This may not look like a big deal, but for me, it’s HUGE!
This is the Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball. It’s made of a soft, rubbery material. You pour kibble and/or treats into the hole at the top, and it takes a dog a good long time to get the treats and/or kibble out. They have to knock it around and toss it; chewing it doesn’t really do any good – unless they are the destructive kind of chewer, in which case, this treat-dispensing toy is not appropriate for them! But for dogs who have the persistence needed to work this sort of toy, and who don’t chew toys up, this is a really great time-consuming, fun thing.
There are other products made by other companies that offer a similar toy, only made of hard plastic. These usually are made with a trap door, or two halves that unscrew so that you can remove any treats that failed to come out, or rinse out the toy. The hard plastic ones are all easier to clean, but sound AWFUL when a dog is batting them around the house, whacking them across hard floors and into walls and furniture.
In contrast, the Omega Paw Tricky Treat Balls are much quieter, and because I don’t have carpet in my house or office, I like them much better. Also, if Otto or a large foster dog gets one stuck in a corner, because it is made of a soft plastic, he or she can always pick it up and start again in a better location. Dogs often need help retrieving the hard plastic balls when they get stuck somewhere.
But there is one thing that has driven me crazy about the Tricky Treat ball for literally YEARS: the last few treats in a ball can be almost impossible to remove. And I don’t want my dogs eating old, or dog forbid, moldy kibble. So if I find one of the balls around the house, and I don’t know how old the kibble inside it is, I feel compelled to take it to the sink and run it under water, filling it again and again in an attempt to get the old kibble or treats to float out of the ball. Given how the hole in the ball is a sort of tube that sticks down into the ball a couple of inches, getting these last bits of food out is really difficult.
Only, as I JUST discovered today, it’s not. How have I been so dense??
I am fostering a dog with a low threshold of boredom, and I’m busy, and it’s raining, so I have been employing all three of the Tricky Treat balls I have in my possession (as well as one of our 2014 Gear of the Year top picks, Planet Dog’s Orbee-Tough Snoop, but that’s another story). This morning, I was cleaning out one of the Tricky Treat Balls, and complaining as usual, when I happened to push my finger down into the tube, trying to rinse some of the dog saliva out of the toy, and I realized that the tube is flexible enough to pull out. I pulled, and the tube inverted, so you can GET ALL THE TREATS OUT OF THE BALL! Why have I never tried this before??
It’s ridiculous that I never knew this before. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent, filling one of these toys with water and shaking it and squeezing it in an effort to get the last kibble out. And the solution was so easy.
Now I want to know two things: If you had or have a Tricky Treat ball, did you know you could do this?
And is there another little life-changing tip or trick you’ve learned that has made caring for your dog’s needs this much easier? If so, please share!