Greyhounds adore their naps; so getting them to play can be a challenge sometimes. I’ve been asked many times:
“What toys do greyhounds like?” The best toys appeal to his natural instincts – Greyhounds love to chase, chew, and cuddle. Medium-to-large stuffed animals are a good first choice. Homemade toys can be fun, too.
In this article are full instructions for a few favorite homemade greyhound toys, a cuddly bed cover, and a dressy collar for special occasions. Save your colorful, old t-shirts for the toys; and put aside a few, as well, to create a strong, unique leash.
Dressy No-sew Collar
Here’s a fun really quick craft you can make for your greyhound.
Colorful old, button-down blouse or dress shirt
First, take the tape measure and measure your greyhound’s neck. You’ll need this measurement to make sure you pick a shirt with a collar that is going to fit your greyhound in the finished project.
Cut a piece of string to the same length as your measure of your greyhound’s neck. Take this piece of string with you to measure the collars of shirts you may want to use for this project.
Find a colorful, old dress shirt. Good sources for these in your own closets, thrift stores, or yard sales.
Be sure the shirt that you choose has a collar with a top button, and a good buttonhole (not ripped or frayed). Feel it between your fingers to make sure is constructed with some kind of stiff material built inside of it, such as collar stays (you know, those little plastic tabs) or interfacing. Without these, your finished project is going to droop on your dog’s neck and not look pretty. Or handsome!
The collar, overall, should be clean and in good condition, as well.
To choose a shirt you know will work for your project, take your measured piece of string from the previous step, and line it up along the open collar of the shirt, to compare and see if it will be a good fit.
Once you have selected your shirt(s), all you have to do is very carefully cut away the shirt’s collar, being sure not to cut into the seam.
One more step! You may not want to do this, but it really makes a big difference. Take your finished collar, open it out, and iron it, preferably with a little starch. It really improves the appearance, and it’s only the best for our beautiful, elegant greyhounds, right?
Now that you’ve done that, you’re ready to try it on your model, and see how he looks. I hope you have your Instagram account open and ready, because you’re going to want this to hit the social media right away!
If you’ve never tried a lure pool with your greyhound, he might be pleasantly surprised. Sometimes a dog who has never shown any interest in toys will love getting outside with you and playing with the lower pole.
You can buy one as as seen here on our resource page, but it’s just as easy to make one up at home. The other advantage of making on yourself is that you can use one of your greyhound’s old, familiar toys.
You will need a length of 3’ – 5’ of 3/4” PVC pipe
10’ to 15‘ paracord
One of your greyhound’s s old, stuffed toys.
Hockey tape (optional)
Push the cord through one end of the PVC pipe, until it comes out the opposite end (if you have trouble getting it through, temporarily tape a small fishing weight or other small, heavy object to the end of the cord). Pull enough of the cord out to and tie it into a large enough knot, so that it doesn’t slip back through the end.
Securely tie the other end of the cord to the dog toy.
For a more comfortable grip, wind some hockey tape around the bottom several inches of the pole.
To play with your dog using the lure pole, you can run and drag it back and forth on the ground, or you can just pull it around in wide circles. If your dog prefers, you can sail the toy in the air as you go around. Be careful not to make yourself dizzy!
The video below is a great example of how to use the lure pole to have some great fun with your dog. It is also a great way to burn off your dogs extra energy, if you have a dog who tends to be mischievous in the house.
T-shirt Tug-n-chew Toy
This is a great toy for tugging, throwing, playing catch, or chewing. Pick out your most colorful old T-shirts for a bright, attractive toy.
All you need to make this easy, braided T-shirt toy is one or more old T-shirts, and a pair of sewing scissors. It’s important to use scissors which are made for cutting fabric, instead of the kind you use on paper, or you will find find your hands get really tired while cutting the fabric.
Lay your T-shirt flat. Cut the T-shirt horizontally across, just under the armpits, so you just have the trunk of the T-shirt. This latter part is the only part you’re going to use. Discard the top part.
