Well hello there, beautiful blue and yellow tug toy! Check out our tips for making (or buying) high visibility dog toys using colours and contrast for dog vision, including senior Oli’s new “high vis” DIY spiral dog tug toy.
Dog Vision vs. Human Vision for Toy Selection
Dog Vision Colour and Contrast
Contrary to popular myth, dogs aren’t colour blind. They just see colours, contrast, and more quite differently than people. Check out out our post about the differences between how dogs see things vs. how humans see things for details and examples.
Using a Knowledge of Dog Vision to Create High Visibility Toys
Blue and yellow are the two true colours for a typical dog’s vision. To create a special high visibility toy, we combined those with high contrast white and black in a spiral tug for senior Oli and his young sidekick Humphrey. This combination is my new version of doggy “high vis” for maximum colour and contrast, as shown in the side-by-side simulation below.
Does Dog Toy Colour Really Matter?
As noted in our dog vision post, our new knowledge of dog vision won’t change most of the toys and other projects that you see here on the blog. Many of the toys we make are for special occasions and styled for a combination of doggy fun with human preferences, especially holiday or occasion toys. The toys we make (and buy) are usually more about the shape, texture, toughness, and often squeaky fun than the actual colours of the toy.
For toys where anything goes though, we’ll definitely keep colour in mind. For simple ready-made and bought toys, we’ll think about how the toy colour plays against the backdrop of our carpets and flooring for indoors or green grasses for outdoor toys. Blue is my new surprise favourite colour for most situations – it’s easy for us to see and still stands out for the dogs as well.
Weaving a High Visibility Dog Tug Toy
Toy Time and Tug Life
We haven’t shared a tug toy DIY here on the blog in quite some time. With Humphrey growing up and a little less fangy and Oli mellowing into senior dog play, our tug toys last a whole lot longer these days. They are surprisingly tough and the toy box is well stocked, with some tugs now well over a year old and still going strong, even with regular wild play and frequent washing.
High Visibility Tug Toy Colour and Design
This is a special Oli vision edition, and is simply a blue, yellow, white, and black version of our standard simple spiral tug toy. I went for a four-colour spiral for the added visual impact of the speckled colours. As noted above, the blue and yellow were chosen based on the colours seen by dogs. The white and the black were chosen for added visual contrast. Some or all of these dog-friendly colours could be easily adapted into any DIY tug design, or with other types of toys.
Preparing the Materials
To create your own similar toy, you will need sturdy fray-free fabric and scissors. I like to use heavyweight polar fleece in making tugs. Fleece is sturdy (as fabrics go), has a nice touch of stretchiness when playing, doesn’t shed threads, and can be easily machine washed. To make a similar toy, you will need:
- Polar fleece or alternate fabric in high visibility colours for dogs
To weave a toy as shown, clean fabric is cut into 4 long narrow strips. You can scale the toy to suit your dog and your materials by altering the width and/or length of the fleece strips. I’ve made many different shapes and sizes over the years. Fortunately, when making a tug with fleece there is also no need to be too fussy about straight lines when cutting. Yay!
Weaving a Four Colour DIY Spiral Dog Tug Toy
This toy was created using a diagonal corner-to-corner weaving method to create a uniformly speckled spiral tug. Detailed instructions as well as additional diagrams and step-by-step photos for this weaving method are available in our comprehensive post on making spiral dog tug toys.
Additional Toy Making Help and Information
As noted above, the detailed instructions for weaving spiral tug toys are available in our archives. We also have lots of other fun tug toy ideas if you’d like to try a different weaving pattern or design. Helpful information is also available in our tug toy FAQs, tips, and troubleshooting posts:
🚨 Safety first, furfriends! Remember, no matter what a toy is made of or how it’s made, toys are meant for supervised interactive play. Know your dog before giving him or her any new toy. Some dogs try to eat toys or parts (whether bought or handmade) and that’s dangerous. Toys are for playing, and playtime is always safer (and more fun!) with you involved. You can read more in our dog toy safety post, including tips and helpful links for safer playtime. Have fun and play safe!