Saturday, December 11, 2010

Boredom Busters

Last week Abbey and I went shopping for dog toys, at our local Pet Food Express (in Campbell) . They have a great range of products and the store is laid out in such a way that I don’t feel confined.

Abbey loves shopping there; it’s always a big adventure for her. I'm always on the lookout for extra tough toys for our dogs. I used to think Abbey was bad enough, but after we adopted Jake, we seem to have a shortage of toys. The only survivors are a couple of black kongs and one or two nylabones. Jake is a very powerful chewer and no toys seem to be safe from him!

Last week, I talked to a sales assistant who has three pit bulls of his own. He seemed to understand exactly the pit falls of the breed and how tough they are on their toys. He gave me a tour of the store and showed me which toys he had tried and liked for his own dogs. I now have a few new toys to try out. And the bonus! He said that if I’m not happy with the toys I can always return them for an exchange, even when it’s damaged. I was thinking, don’t tempt me! I could be here every other day, exchanging toys J

Three of my favorite boredom busters for Jake and Abbey include; the Premier 'Twist n' Treat', The StarMark Bob-A-Lot and The Buster Cube. What they all have in common is that you can fill them with dog treats or kibble and then the dogs have to work to get the treats out.

The first toy that we bought for Abbey was the  Twist n' Treat LARGE (about $13) by Premier. We used this product in two ways. Firstly, by placing a small handful of kibble inside, it would make Abbey work a little bit harder to get her treats. When Abbey got overexcited we used to put Abbey's complete meal inside. Doing this allowed Abbey to focus on something else and allowed her to calm herself down.

We had this product for several months and used it frequently when Abbey was growing up. Than we tried it with Jake, and well you can see the results below.

Premier Twist (as tested by Jake)
I guess Jake got bored or frustrated and took his frustration out on the 'Twist n' Treat', Jake proved that the Twist n' Treat, doesn't stand up to powerful chewers.

The Bob-A-Lot Interactive Pet Toy by Starmark (about $20), has a larger capacity (up to 3 cups of kibble) and it's a little harder to shake out the treats than the Twist n' Treat. Abbey loves the challenge and enjoys playing with this toy (sometime we mix in some cat kibble for extra flavor). But she doesn't appreciate it when we give her full meal this way, she finds it too hard and too time consuming to get all her food and oftens leaves a 1/4 to a 1/3 of her food behind.

At first Jake didn't know what to do with this toy, he knew that the tasty treats were inside, but he didn't know how to get them out. So we got Abbey to demonstrate. Than he started to enjoy playing with it. Unfortunately Jake discovered a second use for this toy. When he's done emptying it of kibble, he uses it as a chew toy. Considering Jake's been using it for the last four months, it's still holding up pretty well.

The video below shows Jake and Abbey having fun with the Bob-A-Lot:

The latest toy that we've bought is the Buster Food Cube Large (about $17). It runs on a similar principal to Bob-A-Lot, except that the Buster Cube has a smaller capacity. Both dogs enjoy playing with Buster Cube. Fingers crossed, but so far Jake hasn't been able to fit this toy inside his mouth, the lack of teeth marks appear to confirm this.

Here's Abbey showing her skills with the toy, she's very good at sending the cube flying across the room, and emptying the cube of treats.

Finally, here's Jake showing off his skills with The Buster Cube:

Feel free to add comments with your successes (and failures) in the dog toy department.

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