"Toys are great for stimulating your dog and can help to build a bond between you. I love playing with my terrier Rabbit in the evenings, especially now that we are spending more time indoors during lockdown. He's a serial shredder and is always determined to get the squeaker from inside a toy, which he does with utmost enthusiasm and concentration. He still however gets enjoyment from the remains, and has endless toys that he has shredded but still adores and won't part with. This toy bone is simple and fun to make and you don't need a sewing machine. They are ideal for home play too as they won't make a noise when thrown around indoors like a heavy rubber toy would.
Below is my step by step guide and a list of materials you will need (if not recycling materials from home these are all items you can order online with ease).
The most important thing is to take your time and enjoy this handy craft. Don't worry about your squeaky pet toy being perfect, just enjoy the making."
Creative Director & Jack Russell serial shredder
MATERIALS: paper, pencil, scissors, marker pen or felt tip, fabric for the bone top and bottom, fabric scraps for decoration, pins, sewing needle, thread, toy stuffing, toy squeaker, wooden spoon for packing the stuffing in to the toy.
FABRIC & STUFFING MATERIAL: you can recycle old clothes or an old tea towel. Try to choose fabrics that don't have too much stretch in them and are a nice heavy weight. You can also use shredded old tea towels or old clothes for the stuffing of the toy to save costs and again recycle materials.
CUTTING OUT THE FABRICS: first decide on your toy shape and size you want. You can draw out this shape on paper and once cut out you've got a paper pattern template to place on to the fabric. To get the fun bone shape you like, try just drawing free hand on paper first, I tend not to make shapes symmetrical but that's my personal design choice. Once you are happy with the shape you have, cut out the paper pattern and place it on your choice of fabric. Draw round the paper pattern with a marker pen or felt tip directly on to your fabric and cut out the top and bottom pieces. When hand drawn the bone shapes won't be symmetrical, so make sure that you cut the bottom panel out correctly so that when the wrong sides of the fabric face each other, the shapes match.
CREATING THE APPLIQUE MOTIFS: choose the decorative motifs you want and make card templates for these. Once cut from the fabric of your choice, arrange them on the right side of the top piece of your bone, making sure there are 2 - 3 cms clear between them and away from the edge of the fabric. If you have a sewing machine you can use a satin stitch or a zigzag to stitch these on. If you are hand sewing, just use a basic edge stitch, don't worry about seeing a raw edge if it's too complicated to turn the edges in, homemade dog toys have a lovely charm about their imperfections.
JOINING THE TOP AND BOTTOM BONE SHAPES: place the top and bottom pieces of fabric together with right sides facing and pin, leaving a gap of 3 - 4 cms in the centre of one side for turning the fabric through and inserting the stuffing. Mark both sides of the gap with two pins. Sew around the edge of the bone shape using small stitches if using a sewing machine so that it is tightly and securely sewn. Keep as close to the edge as possible with a hem allowance of 0.5 - 1cm, so that you retain the full bone shape. Stop at the marked points and backstitch to reinforce the stitching.
INSERTING THE STUFFING AND SQUEAKER: turn the shape right sides out, pushing the seams out well. Insert the stuffing using the end of a wooden spoon, if necessary, to reach the far corners. Put a squeaker in the middle of the toy or one at each end of the bone curves. Make sure the squeaker is surrounded by stuffing, so that you can't feel any hard ridges.
CLOSING THE GAP IN THE SIDE SEAM: once you are happy with the plumpness of the toy, fold in the hem allowance at the side opening, and carefully sew up the gap by hand with small stitches, using a needle and two strands of matching thread.
NOTE: Your dog's play with the squeaker toys should be supervised at all times. If your dog removes the squeaker from the toy, take it away from him at once.