Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fixing a Broken Tug-a-Jug

We live and breathe food toys around my house; almost every meal comes out of one. Maisy’s favorite kibble-dispensing toy is the Tug-a-Jug, so when the rubber rope on hers finally broke last fall, I immediately went out and bought another one.

Despite the fact that I had a working replacement, the hoarder in me just couldn’t throw away what was an otherwise perfectly good toy, so I started experimenting with ways to use the jug without the tug. I started with the old stand by: I threw a couple of tennis balls in the jug along with her kibble. That worked, but it wasn’t very challenging. Next, I crumpled up a piece of paper and stuffed it in there. This was better, but still too easy for my food-toy connoisseur. Then I hit on the winning combination: a series of cardboard layers inside.

I really like this method because it’s both cheap and easy to make yourself. It changes the way your dog interacts with the toy, basically making it like a brand-new toy. And best of all, it’s fully adjustable because you can add or remove layers to create the right difficulty level for your dog. In fact, compared to using a Tug-a-Jug the traditional way, Maisy’s repurposed one takes her almost twice as long to empty, meaning I get that much more time without a tennis ball in my lap!

Intrigued? Want to try it yourself? Follow along…

Materials Needed: Cardboard, scissors, and a pen or pencil.

Step 1: Take the lid off your Tug-a-Jug, set it upright on the cardboard, and trace it. Then, draw a second circle around that, about an inch away.

Step 2: Using your scissors, cut it out along the outer line. Then, cut a series of strips towards the center, stopping at the inner line.

Step 3: Tear out every other strip. Fold the remaining ones up in the same direction.

Step 4: Make a hole anywhere inside the remaining solid area. The easiest way to do this is to stab the cardboard with your scissors and twist until the hole is the right size. Bigger holes will obviously be easier for the kibble to fall through.

Step 5: Place the cardboard inside the Tug-a-Jug. Right now, Maisy is using three layers, with each layer arranged so that the holes do not line up on top of each other. Allow enough room between each layer for the kibble to move freely. Once you’ve put all the layers in, add kibble, replace the lid, and enjoy!


Robin Sallie said...


poodleandpitbull said...

Really awesome idea! Too bad Charlie cracked the top off of his - damn Poodle knows which is the business end!

Ninso said...

Awesome! Jun loves her tug-a-jug, but it is way too easy. . . . Actually, that's probably why she likes it.

Sophie said...

I really ought to get one of these for Lola... but I have the sneaking suspicion she'd just rip the rope right out. I might have to try to modify some of her other food toys though!

Dog Foster Mom said...

This is a great idea, thanks so much for sharing it! My foster dog Ziggy (www.adoptziggy.com) loves his tug-a-jug but the rope (his has the regular cloth fiber type) is worn and unbraided and pretty much just a bunch of strings now. So this is a great way to make it tougher for him again!

Anonymous said...

Shanoa figured out how to unscrew the bottom of the tug-a-jug, so we can't use that one! I haven't been feeding her out of her toys since we got Simon, though. Hmmm...going to have to get back into that. She probably misses it.


Joanna said...

Very creative, love it!