Friday, 11 March 2016

DIY Multi-Strand Tug Toy with Loop Handle

When playing with our dogs, I'm often relegated to clinging to whatever drooly end is closest at hand and find myself threading my fingers through the fleece for slippery grip in fierce tugging competitions. This DIY tug toy combines the convenience of a loop with multi-tug tails for multi-dog fun. Our toy has two tails for dual-doggy playtime, but you can add as many as you wish for more dogs or just for fun.  

The materials and craft supplies used in making the tug toy shown are:
  • Polar fleece fabric
  • Scissors

When I saw this multicoloured bargain fleece at the local craft supply store, I snapped it up for my crafting stash knowing it would be perfect for a Easter toy.  The pattern (human parents out there, feel free to enlighten me!) disappears into the toy, leaving an abstract multi-coloured look that is perfect for Easter (or spring).  You can use whatever fleece you wish or have kicking around in your own craft stash to make your own.  If you're loving the look of those Easter Egg Nest Treats, YES they are a dog-friendly version of the cream-cheese Easter cookies!  The recipe will be posted this Monday, so stay tuned...and get some toys ready for working off those holiday treats. Hehe.

  • Cut two long strips of fleece for every tail, plus an extra two strips for your handle. The length and width are at your discretion to scale the toy to the size of your pet.  The strips in the toy as shown were approximately 1.5m long (the longest dimension of my bargain fleece) x 4cm wide.  
  • Tie a knot securing two strips together in their middle
  • Knot using a "box weave" aka "square knot" or "box braid" per the diagram and steps below:

  1. Spread the strips in a cross (+) shape 
  2. Fold the top of the vertical strip towards the bottom
  3. Fold the bottom of the vertical strip towards the top
  4. Fold the right end of the horizontal strip towards the left, passing over then under
  5. Fold the left end of the horizontal strip towards the right, passing over then under
  6. Pull to secure. 
DON'T pull too tightly when starting your first tail - we will need slip our next tail(s) through this end.  You may find placing a marker or a pen at the end (as pictured) helps to hold a gap while you weave the rest of the tail
  • Repeat the steps until you start to approach the end.
  • Tie a large looping knot all the way around and trim to even our the ends, if/as you wish.
  • Slip two strands through the end, even them up, and tie them slightly to the side before weaving them into tail using the same process as above.  Repeat to add as many tails as you wish.
  • For the handle, I prefer to tie the fleece around the tails for a little extra strength at the join instead of through.  Loop you two handle strands around the connection of your tails, knot, and weave into a tail using the same process.  As you start approach the ends, curve the tail into a loop and tie it around the connection. You can do this several times for both looks and added security if you wish.  Trim and tuck loose ends if/as you wish.

Oli is usually quite content to let Humphrey hog the tug toys, but he was crazy keen to join in the quality testing of this toy.  Check out the stretchy resilience of that polar fleece in action!  Bargain indeed. :)

Remember, this is for supervised interactive play. Know your dog before giving him or her any new toy. Some dogs would rather eat their toys (whether store bought or handmade), and that's dangerous. Toys are for playing and playtime is safer (and more fun!) with you involved.  You can read more about dog toy safety here.


  1. Thanks for these patterns!!! Will do some for our Animal Protection Society Fair!!!!!

  2. Thanks for these patterns!!! Will do some for our Animal Protection Society Fair!!!!!

    1. :) Good luck with your charity fundraising, Elise! If you're looking for more ideas, you can browse all of our toy ideas here and just the tug toys here.

  3. How long does it take for you to make one toy?

    1. Hi GG! Personally, it only takes me around 5 minutes to make a basic box knot tug (extra for fancier designs of course); however, I have plenty of experience with making these types of toys and other crafting.

      If it was your first attempt at a basic average sized single straight tug tug toy, it world probably take you around half an hour. Less if you're crafty, more if your a newbie or a perfectionist. :) It isn't difficult, but it can feel that way at first. With a little experience, the weaving become a natural rhythm and toys come together VERY quickly.

      Here is the link for our most basic toy Basic Square Knot Fleece Tug Toy (Single Strand) which is a great starter project. For extra help with shapes and styles, here are a few handy links where we talk about How to Weave a Basic Loop Dog Tug Toy (Plus Variations) and Basic Box Knot vs. Twisted Box Knot DIY Dog Tug Toys.

      I hope that helps and good luck! :)

  4. Thanks! My Asperger's daughter is working to raise money for an unofficial therapy dog (a Havanese). So, she wants to make something to sell. :) These are perfect!

    1. No problem at all. Young crafters seem to pick up weaving well so your daughter should be up and flying in no time. Weaving toys is kind of like a bigger version of making a woven bracelet. :) Simple toys (links in my comment above) are quick to make and toys in holiday colours could be a popular option around this time of year. Good luck. :)

  5. I wouldn't dare to choose fleece like this when I saw it in a shop but it looks so good and happy, like ice cream with sparkles on.

    1. Oh it does, doesn't it?! Funfetti. :) You have such a lovely way of seeing and expressing things - must be more your creative talents shining through.

      It was such a bargain in the clearance bin that it would have been wrong not to buy some. Heheh. I never did figure out what the pattern was supposed to be, but it weaves into a lovely pastel rainbow. Sprinkles indeed. Yay!


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