Make a DIY dog rope toy to entertain your dog and teach him how to play tug of war the right way. You’ll need rope, scissors, measuring tape and, for some rope toys, fabric if you want to get creative with your pet’s playthings. Learn how to make a tough Matthew Walker knot for some toys, or use a regular knot.How to Make a Well-Loved DIY Dog Rope Toy
A DIY dog rope toy can offer your many canine hours of play and enjoyment. You’ll save a bit of money, and have fun making the toy for Fido. Here are some ways you can make a rope toy.
This rope contains two Matthew Walker knots. Most of the dog rope toys you find at pet stores have these overhand knots. Matthew Walker knots on a three strand rope have a stopper knot that prevents unraveling. The knots are more symmetrical than other knots.
You’ll need to buy rope from Amazon, Home Depot, or your local hardware store. Cotton rope is natural, and won’t hurt your pet if he swallows a tiny piece of it occasionally.
Buy rope that’s half an inch to a quarter inch thick for a small dog. A 1.5-inch rope works for a large dog, like a German Shepard. Rope usually comes in packages of 100 feet, so you’ll have plenty left over for other projects.
Buy electrical tape to stop unraveling and whip the rope ends while you tie the knot.
Unravel three strands of the rope you bought. Tape the ends with electrical tape to prevent fraying. (You should use tape the first time you tie the knot. After you master tying the knot, you won’t need to use the tape.) Unravel eight or nine inches of rope, Unravel more if you have bigger diameter ropes. A rope with a small diameter takes less unraveling.
A Matthew Walker knot consists of overhand knots you tie over each other. Go around the rope and back up through with the first strand. Make the same motion with the second strand. Go through the loop formed by the first and second strand. The third strand goes through all three strands.
Tie Matthew Walker knots with three, four or more strands. The process continues in the same way. Take the rope and go around the rope and up through loops made in previous strands.
It’s tough to learn how to tighten a Matthew Walker knot. The more strands you have, the harder it is to tighten the knots. You need to be delicate when tightening the knots if you have more than three strands. Don’t tug a strand too tightly because it will throw off the knot.
Snug up the last strand you looped; then go back through all the strands. Each strand should be nestled in with the other strands at the beginning of the process. Go through every strand and pull it tighter several times.
Trim and fray end with a brush or comb. Cut the rope to the length you need on the opposite end, and add eight or nine inches to tie the other knot. Repeat the previous steps with this side of the rope.
Now you have a dog rope toy with a Matthew Walker knot. It’s practically free to make this toy. All you need is rope and a bit of practice.
Use untreated, uncolored 100 percent real cotton rope to ensure safety for your pet.
Dog Rope Toy #2
Use upcycled fabric, rope, or fleece to make another DIY dog rope toy. You’ll also need scissors and a cloth measuring tape. Measure the fabric with your measuring tape. Cut the fabric into strips 36 inches long and two inches wide. You’ll need four fabric strips for each dog rope.
The fabric strips don’t need to be straight, but the measurements should match. Tie the trips together at the top in a tight knot. The fabric shouldn’t have snaps, buttons, or anything to make your pet choke.
You can use rope instead of fabric. Make sure you have the same type of rope for all strips. Disregard the two-inch width measure if you use the rope. Cut out a 36-inch length of rope. Tie a knot in the rope. Separate all pieces, so one piece faces north, one faces south, one goes east, and one goes west.
Now you can braid the rope or fabric. Fold the fabric on the top, so it faces south. Place the bottom piece, so it’s facing north. Weave the east strip over the north strip, and then place it under the south strip. Repeat this process with the west strip.
Use the same pattern to braid all the way down on the fabric, but don’t go all the way to the end. Leave some fabric at the end of the strip. Pull each strip to tighten the dog toy. Tie all the pieces into another knot.
Repeat the cutting and braiding process to complete the toy. The DIY toy is now ready for your pet.
Rope Toy Overview
A DIY dog rope toy may be woven or twisted. The rope toys have multiple knots, rubber balls, plastic bones, or plastic handles. These toys build your dog’s esteem and give the dog something to chew on other than your furniture.
Use rope or fabric bigger than your pet’s mouth. The rope should be quite long. Learn how to train your dog in using the toy properly. A dog will develop behavioral problems if he always wins a tug of war, and will exhibit Alpha tendencies. Dogs with shy or reserved demeanors will develop more courage when they win at tug of war.
Dog rope toys are great for your pet because they have the following features:
- They are soft and flexible
- Can be soaked in cool water for teething pups
- Rope toys can be used as rewards during training
- Rope toys are easy to carry on outings
Don’t give rope toys to vigorous chewers. An aggressive chewer may shred the material and swallow pieces that can cause stomach problems. Some dogs may start chewing on furniture or clothes after using a rope toy.
Always watch your dog when he uses a rope toy. A piece of the toy may become lodged in the dog’s throat.
Dog Rope Toy Safety
There are many types of chew toys you can make or buy for your pet. Some are pretty fancy, like squeaky stuffed animals, while others are plain, like dog ropes. You can make several versions of dog ropes, and see which ones your dog likes.
Your dog may like a toy – or a DIY dog rope toy, that isn’t necessarily safe for him to use. Any dog that constantly chews on toys or other items may swallow large pieces of a rope toy. There’s no need to worry about a dog occasionally swallows a small piece of rope.
Your pet may swallow tiny foreign objects 95 percent of the time without any problem. However, five percent of the time, a foreign object can cause serious damage or be life-threatening.
Thin rope strands are called linear foreign bodies by veterinarians. A long piece of rope is dangerous when swallowed, as half of it may stay in the stomach, and the other half stays in the intestines. Swallowing a long piece of rope is painful for your dog, and may even cause permanent damage.
Small pieces of rope may cause obstructions if your dog swallows them quite often, like the canine version of a cat’s hairball.
Show your DIY toy to your veterinarian before you let your dog play with it. Your vet will let you know if the material is safe for your pet and may suggest changes. Every dog is different, and what is safe for one dog may not be safe for another.
Teaching Your Dog to Play Tug of War
Playing tug of war is a great way to bond with your dog and let him use his natural chewing and wrestling instincts. This game gives your dog an outlet for his energy and a fun way to exercise. Tug of war also helps your dog learn about boundaries and rules.
Stop tugging on the rope and freeze to teach your dog to let go of the rope toy. Shake a treat in front of your pet and say, “Thank you.” Praise your dog when he lets go of the toy and sniffs the treat. Ask the dog to sit. Praise your dog again when he sits and give him the treat. Waggle the rope toy and tell the dog to take the toy.
You may soon be able to get your pup to let go of the toy without offering a treat. Reward your dog for letting go of the rope toy by telling him “Good dog. Take it,” and handing back the rope.
This method tells your dog it’s not bad if you take away his toy. He knows he’ll probably get it back, and get something of value in its place. This lesson teaches your dog not to avoid having a guarding problem with the toy.