Sunday, March 5, 2017

Tikr by Sbark

Sbark has invented the most amazing puzzle toy, Tikr is a super-durable food-dispensing toy that opens with a timer. It's like an egg timer and a Kong Wobbler that dispenses different types of treats at different times. You can set the timer for up to 45 minutes, and the toy will open bit by bit, allowing the goodies out.
Timed treat-dispensing toy for keeping dogs busy.
Photo by Erin Koski

 A Kong and a Egg Timer

I got to meet the inventors of the Tikr at SuperZoo 2016, and hear firsthand how they came up with this idea. They had been using regular Kongs for years to keep their dogs busy. You know the drill, stuff it with goodies and watch your dog empty it out in a few minutes. You can freeze it for a longer unstuffing session, but your dog is still going to empty it in well under an hour.

The idea for the Tikr came when one of the creators set a classic Kong toy down on top of a magazine with an egg timer on the cover. Thus came the idea of incorporating a simple torque timer into a dog toy in order to stretch out playtime.
Timed food-releasing dog toy
Photo by Erin Koski

A Puzzling Puzzle

I came home from SuperZoo and immediately preordered a Tikr, and it finally arrived a few weeks ago. Sbark was even kind enough to send along some extra Tikr treats with my order. This thing is so cool!

The Tikr has one inner treat chamber, and three different-sized openings. Wind the timer, and the green chamber slowly rotates. When the opening in the green chamber matches up with one of the outer holes, treats come out! 
Torque-timer food-dispensing puzzle toy for dogs
Photo by Erin Koski
The genius is in the size of the openings. The smallest one opens up first, releasing only the smallest treats. The medium-sized one opens next, and then final the biggest hole releases anything left.

The inner chamber has a peg sticking up from the center, onto which a softer treat can be impaled for an additional challenge. The largest Tikr treats have a hole in the center, presumably for sticking them on there. Unfortunately, the  treats are pretty crunchy and so far I've only succeeded in shattering them when I try that. gonna have to try sticking a chunk of cheese or something there instead.
Durable rubber high-tech dog toy
Photo by Erin Koski

Tikr Treats

You can put any kind of dry or semi-moist treats in the Tikr, they even mention kibble and have pictures of dog biscuits. However, Tikr also sells nifty little gear-shaped treats in three sizes. The teeth on the gears lock together when you cram them into the toy, and of course they are just the right size to fall out when the right hole opens up.

The Verdict

Timed treat-releasing toy for dogs
Photo by Erin Koski
Godzilla and Zip love this thing. It has a timer that goes off when a new aperture opens up, to let them know when it's time to play again. I do have a small concern about Sisci Godzilla getting her lower jaw stuck inside the biggest opening, though. There are reports of lower jaw entrapment incidents happening with a bunch of different puzzle toys, and for this reason I am going to be supervising my dogs with the Tikr.

This is a flexible rubber-compound toy that stands up to some chewing. A ton of research went into finding the exact formula that would be durable enough without damaging anyone's teeth or clunking around on hardwood floors. Sbark currently recommends the Tikr be used by dogs under 50 pounds, only under supervision, and that owners should discourage dogs from gnawing on it.
Food-dispensing timer toy
Photo by Erin Koski

Our Tikr has taken some minor damage around the top, because Zip enjoys gnawing stuff. So far it's only cosmetic, though. I expect this toy to last forever. Sbark is currently developing an Extreme version for larger dogs, and I look forward to seeing what else they come up with!

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