Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Is the Hartz Tuff Stuff Line Really Tuff Enough?

   The Hartz Tuff Stuff line is widely available at most big stores like Walmart and even Giant grocery stores.  I always stop by the dog toy aisle for new stuff or bargins and have found the Hartz toys very good for short term (ie quickly destroyed) use.  The common toy manufacturers phrase: "For play only. Supervise your pet"is clearly written on all Hartz toys (translation: we are not responsible if your dog rips it up, swallows big sharp pieces and then costs you thousands of dollars in surgery to have them removed). It's true that some dogs will be able to rip up anything and should of course be monitored especially with soft toys, but there should be strong toys out there for our Super Chewers.  So, when I came across the Tuff Stuff line I was excited but dubious about the prospect of taking something home that wouldn't end up in the trash by evening.
    To my surprise, the material stands up well and Cassie has fallen in love with a wide variety of them.  Three examples:

   1. Hartz Tuff Stuff Flyer:
        This is a frisbee style disk made of ballistic nylon.  It has a squeeker in the middle, three large openings that make for great tugging and easy catching and the outer circle is lined with a flexible wire (I think it's wire) reenforcement.  So far after several weeks of use there are no complaints with this toy.  It has stood up to throwing, tugging, outright chewing, and freezing in snow and then chewing all without so much as the painted decoration coming off.  It flies well without much effort and happily the flexible wire makes the return attack in a toothy mouth less like being run into with a plastic knife and more like being hit by a fast moving teddy bear.  The best feature for me has been how much fun tugging is with this flyer. Cassie can be in a full backwards pull, over and over and not so much as a stitch will pop!  That's saying something if you've ever had a 50 lb Aussie on the other end of a normal plastic frisbee.   It's one of my top toys and I'll buy another one if this one ever gives out.

   2. Hartz Tuff Stuff Retriever:
         After the success of the Flyer I went back to Walmart and picked up the Retriever, which is really just a soft bumper with rope knots on the end.  Again the ballistic nylon body has held up amazingly (I left it out for Cassie to chew away on it without problems).  She liked carrying it around the house or chasing it down and really liked to tug on it.  The major problem I found with the retriever was the rope knots on the end.  By the end of the second day of tugging I guess some small stitch holding the knot together tore and left me with nothing but an immediately unravelled tail that Cassie then started gagging on.  I tried re-tying it with no luck and thought about cutting the the knot tails off and keeping the body,  but the tails seem to be imbedded in such a way that this can't be done and now the stuffing is starting to fall out the bottom.  The more we tugged the more the stitching that held the tails in place (and the bottom of the body closed) started to snap and pull loose.  Sad that such a small thing has made a big difference in what was otherwise a great toy.   To the trash it goes....

The Retriever: Day 2

  3. The Hartz Tuff Nose Divers (Ducks):
        When Cassie was a puppy we started her playing with the plush quacker ducks that are available now from a wide variety of companies (including Hartz).  Now, the super chewer that she is, these soft ducks quickly loose first their feet and then their necks (and stuffing).  So a tougher alternative was a joyful find.  Like the other Tuff Stuff products, the body (including beak) of the duck in made from ballistic nylon and held up well to chewing, tugging, etc.  I would have liked to see a squeeker of some kind.  The tail/handle of the duck was a thick twisted rope inside of which a flexible wire was placed to give it some body.  By-and-large these were great toys and stood up pretty well.  They were only thrown away once the beak had been successfully chewed through by miss Cassie.  I have seen photos from other reviewers who did not "Supervise Your Pet" and the ducks are basically gone, leaving some nylon and rope covered wire (see the Amazon Review for these photos).
     They were good for fetch or for playing our favorite game of "Duck on a Stick," which is a must for all herding dogs.  I've bought new ones since the old ones went kaput so I guess it was worth the money, but you do need to watch your dog with this one.

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