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I chose this particular dog toy because my dog REALLY likes to play with old 2-liter bottles. He especially likes it when I put tiny dog treats inside the emplty bottle. He’ll play for a long time just nosing the bottle around on the floor and pawing at it with his toes. And he really likes making the plastic crinkle, pop and crack while he’s trying vigorously to get the treats out of the bottle.
Of course, at the end of the play session (which can last an entire evening), the bottle is always thrown away — because, at this point, there are usually some sharp corners of plastic. Not to mention the fact that the treats have mostly been emptied, and the bottle itself is in some strange contortion that is no longer rollable, tossable, or even chewable.
So I thought the Tug-A-Jug sounded like a more permanent option to the old 2-liter bottle idea.
The Dog’s First Impressions
FUN! He was very intrigued. He especially liked the rope. He gnawed on that for a long time and had fun flinging the bottle that’s attached to the rope all around the room.
Your dog can:
- See the treats (barely) through the thick purple bottle sides.
- Smell the treats through the open end where the treats fall out, as well as the closed end which has small ‘scent holes’.
- Hear the treats as the bottle rolls around on the floor.
- And with a little effort, and just the right amount of finesse, your dog can… taste the victory!
My First Impressions
The Tug-A-Jug comes with a large knotted rope that doesn’t come out because it’s knotted so tightly on both ends. So it tays part-way inside the neck of the bottle, and part-way outside of the bottle itself. As a result, the rope also makes for a great ‘handle’… something for your dog to grab onto in order to swing around the bottle a bit. This also gives your dog another way to make the treats to come out. That, and the act of pushing the bottle around on the floor — with their paw or their nose.
The bottle also has a textured rubber wrap around the neck of the bottle that works in a small way to clean the teeth and gums. But, to be honest, my dog doesn’t nibble on that rubbery part at all.
The screw-on lid — with an opening that is big enough to fit your wrist into — is VERY tight and secure. There are so many ‘threads’ that require you to screw it about a million times before it’s secure on the bottle. But that means there’s no way your dog can un-screw the lid. Can’t even loosen it!
The bottle itself is tough and durable. There’s no breaking this type of thick, hard plastic. Though it does scratch noticeably from your dog’s toenails. But who cares?… it’s a dog toy! They never stay looking like new for very long.
The rope acts kind of as a shovel to help push food out of the bottle’s narrow neck opening. TIP: The smaller the treats you use, the more likely they will fall out. The larger the treats you use, the greater the challenge your dog will have getting the treats out.
Why We Really Like It
Jim and I think that interactive toys like this (filled with treats) help make your dog a tidier eater.
What I mean is… for some reason our dogs have always had the bad habit of taking a big bite of dog food from their bowl, then moving away from the bowl and dropping several pellets of food onto the floor, while chewing on what remains in their mouth. Usually they’ll go back and eat the remaining pieces off the floor. But sometimes, they get lazy and just leave some dog food pieces lying on the floor by their bowl.
Well, interactive treat toys like this are built on the fact that your dog has to eat off the floor and scoop up all of the tiny pieces that they find lying around. And after playing with toys like this, it seems our dog does a better job of not leaving dog food lying around his bowl anymore. When he sees kibble on the floor, he eats it. No matter where it is. As a dog owner, you’ve gotta love that.
We’ve also found that toys like this actually stimulate his appetite more. Our dog goes through spells where he just doesn’t want to eat much ‘regular’ food. He’s not skinny or fat. He’s just not hungry sometimes. This can last for days. But when we bring out this type of interactive treat toy, it’s as if he is reminded how good the food tastes, and it sort of kick-starts his appetite again.
The Tug-A-Jug is definitely exciting and fun for dogs. The secret to keep it that way… is to not leave interactive toys like this out for your dog to play with day in and day out. These should be ‘special occasion’ toys, so they’re truly enjoyed to the fullest whenever they are presented to your dog. So I keep toys like this hidden away. I guess we bring ’em out maybe 5-7 times a month.
My Only Complaints
The bottle itself is almost TOO hard. I wish it had a little more ‘give’ to it, so a dog could actually grip it a bit. I’m not necessarly talking about a rubbery grip (my dog isn’t attracted to that type, he prefers hard & crunchy toys to soft and bouncy ones). Perhaps a softer plastic, or maybe a dual-layer bottle where the outside ‘gives’ a little and the inside is the indestructible ballistic grade plastic.
Along those same lines, the bottle is way too slick. So on those rare occasions that the dog gets his mouth around the bottle as if to carry it away, it slips right out of his mouth since the sides of the bottle have no texture to them.
The bottle is also a little heavy. So it’s not even fun for a dog to get his mouth around it and carry it away. (Remember, I got the Large size toy.)
I like to help Dog Parents find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about "outside the box" Dog Tips and Dog Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I’m a lifelong dog owner — currently have 2 mixed breed Golden Aussies that we found abandoned on the side of the road as puppies. I've always trained my own dogs and help friends train theirs, as well. Professionally, I worked at a vet and have several friends who are veterinarians — whom I consult with regularly. (And just because I love animals so much, I also worked at a Zoo for awhile!) I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). My daily motivation is to help first-time dog owners be better prepared from the first day your new puppy enters your home. I like to help dog owners understand what's 'normal' and what you can expect in terms of living with and training your dog — how to get through the ups & downs of potty training, chewing, teaching commands, getting your dog to listen, and everything else that takes place during that hectic first year! When I'm not training, walking, grooming, or making homemade treats for my dogs, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I've written over 500 articles for dog owners on this site!