Thursday, June 27, 2013


In an earlier post, I talked about things to do when you can't get your dogs out for exercising. I mentioned food puzzles as being a source of mental stimulation that can help tire your dog out. Lack of exercise and boredom can lead to destructive behavior, and no one wants a destructive dog!! There are a number of toys on the market that can keep your dog occupied and enrich their environment. Bourbon's favorite food puzzle (well he really likes all of them because they have food :), but he's had this one the longest) is the Tug-a-Jug.

The Tug-a-Jug is a Busy Buddy Toy manufactured by Premier.

A Taste for Play

Interactive toys can be grouped into two categories: toys that involve self-play (dot interacts with toy) and toys that involve your participation. The tug-a-jug is a self-play toy, but I recommend keeping an eye on your dog while they play with it. It is fairly indestructible and doesn't have any small parts, but if you have an 'enthusiastic' dog there really is no such thing as indestructible :).

So the tug-a-jug is a food-dispensing toy that requires the dog to manipulate the jug and rope to try to get the treats out. But the harder the dog pulls on the rope, the less the food comes out. Actually, no food comes out with that method (it took Bourbon a long time to figure that out!). Dogs will generally toss it around, drag it around, or spin it on the floor. The food comes out of a narrow hole at the top, which has the rope sticking out of it. Your dog will eventually figure out that in order to dispense the treats, it requires them to push the rope into the jug. Take my advice though and introduce this toy on carpet or a rug to keep the noise down!

On the human side of things - you just unscrew the jug at the bottom (the wide end), drop in your dog's favorite bite-sized treats or kibble (the larger the treats, the harder to get out), close it back up, and watch the frenzy :).

More Play Please

Bourbon tried the Buster Cube method...rolling the jug around with his feet and nose, hoping the food would fall out. He tried the Kong method...poking his tongue in the narrow end, hoping to pull food out. He really likes chewing the big end, but with no luck. He used to try swinging it (make sure you don't have anything breakable in the vicinity!) but luckily he has stopped that! Eventually, he remembers how to tip the jug over and push the rope in to get the treats, but even that takes a long time. At least he still gets a few treats often enough to keep from getting completely frustrated!

Depending on the treats and how many times your dog has played with this toy, your dog could be entertained for at least an hour. It can also be used to slow down dogs who inhale their food :). It comes in three different sizes to accommodate the varying sizes of dogs. Sadly, the rope usually doesn't last too long, but Premier does sell replacements. And you could try a knotted sock instead or place balls inside the jug for somewhat of the same effect.


You use dry food/treats so it's less messy than the Kong.
Dogs can see and hear the treats inside.
Fairly durable.


Can get noisy on hard floors.
May not be strong enough for strong chewers.

Bourbon's Rating: 5 paws (out of 5)!

You can find the Tug-a-Jug at local pet stores or through various online retailers. It is always good to have a few different types of toys handy for variety. Rotate the toys through a cycle so your dog doesn't get bored too easily!

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