5 Educational Toys You Can Make For Your Jack

a Jack Russell Terrier sitting in a baby walker

The Jack Russell is a clever breed, as we all know. We also know that when they're bored, they will make their displeasure known.

Play is just as important for dogs as it is for people. And it serves some of the same purposes. First, play helps dogs to develop their cognitive and motor skills. Playing with people, and with other dogs also helps them to develop socially. It can also be a way of bonding between a pet and its family.

Finally, playing is the best ever boredom buster.

Not surprisingly, different kinds of toys fulfil different purposes. And you can make a lot of them yourself, using things you probably already have at home.

Easy Recycled Squeaker Toy

Could your dog earn a place on the Olympic Squeaker Removal Team? Don't toss those destroyed squeaker toys! Or, rather don't get rid of the squeakers themselves.

If you have a sewing machine (or have a bit of experience sewing by hand), you can re-use those squeakers again and again.

First, fish those busted squeaker toys out from underneath the couch. Next, perform a quick squeaker-ectomy. Don't worry. The toy is beyond caring.

Now, take a piece of sturdy fabric like denim, and cut two identical shapes from it. If you want to go simple, make a rectangle. If you want to get fancy, try making a bone or some other shape.

Now, lay one of the shapes down. Add filling — either rag scraps or pillow stuffing, if you have it. Place the squeaker in the middle of the filling, and the other shape on top.

If you want a rough, rustic look, sew the sandwich together as is. This will leave rough edges, but your dog won't care.

For a more refined look, sew the two shapes together inside out, leaving one end un-sewn. Flip the pocket right side out, add your squeaker and filling, and sew up the remaining edge.

Squeaker toys are a lot of fun. The squeaker also gives your dog something to think about. Why does this thing make a funny noise if I bite it here, but not there? And how can I get someone to throw it for me?

PVC Food Puzzle Toy

A puzzle is a fantastic way to help your dog to develop problem solving skills. And a food puzzle gives your dog a reason to keep trying for a solution.

This food puzzle toy from Dog Tipper requires a little bit of work with a drill. But it's not too hard, and, who knows? Making it may teach you a new trick, too.

So, how do you make it?

First, gather the following:

  • A section of 1-1/4 inch PVC pipe
  • Two 1-1/4 inch PVC pipe end caps
  • Your hand-held drill
  • A 1/2-inch drill bit
  • Sandpaper

Now, mark on the PVC pipe where you want your holes to go. Use the drill to drill those holes, then use the sandpaper to smooth out any roughness at the edges of the holes.

Put a handful or so of kibble into the pipe, and slip on the end caps.

Now give it to your dog and watch them go!

Tennis Ball Food Puzzle

You can make a quick and dirty food puzzle using a knife and an old tennis ball. Simply slice a slit in the tennis ball along the white line to create an opening. Don't make the opening too big! You want the treats to stay inside. But don't make it too small, either.

Now, squeeze the tennis ball so that the slit opens. Add some kibble or your dog's favorite hard treat, and throw it for your pup. They'll have a great time trying to figure it out. And when they do, they'll enjoy the reward, as well.

Octopus Throw & Tug

Do you have an old t-shirt that no one wears anymore? How about a tennis ball that's all played out? A pair of scissors? Great. Then you have everything you need to make this adorable throw and tug toy for your pup.

First, lay out your t-shirt flat. Now, cut four slices across the bottom. Two slices should be about six inches wide. The other one should be about two inches wide. You should now have three fabric rings.

Now, snip each ring so that it is now a strip. Lay the two six-inch strips in an “X” shape, and place the ball in the middle. Wrap the “arms” around the ball, snip off a bit of the two-inch strip, and use that to tie the ball inside the fabric to make a head.

Now, slice each six-inch-wide “arm” into three strips, and braid them. You will have four “arms” (not eight, sorry). Secure each braid with more bits of the two-inch strip of fabric.

You can throw this toy for your pup, or use it to play tug-o-war. Both are great for bonding and having fun together. And gentle games of tug-o-war will also make your dog's teeth and jaws stronger!

Rope Toy

Does your dog like to chase? Does your dog like to tug? Is your Jack a curious pooch?

This easy-to-make toy has just two parts, and it will not only give your dog two ways to burn off energy, but it will give them something to think about as well.

So, what do you need?

  • A tennis ball or rubber dog ball
  • A thin rope OR strips of t-shirt fabric OR strips of towel
  • Some sort of cutting implement: a knife, box cutter, or even a drill

Now you're ready to make your toy.

First, use your drill to drill two holes in the ball: one on each side. Now, pull the rope through both holes. Knot the rope on each side of the ball. You can leave the rope ends on either side of the ball, or you can tie them together like a handle.

Rope isn't the only thing you can use to make the tugging portion of your toy. You can also use braided t-shirt strips or even strips of an old towel.

Knotting your strips in different places will give your dog something to think about while they fetch and chew.

Pups in Toy Land

Making your own dog toys is an excellent way to show your dog you care — and to make playtime both more fun for them and less expensive for you.

And if you find you really enjoy making dog toys, why not whip up a batch for your local shelter? Shelter dogs love to play, too.

Do you have a favorite homemade dog toy? We'd love to hear about it!