As many of you well know, Athena doesn't eat from a food bowl. Rather, all of her food is delivered to her in treat dispensing toys, nosework games, or training. Not only does Athena get tons of mental stimulation during each of her meals, she will occasionally get "snack" activities that also work to tire out her brain. However, we've come to find out that not all food dispensing toys are what they're advertised to be. For example, the StarMark Everlasting Treat Ball:
I have so graciously renamed it the Neverlasting Treat Ball for many reasons. I first read about this very genius toy online when I was searching something like, "tough toys to tire my pit bull's brain out" many, many months ago. I believe it was actually the very first treat dispensing toy that we had ever purchased other than a Kong. I loved that the Everlasting Treat Ball was advertised as "puncture resistant," "for tough chewers," and "everlasting."
|Photo via Petco.com|
Well, silly ole' me bought the size medium that is designed for dogs 15-40 pounds. Clearly I was out of touch with reality at the time because 1) Athena is over 40 pounds, and 2) although she's not a vigorous chewer, Athena still has quite the jaws. When I got the toy home I was so excited for Athena to give it a try. Not more than one minute later she had popped the special everlasting treat right out of the toy. TOTAL FAIL.
|Photo via Petco.com|
Determined that Athena would get some use out of this quite expensive toy, I googled "how to make the Everlasting Treat Ball more difficult." I didn't find much, but I was able to find a great visual description of a few different ways to insert the treat into the treat ball to increase the difficulty. There's the "upside down insertion" and the "center cavity insertion" for putting the treat into the ball. Athena was still able to pop the treat out easily with the upside down insertion. Currently we have the treat in the center cavity and we allow Athena to play with the treat ball from time to time. However, it's now WAY too difficult for her and we are going to have to use a drill if we ever want to remove the treat from the middle.
After months of sadness that the Everlasting Treat Ball would never outlast our Athena, I decided that maybe my poor judgement in the size of the toy was the problem all along. So, while at Petco last week, I put the large sized ball into my cart and kindly asked the customer service if they would allow me to return the toy if Athena was able to pop the treat out of it. They said yes! I was SUPER excited for Athena to try out the new treat ball because it is quite a bit larger than the medium size, so I was sure that she wouldn't be able to outsmart it.
|Photo via Tripawds.com|
Oh boy, was I wrong. The large size was actually EASIER for her than the medium! What the heck. She popped the treat out in under a minute. I assumed it must have been a fluke, so I stuck it back in and let her have another go. She popped it out. I then tried the upside down insertion method and Athena quickly popped the treat out again! Finally, I put the treat into the center cavity (the method that is much too difficult for her with the medium size) and she popped it out! I returned the $25 toy to the store the next morning.
Unfortunately the Everlasting Treat Ball is just not the toy for Athena. It may be perfect for some dogs, but I wouldn't recommend it for intense chewers. We do however love the StarMark Everlasting Chew Ball (in a size large) and have found it to be super challenging, yet very fun for Athena.
Have you ever tried the Everlasting Treat Ball or another toy that didn't work out so well for your dog?