I’ve watched my pooches take down dozens of stuffed animals in a few seconds flat. Seriously – if it squeaks, they will gut it just to find the squeaker, which they could then choke on. The risk, and vet bills, are so not worth it. We always get them at least one safe, new toy to share for Christmas, but I decided to make something special instead this year.
The surprise part of this otherwise-straightforward rope knot toy is the treat inside! My pooches LOVE their Kongs, which are dog toys you can pop little treats into, and are hard for pups to get at. Unfortunately, my pooches have mastered the puzzle that is their Kongs, so they solve them super quick. This rope ball should present a challenge!
105 inches (8.75 yd) of 1 inch-thick cotton rope like this
scissors or knife
2 twist ties
Using two twist ties, secure the ends of your rope from raveling. Then, follow the instructions below for tying it into a monkey’s fist knot. I find the monkey’s fist knot to be challenging, so it might take a couple of tries to get the knot just right. This toy is really just a giant monkey’s fist, but before finishing and tightening the knot at the end, you slip in a dog treat (see step 5).
Collage by me / knot illustration via
For my monkey’s knot toy, I used three wraps per section of the toy pictured in this post, though you can wrap it as many times as you like (or can fit into your knot). Also, for the sake of demonstration, I used nylon rope for the photos since it had a bit of color to it.
When you finish your knot, trim any excess rope and remove the twist ties before giving the toy to your pups! I like to wrap dog presents in plain tissue paper & ribbon, no tape, so they can open them themselves… Nerd. Alert. Sorry.
If your dog struggles getting the treat out, you might want to throw them a bone (sorry again) and replace the treat with a fresh one every once in awhile. Gotta keep ’em entertained!
Super cool. Does the dog need to take the whole thing apart to get the treat or can it be used more than once?
It depends on how your dog gets to the treat. You can always retie the knot if they undo it entirely! One of my dogs is better than the other at solving treat puzzles, so she pops it out. The other dog just likes playing with the treatless rope ball.
Heidi, you said 105 inches (8.75 yd)… I’m not sure whether you meant 8.75 ft, or 315 inches…
105″/12″ = 8.75 ft…
105″/36″ = 2.91667 yd…
8.75 yd * 36″ = 315″..
I’m pretty sure you meant 8.75′, didn’t you?.
Yep – good catch!
I bought my cat a rope knot ball. He loves it! I’m going to try to make a few of these. He will be so happy!
Great DIY project! Would love to stuff a duck foot or beef back strap in there!
Are there any toxic ropes that we need to be aware of?
I’m not sure off the top of my head. I would consult with my vet if there were rope I was unsure of. I’d stick to cotton to play it safe.
Is there a way of tying this to be more difficult or impossible for dogs to unravel it?
You could experiment with trying knots other than the monkey’s fist for variation. Has your pooch out-clevered this one? :)
I can’t wait to try this! Just got a German shepherd puppy who is going to be GIANT. I’ll need to make one the size of my head. Thanks for saving my furniture and sanity. (He’s a good boy tho LOL!) I love wrapping their gifts too!!!
Hi Heidi, where do you purchase your cotton rope from? I am struggling to find any 1inch thick. Thanks.
Hi Lisa! I haven’t tried this particular rope myself, but it looks like Amazon carries cotton rope in various sizes, including 1 inch. Cheers!
How many knots where you able to make with the supplies listed above?
Just the one pictured. It’s about 9 inches in diameter.
My puppy had a plastic cat toy with a bell inside. He LOVED it, and would throw it around and chase it. He finally chewed it open, and I had to throw it away. I think I’ll make a few of these and put small jingle bells in them.
What a good idea! I love it – let me know what rope you end up using. :)
Thank you for this Heidi! This is such an easy and nice looking toy!
You’re welcome! :)
I like making toys for my two dogs so that I know what they are made out of. I mainly use cotton materials to keep them safe :)
This is simply remarkable. You can make it as big as you want or need, depending in the size of your furry loved one. Thanks for this great idea. Definitely going to try it with some treats inside. Supervised of course, wouldn’t want them to ingest the rope with all the excitement! Thanks again and good luck on your next project.