Monday, February 28, 2011

Starmark Everlasting Fun Ball: A New Way to Pass a Rainy Day

   It's been raining cats and dogs here (no pun intended)...we've even had a tornado warning this morning!  As a result, I've had to pull out all the stops to keep the Cassie dog from becoming bored.   A few days ago I determined that a treat ball would be a great new way to keep her busy for awhile.   So to Petsmart I went and was actually surprised by the incredible number of options there are on the shelf.  Everything from wobbling giant-sized Kongs to hard plastic cubes to stuffable bouncy balls and even one that claims to talk!  Needless to say I was there a little longer than I had intended to be.

    I went into the store planning on picking up the Kong Wobbler having seen it on other sites, but in the store I recognized instantly that Cassie would become frustrated with the design very quickly and this combined with the fact that she's not too fond of dry biscuits told me I would be left with a fairly expensive toy that would just be taking up space in my house.

    I moved on to the Buster Food Cube, which was both double the price of the Kong Wobbler and also made of a stiffer, but seemingly less durable plastic.  I worried: 1) that Cassie would be bored by the design and 2) that she would actually break the cube due to her fondness for picking up toys and dropping them to get the food out (she has mastered her regular Kongs in this manner).

     After looking at a few ball designs I settled on the Starmark Everlasting Fun Ball Dog Toy, which seemed both durable and simple enough for Cassie to figure out and remain interested.   I liked the bounciness of the ball and and its obvious durability.  It's light enough for Cassie to pick up and drop without causing damage to my hardwood and still enough of a challenge that it keeps her busy for an extended period of time (depending on how many treats I put in it).  The surface of the ball is variegated for easy grip and, though the large one I bought is probably a bit big for her mouth, Cassie seems to have little trouble picking it up before slamming it on the floor.  The Starmark Fun Ball is also a breeze to clean and though you can't open it like the Kong Wobbler to clean the inside a few dunks in a some warm water seem to be all that's required.

     This ball is easy to fill with just about any treats.  I've been mixing up her regular kibble with smaller soft treats, so that she doesn't get too fat from my laziness.  It's true, I could be getting up to play with her every time she's bored, but if I did I would be on my feet at her beck-and-call all day long.   The treat ball is a great alternative (one that I am trying not to abuse) and is better than crating her when she is becoming fussy.  I also find that it's oddly satisfying to watch your dog working for something.  She has fun while I relax!  That sounds like progress to me!

   As I mentioned, you can use any treats you've got lying around, as long as they aren't too big or awkward to get stuck inside for good (though I would suggest sticking with ones that retain their shape fairly well).  Starmark do make treats that are designed to work with the Fun Ball called Starmark Every Flavor Treats.  They are soft and come in a variety of flavors like chicken, beef, liver and even vanilla (which I find odd).  I normally don't like to give Cassie treats with additives and artificial colorings, but in this case I opted to buy a bag out of convenience.   She does seem to really like them (typical kid liking junk food), so I will probably pick up another bag to mix in with the kibble and keep things interesting.

    I realize that I'm not really doing a review of the other products, so maybe you've tried them and can let me know your thoughts on the Kong Wobbler and the Buster Food Cube (or any other treat dispensing toys).   They probably do work for some dogs, but for Cassie the Fun Ball was cheap and simple and clearly lots of long lasting fun!


  1. I'd love to try that toy out, but due to the fact that guide dogs aren't allowed to play with (any type) of balls... Rudy isn't allowed!
    Looks like fun though!

    Rudy's Raiser

  2. Poor Rudy! Those mean guide dog people (now that's a phrase you don't hear often)! Cassie will think of him the next time she is playing with the Fun Ball! What is Rudy allowed to play with??? Maybe we can do a review just for him!