Like most good stories start: I was at the pet store with my mother. We were only supposed to be picking up a bag of dog food for the month, but the course of certain plans never does run smoothly. We quite easily found ourselves perusing the toy aisle, readily agreeing that Simon and Rosee haven’t been subjected to new bones in a while, and shouldn’t we get them two extra Kong toys just in case they rip the ones they already have, and oh, they also could use some extra bags of treats too since we’re here anyway. So, after getting a cart (because we just didn’t have enough hands between the two of us) and picking out a few new Nylabones and filling up two big bags with dog biscuits we started to make our way towards the checkout. Of course, this path meant we passed by a rather lively display of rope toys.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Rope toys? I thought tug-of-war wasn’t a good game to play with dogs? Doesn’t it teach them not to let go? Won’t rope toys shred too easily? Or maybe this is just what I was thinking as I debated with my mother whether or not a new rope toy was a necessary addition to our toy arsenal at home. It’s not that I don’t like rope toys. In fact Simon and Rosee have had a few over the past few years, one of which actually making it in time for this blog (see Super 8 Dog Toy). However, others have not been so lucky. The truth is between two strong dogs that like to pull on and shred rope, rope toys simply have not lasted very long within our household. So, I was reluctant to bring another one home, only to have to throw it out after a few weeks, especially after spending a pretty penny on it. Rope toys may not be the most expensive toys there are, most Nylabones costing more than the largest rope toys I’ve found available, but they still cost enough to make them an investment, unfortunately a bad one based on past experience. I decided to remain optimistic though, and willingly placed a large blue and silver rope toy in our basket.
Rope toys are not all created equal, so the rope toy that I purchased is made by Mammoth, who calls the toy a Flossy Chew. It cost about $18, so not too expensive (Nylabones cost more at about $22 for the largest ones). This is one of the strongest and thickest rope toys I have come across in my three years of owning dogs, and I’ve looked through a lot of rope toys. This particular Flossy Chew is approximately 48 inches long with five knots. The color of chew my family bought was made up of blue and silver threads. There were other colors available, including a white and purple one that almost grabbed my attention. Initially, the Flossy Chew looked beautiful, pristine, and totally wreck-able.
By now, it’s been a few weeks and I have to say the toy is holding up quite nicely. Of course, the two only get to play with it for about fifteen minutes once or twice a day, and are heavily supervised the whole time. If not, then Rosee takes one end, Simon the other and both of them simply use their teeth to pull on the strings, shredding them to the best of their abilities. The front room becomes littered with string and looks more like a blue and silver explosion instead of a friendly game of tug-of-war. This mess isn’t such a big deal, but Simon likes to try and eat the leftover strings and that isn’t good for him, so it’s important to quickly scoop up any remnants right after a play session.
Also, without supervision Rosee just goes to town, making it her personal mission to pull apart the glued together knots. You can just hear the ripping and she wages war on the tiny threads. Obviously, she is not left alone with the toy or allowed to really just sit with it. When Simon decides he doesn’t feel like running after her or tugging on the other end of the rope, it ends up falling on mine and Theresa’s shoulders to keep her running around the house so she doesn’t have a chance to rest and shred. The truth of the matter is as long as the two are using the rope to actually play tug-of-war (or just tease each other), then everything is good.
Simon and Rosee are very adept at playing and knowing when to stop when things start to become too rough, usually when Simon’s starts barking too much and Rosee growls a little too loudly. When this happens the treats come out and the Flossy Chew is taken away. The two of them take a moment to realize that even though they only ran around for fifteen minutes or so they are exhausted, and I get another hour of downtime as they fall back asleep. So, I would say the toy was a good buy, as long as it comes in moderation and with adequate supervision.
As the evidence shows a Flossy Chew, or any other rope toy, can be a fun and effective toy as long as certain practices are in place. Supervision is a must if your pooch likes to shred and swallow like Rosee and Simon do. Moderation is also crucial if your dog likes to shred, otherwise the toy wouldn’t last a week. It is prudent to make sure your canine doesn’t get too caught up in the game of tug-of-war as well, because that could lead to other problems (like not letting go of things stolen off of the table after a crazy rampage around the front room—I’m looking at you Rosee!). The only claim I cannot judge is that as a Flossy Chew it is easily assumed the toy is supposed to floss a dog’s teeth. I don’t see a difference in either Simon or Rosee’s teeth, but since the toy was not bought for this reason I still find it a good buy.
The fact is this particular rope toy or Flossy Chew can be a good investment because it does have a sturdy build, made to last through strong chewers and its longer length allows for more places to pull from (and for human hands to avoid pointy canine teeth). I look forward to getting a few more months out of this Flossy Chew, allowing Simon and Rosee an exciting way to play inside and avoid the overwhelming heat of the oven that can be California during summer.