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Best Crate-Safe, Chew-Proof (mostly), Mind-Bending Toys

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My poor Nick's routine, annual bloodwork came back positive for heartworms, confirmed by a second test. This is very odd, as HW are extremely rare where I live. My vet's theory is that Nick was exposed in TN before I got him.


In any case, my working dog is looking at extended crate rest following treatment. He's already going a bit stir-crazy, having gone from stock work nearly every day plus barreling around with Hoot to very limited activity. Luckily, Nick will do just about anything for food. Clicker-training and frozen turkey feet (talk about a chew toy!) only go so far, though. There are about a bazillion food-dispensing, mind-bending toys out there, and before I waste money on a dud, I figured I'd come here & ask for reviews :) The toy need to not take up too much space in a crate. I borrowed my sister's Lab's HUGE crate so Nick would have some extra room to stretch out while he's cooped up.


Nick is a vigourous, but not super-powerful chewer. I already have a classic Kong.



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Oh, poor Nick! I am sure he'll weather the experience, though.


I have quite a collection of Kongs that are no longer getting any use at all. (My husband was just asking "Do we still NEED all these Kongs?" and I said "I hate to throw them out..."). I'd be happy to lend them to you for the duration of Nick's incarceration. I don't know whether you feed Nick kibble - if so, you could give him all or at least a good part of the day's ration in Kongs. (You don't want him getting fat while he's inactive). Soak the kibble in water, mush it into the Kongs, freeze them - they'll last longer. You can also mix in some plain yogurt or some canned dog food or human stew or such.


I also have one of the "Leo" toys I bought from a local pet store. You can find them on this website: http://www.doggieprodigy.com/products/1-all-products . These are trickier to get the kibble out of - gnawing (like on a Kong) doesn't work as well as turning it over with a nose or paw until the kibble pieces slooowly dribble out. If you get several, you can hook them together. Don't know how well they'd stand up to vigorous chewing, so some supervision may be needed initially. Duncan is fairly gentle with his toys and it hasn't been a problem.


Bully sticks are good but it's the same idea as frozen poultry feet.

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Jun loves the tug-a-jug! If the treats in it are big enough, it takes a little more thought than something like a Kong that just has to be thrown around enough. Jun will hold the rope down with one paw and tip the jug up with her mouth, spilling a couple kibbles at a time.

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Poor Nick!


The original Kongs are great. I also have the following for my "dogs of destruction":





Busy Buddy - Tug o' Jug:



Kong Leo:



So far, all of these have stood up to my two pretty destructive dogs.


They both also really like nylabones - both the bone shape and the ring shaped ones.


Best wishes for a speedy recovery for Nick!

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I second Leos, they are awesome! Daisy loved them, Riley ate them. So I wouldn't recommend them for a serious, 'must destroy everything', can only play with bones kinda dog.


The Kong Wobbler is also pretty wicked. I have one and the dogs love it. They can't pick it up because it's too heavy/slippery and it's not too big, so you could put it in a crate with a dog.

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Sorry to hear about Nick--that's tough.


The squirrel dude (from Busy Buddy) and Buster cubes keep Pippin pretty occupied for a while (the other dogs give up on the squirrel dude after a while). The buster cube is pretty loud unless there's something soft in the crate for it to roll on. F


rozen Kongs are a great standby for those on crate rest--you can make them really different fillings and they'll last about 1/2 an hour.


The Nina Ottoson interactive toys have always looked good to me, but so far a little too spendy. If we had a pup on extended crate rest, I'd probably spring for one to try it out.

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We have a Tug-A-Jug and use it when Danny-boy needs something to keep him occupied. It's probably going to be a big noisy in a crate, even a big one, if Nick was to toss it around like Dan does, but it's a good toy to keep them busy.


Here's wishing Nick (and you) the very best recovery! I'm not sure if he or you will need it more.

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I am sorry to hear about poor Nick. I've been wanting some of the more complicated toys for the pups, but don't have 50 bucks to drop on a single toy. I have found some good deals on amazon for toys. I just bought this one: toy . I am thinking this will amuse the pups. Amazon has all sorts of these puzzles for a pretty decent price.

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Thanks, everyone! This holiday season, I managed to rack up $130 (!!) in Amazon gift certificates. I have exactly one cookbook I'm lusting after, and I tend to get reading material from the library because I blow through books like potato chips. Who knew you could get dog toys on Amazon?! :)

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A tip: freezing a Squirrel Dude like a Kong will equal up to 90 mins of work vs. the max 30 mins in a Kong - the little prongs are awesome. :)


We have the Kong Wobbler and I find it too simple for my pups. Despite being heavy, Kes picks it up and lays it over to get all the food out in one motion lol.


Toys mine like:

Linkables (great for Z, but not durable enough for Kes to be used unsupervised)

Canine Genius Leo and Mike (too complicated for Z when linked, but perfect alone for her and Kes enjoys them linked as long as the necks aren't exposed to gnaw on)

Tug A Jug (too difficult for Z, but Maggie and Kes love(d) it, we just have to replace the rope periodically - not good for unsupervised play and can break things if used by a dog who likes to shake toys - Kes bruised his thigh badly enough to be 3 legged lame for about 30 mins at one point! :o )

Squirrel Dude (durable enough for Kes unsupervised, great with dry treats or frozen stuffing)

Tricky Treat Ball (soft rubber so not for unsupervised play with tough chewers, but the most difficult treat ball I've run across)

Treatstik (very durable, tho Kes can make marks on it, holds dry treats/kibble well, fairly difficult, requires different motions than other toys)

Waggle (Very high on the difficulty scale, but Kes seems to have a knack for shredding them, though Maggie never damaged hers. Too tough for Z.)

Biscuit Block (similar to the Football in the same line) (Perfect for dog biscuits, not ideal for heavy chewers since it's technically a puppy toy in the Busy Buddy line, but if you go to the largest size it'll work for a BC-size dog. Maggie loved hers!)

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Wow, thanks, Erin. I'll have to look those up. Nick can do some damage to bones (he is mostly raw-fed), but he's a serious toy hoarder and seems to know that if he destroys a toy, it goes away. My old Lu once shredded a Kong instead of working it to get the food out, so I learned to jude toy toughness :)

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Excellent suggestions so far. Longevity will depend on how strong a chewer your dog is.


1. The only indestructo chew toys I have found so far have been the Kongs. I like the fact that they can be stuffed with different foods for variety - and freezing increases chew time.

2. The Tug-a-Jug rope was chewed through in about 10 minutes - so I can only use it when I can supervise.

3. Toys made from fire-Hose material were also destroyed in about 10 minutes.

4. Definitely can only use Nina Ottosen toy WITH supervision. I bought the 'Bricks' game when Torque was rehabbing in his crate. He loved it, and I was diligent about supervising - except for ONE time when I was distracted for about 30 seconds and turned around to find one of the bricks chewed.

5. I saw a 1 year-old SAR-in-training GSD at the Nationals this year (part of the Wednesday afternoon demo team) who was definitely an extreme chewer. They were letting her chew on a length (12-16") of sand-blasting hose. The hose is incredibly thick and tough to withstand the pressure of sand-blasting. (Regular hose does not stand up to BC chewing - or at least not to my BC's chewing.) I have not personally tried the sand-blasting hose.



Good Luck with crate rest.



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Jody got a Chuckle for Christmas. It is a remove the reward puzzle sort of toy. He has been using it alot and it isn't showing signs of wear yet. It also takes longer for him to get the treat out of the Chuckle than it does from the Kong.


I got the Chuckle at Tractor Supply and it was only about $6.

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