Testing Out the Tennis Tumble: Review of the Wild One Dog Puzzle Toy
If you’re a dog parent, you’ve probably heard the term “canine enrichment” tossed around from time to time. It’s often touted as the key to raising a healthy and well-adjusted dog. But what is it, really?
Canine enrichment simply means providing your dog with engaging activities to enhance their mind and motor skills. This could involve anything from interactive puzzle toys to sniffy walks or dog massages. And these enriching activities aren’t just good for dogs. Pet parents benefit from canine enrichment, too. Because dogs who are kept engaged and entertained are often more relaxed, better behaved, and less prone to anxiety.
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Since we all want a little more of that in our lives, I decided to try out one new canine enrichment toy that’s generating a lot of buzz…and not just with one dog, but with three! My very eager canine play testers—Natsu, Dexter, and Haru—and I put Wild One’s Tennis Tumble Puzzle Toy to the test to find out just how much enrichment this popular toy could deliver.
What is Wild One All About?
The company behind the innovative Tennis Tumble dog toy is Wild One, a Brooklyn-based team of pet lovers who are passionate about making quality products to improve quality time spent with your pets. The brand designs and manufactures a broad selection of pet essentials for both people and their dogs—everything from toys, gear, and accessories to grooming tools and healthy treats—so you and your pup can walk, play, and live in style.
Though style is a key selling feature for all Wild One products (many of which are available in a virtual rainbow of fun color options), function always comes first in the design. The brand believes in thoughtfully designed products that work well and make life easier, first and foremost. The fact that they look great, too, is just icing on the pupcake.
Wild One is also well-known for putting its commitment to animal welfare into action. Through their Dog a Day program, the brand partners with animal rescue organizations across the country in support of one noble (and lofty) goal: to help rescue one dog a day by 2024. A portion of every purchase you make on WildOne.com supports these efforts, and you can even find out more about the dogs Wild One has helped save by visiting the brand’s Dog a Day program page.
Wild One’s New Dog Puzzle Toy: The Tennis Tumble
The Tennis Tumble has made a big splash on social media, so many have already heard about the popular puzzle toy. For those unfamiliar with it, the Tennis Tumble features a tough barrel-shaped exterior made from sturdy natural rubber, and within this cylindrical shape is enclosed an oh-so-tempting tennis ball. Your dog’s mission (should they choose to accept it): Free the ball from this clever contraption.
The Tennis Tumble is substantial in size, measuring almost 4 inches in length and 2.5 inches in diameter. The dimensions are precisely calculated to make freeing the tennis ball challenging enough to keep a dog occupied for hours, but not so challenging that they become frustrated (though your dog’s experience may vary).
The walls of the BPA-free dog toy are slatted to reveal the ball inside, which naturally will entice a dog to interact with the toy. This thoughtful design also prioritizes your pet’s safety by allowing plenty of airflow, which prevents your dog’s tongue from getting “sucked in.”
Wild One recommends using the Tennis Tumble to engage your dog and provide mental stimulation in a variety of situations, whether you’re playing with your dog one-on-one or away from home. However, as a longtime pet trainer and pet behavior specialist, I personally caution against allowing dogs to play with toys unsupervised, to avoid potential choking hazards.
My other concern is what could happen if a dog becomes frustrated with a toy. The Tennis Tumble looks like a pretty tough challenge, even for the most toy-savvy dogs. But, I’m not a dog. So let’s see what my three dog testers thought of the Wild One Tennis Tumble.
Putting the Tennis Tumble to the Test
All dogs are different, and taste in toys can be very subjective. So instead of trying the Tennis Tumble out on one pup, I chose three different canine candidates. Here’s how each dog reacted.
Natsu, the Collie
Natsu was the first canine play tester I introduced to the Tennis Tumble. At first, he didn’t know what to think about the new toy (which I chose in a lovely, seasonal shade of lilac). He looked at it for a while, but did not immediately interact with the toy. So I picked it up, wiggled the tennis ball inside, spoke words of encouragement, and put the puzzle toy down on the floor in front of him…but still no reaction from this tough customer.
