Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fun activity for dogs who like to "disembowel" their stuffed animal toys.


Does your dog like to do this:

Leopold has always liked to "disembowel" his stuffed toys.  I used to stop him before he could completely ruin them and then repair any damage done.  The toy you seen in the photo was repaired probably ten times before I gave up and let Leopold do what he really wanted to do: tear every piece of stuffing out!  What a mess.  But at least he had fun.
Since then I've come up with an activity for Leopold that works with the same general principle (tearing out stuffing!), but is re-usable and easy to clean up.


             * * * WARNING!* * *  
This is not an activity you want to give to a dog that is prone to swallowing pieces of fabric (or other things they shouldn't be eating for that matter!).  This is an activity I would never give to my other dog, Halo, as she thinks fabric is delicious and likes to eat it.

Though remember that it's always a good idea to supervise your dog when it's playing with toys (especially when its playing with pieces of fabric).





MATERIALS you need for this activity:


- Hol-ee Roller ball, large size
- pre-cut pieces of fleece fabric
- treats
- a dog who loves to play!

I like to use the Hol-ee Roller because it's very durable and doesn't do a lot of damage if my dogs accidentally whip it at something.  For a game I like to give my dogs that uses a smaller version of the Hol-ee Roller ball, check out this post.
I use fleece fabric because its a thicker fabric and is also washable!  I've cut my pieces into various sized strips.

HERE's what you do:
Stuff the ball with the pieces of fleece!   Then stuff some treats in the ball.  You don't have to add treats, but it can help make the game more fun for the dog.
I like to actually roll up small treats in some of the pieces of fleece.  Then Leopold is not only more interested, but because the treats are rolled up in fleece, he has to work a little harder to get the treats--this is good mental stimulation as it requires Leopold to figure out how to manipulate the pieces of fabric to get at the tasty bits. 

[Edit, Jan2014: I put a warning at the beginning of this post, but here it is again in different words. 
Please supervise your dog when playing this game.  If you choose to roll up treats like I do, please please please supervise your dog to make sure they don't eat the whole roll.  I supervise Leo every time.  If you're watching your dog and see them chewing on the whole roll, then you'll be able to stop and correct the behavior immediately and/or take away the game before they consume the rolls and end up at the E.R.]










Now the ball is all ready to be torn apart! :-D


Here's a video of Leopold playing with his ball:


Leopold gets to have fun over and over, and the carnage is easy to clean up:


Hope your dog has as much fun with this game as Leopold does!

31 comments:

  1. I absolutely LOVE this idea. I'm definitely bringing this to the attention of all my foster and rescue friends. I'll put it on my blog too (linked) if that's okay with you?!

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    1. That's great! I'd love for you to link my post on your blog! Thanks for taking a look at Leopold's Crate! :-D

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    2. My little Shitzu Maltese..six pounds..chewed through the ball...Wahhhh..I need an indestructible one. Any ideas?

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    3. JW Pet also makes a similar type ball called a "Hol-ee Mol-ee Extreme". Much sturdier with thicker walls. you can see a photo here (at the bottom): http://www.jwpet.com/dog/tredetails.html

      I recently got one for my dogs--they love it just as much as the Hol-ee Roller.
      It only comes in 5", though, and might be a little big for a 6lb shitzu maltese. But then again, maybe it'd be perfect.
      If you go this route, lemme know how it goes :-)

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  2. Please find me on Facebook. I am a fellow animal lover/rescuer and love to connect! Cindy Adoptadog Faller and my webpage is: http://cindyfaller.weebly.com/

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  3. Love this and shared it! Creative idea.

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  4. My dog is more likely to eat the strips of fabric. Flatcoated Retrievers have been known to eat socks, pants towels etc and they get stuck in their gut. Then it is a costly trip to the veterinarian to get the eaten object removed. So this would need to be monitored to ensure the dog does not eat any fabric strips.

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    1. Aw, yes. Your dog would fall under the "warning" I stated early in the post, and this activity would not be recommended for your dog at all.

      And you are correct: just as I said in the post, it's smart to always monitor your dog while it partakes in this activity no matter if your dog is likely to eat fabric or not.

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  5. I have a JR and she has disemboweled just about everything ... :( She takes squeakers out and ..just about any stuffing there is. This looks so much safer. I would dearly love to buy her one. I don't think the eating of the fabric would be an issue for her...she would hone in on the treats for sure! But I would supervise her at all times. Please ...where ... here...take my money!

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  6. This is genius! I'm going to adapt it for my rat - he LOVES treats and he loves pulling fabric out of things, so this looks like a great way to keep him entertained and stimulated!

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    1. ha! That's so cute! :-D
      I've had pet rats before as well and am imagining a rat playing this game; such a cute mental image! They're such a fun pet to have--smart creatures.

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  7. Hi Laura
    great idea - I am a veterinary nurse in Australia and I have a small business dedicated to environmental enrichment for pets (www.petsneedalifetoo.com and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pets-Need-A-Life-Too/118534761565717?ref=hl)
    I was just about to order some Hol-ee Roller for my stock range - I was wondering if you would mind if I used your photo and/or video to illustrate its use.
    look forward to hearing from you
    Gillian Shippen

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    1. hi Gillian,
      That's great!
      and thank you for asking! Yes, you may use my photos/video; I'm happy to get the word out! Though I would appreciate if you credited my blog. :-) Thanks!

