Since we started going to agility trials, I've wanted a silent tug toy for Rye to use as a reward after our runs. They've had a few at the vendors at some of the trials, but they either have balls that Rye could crush with one bite or rabbit fur that she'd just want to shred. When we had to opportunity to test out the Frisco Plush with Rubber Tug & Fetch No Squeak Dumbbell from Chewy.com, I was thrilled--it was exactly the toy we were looking for.
Our trainer recently told us that for toy rewards, it's a good idea to choose a toy that isn't self-rewarding. If a dog has a toy that squeaks, they don't need a human to help make the toy fun--they can just squeak away and entertain themselves. With silent toys, the excitement comes from interacting with their human. In trials, you also don't want a toy that makes noise right by the ring because it's not fair to the other dogs that are working.
We took it to Rye's adoption day trial in the middle of the month. First, I took her outside and tried to get her revved up with the toy. She didn't want anything to do with it. I tossed it in her crate so we didn't lose it. Then we tried again after one of her runs. Still no cigar. No matter what I did to try to engage her, she wanted nothing to do with it. As confident as Rye is on the course, she tends to get spooked easily off of the course and she usually wants to go right back to her crate as soon as she's done. I had hoped that play might help her feel a little braver, but she was just too nervous to be interested in a game of tug.
That doesn't mean that the dumbbell toy was a flop, though. Rye does enjoy a good game of tug at home. Rye has her own ideas of how tug toys should be used, though. She thinks she should get the handle.
I tried to convince her that she should tug on the actual dumbbell part, but she was not buying that at all and I had to be the one to tug on the dumbbell or risk losing a finger when she grabbed at the handle.
Even when we played fetch with the dumbbell, she still thought she should retrieve it by the handle rather than the actual toy part. Part of me thought that the dumbbell part might be a bit big for her to grab with her mouth--it's soft, but it's stuffed full and doesn't have much give. Really, though, I think Rye just likes to tug on the parts I'm holding onto because she usually goes for the handles on tug toys.
I was impressed by how durable this toy is. Even when Rye and I were both tugging on the handle, it stayed attached to the dumbbell. We've had other tug toys where the handle has broken off when we've played this way. That wasn't the case with this toy.
Rye also likes to gnaw on things and she gave the handle a good gnaw in between games. I didn't let that go on for long because I've seen what happens when she starts sawing her teeth over a thin handle like this. For the few seconds that she was chewing on the handle while I took a picture, though, there were no ill effects. Not even a bit of fraying.
Rye also likes to gnaw on thick seams like this toy has around the edges. Again, I didn't let that behavior go on for long, but they held up to a brief chewing session. Several of the reviews on Chewy.com said that this toy didn't last long with dogs ripping the handle and pulling out the stuffing, but I found as long as I stayed involved in playing with this toy with Rye, it held up well to a little bit of chewing between tosses and tugs. The toy was also big enough that Rye could get a good grip on it when she wanted to chew on it.
So far, this toy hasn't quite served it's purpose at our house, but I'm not giving up hope. It's exactly what I wanted out of a silent tug toy, but Rye plays by her own rules. Rye definitely likes it at home where she's comfortable, so we're going to keep playing with it in hopes that one day she'll be comfortable enough to play with it at a trial, too.
Disclaimer: We were provided one Frisco Plush with Rubber Tug & Fetch No Squeak Dumbbell toy in exchange for our honest review as part of the #ChewyInfluencer program through Chewy.com.