Natsu is a dog who loves a good game of fetch, so out to the yard we went. Once I tossed the Tennis Tumble, Natsu was all in! He chased the Tennis Tumble and easily picked it up by placing his upper jaw inside the cylinder and lower jaw at the bottom. Fetch was on.
After multiple rounds of tossing and fetching, Natsu carried the puzzle toy into the house. Now, he seemed much more interested in finding out what this toy was all about and even carried the Tennis Tumble around with him from room to room.
When (by sheer accident) Natsu dropped the puzzle toy, his eyes lit up. He quickly picked it back up, strutted around the house, and dropped it again, seeming to really enjoy the new game he’d made up. That’s one of the benefits of providing a dog with an enrichment toy—they try new things and find fun in ways we may never have expected.
Although Natsu really didn’t necessarily feel that ball was the coolest part of this dog toy, he certainly enjoyed the Tennis Tumble. After a day of playing with the toy, he then started tossing the Tumble up in the air, watching it soar, bounce, and land. In the end, the Tennis Tumble was a hit with Natsu.
Dexter, the (elder) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Dexter is a senior dog who has logged countless hours of playtime with different types and brands of interactive enrichment toys over the past twelve years. Despite all that experience, like Natsu, Dexter didn’t show a lot of interest when I first broke out the Tennis Tumble for him.
I made a point of showing him the ball inside, rolling it on the floor, and acting like a crazy woman. Nada. He just looked at me. Dexter is a foodie, so my next step was to introduce the toy with some bits of healthy treats inside. Bingo. Now I thought I had his number.
With the treats inside the cylinder, Dexter pushed the Tennis Tumble around, gobbling up the treats that fell out. However, once the treats were gone, Dexter again lost interest. Thinking back to Natsu, I decided I’d try the fetch tactic again, but Dexter remained a tough sell when it came to the Tennis Tumble.
If I had to guess, I’d say Dexter’s reaction came down to pure preference…as it does for all dogs, which is an important consideration when picking out pet toys. Though Dexter enjoys fetch, the Tennis Tumble was perhaps a little too big for him to really be interested in it as a fetch toy. And while the Tennis Tumble got his attention as a treat dispenser, the puzzle aspect of the toy just didn’t grab him.
I will say that the Tennis Tumble is one of the more challenging puzzle toys I’ve encountered. The fit between the ball and cylinder is really quite snug, which is great if your dog is always eager for a new challenge. However, for Dexter, the Tennis Tumble was a no-go.
Haru, the (younger) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Finally, it was time to test the Wild One Tennis Tumble out with Haru, another Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, though one who’s in his prime playing years. Unlike the other dogs, as soon as I showed the puzzle toy to Haru, he was very excited! Even though he’s a smaller dog, he quickly picked it up and ran away from me like the Tennis Tumble was his most prized possession.
I went over to see how he was playing with the Tennis Tumble, and he was batting it with his paw, poking his face inside the toy, rolling it around, and gnawing on the natural rubber. He seemed intrigued by the movements of the ball within the cylinder and very intent on trying to free the ball from the toy.
When I picked up the Tennis Tumble and gave it a toss, Haru raced down the yard after the toy. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him run that fast! Although he never freed the trapped tennis ball, Haru didn’t seem to get frustrated or upset about that fact. Instead, he seemed even more determined the longer he played. He continued to go back and forth with his play style, happily switching things up in the hope that he’d crack the puzzle, until our play session was over. I think it’s safe to say that the Tennis Tumble was a big hit with Haru.
Wild One Tennis Tumble Results
When I look at how the three dogs interacted with the new enrichment toy from Wild One, they each had distinctly different reactions. I think that’s a good reminder—that all dogs have different preferences and play styles, so no dog toy is a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to canine enrichment.
