun with their toys, then that's a definite win win situation.
So, and for this reason, the type of toys you'll want to consider getting for your Australian Shepherd should be ones that can easily be incorporated into physical activities, such as throwing balls your Aussie can go fetch, Frisbees your Aussie can have a ton of fun with back and forth, etc ..
Of course, all of these toys for your Australian Shepherd are going to require you, or someone else, to be there in order to engage in playtime with them, because this type of dog toy takes two to tango.
All that effort you put in on a daily basis engaging and playing with your Australian Shepherd and their toys is definitely not in vain, though, as you're constantly improving the relationship and strengthening the bond you two share, especially the affection and love your Aussie holds towards you.
Self Sufficiency: Another very important point you should always keep in mind when looking for appropriate toys for your Australian Shepherd is that you should also give them access to toys they're able to keep themselves busy with when you're not there to play with them.
Let's say you're away at you're 9 to 5 and won't get home till late afternoon and your buddy's all home alone, or let's say you're away from home and won't be back till a few days and they're spending the majority of their time home alone, what should they do with all that time to spend?
Surely you don't expect your Aussie to just sit there and wait for you to come back and play with them? In order for a toy to be considered among the best toys for Australian Shepherds, it must give them the ability to keep themselves entertained with it for prolonged periods of time all on their own until you get back and offer them your company.
This is a very important issue you have to keep in mind, because if your Australian Shepherd isn't given toys they can entertain themselves with on their own until you get back home, the only other option they have is to voice their frustration by going on a destructive behavior spree around the house.
Chew Resistant: This is not a vital prerequisite in order for a toy to be deemed one of the best Australian Shepherds toy, but ideally and if you can manage to find a toy that has all the characteristics we talked about above, it certainly wouldn't hurt for the toy to also have chew resistant properties.
You never know what goes around in your Aussie's mind at different times and you can never tell when they decide that they're bored with one of their toys or that it's proving to be a little bit too challenging for them to solve, in which case they may decide to chew on it and rip it apart if it doesn't have any chew resistant properties.