One day, I was perusing the aisles of a large retailer, with the express purpose of seeing what sort of mass market item I could re-imagine as a stimulating play-toy for my dog. This was the origination of one of the best ideas I have ever had – Little Yellow Balls (LYBs).
Now if your puppy is a German Shepard or Newfoundland, sorry but you are out of luck, they’d swallow these like treats. But if you have a petite puppy, I’m about to share the secret to long lasting puppy ball love. Little yellow foam golf practice balls. These things are ubiquitous in our house and not a single day, in fact almost not a single hour of activity time goes by since the day I brought the first pack home, that a LYB doesn’t get picked up by a dog and rolled around or presented for a game of throw and catch. LYBs are squishy, being made of foam, so the puppies can bite down on them, but they are firm and dense enough to have a long life – I have yet to retire even a single one due to doggy destruction. I’ve never seen one chewed thru or even a chunk bit off, and that is saying something around Zanzi, who can de-fuzz a tennis ball in about 5 minutes. In fact, these things are so durable that we do still have some of the ones in play that Tangenyika enjoyed in her lifetime.
I can tell these old LYBs from Tangenyika's era apart because she gnawed on them more than Zanzi does and they are misshapen, prune-like, and dark with accumulated dirt. For reasons that I won't speculate on, Zanzi prefers the older ones the best and any time I go around and play ball-person and pick up a lot of them and lay them all out, she invariably picks up the oldest looking one of the lot, which we'll use until it lands out of bounds – typically under a heavy piece of furniture.
LYBs don’t smell bad to me like most of the dog specific balls I come across and because of the softness, smallness, and lightness these balls are indoor play specialists. I cannot imagine them breaking anything in your household. Both girls quickly figured out that instead of biting down fully when catching them, they could leave their mouths open and create a “batting” effect with their mouths – like a volleyball player launching the ball back over the net. Zanzi especially loves to do this and she will add in a triple spin jump and a Jimmy Connors grunt as she plays volleyball with the little yellow balls throughout the house. She is constantly moving them from one place to another, and I often find them in sinks and bathtubs and other places that she batted them up into, but where she could not go to retrieve them.
These balls are the absolute favorite toy of my girls and they receive my most adamant recommendation – for dogs whose mouths are small enough that there is no chance at all for these getting lodged in a throat, or swallowed whole. Best of all, the low cost will astound you if you frequent the dog toy aisles. You can check out my website for the latest links to this indispensable toy.