I got a little crafty last weekend and made new dog toys.
We go through toys quickly around here - Rottweilers are notorious chewers and not many toys last for long. We especially have a hard time with stuffed animals that have squeakers in them - which is nearly all store-bought toys.
Upon receiving a new toy, our dogs perform what we call a "squeak-ectomy" - they must remove that squeaker at all costs. And once there's a hole in the toy, it isn't long before the stuffing is all over the place too. This is one of my favourite pictures of Sasha when she was a puppy. Even then you could see the attitude.
Since we were going through toys so quickly, I started buying them at the dollar store - cheap and no squeakers. But the fabric quality is rarely good so they don't last long either.
We were at the natural foods store a few weeks ago and saw some dog toys in the shapes of foxes and moose. They were kind of flat - more like the silhouette of the animal - and firmer than regular toys. I made a guess that they had foam inside instead of poly stuffing. I also figured that I could duplicate them myself.
I have some double-sided plush material left over from the giant dog bed I made to go in the truck. I think I make dog beds more than anything else these days. I found a silhouette of a bear and a fox on line and printed them out. I thought the bear would be easier than the moose I saw in the store, with all those antlers to go around - in addition to the legs.
I was left with this once the bear was cut out of the material. I think it looks more like a porcupine.
But I pinned two together and got to sewing. Until I got to the first turn. It is incredibly hard to sew double-sided plush, especially making tight corners. I gave up on the animals pretty quickly but i really wanted to make them toys, so I thought, "How about a bone? They love bones."
I quickly cut two rectangular pieces of material, sketched a bone shape onto one, and sewed them together, leaving about 3 inches open along one side to turn it right side out. I didn't cut out the shape first, to give me more material to hang on to as it went through the sewing machine.
Once it was sewn, I cut off the excess material and turned the bone right side out. I grabbed my left over foam from this bench project and cut out a bone shape, slightly smaller than the material. I forced the foam inside the bone shape; it's not as easy as polyfill, but it's definitely gives a firmer toy. And I figured, even if they did rip it open, there wouldn't be stuffing spilling all over the place. A few hidden stitches to close up the opening and it was done. The second one was just as easy. I let Chloe choose which one she wanted first.
Check out the happy dogs. It wasn't easy to get a shot of Sasha with hers - she hides because she thinks you're going to take it from her - but Chloe was quite willing to show hers off.
So far they've held up really well. I have lots of leftover foam so there might be a whole pile of toys in their futures!