Monday, April 26, 2010

Wool Tuggies from A Cheerful Pet

I noticed these toys on the Clean Run website a few weeks ago and wanted to get my hands on some to see what they felt like and if
Teller liked them. Designed and manufactured under the company name "A Cheerful Pet" these toys are made from boiled and felted New Zealand wool and are designed in the US. The toys are handmade by (and provide income to) previously unemployed women in Nepal. The toys are fair trade and sustainable. It's an interesting model of a global product - without losing the details of where and from whom the product actually comes from. I don't think anyone really feels warm and fuzzy about giving their dogs cheap toys from China and Malaysia - that's not to say that there aren't some good alternatives - but they're usually not easy to find or gentle on the wallet.

The lovely ladies from Sirius in Vermont had a large display of them at the trial this weekend so I was able to get my hands (and Teller's teeth) on them to see if we liked them. I was drawn to the creative designs and the pretty colors. Full disclosure: I've been known to buy dog toys because I like them - hence the number of toys at home that I either won't let them play with (like the muppet and rat toys) or toys that neither dog really likes to play with (the infamous mailorder EGG falls into this category). Yes, I tell my students to take their dogs shopping and not to buy toys if the dog doesn't want to play with them and I still wholeheartedly believe that - but I'm still a sucker for squeaky toys sometimes too. In the case of the woolies though, I'm pleased to report that Teller approves of his new woolies - even Murphy played a bit of woolie tug with me last night (and then woolie tug with Teller).

These toys are gorgeous! The sea critters line is almost too pretty to be a dog toy - the turtles are amazingly detailed - like little felted sculptures. The manta ray seems to be aerodynamic enough to be thrown as a frisbee and then tugged with by it's tail - but again that's if you can see past how pretty they are and actually let your dog slime and play with them. The quality and workmanship in these cute toys seems to be really high - and the prices are really reasonable! In my household, the "expensive" dog toys usually don't get played with a lot because I don't want to lose them on the road or at trials - even if my dogs LOVE them.

I ended up with a ringzee (left) and one of their two headed tuggies with fringe (above). Remember that post last week about dogs being the ones to choose what is and isn't reinforcing to them? All the more reason to take your dog shopping - and if you see these toys on the shelf give them a try (or a tug).

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