I first saw this toy – actually, a set of two – at a trade show. I had no clue what they did, but they didn’t look that interesting, either.
But then a company representative approached and asked if I knew what the toys did. “Nope!” I replied. “Show me!” He depressed a hidden button on one, and it emitted some chiming notes. Then he pressed the button on the other egg and it, too, chimed – and then started making some electronic chirping sounds. “The toys are paired through a Bluetooth connection,” he explained. “One makes an intermittent noise until it is jostled; then it goes silent and the other egg starts making a noise. Once your dog figures out how they work, you can put the eggs up to 30 feet apart from each other and your dog can have fun running from one to the other!”
Okay, now I was intrigued. I know many dogs like to play with toys that make electronic sounds, such as the Wobble Wag Giggle Ball. The concept of a toy consisting of two pieces that take turns interacting with your dog – that’s more than twice the fun! I couldn’t wait for my dogs to try the Ricochet.
THE RICOCHET EXPERIENCE
The toys are meant to be enjoyed by one dog at a time, and in fact, don’t work well when more than one dog is in the game at the same time. The sounds they make “ricochet” from one egg to the other when the noisy one is moved; if more than one dog is playing, the bouncing of the sound from one egg to the other can’t be predicted or chased.
We gave the Ricochet to six different dogs to play with; each was intrigued by the noises the toys made and intuitively nudged the toys with their noses or paws. The bigger dogs all tried to pick up the toys in their mouths and crack them open; play with these toys has to be supervised and sometimes redirected. (My large dogs could definitely bite open the toys if permitted.) But even our six-pound test dog enjoyed pushing the toys around.
Another reason to join your dog in playing with the Ricochet toys: At some point, every dog would fixate on the toy closest to them, disregarding its silence and the increasingly frantic tones of the other toy. That’s when you have to step in, taking away the one they are fixating on and getting them to listen for the chirping of the other toy. “Oh, right!” the dog will seem to say, tearing out of the room to find the other one. Then you can quickly hide the one you took away, so your dog can have fun looking for it when it starts chirping again.
The length of time that our test dogs played with the toys varied by temperament. A 6-year-old female Golden Retriever would have played with the toys until they were dead. My 12-year-old mixed-breed male, Otto, grasped the game very quickly – but lost interest the moment I stopped actively encouraging him to leave the non-chirping toy and look for the one that was making noise. All the other dogs were in between.
The toys each are about four inches long and made with a hard plastic case; the ends are covered with a softer, rubbery substance that keeps the toys from making a horrendous clatter as a dog knocks them about.
The toys can be turned off by pressing a hidden button on each egg. If you don’t turn them off, they will occasionally chirp, finally turning themselves off after 60 minutes without motion.
Each egg requires three AAA batteries. PetSafe says the batteries will last for about a month of daily use. The Ricochet comes with a one-year warranty when purchased new from an authorized seller. PetSafe offers a satisfaction guarantee, returning your purchase price (less shipping cost) if you return the toy within 45 days.