I was dubious that we really needed yet another plush toy, but after Gus (Chihuahua-poodle mix, 18 pounds, 18 months) loved playing with the Outward Hound Hide A Squirrel at a friend’s place, I had to get one. He typically has trouble paying attention to squeaky toys for more than a few minutes at a time, but the more challenging setup of three squeaky squirrels in a tree-trunk-shaped pouch will keep him going for hours. He fishes squirrels out, then runs around like crazy with whichever one is left in his mouth last. I can send the next one sailing the moment he’s back with the first, making it easy to tire him out. He also loves to chew on and shake the tree stump. The pieces are relatively tough too: After three months of near-daily playing, I have yet to do any mending to sew up holes (your mileage may vary—it’s still a plush toy).
The subscription service has already touted itself as an experience for dogs and their owners, with a new theme to each month’s arrival. Past themes have tapped into holidays (Halloween is a popular one), pop culture (including a whole box dedicated to the ’90s), and other creative ventures that often involve a good pun (including “Secrets of the Rainfurrest”). Many BarkBox subscribers also share these experiences via social media through “unboxing” videos on Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube.
The box is extra fun because it has a new surprise theme to keep things fresh each month. If they can’t find something your dog will love that fits the theme, they make it themselves! One of the coolest things is that they have an online store – called BarkShop – where you can order more of what your dog loved in their box. (their product descriptions are hilarious by the way and will keep you entertained for hours).
Bonus — If you’re gifting a BarkBox subscription, you can surprise your recipient with a Double Deluxe BarkBox. That means, in their first BarkBox, they’ll get DOUBLE the number of toys, treats, and chews than a regular BarkBox – that’s FOUR toys, FOUR treats, and TWO chews! It’s a one-time $19 upgrade to make a wow-worthy Christmas gift of two boxes worth of dog goodies, followed by regular BarkBoxes for the rest of the subscription. Click here to give a BarkBox.
But as much as this is a place for dogs, it is clearly also meant to be a space for their human companions to enjoy well, tapping into the documented trend among consumers looking to spend more on experiences—especially those that photograph for Instagram well—these days. The park will be putting on a number of events, at least twice weekly, including “Downward Dog Yoga” and “Okto-Bark-Fest.” The park will also host some of Bark’s existing programming already held routinely in other cities, such as the Open Bark Night comedy show.
Jessica lives and breathes everything Dachshund, hiking and camping with dogs, and blogging. She's the Chief editor of the award-winning blog You Did What With Your Wiener?, has been hiking with her dogs for over 15 years, and runs an 800-member Dachshund Club in Seattle. She also helps other pet bloggers leverage their blog into a business at PetBlogBiz.com and helps pet-related businesses develop a strategy to drive traffic to their blogs at PetTalkMedia.com.
Moxie still has all the toys I got her when I brought her home. While she likes to carry them around, she doesn’t get destructive with them, so they last. Getting new toys every month would just be overkill! I’m envisioning piles and piles of toys. I don’t really see any other Barkbox reviews pointing this out, so I don’t think it is overkill if your dog tends to tear up the toys eventually.
This is where BarkBox blew me away with their customer service and their attention to detail regarding my specific needs. Within 30 minutes I got a response noting my concerns. One of there team members mailed out a new bag of treats for my dog to try free of charge! We also discussed that maybe my dog wasn’t a big chewer however cotton stuffed toys weren’t great either. She suggested I get a box with "durable fabric" toys instead. She also mailed out a sample toy for my dog to try. Free of charge. He loved it! They lowered my monthly subscription right away. They even followed up to make sure my dog was loving his new box and if I needed to tweak it any further.
Bark & Co is the New York-based startup that’s dedicated to making dogs and their humans happy. Since launching in 2012 with BarkBox, a monthly box of treats and toys, Bark & Co has shipped more than 30 million products and expanded into creating its own products, experiences and entertainment with BarkShop, BarkLive, and BarkPost. To learn more go to Bark.co.