Friday, October 1, 2010

In Search of the Zen-Proof Dog Toy

I don't think it exists. Zen isn't a huge dog, but he's a tenacious little bugger. A 56 lb pit bull, he's capable of reducing any toy to shreds in moments.

We've started timing toys on their lifespan:

Average Stuffy Toy: 5.7 minutes

Yes, I know it isn't good to let dogs play with stuffies. The problem is that they're cheap and plentiful. And the dog loves them! I have a few that are my personal stuffies from my childhood, and I have to keep them hidden away in a box. Every once in a while our roommate brings one home and the destruction is near instant. Within moments their stuffing will be scattered across the room, and I have to go collect that as well as any squeaker parts so that my little monster won't choke on them. The good news is that stuffing removed, their small bits and scraps of exterior fur might keep Zen amused for a few extra days.

Knotted Rope Toys: 1.5 days

The nice thing about these babies is that there aren't really any parts that our puppy can swallow and get himself in trouble with. Still he manages to reduce these things into shreds of fiber within a day or less. I'm thinking that I might use the shreds for papermaking. Something has to vindicate the cost.

Tennis Ball: 25 minutes

One might think a tennis ball is a great toy for a dog. And it might be if Zen liked to play fetch. His idea of "fetch" is run after the thing and then play "keep-away" from the humans. Or he'll grab the toy and poke you with it until you wrestle it away from him. The moment you turn your back, the toy is scrap. Once he decides that he wants to bite it however, a tennis ball lasts less than a half-hour. He corners it against a counter or grabs it with his amazingly nimble forepaws and within minutes he's chewed a gaping hole in the thing. Bounce no more, happy tennis ball.

Blankets: 3 days.

Now blankets aren't supposed to be dog toys. Tell that to destructo puppy. He's already gone through several quilts. Ripped  the stuffing out and tossed it in the air and left us shivering in the night. Thank gods my ex stole the one heirloom popcorn quilt that I used to own or the thing would have been mincemeat. The only reason blankets and quilts last as long as they do is that he has some modicum of understanding that these things belong to us, not him.

Sticks and Knobs of Wood: 24 hour or less, depending on thickness.

In the process of building the new door to the trailer, Zen located a round of wood that had been drilled out for the door handle. That managed to last all of about 24 hours before he broke it into splinters.

Kong-like Toys: 3 days

You know those heavy duty rubber toys that have a space to put peanut butter or pet treats into? Three days max with the Zenster. Even without the lure of a treat inside, he's taken these things as a personal challenge. In no time he reduces them to shards of rubber. Treat part, gone.

Shoes: 10 minutes once left unattended

Zen is 1 1/2 years old. In his carreer he has destroyed approximately 5 pairs of shoes (including a pair of workboots). It's my own fault for not putting them out of reach. The moment you forget, take off your shoes and wiggle your toes, bingo, that's a pair of shoes you can't wear ever again. Unless ventilated sneakers is your style.

Crazy Critters: Not even risking it.

At $5 a pop (plus s&h) ($10 each in stores) these things are supposed to be durable enough for the most toy-destructive dog. I took a look at one while I was in Pet Smart. It's just a normal stuffed-toy-like skin, with a squeaker, but without dangerous stuffing. I give Zen less than 10 minutes to burrow into it and remove the squeaker. Like most stuffed toys, the skin might last an extra couple days of him dragging the scraps around before he gets bored with it. At this price I'm better off getting stuffed toys at the dollar store and disembowling them myself. They advertise the fur as being "extra strong" and "reinforced". I'm not buying it. Looked no different to me than any "normal" stuffie.

Now I love having toys for my evil pup. He gets great pleasure in tossing them around and turning them into garbage. If you've got a dog-toy idea that might stand up, and provide destructive pleasure that might last a week or more, I'd love to hear about it. As it stands, on cost/time spent destroying, nothing has yet surpassed the leavings from a 2x4 chunk of wood. Meanwhile he's eating me out of toy and home.

1 comment:

  1. Jasper our golden likes the plastic porcupine toys he rips the little red nose of of it in seconds and then within a couple hours to a day he has the whole thing ripped to little plastic peices. Unfortunately petsmart near us no longer sells these so Jasper has been porcupineless for too long.