Thursday, November 13, 2014

Puzzle Toy Review: Kyjen Doggy Blocks Spinner

The Kyjen Doggy Blocks Spinner is a hard plastic board game puzzle toy. The puzzle includes four removable square blocks that each hide a food compartment. Once all blocks have been removed, the yellow disc on top spins freely to reveal four more small treat compartments.
Photo by Erin Koski

Solving this puzzle takes a similar set of skills as solving the Yin-Yang-Yum, though I think this one may be easier. For starters, the colored cups sit a little looser in their holes, making it easier for the dog to wiggle them around and realize they can be picked up. The top disc on this one also spins very easily once the cups are removed, and the thin yellow disc seems to be more intuitive than the thicker lids of the Star Spinner or Yin-Yang. Both Brisbane and Ulysses figured out right away that spinning the disc would uncover the treats.
Photo by Erin Koski

Ulysses still hasn't quite figured out how to pick up the blocks to uncover the food, but I think he might be getting closer with the Doggy Blocks Spinner. The square blocks seem easier to pick up than round cups. I usually pick up the blocks to show him the treats first, and sometimes I even put the blocks on the floor by themselves with treats underneath to help him with the concept. He has seen this toy once now, and the Yin-Yang several times and he might be starting to catch on.
Photo by Erin Koski

Puzzle Toy Rating

Capacity: 3/5
It holds a bit more than half a cup of kibble, far more than my monsters usually eat at once.

Loading Speed: 5/5
Pick up blocks, spin disc, dump in food, reassemble. There's a lot of parts, but zero effort.

Unloading Speed (standard dog): 5/5
Ulysses might starve if this was his only dinner option. It takes him 10-20 minutes to solve this puzzle depending on how much I help.

Unloading Speed (superdog): 4/5
Brisbane solves the Doggy Blocks by methodically moving each block, with no hesitation. Still, it takes him a good five minutes or more to completely open the thing. I could put just one treat in there, in one of the compartments under the disc, and it would still take him almost as long.

Size: 4/5
A huge dog might have trouble getting the blocks into his mouth. A tiny one may also have the same issue, though I'm pretty sure Ru could dig the blocks out of here if he really wanted to.

Durability: 2/5
The hard plastic won't stand up to chewing, and the yellow disc is pretty flimsy. Both Brisbane and Uly first tried to move it by bending it away from the blue base instead of spinning. That said, this is a supervision only toy anyway, so nobody is suggesting a dog be left unattended with it. This is an interactive toy that we use with me sitting on the floor cheerleading.

Noise: 4/5
Put it on a rug and it's pretty darned quiet. Rubber feet on the bottom keep it from sliding too much. It does have the potential to make a racket though, given how much the dogs want to violently shove it backwards across the room with their front feet.

Locatability: 4/5
While this is a supervision-only toy, it also has four, count them, four removable pieces. We generally get this out and play with it and then stick it back in the toybox but...it's really only a matter of time until one of those boxes wanders off. (Does anybody else have a Monopoly game in their closet that's missing the shoe? It's like that.) This is an even greater certainty in households with dogs that enjoy hiding things.

Washability: 4/5
Dishwasher safe, blah blah. Also not terribly annoying to hand scrub and dry, this is where those removable blocks are kind of helpful.

Hoardability: 1/5
This is a supervision-only toy so there will be no hoarding.

Total: 36/50

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