Despite the fact that none of my testers “solved” the Tennis Tumble puzzle, it was a definite hit with two out of the three pups who tried it out…just not always in the way I expected. Again, this is a great thing to keep in mind when shopping for enrichment toys: What your dog finds enriching or entertaining may surprise you!
The versatility of the Tennis Tumble is really an advantage here. Not only can pups play with it the way its designers intended, but you can also use it in a number of other ways. Your dog may enjoy the tennis ball that comes with the Tennis Tumble (also available in a pack of four replacement balls), the empty Tennis Tumble cylinder itself, or even use the puzzle toy as part of an entirely new game, like Natsu did.
For example, if the ball and cylinder aspect doesn’t float your dog’s boat, you can try wrapping a few healthy treats in a folded-up washcloth and placing it inside the Tennis Tumble with just a bit of the cloth hanging out. Encourage your dog to pull the cloth out and unwind the cloth to find the rewards inside. Voila, you’ve invented a whole new way to enjoy this innovative puzzle toy.
Things I Like
- I love the fact that the Tennis Tumble is made from BPA-free rubber. The wide range of colors are a nice perk, too!
- The weight of the Tumble made it easy for me to toss.
- The size is nice for medium-to-large breed dogs.
- After many hours of play with my team of tester dogs, no rubber was chewed off, even though Haru did a lot of gnawing.
Things to Consider
- Depending on your dog’s preferences (or size, in some cases), some dogs could get frustrated if they can’t remove the ball from the Tennis Tumble. My testers did not have this issue, however they found plenty of other things to enjoy about the Tennis Tumble, outside of solving the puzzle.
- If your dog does frustrate easily, I would suggest helping the dog by slightly popping out the tennis ball, making it easier for them to pull out.
- I would love to see this toy in two more sizes. One for tiny dogs and one for giant breeds. As designed, the size of the tennis ball might make it difficult for some larger and smaller breeds to rescue from the cylinder.
Wild One Reviews: What Others Are Saying
There are lots of Wild One Tennis Tumble reviews from real dog owners, with many rating the puzzle toy four or five stars when it comes to design, durability, and enjoyment. Here’s what a few happy Tennis Tumble pet parents had to say:
- “Great product for active dogs! So good to find a toy my baby can’t destroy within a few minutes. She is a chewer and manages to pull the stuffing out of most toys. She loves chasing this toy around, and it keeps her interested far longer than other toys.”
- “Our pup loves this Tumble! We replaced the tennis ball after he was able to figure it out with a slightly larger ball, and he has lots of fun with it!”
- “The only toy that constantly has my dog’s attention. He can’t stop playing with it, and I can finally watch a show and get work done uninterrupted.”
Wild One: Our Verdict
Though my tester dogs “failed” to solve the Tennis Tumble puzzle, I’d consider the puzzle toy trial largely a success. Two out of three of my testers enjoyed the heck out of the toy, which is what enrichment toys are all about.
If you decide to treat your own pup to the Tennis Tumble, please supervise your dog during playtime—as is the case for all dog toys, chews, bones, or potential choking hazards.
If any parts of the Tennis Tumble become damaged or worn from wear and tear, please reach out to Wild One for a replacement. If your items aren’t performing as they should within a year of purchase, Wild One will fix or replace them free of charge. It’s much easier to replace or remove a dog toy to be on the safe side than to deal with the prospect of surgery required to remove an obstruction.
Giving your dog a rich, rewarding life is what being a dog parent is all about, and finding the right source of enrichment can help you achieve that goal. To that end, I’d definitely recommend adding the Wild One Tennis Tumble to your dog’s toy box. Even if your pet doesn’t play with it as intended, your dog is sure to find other plenty of other ways to enjoy this durable and versatile puzzle toy.
While you’re exploiting the Wild One website, be sure to check out their other dog toys and lifestyle accessories to find the perfect fit for you and your pet.