Today I went shopping for toys for Secret Santa dogs. I went to several different stores and each place asked about a specific toy I was buying thinking I would be bringing it home to my dogs.
The truth of it is, we don't really have toys at our house.
Mostly we don't have toys because Seth is a jerk and doesn't like to share. Before Seppel came along, he would share with LiLo. I had a wubba skin and an old rope toy that would be in the yard for the dogs and Seth would grab one of the toys and offer it to LiLo - sometimes hitting her with it to get her to play. LiLo is really the only dog in Seth's adult life that he has been able to share toys with. A long, long time ago he could share with my friend's dog Reno - but those days are gone.
When Seppel arrived I allowed them to try tugging with a toy once. Both of them were way too stiff for me to let it continue. In Seppel's previous home he had another dog that he could play tug with. I've seen videos, I know it happened. But I also know eventually he had to be rotated with the other dog because the other dog would attack him.
For me, having toys out is not worth the risk. Not only do I not want the dogs to get into it, but I don't want the cat to get targeted if he walks by too closely when Sepp has a toy. I don't know how big his bubble is when he has things, but I've never left things out to find out.
That's like feeding time. I feed Seppel in the garage and Seth and LiLo inside. Typically Sepp gets fed first because I fill his dish, set it down, fill the other two and take them inside. I did make a mistake one time where I wasn't thinking and put his dish down with LiLo and Seth still out there - and he let LiLo have his food! Just the same, I choose not to feed them together.
In some ways I feel bad. I house-sit for several people who have toy boxes for their dogs and their dogs can take toys out as they please. Seth LOVES going to those places and taking out every single toy [I watch him to be sure he doesn't get nasty with the dogs we watch]. However, the dogs do all get some toy time and some bone time now and then. If it's marrow bones I will leave Sepp in the garage and Seth and LiLo in the fenced off side yard. If it's toys, I will usually take them out individually to play with them. Seppel is the most toy driven of them all, he has a few rope tugs and a jolly ball. Seth has a couple rope toys too. Overall I don't think they are lacking because they don't have free access to toys all the time. It's just one less thing I have to worry about.
So, we're kind of a toyless house. I wish I could just not worry about it. Seeing clips of Cesar Milan throwing balls for 20+ dogs on his property makes me cringe. I don't know how he can not worry about a fight breaking out especially with so many powerful dogs in one area. There's no way he hasn't had to deal with dogs getting into it. I've even seen a clip or two of dogs on the property having a problem. I don't care how 'in control' you are - throwing a ball for a bunch of dogs really just doesn't seem like a good idea. Even with just two of mine, all I can ever picture is Seppel grabbing Seth or them both letting the toy go and trying to kill each other.
The fearful side completely outweighs the side that makes me want to try and see what happens.