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  8. Great solution for our Molly! She unstuffy all her toys, especially if it has a squeaker!! Can't wait to make her one of these!! Thanks for sharing.

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  9. wonderful and very clever idea-I have a Boston that can and WILL destroy a stuffed toy in a nano second!!!

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  10. I super love this idea! I can't help but think my boy would first destroy the JW ball first! lol Thanks for sharing! :)

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  11. This may be the most brilliant thing I've ever seen! I make Roxie tug ropes by braiding fleece and she loves it, never thought of stuffing it for her to disembowel!

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  12. I love this! Brilliant. I have a pittie who makes a god forsaken mess with all his toys! I'm making one tomorrow!!! Also, I'm linking to my facebook page!!!!

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  13. I'm so happy I found this post! I originally saw your photos on Pinterest, but it didn't link back to anything- it took some creative Googling to get here. I just made this for my dog and he LOVES it- I'm so happy I can accurately credit your blog instead of a random Pinterest post!

    BeyondBethany.blogspot.com

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  14. I volunteer at a zoo and am always looking for new enrichment ideas. I will be doing this for many different animals.

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  15. Thanks for the great idea and photo illustrations! My kids will be making these for our dogs as Christmas presents! =)

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  16. Same problem here, cannot give our E. Setter anything with stuffing - wasted money!
    So this looks like a great idea!

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  17. great idea! my younger dog sometimes eats pieces of fabric, so to be on the safe side i've replaced fleece with re-usable parchment paper

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  18. ***WARNING*** I thought this idea was wonderful for another meal dispensing toy for Cash the Pit Bull. I thought it would be economical as well as great for him in many ways. He has NEVER been a dog to eat anything but food! All disemboweled toys end up with their shredded remains all over the house.

    I gave him his meal with this setup twice already, watched him closely, and was very satisfied that he was opening each roll to remove the kibble.

    Tonight, I saw him chewing something in a funny way when I gave him this toy. I told boyfriend I was concerned he swallowed one of the fleece rolls with the food inside. Boyfriend thought I was crazy since he also knows Cash only swallows food things.

    We watched closely and saw a fleece roll go into his mouth and not come out. We rushed him to emergency vet, where they induced vomiting, and he threw up 10 FLEECE ROLL PIECES!!!! No idea how he slipped this many in without our seeing. Our best guess is he thought he was super smart and thought that he'd save himself a step by swallowing the whole things instead of picking out the kibble.

    Even if you trust that your dog doesn't eat stuffing, DO NOT ROLL FOOD FOR YOUR DOG IN THIS TOY!!!! The vet thinks he threw up all of the pieces, but she isn't sure. If there is a blockage, I have no resources left financially, and it is going to be a very bad situation.

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    1. I'm so sorry that your dog decided to "save a step" while trying to get at treats, and i'm sorry you didn't notice it happening until it had eaten 10 pieces! At least you noticed, though, and were able to get your dog to the vet to induce vomiting to bring those pieces up.

      As someone who works at a Vet ER and who owns a dog who will regularly eat fabric/leather/anything if not supervised, i know it can be a scary, serious, and expensive experience. I'm sorry to hear you had to go through such an experience.

      As it says in the warning on this post, its always a good idea to supervise your dog whenever they're playing with any toy--especially anything made of fabric (whether a stuffed toy, fleece pieces, or otherwise.... ). I supervise Leopold every time I give him this activity--even though he's never eaten anything but food. For that matter, I supervise my dogs whenever they're playing with any toy that they could potentially swallow--whether on purpose or on accident.

      Your experience is an unfortunate reminder of why it so important to supervise your dog. I hope others will be reminded to supervise their dogs as well.

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  19. what a great idea. thanks for sharing this..

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    Kurdish Kangal Puppies For Sale

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  20. congratulations guys, quality information you have given!!!
    montyblUe

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  21. This idea inspired me to purchase the XL holee roller for my tortoise! I had been trying for months to come up with a hay rack for his enclosure on which he would not injure himself. He has scars from trying to get through a wire fence to get some grass. All hay racks are either metal or very breakable plastic (he has managed to break plastic plates and a pyrex pie plate!). I tried cardboard boxes with a small hole cut in it, but after a few weeks he figured out how to destroy them and I was having trouble keeping boxes in stock. It took him a few weeks to figure out how to use his new "hay ball" but now I simply stuff it every morning before I go to work and it's empty when I get home. He loves it! He can bite it, climb on top of it, knock it around. He knows when I pick up his ball it's breakfast time!

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    1. This is wonderful!! :-D
      I have a soft spot in my heart for tortoises and turtles. I someday hope to have a good set up to have a tortoise of my own; I'll remember your "hay ball" idea when that day comes!

      thanks for sharing!

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  22. Lovely thoughts you have added into this blog, keep rocking with such kind of brilliant ideas.
    Missing Cat

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  23. I have always enjoyed having one of the large dog breeds and it wasn’t until my brother brought home a Beagle puppy from college that I had ever had any real contact with a little dog. It’s not that I don’t like little dogs, there are some really cute small dog breeds, and it’s just that I have grown so accustomed to having one of the large dog breeds that I can’t imagine having other type puff dog. Looking for large dog breeds for families Wondering what large dog breeds are good with kids or would be good for apartments Find out here A complete list of large dog breeds

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