Thursday, March 6, 2014

Puzzle Toy! Treat Jack

Brisbane didn't eat out of a bowl for the first few years of his life. I firmly believe that just handing a dog a bowl of food is a waste of a perfectly good opportunity for enrichment. Briz is incredibly intelligent, and defeats most food toys in a matter of minutes. I like to keep him busy by trying new and different toys whenever I find them.

This is the Grriggles FUNdamentals Treat Jack. It is made from sturdy nylon (or maybe plastic, not totally sure there
is actually a difference) and is not tooth-cracking hard. It kind of reminds me of a Nylabone. Each side has triangular flaps forming a half sphere. The flaps are somewhat flexible, but didn't bend enough for me to shove a California Naturals biscuit through them. I could wedge the cookie halfway in. I could also drop pieces of kibble through the flaps without needing to bend them. I'm not entirely certain I could stuff this thing with peanut butter without getting it everywhere.

I originally shoved a couple of biscuits in the thing so they were sticking out. Brisbane rolled the toy around for a few minutes before picking it up by one of its arms and taking it to his livingroom lair. He had it emptied in maybe a minute. Next I tried a few pieces of kibble, he rolled it around and found that they fell out with minimal effort. Again, emptied in minutes. This is a nice quiet toy, we have some hard plastic kibble-dropping toys that are incredibly noisy so this was a nice change.

The Treat Jack doesn't have much capacity, it might take a quarter cup of kibble at most, dropped in one piece at a time. Capacity and loading versus unloading time are my biggest considerations for puzzle toys. Can I fit an entire meal in it? Does it take more time for me to fill then it does for the dog to empty it? This partly depends on the dog.

Josie was my next product tester, she spent several minutes sniffing and licking the toy before she experimented with nosing it around the floor. Once she discovered that it dropped food, she spent ten minutes carefully rolling the jack and eating the kibble one piece at a time. Josie has a very thoughtful and logical approach to food toys, and if getting the food out is too difficult she is likely to give up. I kind of assume this is what life is like with a normal dog. Brisbane is more of a frantic dog-genius who can empty anything in mere moments and quickly gets frustrated if he can't figure it out instantly. Obviously different toys get different results for these two. Meanwhile, Ru will barely eat enough to survive when coaxed, bribed, and forced. If he had to work for it he'd probably just starve.

Puzzle Toy Rating

Capacity: 1/5
This is about a small as it gets.

Loading Speed: 1/5
One. Kibble. At. A. Time.

Unloading Speed (standard dog): 3/5
Not bad.

Unloading Speed: (superdog): 1/5
Took longer to stuff than it did for him to empty.

Durability: 4/5
Ru the chihuahua is my only recreational chewer so this is really just a guess. I suspect a really powerful chewer would have those little arms off in a few minutes, but otherwise is seems pretty sturdy.

Size: 4/5
If Ru cared about puzzle toys he could probably manage to enjoy this one, and it didn't seem undersized for Josie either. I wouldn't give it to a power-chewing bulldog or a Great Dane.

Noise: 5/5
Brisbane brought it out to join us while we were watching a movie and the toy was totally silent while he rolled it around.

Locatability: 5/5
Briz carried it around a bit, but it isn't going to roll under the furniture and disappear forever.

Total: 24/40
I'm not going to be feeding meals out of this thing, or expecting it to hold their attention in a stressful situation, but it's a novely that can keep them quietly occupied for a few minutes at least.

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