Zanies Ripstop Training Dummy

We bought two of the Zanies Ripstop Training Dummies, thinking that they wouldn’t last very long.  Cassie loves to jump off the diving board to retrieve toys, so we wanted to try this out as a pool toy, but didn’t have high expectations based on the fairly inexpensive price.  Well, price and durability don’t always go hand in hand, and this toy is a wonderful example.

We have been delighted with the durability of this toy!  It has lasted a full summer of both dogs retrieving it out of the pool, so it has been left out wet, exposed to chlorine and sun.  It still floats, hasn’t gotten moldy or smelly and is still the hands down favorite pool toy.

The Zanies Rip Stop Dummy is a pool toy favorite

The dummy has also been used extensively as a tug toy, especially when both dogs vie for the same toy… they’ll both grab onto the same toy and swim back to the edge of the pool, climb out and hang on for dear life… the first dog to shake loses!

The material is a durable nylon exterior with a foam interior for floatability.  After a summer of use, there are some small punctures and a definite decline in the stability of the fabric, but both toys are still useaable.  We recommend this toy for pool dogs.  It is a bit expensive to try bringing to the beach, however.  We’ve had dog toys wash away in the surf, so for the beach, we stick to very cheap tennis balls or sticks.

Rubber Chicken by Zanies

The Rubber Chicken by Zanies is a surprisingly durable toy that is truly a bargain dog toy that has lasted months.  Made of 100% Natural Latex Rubber, the toy is a 24 inch wiggly, shakeable, throwable toy that has gotten a lot of play.

Cassie likes to shake it so much, she ends up flogging herself!  Moxie chooses this toy quite often to initiate tug games with Cassie, and the rubber is pretty stretchy with a lot of give to it.  It is also a great toy for playing catch because it is floppy and unpredictable.

The only downside to this toy (as with all rubber toys) is it tends to get slimy after a few minutes.  Cassie and Moxie don’t mind of course, but I do!

This rubber chicken by Zanies is a great bargain!

After over 8 months of hard play, this toy is still kicking.  Granted it has a few punctures in the rubber, but overall, I can’t complain.  And for the price, we sure have gotten our money’s work.  Well done, Zanies!

Kong Braidz

Durability Rating:[Rating:1/5]
Kong is well known for it’s great rubber products and chew toys, and we’ve used Kongs for our dogs to help keep them occupied when they are teething and during crate training and other times when we want them busy but quiet.  Our original Kong, which is over 15 years old, is still in the toy crate.  Now that’s a durable toy!

The Kong Braidz, however are a totally different story.  To be fair, they are not billed on their tags as being tough, but their website states they are for dogs who “like to tug, shake and squeak their toys.  Their soft but strong material is tightly braided for strength creating the cutest tug toy on the market.

Kong Braidz: Not at all tough!

The sales staff at the pet store recommended this toy as a good choice for dogs that are tough on toys, so I decided to give it a try, although I had my doubts.  The toy has not lasted at all, and within a week of play, it is ready for the trash can.  The toy is in many pieces, some of which have already been tossed, the braiding is unraveling quickly and this toy will very quickly be gone.  For $10.99, I was expecting more!

While we love the original Kong products, the Braidz Toys are not recommended for the tough dogs.  Save your money.

Tuffy SEA Creatures

VIP Products featuring the Tuff Scale Ranking
Durability Rating:[Rating:3.5/5]

VIP Products states they have the “World’s Most Durable Soft Dog Toy”  They put a lot of information on their tags and even more on their website about the durability of their toys.  They even offer a “Tuff Scale” Ranking to help dog owners know what the toy is intended for and how durable it is.  VIP Products offer the following information on their website about the SEA Creatures Shark:

For interactive play with one or multiple dogs. This toy will entertain dogs who like to whip their toys and play fetch for hours! Easy to toss and Floats! — soft edges won’t hurt gums. Each Sea Creature toy is made with 4 layers. 2 layers are made of industrial grade luggage material, 1 layer of plastic coating, and the other layer is made of soft fleece on the outside. All of these layers are sewn together to make one super strong layer of material. Each toy is sewn together with 2 layers of cross stitching and then 2 layers of linear stitching. After the toy is sewn together an additional piece of black trim is added to cover the four rows of stitching. This extra piece of black trim is sewn with 3 linear stitches to give the product a total of 7 seams! These toys are machine washable (air dry) and float.

