Make Square Braid Dog Toys

by WeaselPuppy

Every wondered how to make those durable, box-braid or square braid dog tugs for your agility or flyball dog? Here's step by step instructions. With pictures.

You will see them a lot at flyball matches. They are these durable, braided fleece tug toys that handlers use to catch their dogs at the end of a run. Those tugs take a LOT of abuse. They have enough give to act as shock absorbers when the dog hits the end of the tug at full speed, but are strong enough to stand up to hundreds of those type of hits. People also use them at agility matches as a tug reward at the end of a run. They can be a bit hard to find. In the pet stores they just have the standard three-strand fleece braid toys and those are short, overpriced, and don't last nearly long enough.

Here I will give you step-by-step instructions on how to make that square or "box" braid so that you can make your own, in whatever custom colors you and your dog agree on.

Instructions on Making the Square Braid

Starting The Braid:

  1. Cut two strips of fleece.  Plan on making them four to eight times as long as your finished product.  I usually cut them three to four inches wide. 
  2. Lay the strips across each other to form a "plus" sign, with one strip lying vertically on the table and the second lying across it, with the cross at the midpoint of both strips.
  3. Pull the two ends of the vertical strip across the center.
  4. Take Right end of the horizontal strip and weave it through the two sections of vertical strip at the center, going over the one closest to it and under the other, so it ends up on the left side.
  5. Take the other end of the horizontal strip and weave it through the two sections of the vertical strip at the center, again going over the section closest to it and under the section further away, so it ends up on the right side. 
  6. Pull everything evenly tight.  This is your first "stitch" of the square braid.
  7. Go to Step 3.

My choosing of the left or right side is purely arbitrary.  Pull each knot tight.  You want it to be strong.  The finished braid will be stiff at first, but will loosen up with use.  You can use fun, contrasting colors or use a cotton rope for one of the strands.  Rope will make the tug stronger.  Use this as a tug toy, not a chew toy.  If left alone to gnaw on it, it is entirely possible for your dog to chew off bits and swallow them. 

 

Pictures of the Square Braid Process

Plus Sign - the Starting Point
Plus Sign - the Starting Point
Bring the top end of the strand across the center.
Bring the top end of the strand acros...
Bringing the other end of the vertical strand across the center.
Bringing the other end of the vertica...
Weaving the horizontal strand through
Weaving the horizontal strand through
Weaving the other end of the horizontal strand through
Weaving the other end of the horizont...
The "Box" or square
The "Box" or square
Pull it tight
Pull it tight

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Updated: 07/12/2013, WeaselPuppy
 
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