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.
Our Senior Dog's Eyesight
As our regular readers and furfriends may already know, Oli’s vision has declined in his senior years. Our post on dog vision vs. human vision will take you through the mistakes we made when trying to adjust for better visibility in the early stages (spoiler alert: I was doing it all wrong…) and how learning about the differences has been a huge help for us. Oli had bilateral cateract surgery to correct his vision loss, but unfortunately has not regained full clear vision. But he is still the happiest of good boys and loving life!
Dog Vision vs. Human Vision for Toy Selection
Dog Vision Colour and Contrast
Even with great eyesight, dogs still naturally 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 Dog Toys
Blue and yellow are the two true colours for a typical dog’s vision. To create a special high visibility dog toy, we combined those colours 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 colour and contrast. Curious? Check out the side-by-side simulation with our high visibility dog toy below.
Does Dog Toy Colour Really Matter?
As noted in our dog vision post, our new knowledge won’t change most of the projects you see here on the blog. Many of our DIY dog toys are for special occasions, styled for a combination of dog fun with human preferences, especially holiday dog toys. The toys we make (and buy) are usually more about shape, texture, toughness, and often squeaky fun than colour. For toys where anything goes, we’ll definitely keep colour in mind though. We’ll think about how the dog toy colour plays against the backdrop of our carpets and flooring indoors or green grass outdoors. 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 DIY 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 lot longer these days. Fleece tug toys are surprisingly tough and the toy box is well stocked. Some tugs are over a year old and still going strong, even with regular wild play and frequent washing.
High Visibility Dog Toy Colour and Design
This high visibility dog toy is a special Oli vision edition. It’s 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 high visibility dog 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 tug 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! Try to cut them in a similar width though to help keep your pattern looking nice and consistent. No need to worry about any accidentally wobbly cuts, though.
Weaving a Four Colour DIY Spiral Dog Tug Toy
This high visibility dog toy was made using a diagonal corner-to-corner weaving method to create a speckled spiral tug. Detailed instructions as well as additional diagrams and step-by-step photos for this weaving method are available in our 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 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 doggone 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!