Introduction: Make a Rope Dog Toy

Picture of Make a Rope Dog Toy

Our dog Dodger will rip apart normal dog toys in about 15 minutes. "Indestructable toys" take a little longer ;)

I learned how to make a monkey fist knot at a juggling festival a few years ago -- just for fun I made Dodger a toy out of rope that managed to keep him busy for at least a few days...

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Rope: At least 10.5 feet of 3/8" diamond braid rope -- about 4.5' for the monkey fist knot and 3 feet (X2) for the braid on each end. It's better to start with a much longer piece of rope, tie/position the monkey fist knot, and then trim off the long side. Also, forming the monkey first takes more rope (~6'), which is then tightened down to 4.5'.

Scissors or a sharp knife to cut the rope (Be carefull!)

Lighter to melt the rope ends, to prevent fraying.

Step 2: Monkey First Knot

Picture of Monkey First Knot

A monkey fist knot is basically three (or more) turns of rope, three more turns around the first three, and a final set of three more turns locking them all together.

Two good sites (with pictures) of how to make a monkey first knot are: and

Start about 10 feet from the end of the rope -- this'll give you about 6' for forming the knot + 3' for the end braid + 1' for tightening...

The initial knot has to be pretty loose, otherwise you'll never be able to feed the last three loops through the knot.

To tighten the knot, start with the rope at one end of the knot. Almost as if you were trying to untie the knot, push/pull the rope into the knot, creating a loop. Following the path of the rope, push/pull the loop through the entire knot, pulling the loops tighter as you go.

Cut/trim the rope as needed to end up with a monkey-fist knot in the middle of two 3' ends of rope.

Step 3: Cleaning Up the Rope Ends

Picture of Cleaning Up the Rope Ends

I like to remove some of the rope core before fusing the ends of the rope.
Pull the braided covering back from the end, exposing the core.
Cut off an inch or so of the core.
Pull the braided covering back over the end of the core.
Use the lighter to fuse the covering together.

Step 4: Braid Knot the Rope Ends

Picture of Braid Knot the Rope Ends

You could stop here, but making a braid knot out of each end of the rope makes a better/thicker handle for the toy. A braid knot is a way of braiding a single rope.

Loop one end around twice to form the three strands you'll be braiding (see the picture).

Start braiding the three strands near the monkey first knot.
As you braid, the other end of the rope will become tangled -- after a few plaits, stop to untangle the ends, then continue braiding.

Step 5: Done!

Picture of Done!

Make a braid knot on the other end of the rope, and you're done!

Step 6: Play!

Picture of Play!


niro230184 (author)2017-08-10

Thank you for this information.

cameron l (author)2015-08-09

reply to

cameron l (author)2015-08-09

how do you make rope in to a mega twist rope 2 balls? :)

Bobey (author)2014-07-23

Cool Aussie

LabKeeper (author)Bobey2015-05-10

Came across this site......not sure if it's still up and running as the posts are somewhat dated. My question is: when making a rope chew toy, is there a recommended rope material that will not harm the dog if ingested?

Replies to:

Mauigerbil (author)2011-07-31

now i feel stupid :( I bought one of these for my beagle and basset hound 6 months ago. I will try this once I get the rope. They love it when I put just a dab of peanut butter on it XD

hmrk (author)2011-07-31


mattrush (author)2011-07-02

A really good idea, came up with this one a few weeks back, although similar slightly different, but credit goes to you for the idea. Thanks very much

hjjusa (author)2011-06-10

My Blue Heeler tears toys apart in minutes. I took one of those squeaker thingamajigs from one of the toys she tore apart and slit a smal tennis ball, put it in a monkey fist and she loves it.

timbit1985 (author)hjjusa2011-06-27

You might not know this, but the surface on tennis balls is similar to sand-paper. Even the ones sold in pet stores as a pet toy. This sand paper like surface can quickly wear away the enamel on your dog's teeth. I'd recommend something like a hockey ball instead.

Also, the technical term for a squeaky toy is....get ready for OOEY :P

liamchappell97 (author)2011-01-03

Is your puppy a Australain Sheperd? I have a mini version of those. xD I was just wondering. Love the toy, I'm sure it'll be great for my dog. ^ ^

mik3 (author)liamchappell972011-01-11

He's a mini Australian Shepherd too. Very playful, and sometimes a little too smart for his own good!

djlewis725 (author)2010-01-27

does anyone have an instructable for and indestructable dog toy?! my MALTESE can take a kong apart in like 10 minutes!

me to

bobert610 (author)2010-02-03

 Thanks for the site mate!  the second one was easier.  i've been looking everywhere for a simple set of instructions!

Naz_23 (author)2010-01-18

 i made this for my dog and she loves it! she is really destructive and it can withstand her so it really is a good toy for big dogs, but if you have a smaller dog ( i have a smaller dog also) maybe try using less rope because it is quite big. overall an awsum toy  good job

andyboy (author)2010-01-10

I just finished one.  Tightening the monkey fist was the worst part.  I'll test it tomorrow at our dog park.

Mirror Mage (author)2009-09-11

Nice Dog

mwolfgang (author)2009-01-25

Cool beans!
I had some of the same rope left over from making some long lines for dog training. (I'll have to post that as an instructable. ~$20 for 4 vs $20-$40 each from a pet supply store or online.)
I think this toy would be good to train tracking or retrieving. You could either put something soaked in a scent inside the monkey fist (You'd have to leave the knot a little loose.) or soak it with scent. I also think the braided parts are a pretty good analogue for wings. If you wanted to train water retrieving you could possibly tighten the monkey fist around something buoyant enough to make it float.

Here's my effort:

WolfVecho (author)mwolfgang2009-07-05

tie a small perforated container inside the monkey fist, just leave the cap sticking out so you can put your scented cloth or tissues inside.

danlab (author)mwolfgang2009-04-25

I've made similar things with a tennis ball in the monkeys fist, which should keep it from sinking (although I would test it since the braids may make this toy hevier and could make it sink).

awang8 (author)2009-02-10

Cool! I'm so making one of these when I get my puppy soon.

watermelonhead (author)2009-01-03

my dogs are uberdestructive- we gave them a stuffed dog toy and it was in shreds in minutes! this looks like a great idea.

dooncy (author)2008-11-04


skimboarder33 (author)2008-06-25

would you mind help me on my new Instructable tips on dog toys that really work I already posted it but I still need some ideas on homemade toys could anyone here go to my Instructable and add a comment on it thank you

skimboarder33 (author)2008-06-01

no its not photoshoped the dog just is only using 1 side of its mouth its just the way the dog grabbed it. have you seen my Instructable on dogs?

GorillazMiko (author)2008-04-03

Nice job, and great photos! That last picture somehow looks photoshoped or something at the mouth of the dog...

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