SEA Creature Shark: Weakest in the Jaws!

The SEA Creature Shark is given a Tuff Scale Ranking of 7, meaning “A really tough toy, but still vulnerable”.  Fair enough.  We thought we’d give a try, based on good luck with other toys from this company.

Both dogs love the toy and we’ve had a great time playing catch and hide and seek with the toy.  The dogs also play tug and keep away with the toy.  It gets a lot of play here!

Funny enough, the Jaws is the weakest link in this toy. After several days, the dogs had torn the mouth, which has 2 layers of material, and pulled out the squeaker and stuffing.  However, the rest of the toy has remained intact for over a month now and still gets play.  Of course it no longer squeaks, but it is still chosen quite often for tugging play.

We really like this brand of dog toys, and appreciate the Tuff Scale Ranking, so we are looking forward to trying out more of their tougher toys.  And on that note, check out a very cool feature of their website — a Toy Tester program! You can sign up to be a toy tester on a monthly or bi-monthly basis and get their toys for 50% off! Once you have signed up, you can add products to your wish list and then select your shipping date.  I’ve signed up for the program and am starting with some Tuff Scale 9 and 10 Ranked toys, and will report back on how we make out.  What a great marketing program and a great bargain as well!

Go Dog Baby Dragon

Go Dog brand toys featuring the “super tough Chew Guard Technology

Durability Rating:[Rating:2.5/5]

I bought the Go Dog  Baby Dragon with Chew Guard Technology from a local pet store.  It was recommended as a good choice for tough dogs.  My dogs are tough on toys, and I’m willing to pay extra for a toy that will last.

Go Dog’s label states: What is Chew Guard Technology?  Chew Guard Technology is a proprietary manufacturing process that adds a super tough, durable liner to every toy.  The Chew Guard lining was specially engineered to withstand the daily rigors of a dog’s play.  Dogs are touch but Chew Guard is tougher!  All seams are double stitched and reinforced as well.  Chew Guard Technology will stand up to your toughest chewer.”

Well that sounded promising!  I had Moxie with me at the store and she loved the pink Baby Dragon, so we took it home.  She loved the toy!  Cassie loved it too, and the toy was a big hit for the night.  They each had time with it, and we played hide and seek with it, they tugged it together, and we used it as a toss toy.  Of course they also chewed on it and carried it around the house playing keep away with each other.

After about an hour of play, there was a 1 inch circular hole in the middle of the dragon’s belly, and Cassie has succeeded in taking out the squeaker.  The squeaker is a foam encased plastic squeaker, wrapped in a plastic bag casing… definitely not something you’d want your dog to get into unattended.

Go Baby toy after just 3 hours

The toy is not completely ruined.  I’m sure they will keep playing with it.  However, for $16.99, I expected more.  What we have after three hours of play is equal to what would be left of a MUCH cheaper toy without the Chew Guard Technology.  So I’m disappointed in the toy, even though the dogs were delighted with it.

I found the company’s website at and sent them the following email.

Hi, I bought one of your chew guard toys (770638) yesterday for my dogs who are tough on toys.  The toy lasted less than an hour of tugging play between them.  I now have a toy with a 1 inch hole in the side, and the squeaker is taken out.  The dogs loved the toy, but stating that the toy is super tough and showing two dogs tugging with it leads me to believe the toy is tough!  One hour for a toy is just not worth the $16.99 I paid for it… do you offer refunds? Thanks.

From the company I received back:

We cannot offer a refund as we were not the ones to charge you.  We do, however, offer a one time, no charge replacement on our Chew Guard toys.  For this I would just need you to email me a picture of the damaged toy, along with your mailing address.  I can send you out a different toy to try out that also has the Chew Guard technology to see if it works out better for your dog.

That was about 3 weeks ago… haven’t received anything yet, but will keep you posted.  Meanwhile, the toy is completely free of stuffing and the edges are chewed, but the dogs are still playing with it.