Sunday, November 9, 2014

Puzzle Toy Review: Busy Buddy Magic Mushroom

The Busy Buddy Magic Mushroom is a disappointingly non-psychedelic purple puzzle toy by Premier. It is wonderfully challenging for Brisbane, and almost easy enough for Ulysses to use. The Magic Mushroom comes in two sizes for smaller dogs and larger dogs. Ours is the larger size.
Photo by Erin Koski

As far as food-dispensing puzzle toys go, this one is my absolute favorite. It is the best thing ever. It can be loaded in seconds with an entire cup of kibble, the difficulty level can be adjusted to dispense food with more or less effort, it rolls quietly across my hardwood floors, and the entire thing can be taken apart and scrubbed thoroughly. As an added bonus, it has a ridiculous name and is purple. I don't think I would be nearly as drawn to this toy if it were, say, yellow and named The Food Ball. I don't think Brisbane actually cares about any of this, but Premier knows they have to get me, the human, to buy their toys. Premier is pretty good at appealing to me, the human.
Photo by Erin Koski

One of the things I love about the Magic Mushroom is that it requires more than one movement to get the food out of the toy. The bottom of the toy unscrews to allow a bunch of food to be scooped in, and there are three holes at the top for dispensing food when the shroom is turned upside down. Without the mushroom cap, this would be a somewhat easy bobbing puzzle toy. The half-sphere mushroom cap is what makes this toy magical, while the shroom is weighted, it isn't nearly as heavy as the Starmark Bob-a-Lot, or even the Kong Wobbler. As a result, the Magic Mushroom spends as much time upside down as it does rightside up. The kibble-dispensing holes in the shroom are located underneath the cap, so the food falls into the cap and the toy must be rolled upright again before dispensing its payload.
Photo by Erin Koski

The fact that this toy requires to separate actions to solve makes it absolutely fascinating to Brisbane.

Puzzle Toy Rating

Capacity: 5/5
I can fit at least a cup of kibble in there, probably more. Definitely way more than anyone here eats at a time.

Loading Speed: 5/5
Unscrew the huge base, dump in kibble, done.

Unloading Speed (standard dog): 5/5
On the easiest setting, this one is very challenging for Ulysses. He is likely to need a break before he empties half a cup of kibble out of it.
Photo by Erin Koski

Loading Speed (superdog): 5/5
Not only does this toy take 30+ minutes for Briz to empty, it keeps him happily engaged the entire time.

Size: 4/5
I wouldn't give the large shroom to a giant dog, but the small one is certainly reasonably-sized for a toy dog like Ru. Actually there's no reason he can't use the large one, either.

Durability: 5/5
Our shroom came from a thrift store and I have no idea how much abuse it took before arriving here. For hard plastic, this thing seems to absorb a lot of shock without clattering around horribly like our Kong Satellite.
Photo by Erin Koski
Noise: 4/5
It's not dead quiet, but pretty close. I'm impressed how little noise this makes on my raised-foundation hard floors.

Locatability: 5/5
Doesn't fit under the couch, and I always find it right in the middle of the room.

Washability: 5/5
The whole thing comes apart into four pieces for perfect scrubbing access. It's also top rack dishwasher safe, but this is one toy that I can get squeaky clean just hand washing.

Hoardability: 1/5
Briz can't actually pick this one up, so it never ends up in a crate or on the bed.

Total: 44/50

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