Ruff Wear Hydro Plane

I was hoping to hold off doing this review until summer. After all the Ruff Wear Hydro Plane is a soft disc that is (according to Ruff Wear’s website) “built for dogs that love to play fetch in or around water”.  Cassie and Moxie got this toy for Christmas, a present from my sister in Seattle and her two Shiloh Shepherds.  Each dog got one.  Honestly, the toy is so lightweight, I was afraid the dogs would destroy it before spring, so we put one toy away for pool use, and kept one out for the dogs to play with in the house.

Ruff Dawg K-9 Flyer

It’s back!  Last week, I started to post about our favorite winter toy, the Ruff Dawg K-9 Flyer.  Unfortunately, before I had a chance to take many pictures, the toy went missing!  We eventually found it, trapped under the deck, where I presumed it would stay until the snow melts, sometime in July by the looks of things here in Boston.

Kyjen Hide-A-Squirrel Puzzle Toy

Kyjen Hide-A-Squirrel Puzzle Toy

I love the idea of puzzle toys for dogs.  Dog toys that exercise the brain and give the dog a challenge to work through can be beneficial in many ways:

  • Help dogs learn to focus on a task for extended periods
  • Teach targeting to specific objects
  • Provide interactive playtime for dog and owner
  • Occupy a dog for a while when you are busy
  • Build self confidence for succeeding in a task

I’m sure others can add to this list.  One of the first puzzle toys I can remember was the Buster Cube… remember that one?  It was a hard plastic cube with an adjustable hole that dispensed treats when the dog moved it, dropped it, rolled it.  I think we still have it here, somewhere. My dog Seamus loved it.  It was a noisy toy, unless used outside on the grass on in a carpeted room.  But of course, Seamus loved to carry it into the kitchen and drop it on the hard wood floor to make it bounce and release more treats.  It drove me crazy after a while!

Lately, some interesting puzzle toys have hit the market and we are hoping to try out a few of them.  Our first puzzle toy is the Kyjen Hide-A-Squirrel, which is a plush toy “tree trunk” with holes and three little squeakered squirrels (that look more like chipmunks to me) that you can “hide” in the trunk.  The dog is supposed to figure out how to get the squirrels out of the holes. Read more

Woodland Amigos by “think! dog play”

Woodland Amigos cheap toy at Costco

Durability Rating: [Rating:1/5]

I’m a sucker for cheap stuff, I admit, so when I saw the Woodland Amigos 3 Pack Dog Toys by “think! dog play” on sale at Costco (with a coupon) for about $5.00, it seemed like a slam dunk.  Especially since the box stated, “Pet parents suggested – We listened! Now you can have these great toys with reinforced fabric, making the toys much more durable! Enjoy!”

It was cheap and they stated the toys were durable… I took the bait.  Silly me!

I gave the three toys to the dogs last night around 7:30… by 8:30, the stuffing was already flying.  First, Cassie bit the little tails off, then went for the jugular to get the squeaker.  Once she had gotten inside, I took a look at the “reinforced fabric.”  Yes, there was a second bit of thin fabric in there… I suppose that is what they mean by reinforced.  Also the squeakers were sewed into a fabric pouch, which made it easier to get them away from the dogs before they chewed the plastic squeaker.

But, holy cow, there’s a lot of stuffing to pull out of these toys!  Stuffing was everywhere!  When Moxie shook the toy, it reminded me of one of those pillow fights you see on tv… it was practically snowing fluff in my living room!

Three dead amigos and a big pile of amigo guts

I am still picking up stuffing, but I wanted to show you the pile so far.   The dogs had a blast killing these toys, don’t get me wrong.   But even at $5.00, these toys have an extremely short shelf life, and a big mess to pick up.  Save your money!

Interestingly, on the bottom of the box, it states, “CAUTION: It is recommended that dogs be supervised when playing with all toys.  Remove the toy from the pet immediately if any part becomes loose or detached. This product is not to be consumed.”  Do all pet toy manufacturers use the same lawyers?

PawTracks TireBiter by Mammoth Pet Products

Durability Rating: [Rating:1/5]

PawTracks TireBiter

Important note: We have gotten a lot of comments of dogs becoming sick after playing with this toy!  For more information, see our followup post and comments from other readers.

The PawTracks TireBiter, from Mammoth Pet Products, has been in the dog toy basket since Cassie was a puppy. It’s basically an 8″ mini rubber reinforced tire with lots of nubbys like an actual car tire. It’s very durable, and is one of the oldest toys in the bin.  So from a durability standpoint only, it’s a great choice.  I’m sure there are dogs that absolutely love this toy.  As you can see from the photo, it’s got quite a few teeth marks in it, but it’s in great shape even after 3 years.

Our dogs, however, rarely choose this toy to play with or chew.  They are willing to play with it if I select it and roll it around for them, but they don’t pick it out on their own.  Plus, they’ll switch to another toy if they have the opportunity.

I think the problem with this toy is the rubber smell. It is, after all, a real tire, and has that strong oily petroleum odor that doesn’t go away.  The toy smells like a gas station.  If I think this toy has a strong odor, I can only imagine how a dog’s sensitive nose reacts to it. They just don’t like it!

The TireBiter is also a heavy toy, making it a less than ideal interactive toy to play with in the house… it tends to land hard and bounce when thrown or rolled, so we need to be careful where we toss this toy for the dogs.  It’s a much better outside toy, but because of the nubby texture, it gets filthy from being in the yard, and then I don’t even want to pick it up!

Finally, in researching this toy, I looked at other people’s reviews on this product and saw quite a few people complain that their dogs were sick after chewing this toy, so please do your research before buying.

I’d love to hear if other people have tried this toy and have had a more positive experience with it.  It’s a great idea for a toy, but just not that appealing in our home.

Important note: We have gotten a lot of comments of dogs becoming sick after playing with this toy!  For more information, see our followup post and comments from other readers.