Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Introducing Rylee & The Tuffy Ultimate Tug-o-War

    During our break from blogging our household was very excited to take care of my sister's Golden Doodle puppy Rylee.

     Rylee was just over three months old at the time and is, at present, smaller than Cassie.   Though I didn't let my sister know (I wanted her to enjoy her vacation), I was a teensy bit worried that Cassie might be a bit too...shall we say...rambunctious for her little Doodle to handle.   As you may remember (if you have very good memory), while Cassie has always loved playing with dogs of all sizes she has a tendency to play a bit rough.   In the past some smaller dogs, especially a certain MinPin who is now on her way to her 15th birthday, have found Cass a pushy pest and a little bit of a bully.   It was with this in mind that I thought Rylee might be a perfect device to teach Cass a new skill: channeling her play/prey drive off of another dog and onto collaborative toy play (ie tugging together).

     Before our hiatus I had planned to review Tuffy's Ultimate Tug-o-War toy. That was going to be the first negative review Tuffy had received from me.  I picked the toy up almost six months ago and Cassie had rarely been inclined to use it for more than a trophy to parade around the basement.   It was initially purchased as a means of encouraging her tugging with me to amp up our bonding and excitement before and after an agility run.  For this purpose I was very disappointed with the Tug-o-War, whose handles seemed to be too wide or uncomfortable for Cassie's mouth (surprisingly).  This didn't make for very fun or effective tugging, as she would always drop or loose her grip on the handle when I gave a tug.
    My opinion was softened as I watched Cassie drag the Tug-o-War around the house with Rylee firmly attached to the other end.  It was a wonderful way to make sure they were playing without injuring each other too much....those puppy teeth can be very sharp.   They still didn't seem to get as much of a hold on the tug, as I'd have liked and there are several pauses in play as a result.  However, they really didn't seem to mind as Cassie very happily pummeled Rylee's face with the toy until play eventually resumed.  So sweet how dogs play!

     The Tuffy Ultimate Tug-o-War rates a 9 on the companies Tuff-scale and I don't doubt it.  Cassie and Rylee gave it a real working over (as I'm sure you can tell) for an entire week and it still looks like brand new!  I've always been very impressed with the quality of Tuffy's toys, especially those that are based on shapes, instead of animal forms.   They are always a long lasting purchase, well worth the price tag.   I was underwhelmed by the shape design of the Ultimate Tug-o-War, which didn't lend itself to really fitting inside a dog's mouth securely during play.  Though the dogs did love it for running around together, I found they could do (and probably preferred doing) the same thing with a $4 rope tug I bought at Walmart.  In the end, I'm not sure I would purchase the Ultimate Tug-o-War again, which is a rare miss for me on Tuffy's Ultimate line in general!  Let me know what you think looks like more fun...the Tug-o-War or the Rope.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

JW Pet Co's Hol-ee Roller (Take 2): Destroyed by An Anxious Dog

      I had wanted my first product review coming back off of vacation to be a positive one (I'd even written it already), but when the following occurred today at the shelter I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to share.

      Most of my formerly regular readers will be aware of how fond I am of JW Pet Co's products, primarily due to their durability.  Cassie's pretty tough on toys and I've always felt safe about leaving her alone with JW Pet Co products!  The Cuz and Hol-ee Roller are particular favorites.

      When I started working at the shelter I quickly realized that many of the dogs had little or no interest in toys, so the first thing I bought for my adoptable pups was a Hol-ee Roller ball to encourage playtime.  It's a great toy (as I noted in my very first review).  At our house we own three Hol-ee Rollers of varying size and shape.   There is even one at our dog park that has survived two years of play with dozens of dogs and constant exposure to the elements!  However, it was once again underlined for me today that no toy is beyond destruction, even the amazing Hol-ee Roller!

       One of the dogs we currently house at the shelter, a lab named Guinness, is obsessed with toys to the point of really becoming a psychological fixation.   He came in while I was away one week and when I returned the Hol-ee Roller I had purchased for the communal play yard had somehow made its way into Guinness's run.  When I asked about it, one of the techs said a bit breezily that 'he just loves it so much.'   I let it go, though I explained that I didn't think it was good for Guinness to be quite so fixated on toys.

Guinness the Roller Killer
      When I returned one day I found that Guinness had begun chewing on the Hol-ee Roller in his kennel, which I decided to keep an eye on (experimentally).  When I came back an hour later the poor dog had ripped the thing to pieces.  Everyone at the shelter was heartbroken that Guinness had destroyed the object of such great affection.   So I, like an idiot, went out and bought him another one reasoning that the other one must have gotten too old or had some flaw I'd not noticed before.   I left the new Roller with by my bag on the other side of the big dog kennels, resolving to give it to Guinness under supervision and keep it from him if any further attempts at destruction ensued.   Unfortunately, one of the junior volunteers must have thought nothing of my grand plans and threw the new Hol-ee Roller in for Guinness' enjoyment.

    And what a grand time he must have had!  The new Hol-ee Roller lasted about twenty minutes before I returned to find Guiness' kennel lined with red rubber bits!  Here are the results of his intense focus:
20 Minutes of Hard Focus!

    Does this make me love the Hol-ee Roller less, not really.  Guiness it great and so is the Hol-ee Roller!  It simply reminded me that nothing is bomb proof when it comes to dogs!  I doubt if any toy could stand up to Guinness' onslaught (though I'm currently using him to test out two Kong toys).  Though the Hol-ee Roller finally met it match, I love it no less!  I thank Guinness for showing me that even the Hol-ee Roller can be destroyed, when a pup puts his mind to it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Page on Adoptable Dogs

   Hi everyone!  I've been doing some belated spring cleaning on the old blog.  I hope you like it!  One of the new features will be a weekly link to adoptable dogs at the Humane Society where I volunteer.  Please give our new ADOPTABLES page a gander and let me know what you think!


   To all our lovely friends both on blogger and on twitter, Cassie and I (well mostly I) would like to make an apology for our extremely extended absence.   Originally, we took off for a couple weeks during  vacation and somehow things just got rolling after that.   Needless to say, I've felt guilty just about everyday between then and now!  I'm all apologies and promises to be better in the future.

   There is lots of good news!!  During our time off I have:

  1. Done a lot of shopping
  2. Started a new round of dog training (with the amazing Pat Miller!)
  3. Started working at my county's Humane Society
    In the coming months there will be a host of new videos featuring some of the great dogs from my local area in need of a good home.   They can be pretty rough on toys and surprisingly picky with treats, so I think it's safe to expect some pretty intensive testing!  Never fear, Cassie and Lilly will still be more than happy to try out all the toys/treats/products along with the pups at the shelter.

     So we hope you will wag around to see what we've got coming up around the corner!

Puppy Kisses and Wiggle Butts!
Jess the Dog Shopper (& Cassie)