Next, cut the bottom seam off of the T-shirt. Discard.
Take the remaining part of the shirt, and fold it in half, side to side, bringing together the left two corners with the right two corners. Do one more fold the same way.
Now, cut the fabric (side to side) into three equal pieces. Unroll the pieces, and you will have three large loops of fabric. Trim off the seam from each, and then you will have three long strips of fabric.
Gently tug and stretch each of these strips, and you’ll find that they curl up into a nice, soft robes.
Tie the ends of these ropes together in a knot and braid them. Knot the end and you have a wonderful toy for tugging or chewing. Bonus: it smells like your dog’s favorite people!
Here’s a video with a good overview of this craft:
T-shirt Tug-n-toss toy
There are two variations of this toy. One is a classic tug-and-throw with a ball at one end and a braid at the other. The other version looks sort of like a cute, four-legged octopus.
Both variations require that you cut the T-shirt as described in the directions for the braided toy above, up to the point where you are left with just that square of the fabric that was the trunk of the shirt.
Fold the square like you did last time, but here’s there are a couple of differences. First, when you trim off the bottom seam, save it. You’ll need it in a minute to tie off the neck of the toy.
The other difference is that you are going to cut it in half, instead of thirds.
Trim the seams off of your two halves, and then set one half aside.
Open out one half on the table and lay it flat. Unfold the other half, and lay it across laid out across the first piece, so that they form a cross.
Place your tennis ball on the center of the two pieces. Gather up the ends to enclose the tennis ball, give it a twist, and secure it with the reserved piece of bottom seam that you cut off in the previous step, trimming the ends as you like.
How you proceed from this point will depend on which version of the toy you wish to create.
For the single braid toy
For the single braid toy, gently pull and stretch all four strips which are now hanging off from the tennis ball, so that each forms a rope.
Select one rope which is going to be a base, and braid the other three around it.
When you get near the end of your braid, tie it into a secure knot.
For the 4-braid toy
You will need to cut each of your four strips into three smaller strips, so you can form four braids. Here is an easy way to get the cutting done more quickly:
Take one of your strips and carefully folded in half, from the end, up to the tennis ball. Fold in half one more time. now, you have a shorter piece for faster cutting.
Cut your folded strip from its bottom up to the tennis ball using two cuts to create three sections. Unfold, so you have three long strips made from this one strip. Gently pull and stretch each of these three little strips to form three rolled-up strands.
Braid these three smaller strands now, before cutting the next piece. If you try to cut all your strands at once, it will be very difficult to sort out which strand goes where.
After you complete and knot this first small braid, repeat the entire process
using the second piece of the fabric hanging from the tennis ball. Complete your second braid before moving on to the third. And then, of course, complete the third braid before finishing off the project with the fourth.
T-shirt Braided Leash
This project is best made using three old T-shirts, so you have more of a choice of what length you want to make it.
Basically, what you were going to do is cut each shirt into one long strip of fabric, by starting at the bottom and cutting in a spiral fashion. Once you’ve done this to all three shirts, you are going to stretch the fabric to turn it into what is called “T-shirt yarn.” You will braid your three strands into one long rope, fasten on your hardware, and be ready to strut your stuff past your envious neighbors!
- 3 old T-shirts,
- sewing scissors,
- And a sturdy swivel clasp from an old leash or your local hardware store.
Do the following with each of your three T-shirts:
Lay the T-shirt flat. Cut off and discard the top part of the shirt, from just under the sleeves, straight across, so you’re left with just the trunk of the shirt.
Fold over the shirt, right to left. Don’t quite fold it in half; leave about 2” of the left side exposed. Fold over once more, still leaving that one side exposed. That side is where you are NOT going to cut in the next step.
Use a piece of chalk to mark the folded edge at 4” intervals. Then, cut carefully through only the folded fabric. Don’t cut that left side yet. If you accidentally cut fully from side to side, you’ll end up with a bunch of useless loops.
