Tug-A-Jug

Brooke here.  Talk about your saucy titles.  It is, however, nothing but product promotion for a dog toy.

He does make adorable wuffling noises when you scratch him behind the ears. And then he throws up.

A little backstory first.  We took care of my parents’ dog for two years.  Two very long… anyhow, he was a grea… goo… nic… dog but he was not all that bright.  And he had traits.  Some of which we trained him out of,* some of which he’s kept.  One of those traits which persevered is an almost perfect 50/50 split between enthusiasm and terror at anything new.  One Christmas, I gave him one of those dog toys where they can see and smell a treat, but they have to manipulate the toy until the treat falls out.  His strategy was to sniff it and then bark at it until he got hoarse or I got angry and took it away from him (mostly the latter, really).

Zu, on the other hand, has the enthusiasm coupled with pure blind puppy fearlessness.  Everything is food, a toy, or an edible toy (see: cement, rocks, shoes, rotting wood, and especially medium-sized pinecones, which Zu swallows whole and has caused Brown to comment that absolutely no part of that experience! could possibly be rewarding).  In fact, I was inspired to post this particular entry because today is the first time I have seen Zu actually chew. Maybe it’s a puppy thing but tends to vacuum food into his body past teeth that, were it not for the rampant destruction of various household items, might be considered purely ornamental.

Which led to Brown’s impulse buy of the Tug-O-Jug.

Name, packaging, truth in advertising, aaaand moving on!

It’s a plastic cylinder with a knotted rope running into an open mouth to a larger internal knot and, in our household, a red rubber lacrosse ball we added to jam up the works.  We fill it with puppy chow and give it to Zu, who works the jug like a corner with a shot-out streetlamp.  He pulls on the rope, which hauls a few pieces of food to the top of the container; he then drops the rope and tips the entire thing on its side so the food falls out.  The jug’s narrow mouth and the lacrosse ball make it impossible for more than a few pieces of kibble to come out at once, so he has to repeat the process over and over again until the container is empty.  And then I refill it.

Pros: Besides preventing him from bolting his food, it keeps him busy for at least 30 minutes each morning and night, which provides stimulation for his little brain and a full hour of peace for us.  Cons: I’m not sure how good the constant grab-pull-grab-tip motion is for those ornamental teeth of his, and he’ll eventually get so fed up with this system he will kill us in our sleep.

Still, I’ve bought a metric poop-ton of dog toys in my day and the Tug-A-Jug is one of two — two! — that’s worked better than advertised (the other are the stuffed toys in the Tuffy’s product line, which takes a Rottweiler several weeks’ of hard work to destroy).   I wholeheartedly recommend the Tug-A-Jug for anyone with a puppy of decent intelligence, although older dogs might not appreciate it as there there might be a learning — or is that a tolerance? — curve of sorts.  We tried these shenanigans on Cutter, who glanced at the food-filled jug and then raised his extra-hairy old-man’s eyebrows at us as if to ask so we are moving directly to the killing in the sleep?

Better yet, Brown picked ours up at Target for thirteen bucks, so if your dog wants nothing to do with such nonsense it’s not like you’ve broken the bank or you’ve been put out trying to track one down online.

This weekend, we are building a terrace and garden steps.  Prepare for Monday’s blog post to be full of oh God, my back.

*Like his habit of walking up behind you, pushing between your legs, and slamming his head up into your crotch over and over again in a very fast, very hard WHAM!WHAM!WHAM! Brown trained him out of this on the very first day.

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3 thoughts on “Tug-A-Jug

  1. Rachel

    My corgi figured out her Tug-a-Jug pretty quickly. Unfortunately, her preferred quick solution is “fling it through the air fast enough that the food comes out.” So you’ll put the jug down, and then roughly 2 or 3 minutes later it goes whizzing through the air and slams into the wall, and a corgi cheerily trots past to pick up the treat.

    Periodically she uses it as intended, but when she wants the food more than the play… wham! Into the wall.

  2. Lily

    What type of dog is your parents’ dog? Looks a bit like Labradoodle?

    I have a Labradoodle, 11 weeks old right now. This pup knows No, Quit, Hush, Sit, Lay-Down, Come, Sam (his name), and is learning all sorts of things… don’t bite mommy, don’t bite mommy’s things, don’t eat rocks, Drop It, don’t eat the baseboards or carpet…. Sam is also a Dyson vacuum. He likes to absorb his food instantaneously, then immediately spring up into action, running circles, pouncing, stalking his toys… very adorable, like watching a maniacal floppy eared bunny. Unfortunately, this is sometimes followed by puking his chow (whole pieces covered in slime). Now I crate him for meals and leave him in there a good 5 – 10 minutes to digest a little bit. Seems to be working. I’ve tried adding toys to his food bowl, as I read that might help, but slowing him down by a few seconds is not really accomplishing anything. I’ll give this Tug-A-Jug a try! Though, I am afraid I’ll be finding flung puppy chow in random places.

    He is very intelligent and honestly the best dog I have ever had (or, I see potential for him to grow to be the best, at least), but I definitely read through your Zu stories and wonder what “joys” I have yet in store for me.

  3. Jeremy Seip

    Wow, I’m sending the Tug-A-Jug link to my brother who has a generally well behaved, but vacuum cleaner of food dog.

    In terms of dog toys, I can within an inch of grabbing a gnarled stick from my uncle’s dog to throw. Fortunately I figured out it was actually a frequently buried and dug up deer leg. A good outdoor toy, but I would suggest the dog be trained out of licking faces first.

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