Home Feature news Fable's dog toys merge enrichment and aesthetic, but are they worth the...

Fable’s dog toys merge enrichment and aesthetic, but are they worth the money?

Maybe the only thing that Millenials and Gen Z-ers can agree on is treating dogs like the precious little angel babies they are. Both generations have a knack for making owning a dog their number one personality trait — and spending way more money on pet products than anyone thought was possible. $150 a month on gourmet dog food? Sure. $50 for a leash set that matches my clothes? Sign me up.

I’m not knocking these pet parents, I’m actually one myself. Since I adopted my border collie mix, Miso, in 2021, I’ve gone a little bit overboard in the shopping department. She has two pairs of dog boots, countless puzzle games, a sweater for every occasion, and a whole slew of dog-specific camping gear. On top of my dog shopping obsession, I’m also a sucker for good design and will buy pretty much anything that both looks good and makes my life more convenient.

That’s where Fable comes in. The aesthetically-pleasing pet brand is best known for its minimal wooden dog crate that looks more like a high end piece of furniture than a piece of dog gear, but there’s more to Fable than just pretty stuff. Fable’s mission is to ease the pain points of pet parenthood, and do it in style. In the words of co-founder Jeremy Canade, Fable is focused on “very well designed products that fit nicely in the human experience and the pet experience.”

Fable sells leashes, collars, dog beds, and more, but the two toys they offer are particularly interesting. Both the game and the falcon toy are enrichment-focused designs, meaning that they aim to work your dog’s mind and their body by tapping into natural doggy instincts like sniffing, foraging, and scavenging.

Fable’s toys come in muted colors that blend in with almost any decor.
Credit: Jae Thomas

Canade says that the interactive design for these toys came in part from a passion for ensuring dogs are intellectually stimulated. “I think there’s a huge opportunity in enrichment toys,” he said in an interview with Mashable. “We want to enrich dog lives because your dog’s life is worthy. They’re sentient beings, and they have every right to lead full lives.”

Fable’s two enrichment toys have great features for both dogs and people, including trendy colors that are also optimized for a dog’s visible color spectrum. With the help of my pup Miso, we tested each toy to see if they’re worth the price tag and a place in your home.

ovular dog toy with hole cut out for treats
The game works well as a slow feeder, and holds 1.5 cups of dry dog food.
Credit: Jae Thomas/Mashable
  • Our rating: 3.5

  • Price: $55

  • Pros: Four different difficulty levels; Fits up to 1.5 cups of dry food; Features top grooves for spreads; Quieter on floors than hard plastic wobble toys; Dishwasher safe; Comes in five beautiful colors

  • Cons: Top outer construction isn’t durable; Smart dogs can learn to unscrew it; Pricey

If you’ve seen the classic Kong wobbler toy, the game is an amped up version. The main point of this toy is to tap into a dog’s prey drive (which is a good way to tackle prey urges for dogs who tend to chase or fixate on small animals). Pups can paw at the game or push it over with their nose in order to release food out of the hole, and the wobbling motion keeps things exciting.

The Game features a weighted bottom, an insert to adjust difficulty across four different levels, an inner cavity that can hold up to 1.5 cups of dry food, and grooves on the top for spreadable treats like peanut butter. The outer texture is also slightly grippy, so it’s less likely to make a lot of noise on hard floors, and won’t roll over and release a bunch of treats on its own as easily as smooth plastic versions. It’s ideal for pups who gobble their food down too fast, and can slow down mealtime as well as offer mental and physical activity.

toy disassembled into three parts
The game unscrews and the level difficulty insert can easily be popped out.
Credit: Jae Thomas

The difficulty insert is a removable plastic piece that features four different sized holes for four different levels. To adjust the level, pop the insert out from the top part of the game, rotate to align the desired difficulty hole with the hole on the outside of the game, and pop it back in. Each level is marked on the insert, and the higher the level, the smaller the hole is (which makes it more difficult for dogs to get treats out).

The difficulty insert is definitely the main draw of this toy, and it’s truly a great idea for dogs who have already outsmarted the classic Kong version. I’ve had a Kong wobbler since I adopted Miso a year ago, and she is now able to completely empty it of treats in around five minutes. The game was a nice boost in difficulty for Miso when set to level three or four, but because she’s too smart for her own good, she was able to unscrew it herself at one point during play. She does this regularly with the Kong wobbler as well so it wasn’t too surprising, but it does lead me to say that you should be supervising your dog at all times with the game (which sounds obvious but might not be). If left unsupervised, a dog might be able to open the game and chew on the plastic difficulty insert, which could be a choking hazard.

When I set the game to the easiest difficulty, it took Miso a little under 10 minutes to completely get out one cup of Unkibble dry food, which has pretty large chunks. If your dog’s kibble is smaller, it’ll be much easier for them to get it out. When set to level four difficulty, it took Miso close to 30 minutes to get everything out, and left her totally spent of energy — she took a long nap right after playtime.