Now, start your spiral cut. Begin your cut at the bottom, 4” from the left, cutting up 4”, through the top layer of fabric, right up to the cut.
This will free the beginning of a 4” strip. To continue the strip, cut diagonally from the bottom of the next part of the strip, to where it will continue to free more of the strip; again, without actually cutting through the fabric.
After you’ve gone all the way up the shirt in this fashion, you will have one long strip of fabric. Grasp one end, about 3 feet, and gently stretch it till
It forms a rope. Wind this part of your fabric into a ball, before doing the same to the next length. Continue stretching and winding, and you will have a ball of t-shirt rope.
Repeat this process with your other two shirts, and you’ll be ready to braid.
Leaving an extra 6” of length, knot together the ends of your 3 skeins of rope. For a more uniform, neat braid,, anchor this knotted end onto something stable. You could close it into a door, or secure it to the doorknob firmly with an elastic. Begin braiding.
When you’ve braided enough to create the handle, bring those loose ends around and tie them securely in, just below where you’ve stopped braiding.
Now, continue braiding. You can tease open the rolled fabric of your rope a little, if you need to cover where you joined your handle.
Braid until you get to about 6” from the end; then, slip on the swivel. Knot each strand individually around it, and follow up by tying the whole thing in one big knot. You can use a small crochet hook (or whatever is handy) to push the remaining ends up into the braid for a neat, finished appearance.
Fleece Dog Bed Cover
This is a pillowcase-style bed cover that that slips on and off for easy cleaning. These are so easy, you can make several, and always have a fresh one ready.
You can create this cover out of a new or old fleece blanket, or fleece that you buy from the fabric store. For a more colorful variation, you can use two pieces of fleece in contrasting colors.
To figure out how much fabric you’re going to need, measure the dog bed that you wish to cover. Then, will add 1 foot to both the length and width of your fabric (your fabric you need should be a good 6 inches bigger on every side). For example, if your dog bed is 24 x 48, you’ll need a piece of fabric that is at least 36 x 60.
To begin the project, lay out your fabric. If you have two pieces, put one on top of the other. If you have one bigger piece, folded in half.
The fun part is coming up! But first, you need to do a little planning. Be careful trimming off any fabric at this stage of the project. Once you start fastening together your bed cover, you don’t want to find that you have cut it too small. You can always trim off more at the end of the project, but you can never put fabric back on!
Measure 3”-4” from the edge, all along the edge, on every side that needs to be fastened for the finished project. If you are using two separate pieces of fabric, you are going to be fastening 3 sides, leaving one open, pillowcase-style. If you are using one piece of fabric folded over, you are only going to fasten 2 sides (your long, folded side is already “finished,” and one short side stays open, pillowcase-style).
Now that you have measured 3 to 4 inches in from the edge, on the side you are going to finish, take a piece of chalk and draw a line that runs parallel to the side.
Next, take your sewing scissors and cut the marked edges into 3/4” strips, forming a fringe that runs along the chalk line on each side you’re finishing. You will be cutting through both layers of fabric, as you go.
(Remember, if you are using two separate pieces of fabric, you will be cutting a fringe on both long sides and one short side.)
(If you have one piece of fabric, folded over, you will be cutting fringe on one long side and one short side.)
OK, here’s the fun part! At the corner of one side, grab the first piece of fringe. Separate it into its two strands and tie them together, at the chalk line, into a little knot.
You are going to do this with every piece of fringe, and that’s how you fasten your bed cover together.
When you’re done, just slip it over the waiting dog bed, and see what your greyhound thinks of it. I guarantee he’ll love it! Hint: greyhounds love fresh, clean laundry, so make a few of these, and toss it in the wash every week. You’ll find it really helps keep the house smelling cleaner.
Fleece comes in so many wonderful patterns, you can make these bed covers to suit every holiday, or even your favorite sports team. They also make greyt gifts for the greyhound lover in your life.