After recently receiving a lovely new gift for Charlie, I decided it was time to do a story about some of the more useful and preferred toys in Charlie's toy box. So without further adieu, I present the 2008-2009 Charlie's Choice Awards!
Most Effective Toy to Lure a Dog Into His Crate
The Charlie's Choice Award goes to the Kong!
This toy is especially useful in crate training. We've stuffed it with everything including dog treats, roasted chicken, kibble, cheese, and just about anything else that excites Charlie.
Then for a really special treat, "cap" off the end with a big glob of peanut butter and he's one happy puppy. (We like this toy so much we have two!)
Best Independent Play Toy
In this category the Charlie's Choice Award goes to the Dental Kong on a Rope.
Chuck loves this thing and will happily fling it around his head as though he's getting ready to lasso a steer. (It's quite hilarious to watch and sends Tim into absolute hysterics.)
Best Traditional Style Toy
Sometimes simple is best and there simply is no substitute for a ball when you have a retriever. That being said, not all balls are created equal. While we all enjoy tossing/chasing an old fashioned tennis ball, the Charlie's Choice Award goes to the orange and blue Chuckit ball thanks to its durability, visibility, and chewability.
Not only is it Charlie's first choice for games of fetch, but he'll often just sit and chew on the chuckit ball like it's a big wad of gum. Plus, we have not lost one Chuckit to a chewing fatality. (Over the fence, in the brush, and over the ridge we've lost plenty but wherever the lost balls are, I'm certain they are in pristine condition.)
Most Engaging Interactive Toy
This is a new category which was inspired by a gift received from an admitted cat family. The Charlie's Choice Award goes to the Bees in the Hive plush toy.
This toy is great. It actually reminds me of some of Tim's baby toys with several squeaky little bees and a big hive where the bees "live." You stuff all the bees into the hive and set it down for the puppy. He then sniffs and digs and paws until he gets the bees out of the hive. Then he inevitably scampers away happily squeaking his captured bee. Great fun to watch.
Most Reliable "Go-To" Toy
Sometimes you just need something to entertain your pooch on the fly. Usually this happens when I need to devote my attention to something other than the 70 lbs of effervescent happiness that is Charlie. For this purpose the Charlie's Choice Award goes to the Planet Dog Big Rubbery Bone.
This toy will always entertain Charlie. As an added bonus it has a half inch hole drilled all the way through it which makes it an excellent substitute for the Kong. I have on many occasions stuffed some cheese down this bone and Charlie will take it and disappear while I attend to whatever it is that commands my attention. It's also surprisingly durable and has survived many hours of heavy duty chewing without any signs of distress.
Best Toy to Make Your Friends Chuckle
In this category the Charlie's Choice Award goes to the Humonga Tongue.
This one speaks for itself.
Best Natural Toy
This category has a stand out winner. The Charlie's Choice Award goes to the Giant California Pine Cones that fall off the redwood trees.
Hands down this is Chuck's favorite natural toy. He'll chase these pinecones into the lake, over the ridge, and all over the trail. When he finally captures one he'll lay himself down and gnaw it to bits.
Best Natural Toy - Lifetime Achievement Award
Finally, this category was designed to celebrate the best of Mother Nature's toys that are universally available (i.e. not just in CA.) In this category, the Charlie's Choice Award goes to big sticks.
He's a dog. A retrieving dog. Sticks and dogs go together like peanut butter and jelly. The best part about sticks is that they're free and abundant.
Of course, the judges are already considering candidates for next year so if you have any suggestions please post them here!