How do you find out if your toys are durable? Put them in the toughest dog’s mouths.
Recently, we put two of our natural rubber dog toys to the test with our ‘Toy Destroyer Challenge.’ We reached out to our fans to find the toughest toy destroying dogs out there, and leaned on our partners at Conservation Canines to help us narrow down all of the applications, ultimately selecting the top five.
The five dogs that were selected were chosen based on their historical ability to tear apart toys quickly. Read about the entire selection process HERE.
Once the top five challengers were selected, each was shipped either a Huckama™ or Turn Up™ toy and given three weeks to play. Our only request from them was to provide us with honest weekly updates, complete with pictures of their experiences with the toys. Our commitment was that we would share their updates, good or bad, openly on our blog.
While we may have been a little nervous, we were also confident in the durability of both the Turn Up and the Huckama. We are confident in these toys because we know both what went in to designing them, as well as what goes in to manufacturing them.
Week after week, we were thrilled to see not only that the toys were holding up, but also that the dogs continued to maintain their interest in the toys over time (read the weekly updates HERE).
Ryker’s human, Amanda, shared this about the Huckama, “I don’t have enough time to be able to write down how much I absolutely adore this toy. It has been one of the sturdiest rubber toys we’ve had the chance to own and love.”
Another tester, Matt, mentioned this about the Turn Up – “Henri really loves playing with the Turn Up, the crazy bounces have kept her entertained to no end. As far as expectations go I can say the Turn Up exceeded them.”
So, what’s the secret? What makes our toys so durable? Why are they irresistible to dogs?
“My goal is to make toys that are as durable as possible, while maintaining the dog’s interest. They also need to be easy to throw and easy to clean” said Ruffwear Founder, Patrick Kruse. Grace, one of the testers, said it best with this comment – “To compare the Huckama to other rubber toys, it’s by far the sturdiest toy Ari’s had that I can definitively call fun. Most super tough dog toys are so tough that it sucks the fun right out of them, which is a shame.”
To break it down, there are two main factors that determine how durable a toy will be – shape and material.
Regarding the shape, Ruffwear designs our toys in-house with a purpose. For example, we use oblique edges. These edges provide enough shape to be interesting to a dog, but not enough for them to get a hold of and tear at. We make them “almost round”. This provides for an erratic bounce when thrown that is absolutely irresistible for dogs. And lastly, we add holes that serve two functions. First, the holes are open on both sides, eliminating the possibility of creating suction. Second, to provide for an interactive toy when you stuff it with treats.
As for the materials, Ruffwear uses an all-natural latex rubber. Latex rubber is natural, renewable and when processed properly, extremely durable. We use 2-3 times more rubber in our toys than most toys on the market, which leads to a thicker wall. Because of the thickness, we also have a longer cure time, and even incorporate a secondary curing process to ensure that they are baked all the way through.
What does all of this talk of thickness and cure-time really mean? It means you are getting an extremely durable toy that is also soft enough to maintain your dog’s interest over time.
Our product team puts just as much thought into designing our toys as they do our dog packs, boots or life jackets to ensure that you and your dog have the best experience possible. After all, one of the best ways to bond with your dog is over a game of fetch!