Good Dog! Product Test Report: The Buster Cube

We’ve had several calls and letters about this unusual toy over the past few months. So many, in fact, that I went out and bought one for my dogs.

The Buster® Cube was developed in Denmark by a man who works with dogs and treats canine behavior problems. The Cube looks like a die with six sides, one of which has a hole. The attraction for the dog is that as she roles the cube around with her nose or paws, kibble comes out of that hole. Oh joy!

To get the pieces of kibble inside the walls of the cube, just insert them in the hole. The cube is divided into several compartments so, if you shake it around, pieces of kibble will find a “home” in each of the sections. I used Charlee Bear® Dog Treats in my Buster Cube because they’re just the right size (small) and they’re low in calories.

You may already know that Fisher, my Alaskan Malamute, isn’t very playful. When we put the Buster Cube down on the floor for the dogs to play with, Fisher surprised us by claiming it. She immediately decided that this was her toy, and she wouldn’t let Mandy or Harley touch it. She’d keep her paw or head on the cube at all times to keep everyone away. Unfortunately, we eventually had to take it away from her because she was getting overprotective.

I brought the Buster Cube to the Good Dog! offices for Chief Test Dog Chops. I gave it to her at 9:00 a.m. and when I left for lunch around noon, she was still playing with it. The only time she left it alone was when we forced her to go outside. She’s used to working for her treats, so this was great. It kept her entertained.About hour five we got tired of hearing the treats in the Cube rattling around the office, and took the Buster Cube away from Chops. She tried to take it off my desk, and out of the box!

It took the dogs a while to figure out that they couldn’t get the food out with their tongues or by biting the cube open. My Buster Cube has a lot of teeth marks to prove it! The information that comes with the toy says that these are common reactions. Once they figured out how easy it was to get the food out by rolling the cube, both Fisher and Chops stopped biting at it.

One size cube fits all. In fact, small dogs have proven that solving the puzzle has more to do with how clever the pup is, rather than how big or strong she is. It’s a terrific toy that stimulates dogs mentally, helps use concentration skills, and gets rid of that excess energy. I’m all for that!

The Buster Cube is also meant to be an educational toy that helps alleviate some behavior problems. The printed insert claims that the Buster Cube can help solve or minimize behavior problems originating from fear, aggression or boredom.

It’s easy to see how it helps with boredom. But we’ve had some aggression problems with Fisher, and unfortunately this toy reinforced that behavior. She’s protective of her food with our other female dog, and this was no different. I guess that’s a normal reaction in homes with more than one dog, so maybe the problem could be solved by having a cube for each dog, rather than expecting them to share. (Or is that asking too much?!)

You can easily adjust the rate of speed that the food comes out of the cube by just turning the cylinder inside the hole. This changes the level of challenge to the dog.

You’ll be happy to know that the Buster Cube is dishwasher-safe. That helps if you use a greasy super-premium food.

If you’re looking for a gift for the dog that has everything, I highly recommend the Buster Cube. If Fisher likes it, and if it can keep Chops entertained hour after hour, you can bet that it’ll work for most dogs.

Wendy Houtz

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