There is no “right” or “best” dog toy.
They all fulfill a part of a puppy’s (or dog’s) development. The different types of toys discussed will be rawhide chewies, tugs (both rubber and fiber), balls, and stuffed animals.
First, let’s take stuffed animals. It’s been said that when you buy a puppy, in order to help it adjust to being away from its mother stuffed animals can help. Take a clock that makes ticking noises and place it in a corner of the puppy’s box behind a stuffed toy. The puppy then thinks that the ticking is the sound of its mother’s heartbeat, and will settle down. By the time it eventually realizes differently, its become adapted to its new environment and no longer needs to be around it’s “security bear.”
Moving up in age, balls are the next really good thing. Puppies, by definition, are rambunctious and want to get into everything. The best toy that they can have (besides another dog/puppy) is a ball. Why? Not only can they chew on it (and not your furniture), but it rolls. When they run up to it and bat at it with their paws, the ball rolls and your puppy thinks its playing with something that’s alive. Balls can keep dogs occupied for over an hour before they get too tired to play with them anymore. Then they go to sleep, and you get a break.
Tugs are great toys when you want to play with your puppy (or there are other dogs around). I recommend fiber tugs since they help clean a dog’s teeth and since they don’t tear up so easily (many dogs feel compelled to treat their tugs as chews when no one’s around to play with). Nobody wants to clean up all the little pieces of rubber that your dog is bound to chew off the tug. Be careful when playing tug though since some breeds of dog have weaker jaws and teeth. In other words, don’t be as rowdy with a poodle as you can be with a bulldog.
Finally, as dogs either progress in age and lose their energy or simply don’t have anyone to play with chews become essential. Rawhide chews help relieve dogs of the “energy” that would otherwise unleash itself on your furniture. It’s best to invest a buck in some rawhides (many are flavored, too) than a hundred in new upholstery. Further, chewies help keep a dog’s teeth clean. This alone makes them a great investment.
In short, your dog has different needs and desires at different ages. A little knowledge and experimenting can make you and him happier.