Monday, November 24, 2014

Puzzle Toy Review: Kong Genius Mike

The Kong Genius Mike is one of two durable rubber roller puzzle toys in the Kong Genius toy line. It consists of a ribbed tube with cross-shaped openings in either end. The Kong Genius Mike can be combined with two Kong Genius Leo toys for an even more challenging puzzle. It is available in assorted colors and three sizes, small for dogs up to 20 pounds, large for dogs 15-40 pounds, and extra large for dogs over 35 pounds.
Photo by Erin Koski
Once upon a time, seven or eight years ago, Brisbane had a Canine Genius Leo toy. He was never that interested in it because he doesn't like to chomp on tough rubber toys, and one day he began actively avoiding it. I'm not sure what happened, but I assume he had some sort of bad experience. I eventually gave it to a friend. I was quite surprised when the Kong Genius toys hit the shelves of my local Petco a few years later, because I definitely remembered the toy being made by an independent company and not by Kong. The Canine Genius website is still up, but most of the links redirect elsewhere now.

I find the size recommendations on these kind of ridiculous. Our Mike toy is a Large, which puts Brisbane at the very top of the recommended range, and Uly over it. The XL is enormous, and I think the boys would enjoy the Small size more. They bat these around and roll them across the floor, but nobody is gnawing it. I cannot imagine a 25-pound dog being able to do anything but roll this toy around, they definitely couldn't compress it enough to get anything bigger than kibble out.

Puzzle Toy Rating

Capacity: 5/5
I can fit at least a cup of food in here, maybe two.

Loading Speed: 3/5
It should totally work with a bottle funnel, except that the food falls out the other side immediately. I can either jam a few larger treats in there (which I will have to pry out later because the dogs can't get them) or attempt to wedge the funnel in the opening while holding the toy at an angle and...nope.

Unloading Speed (standard dog): 5/5
It takes Uly something like 15 minutes or more to get half a cup of kibble out.

Unloading Speed (superdog): 4/5
Brisbane is adept at emptying the toy and figuring out which treats cannot be removed without brute force, but it still takes him a good while to get even a few treats out.

Size: 4/5
I really think the size limits on these things are too cautious and I would have no problem giving my dogs the small size for dogs under 20 pounds. The XL toys are just huge. According to the size chart there should be Kong Genius toys for every size of dog, but the small feels too big for toy breeds.

Durability: 5/5
This toy probably can't handle extended chewing by a dedicated dog, but the durable rubber should stand up to quite a bit of gnawing.

Noise: 5/5
This toy is intended to roll, but the rubber makes it quiet on my raised foundation and hardwood floors. The dogs don't tend to fling it, and they are silent when emptying it inside a crate.

Locatability: 3/5
Rolls, fits under furniture, and small enough to carry. I haven't lost it yet because I keep pretty close tabs on food toys right now, but it's only a matter of time.

Washability: 4/5
Dishwasher safe (grumble grumble) and a bottle brush and some soap work too. This toy is intended for kibble so it shouldn't get too gross anyway.

Hoardability: 4/5
Small enough to carry, Brisbane likes to take this to a bed to empty.

Total: 42/50

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