I was recently fortunate enough to have a product sent to me from Kyjen for review. The product is a Dog Puzzle Game called the Tennis Slider. To be honest, I was skeptical at first. The toy sells for almost $25, and while the idea of a toy with two hidden tennis ball chambers plus four hidden treat chambers was intriguing, I worried it would be more gimmicky than anything. The toy is also made of hard plastic, so I wondered how that would hold up to the abuse dished out by two large dogs.
Well, I opened up the package when it came and set it on the ground. The dogs thought it was Christmas time! Lenny immediately figured out how to open up the toy to reveal the two tennis balls it came with by bashing it with his paw. I added treats to the hidden compartments, and Lenny was quickly able to open the toy completely within two seconds, vacuum up the treats, and head off with both tennis balls in his gigantic mouth. Boo was less interested in learning how to open up the toy and more interested in sniping treats from Lenny once he did the grunt work of revealing them. I worked with Boo one on one, and in less than 30 seconds she had it figured out, too. She was a little more delicate at first, just nosing the toy around until centrifugal force opened the compartments on either side holding the tennis balls, but she quickly progressed to picking it up in her mouth and throwing it. Wouldn’t you know it, that tactic works too!
The dogs have been playing with it off and on since Sunday. I have to keep it up except when I am supervising them, because otherwise there would be nothing left of the tennis balls. They really enjoy it though, and it has been fun to watch them problem solve. They get super excited when they see it come out to play, and I even heard some dog laughter from Boo this morning as she was playing with it.
What about my concerns of it’s durability? To be honest, this is the criteria that kills most toys for us. I don’t want to spend anything more than $5 on a toy that isn’t going to last the hour. This is why we have absolutely no squeaky toys in our house anymore- they all get destroyed in minutes, even “indestructable” ones. So the dogs (until this toy) have played almost exclusively with toys from the Kong company, because the rubber stands up to their chewing power. Still, after about four days of abuse, being punched and scratched by dog paws and thrown around and opened and closed and opened and closed and opened and closed some more, I am impressed by how well it is standing up. Nothing has broken off, and there are only some minor scratches in the top surface of the toy. This is amazing, as I know the power in Lenny’s paws! The latches to close the tennis ball compartments are a bit looser, I think, than they were originally. They certainly are looser than I would ideally like now that the dogs now how to open it, because there’s not much challenge to get the balls out. However, the top slider still offers a bit of a challenge for the dogs- they have to work at it for a few seconds before it opens.
So, what is my overall opinion of this toy? It gets high marks from me. I would give it a 4.5 out of 5. The dogs, I know, would give it a 5 out of 5- they adore this toy! I love the shape and overall design of the toy, and I love the premise of making the dogs think and problem solve. I am impressed by the durability so far, but the jury is still out as far as overall durability (time will tell, and I will report, on how long this durability lasts). The dogs haven’t played with it a whole lot over all, because otherwise I would be resetting it every minute or more- the tennis balls are where all the time is at, and even that isn’t much for my dogs (otherwise there would be no tennis balls, as I mentioned previously). I only wish there was a way to make it harder for the dogs as their skill level increases or that the latches were a bit stickier and harder to open. I would definitely recommend this toy to anyone who has a dog who needs to work their mind a bit more. I would think it would also be useful for anxious dogs, and I defiinitely plan to use this to distract Lenny next time there is a thunderstorm. For sale for $24.99, I would say this is worth the price!
Below are some videos of the dogs playing with the toy. These videos are also available for viewing on Paw In Hand’s YouTube channel!