For those of you who loved our square knot fleece dog tug toy (thanks!), you’ll be happy to hear that we have plenty of other fun tug toy DIYs to share with you. Oli prefers a nice loop to get his mouth through, so here is a simple variation for turning a basic square knot tug toy into a loop and tail tug toy. See the post below for step-by-step photos and DIY instructions for how to weave a square knot fleece loop dog tug toy for fun interactive play.
When I first started making tugs, we found ourselves needing to make a new tug toy every month or two, thanks to the destructive dog teamwork of “Sharky McFang” and “Oli the Ripper”. It has been years since we shared this post. Where does the time go? Now that Humphrey is less puppy-destructive and Oli a senior, these types of tug toys last for ages. They wash and wear very well, and they’ve also been tons of fun for Humphrey playing with other dog friends. Over time, we’ve created all sorts of different dog tug toy DIYs for the dogs and the blog. Check them out!
Weaving a Loop and Tail Dog Tug Toy
If this is your first tug toy DIY attempt, you might find it helpful to you might like to try making a basic straight toy or two (square or spiral) first before you start joining and pairing ends for loops. This toy uses a simple square knot weaving pattern. The repeating pattern makes it an easy technique for weaving projects. Check out our simple spiral DIY dog tug toys for an easy alternative weaving pattern, once you’re ready to try another design.
Preparing the Materials
To make a similar toy, you will need:
- Polar fleece or alternate fabric
Weaving long strips can feel a little confusing at first. You may find it helpful to work with four different colours until you get the hang of things. As a bonus, it also makes for a pretty result.
To weave a loop and tail tug 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!
Note: This photos in this post have been updated from the original grey loop toy. The new images show the loop toy made with different fleece in four colours for added clarity in our how-to images. This is handy for showing the alignment of the colours on the sides as you join the loop and weave into the tug handle. Hope the changes help!
Weaving the Tug Toy
Starting the weave:
- Align your strips into a single long bundle.
- Knot your bundle at the point where you plan to eventually close the circle, leaving enough length on the other side to make your tug handle later. Keep this knot loose – it is temporary just to secure the strands while you get started on your weaving.
Where to start depends on how big a loop vs. tail you’d like to make but a starting point approximately 1/4 from the end was used in the tug shown. The loop portion of the tug was woven from the temporary knot until the loose strips of my working end were a similar length to the loose strips at the starting knot.
Weaving the body of the loop:
Keeping the working end of the tug stable and secure is key to getting a uniform pattern. See the tips and tricks below for help, if needed. You can secure the starting end to something, if you wish, but I prefer to be seated with it nipped between my knees. This allows me to freely flip the strands to the front, back over a shoulder, and from side to side as I weave.
- Starting on the working (long) side of your temporary knot, position the strips into a cross (+).
- Weave the fleece strips together using a simple square knot technique. See our square knot tug toy for instructions, a weaving pattern diagram, and step-by-step images for weaving.
- Once you have woven a long enough section of tug that you would like to join the ends to make your loop (see my comments on starting point above), untie your temporary knot.
- Pull the ends of your tug together to form a loop. Try to align like colours.
- Tie your side colours to close out the appearance of a ring when joining the loop. This looks neat and tidy, but also secures the loop to make it easier for you to pair strands and start to weave the handle (further instructions below). In the toy shown, the side colours when I pulled the loop closed were black (shown tied in the image below) and blue (tied on the opposite side). The red and green strips were not tied together at this stage.
Weaving the tail / handle:
Now that the loop is closed, you’re ready to weave the tail. It is created by continuing the square weave, but there are now eight strands of fleece (four from each end). A little prep work is required to get things into position before you continue weaving.
- Pair your fleece strips so that the eight ends become four pairs. Match colours, if applicable.
- Position the strips back into a starting cross (+) for your square weave. Try to ensure that the colours (if applicable) line up with the closure point of your loop.
- Resume weaving until you are approaching the end of your strands of fleece. Not too close though! Leave enough room to tie off the end to finish the toy.
- Loop and knot securely, leaving a tassle at the end, and trim if/as needed.
Additional Information and Tug Toy Tips
As noted in the above and our detailed instructions for weaving a square knot tug toy, if you rotate the working ends or accidentally miss a loop or two along the way, it will show in the shape and/or colour pattern. Not to worry, though. Your dog isn’t judging on looks. Just fun!
Don’t leave yourself short on the tie-off. You’ll need more fabric than you might think. If you’ve gone too far, you can unpick to get more free fleece, or switch to an alternative end knot.
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 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!