Monday, July 21, 2014

Product Review: TugAway Bungee Reward Pouch

The TugAway Bungee Reward Pouch is a tug toy with features. The nylon bungee handle is attached to a velcro pouch that is covered with real fur. It comes in several colors and with different bits of real animals, I've seen them in bunny, bison, coyote, and sheepskin.
Photo by Erin Koski

This toy is clearly designed with Brisbane in mind, because I haven;t found anything that he goes quite as crazy for. Sure, he likes to tug, but the TugAway really ups the ante. First, it's basically an extremely sturdy pouch that closes tightly with velcro all the way across the opening so that no treats can leak out at all. This means I can stuff it with the most horrible, smelly, godawful treats on earth to make it uber-motivating.
Photo by Erin Koski

Second, the TugAway is covered with actual dead animal. Brisbane has bunny fur. Between that and the treat smell, this toy gives him an instant case of crazy-eyes. The rabbit skin isn't totally durable, he has managed to rip a big hole in it so the toy looks extremely ratty, but this has not decreased his motivation in the slightest.

Third, the TugAway has a bungee handle. This means that it creates tugging action like a springpole, storing some of the energy Briz exerts and uses it to tug back so I can use less effort to swing him around by his face.

Photo by Erin Koski
Pros: Where to begin? The sealed pouch means I can use food as a motivator along with the toy. I can toss it in front of him and have him run to it and then open it and give him the treats. It's sturdy enough that he can't get to the food on his own in the time it takes for me to catch up and open it for him. The bunny fur probably taps into the part of his brain that we normally only use when hunting gophers.

Cons: I'm told that when the dog lets go the bungee effect can cause the toy to snap back and hit the handler in the face, but Briz doesn't willingly let go of it so I wouldn't know. Bunny fur isn't the toughest material out there, and bit of it are currently blowing across my lawn. The slightly-shredded pelt and general disorderly appearance of the TugAway is kind off gross for non-dog people. I suspect the velcro fabric pouch concept goes over best with herding breeds, retrievers, and other dogs who are on board with the concept of humans solving their problems for them. I think a more independent dog would just take off with it and shred it at their leisure, but I have not actually experienced this because I'm not a big fan of primitive/Nordic/hound/terrier breeds.

Bottom Line: At agility class I carry this thing draped over my belt like a sordid trophy. It's slightly macabre, just the way I like things. Also, Brisbane wants to bite it more than he wants to bite almost anything else. Best tug toy ever, I just have to keep it out of his reach when we're not training.

No comments:

Post a Comment