I also tested the game with my mom’s 12-year-old Chihuahua mix who weighs about 15 pounds and didn’t grow up playing puzzle games. The game wasn’t too heavy for her to push over, and she showed interest in it almost immediately. She was a bit skittish about it wobbling back at her at first, but with some praise and rewarding, she started to play with it more comfortably.

damaged toy held up in front of a dog
There was exterior damage to the game after around six uses.
Credit: Jae Thomas

Because the inner difficulty insert is so genius, I really wanted to love this toy, but there were some durability issues. During the first tests, I thought that the exterior of the game was decently tough, but after around six uses, I started to notice some significant exterior damage. This damage is from pawing and because Miso figured out that she could pick up the toy by the top using her mouth, and throw it across the room to get the food out. I realize this isn’t a chew toy and shouldn’t be rated as one, but the grippy texture along with the top peanut butter grooves on the top also seemed to encourage Miso to put the toy in her mouth much more than with her hard plastic kong version, which is much more slippery. This issue, along with the fact that Miso was able to unscrew the toy on her own are the main reasons I rated the game a 3.5. If your dog is medium to large or tends to be mouthy, this toy won’t last as long as it would with a small, non-mouthy dog. I’d recommend the game only for smaller dogs or very gentle dogs.

two toys resembling key rings

Falcon toys can be used alone or connected together for more interactive play.
Credit: Jae thomas
two toys interlocked

They can also be connected for more interactive play.
Credit: Jae Thomas
  • Our rating: 4.5

  • Price: $23 for one or $39.10 for two

  • Pros: Has two different treat cavities; Can act as a tug toy; Designed to keep slobber off your hands when playing tug; Attach two toys together for more stimulating play; Dishwasher safe; Slight discount for buying two falcon toys; Comes in nine beautiful colors

  • Cons: A single falcon toy is much easier for a dog to destroy than two connected ones

The falcon toy has two separate treat cavities, one on the end for kibble or other small snacks, and one on the side for spreads like peanut butter or wet dog food. It can be used as a tug toy or as an independent enrichment game, and has a totally unique shape I’ve never seen in dog toys before. When used as a tug toy, the falcon toy minimizes slobber on your hands because of the two-sided design — a great example of Fable’s mission of designing products for both dogs and humans.

Two falcon toys can also be connected together for more challenging interactive play. While Fable doesn’t recommend this toy for chewers, playing with your dog is bound to involve teeth in some way, so I tested the durability of a single falcon toy as well as two linked together.

If you have a dog that tends to damage toys due to strong teeth, I recommend two falcon toys together over just one. When connected, the two falcon toys encouraged my dog to focus on getting the treats out, and it was much harder for her to chew on them because of the more dynamic shape, while one falcon toy seemed to encourage more chewing.

After a total of 30 minutes of intense play, the single falcon toy had some teeth marks and surface damage (shown below) but Miso is known to completely destroy toys designed for heavy chewers in just a few minutes, so the durability actually impressed me. There was much less surface damage after she played with the two falcon toys hooked together.

key-ring shaped toy with bite marks on it
A single Fable toy had surface damage much faster than two connected toys.
Credit: Jae Thomas

The construction of this toy is fairly rigid, so it’s a challenge to get treats in and out of the long end. It also requires very small treats or kibble, since the end hole is fairly small. Because of these features, there’s a really long playtime with this toy, but you run the risk of frustrating your dog if they can’t get the treats out of one end. The falcon toy is probably best for dogs who have already been introduced to puzzle feeders or dogs who pick things up quickly.

Miso had a ton of fun playing with the two connected falcon toys, and they quickly became her favorite enrichment activity by far. When linked, the falcon toys move around each other, so sometimes the dog has to change the position of the toy to make the treat hole accessible. The combination of two falcon toys kept Miso occupied for over an hour — longer than the game did on the hardest level. I might attribute this to her having played with wobble-based toys before, but I also credit the unique, interactive design of the falcon toys.

toys held up in front of dog's face

I filled the shallow holes with peanut butter and the narrower ones with small chewy treats.
Credit: Jae Thomas
dog playing with toys on a rug

After over 10 uses, Miso’s falcon toys are a little scuffed up but still in great condition.
Credit: Jae Thomas

The only reason I docked half a point on the falcon toy’s rating is because the experience is better with two of them. While that’s kind of a bummer, Fable does offer a discount when you buy two at once. A single falcon toy will run you $23, but when you add on another the second is only $16, bringing your total to $39.10 for two. It’s definitely more of an investment than your classic pet store toys, but Fable’s falcon toys are thoughtfully made, live great in the home, and are genuinely fun for pups to play with.

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