The strands of this split double loop dog tug toy merge to create a thick twisted spiral section at the middle. The result is a fun tug shape with lots of ways to grab, tug, play. Plus it’s extra sturdy in the middle, which is always great when things get wild, as Humphrey and his play pal demonstrate in some of the photos in this post. She likes to make him pull her around by the toy, which is a whole lot of heavy tugging!
Tug Infinity and Beyond!
The tug toy pictured above was made a long time ago, but never made it into a full DIY here on the blog. It was made with extra materials prepped when I was making our double loop infinity dog tug toys. I had an extra set of half woven spirals, so I decided to join them up instead of just doing a simple intersection. I loved the result, although the split is uneven. Not that symmetry matters to the dogs, haha! And it’s actually kind of cool in its own way, too. Making another split tug and taking some extra step-by-step photos for a post went on my to do list, and it’s finally been done! With extra playdates recently, tug toys are once again a hot item in the dog toy basket so stay tuned for more.
Combining and Joining Tug Toys
You can easily combine separate tug toy loops by passing one through the other, like links on a chain. The closed loops will hold together (as long as they’re intact) but aren’t physically joined. Alternatively, simple intersections, like our infinity loop tugs, can be used to connect tug pieces and/or create shapes. Or you can go all in and merge (or split) portions of the tugs using modified weaving techniques.
The method used for the split double loops pictured here merges the strands together into a stick, like we would for an extended tail on a single loop tug, and then splits them back apart again to create the second loop. I’m using a spiral weave, and merging it into a double spiral weave. This creates a cute looking tug with merging and splitting spirals of colour. In addition to looking cool, the thick twisted spiral middle is strong and sturdy, which is pawesome for tugging play. The weaving techniques are pretty straight forward too, other than the transitions.
DIY Split Double Loop Dog Tug Toy with Merged Middle
The pictured split double spiral dog tug toys combine two simple four strand spiral tugs to create two loops joined by a section of six strand twisted double spiral tug in the middle. The corner-to-corner method is used in both. If you aren’t familiar with those weaving patterns, you might like to check out those detailed posts and/or practice on a few standard tugs first. Extra toys? All the more fun!
Fleece Colour and Design
To create the visual effect of the two tugs spiralling together, the tugs share a colour. In the merged middle section, the shared colour strands are paired into sets of two for the verticals when weaving. I’ve used three different colours (two per tug, one shared) in my tug pieces to help make the visuals easier to follow. It also looks doggone cool to have the three colours wrapping around in the middle double spiral, not that the dogs care about such things! They’re all about the fun, not the looks. Although the strips pictured below are also doggone great colours for dogs. By chance, because of the colours and sizes that I had in my craft stash, the following example tug is blue and yellow. Did you that these are kind of like doggy high vis due to the differences between how dogs and humans see colours?
DIY Split Double Loop Dog Tug Toy Materials
The materials and craft supplies used in making these DIY infinity loop dog tug toys are:
- Polar fleece fabric
A basic tug toy made with a spiral weaving pattern uses four long narrow strips for fabric. We’re making two for joining, so they require eight long narrow strips of fabric (two sets of four). Spiral tugs like those pictured here use two strips of each colour for the wraparound colour band effect. As noted above, the tugs need to share a colour for the double spiral merged middle.
The example tug pictured here uses two strips of dark blue, two strips of light blue, and four strips of yellow.
You can scale the tug toy to suit your dog by altering the width and/or length of the fleece strips. See our post on fleece tug toy sizes for tips and tricks. For a big long tug like the one pictured here, you’ll need to use long strips of fleece.
Weaving the Split Double Loop Tug Toy
Preparing the materials:
- As per the material notes above, cut eight long narrow fleece strips of similar size and length. The shared colour (yellow here) can be a little longer, if your materials allow.
- Group into two sets of four strands in your chosen colours and combinations.
Starting the weave:
- Tie a temporary knot at the starting point of each group. Keep it loose, as this will be untied and retied when you join the ends of the finished loops.
Weaving the first portion of the tugs:
- Starting with one group, weave to a stopping point for joining. The toy shown uses the corner-to-corner method for creating a spiral. Detailed instructions, diagrams, and step-by-step photos are available in our comprehensive post on making spiral dog tug toys.
- Repeat with the second group, weaving to the same length.
Making the sections on split tugs requires a little bit of what I would call “the calibrated eyeball”. In this case, if you subtract an allowance for knotting at each end, and the portions are roughly thirds of what’s left in the blue and yellow tug toy. The thicker middle section consumes material faster than the simple spirals in the loops. If you get the estimate wrong, it’s not a problem, just like my original blue, green and purple asymmetrical original. Just a much fun and still super cute!
Joining the tugs for the middle twisted double spiral:
The twisted double spiral is woven like two corner-to-corner spiral weave knots adjoining each other, tied using the same vertical strands. We’re going to take our two existing corner-to-corner tug pieces, put them together, partner up the verticals, and then weave. Detailed instructions, diagrams, and step-by-step photos are available in our comprehensive post on making double spiral dog tug toys.
- Carefully position the working ends of the two pieces together, lining up the strands to match the shared colours (yellow here) as the verticals for your twisted double spiral, with the others to the sides as the horizontals. This will take a bit of fiddling around, especially to get the new shared vertical strands into the right places at the top and bottom.
- Ready? Carefully tie a single double spiral knot, taking extra care to pull the tugs tightly together. The first knot might not be perfect, but don’t worry. Once that first knot is in place and the strand positions set, the rest of the middle section will be standard weaving.
- Make sure everything is secure, then continue weaving with the twisted double spiral pattern until your stopping point to split again.
In my tug, I’ve kept the same colours on each side of the loop. Notice how the light blue and yellow section in the collage below is at just about the right place to carry on in line with the first section. If I was flipping them instead, I’d want the dark blue and yellow to be in this position. Either would work and look great. It’s just a matter of what suits your style (and your materials). The length of strips you have available for making the tug toy and how you want to split up your section sizes will be factors, too.
Splitting the middle twisted double spiral back into separate spirals:
- Ready to split? We’re going to reverse what we did when we merged the tugs into the middle section, and separate the strands back into two sets of four (two each dark blue and yellow, two each light blue and yellow). Take a little time to get things into position before you start weaving, especially splitting up the existing vertical pairs (yellow here). My go-to method of nipping the working end of tugs between my knees while I weave is extra helpful for keeping the strands I’m not working with pulled and tucked out of the way here.
- Starting with one split set of four, carefully position the strands, and weave a single corner-to-corner knot to secure. Detailed instructions, diagrams, and step-by-step photos are available in our comprehensive post on making spiral dog tug toys.
- Take the other split set, carefully position the strands, and weave a single corner-to-corner knot to secure.
- Check your splitting, strand positioning, and tug positioning before you carry on. If you need to undo and correct anything, it’s much easier to unpick one layer than a length of woven tug.
- Looking good? Continue weaving one of the tugs to the stopping point for end knotting.
- Repeat to weave the other tug to a matching stopping point for end knotting.
Closing the ends of the loops:
- If you haven’t already done so, untie the temporary starting knots.
- Tie to join the ends of the loop.
- Repeat on the other (free) end.
- Optional: Trim excess fabric if required and/or to even out the tassel ends.
When joining the ends, if you find that eight strands is too much bulk for your usual end knotting techniques, you can try an alternative method to tie-off the ends of the tug toy. Make sure it’s securely tied as the ends of loops tend to get a lot of tugging during play.
Additional Toy Making Help and Information
Helpful information is also available in our tug toy FAQs, tips, and troubleshooting mini-series:
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 way 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!