Kongs. Doggie crack indeed.
All our guys have one (or two). I think in total, once my stuff gets to MN from Canada, we will have six or seven Kongs in the house, not counting the infamous “Kong on a rope” (which floats) that my retriever absolutely adores.
I love all Kong toys. The ones you use to stuff food in are great for dogs when you leave the house, or to keep 'em busy when you have guests around. Kong now also makes a product called Kong Stuffins (which comes in liver flavour or peanut butter flavour) that comes in an EZ-Cheez bottle.
Kong also makes EXCELLENT “tennis ball” toys - the long sausage ones (on a rope) are great to teach puppies to retrieve. the ring ones are also amusing to play tug with. They’re great for aggressive chewers.
We use Kongs as a reward play-toy for dogs trained in narcotics detection, arson (accelerent) detection, Search and Rescue and tracking. I also use them to start teaching scent discrimination in all my pups heading for a Utility title in obedience.
They are the world’s greatest toys. Honest.
A good Kong and a crate makes for a happy puppy when you leave the house, and may well save your furniture/stuff. Another good idea is to have a couple of Nylabone chewbones around. Start with the puppy kind, watch your dog play and chew. Once you find out if puppymonster will be an aggressive or passive chewer, get him the adult ones that will last him longer (the type will depend on his chewing style).
I highly recommend the “stuff and freeze” technique. PB, Cheez-Wiz, whatever… stuff the Kong with goodies (even veggies, bread, whatever) and freeze it. Makes it harder for the grub to come out and keeps puppies entertained for hours. You can layer the grub, too, for “gourmet Kongs” I use these when I have company and want to keep the dogs really quiet: try it with wet dog food, too - it’s quite a treat (for your DOG, not you…)! And it lasts for quite a while!
My 19 month old pup sometimes still gets the chewies (she’s a rather aggressive chewer when she’s in the Chew Mode) and will turn the house upside down to find a nylabone bone, bring it near me, and chew. Much better that than the table legs! (tip: when puppy finds something inappropriate to chew, offer it something BETTER - like a Kong with something in it, or a Nylabone and say “Trade ya!” Works for me, every time. Smart puppies unfortunately sometimes learn to bring you inappropriate things, sit by you, and get you to say “trade ya” so they can get a toy. All along, they had no intention to chew what they brought you… manipulative bastards, all of them!)
OH! Regarding size - pick a puppy Kong for the puppy, then move onto a bigger one. There are also stronger Kongs for the aggressive chewers (they are black instead of red). Make sure the toy is not too small OR too big. If it’s too big, the dog may destroy it because it can get its teeth into the big opening at the bottom and tear away at it. Even then, it’d have to be a pretty strong chewer
Good luck with the puppy!
p.s.: whiterabbit - if you want to give Chubs (!) some food in a Kong (like when you leave) try this: Get some frozen green beans. Thaw them in a bowl. Add a little bit of garlic powder, stuff the whole lot into the Kong until it’s packed tight. Put that in the freezer o’er night. They love it, and it’s fat free. I just had my Toller on a diet (he lost the 6 pounds he had to lose!) and that worked like a charm. Also - you can take some of his kibble, turn it into a paste (by soaking it) and stuffing/freezing that and giving it to him instead of a meal. Also works well!