Though a plastic squeaky hotdog may seem like an irrelevant piece of silliness, for the domesticated dog, it actually helps placate natural canine tendencies. The English Setter is a highly intelligent breed of dog that needs mental stimulation as much as physical activity. Dog toys can support and promote a Setter's need to chew, chase or use their nose in a manner that keeps them out of harm's way. Providing stimulating toys can also keep owners from having to replace precious household items that get chewed up out of boredom. Because the English Setter can sometimes suffer bouts of stress and anxiety, it is important to choose good quality toys. Opting for toys that are not made of non toxic materials or consist of small pieces both present hazards to any type of dog.
One of the most popular dog toys for intelligent breeds like the Setter is the Kong. Made of a sturdy, non toxic rubber the Kong works as a chew toy and a treat dispenser. Once the owner inserts a treat in the middle, it is up to the Setter to figure out how to get it back out. The toy is dishwasher safe and is capable of taking colossal amounts of abuse. Another similar toy is the Buster Cube. Treats and food stored in several different compartments will require dogs to work this toy by flipping it with their nose or paws. These types of toys provide the ideal amount of mental stimulation, especially for the bright and clever English Setter.
The English Setter was bred as a hunting dog, used to point and retrieve downed game. They are, therefore, somewhat soft mouthed and do not have a natural tendency for tug of war games. Ground toys such balls and scented training dummies are a much better option instead. A simple ball for the Setter to chase helps appease their urge to pursue scurrying game. Scented training dummies hidden in a yard puts their natural gift for sniffing out quarry to use as well. A good toy is any one that encourages a Setter's most basic instincts. A dog with no outlet for its natural impulses will likely experience stress and anxiety and express them in less than constructive ways.
One of the best options for stimulating the English Setter is with an agility course. An agility course combines physical activity hand in hand with mental acuity. As the English Setter is one that vastly enjoys almost any type of exercise, many owners find agility training quite valuable for keeping English Setters happy. Though they are commonly found in dog parks, online sites sell agility course equipment that can easily set up in a backyard. This allows owners to get their dog acquainted with the equipment and start teaching the basics.