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Dog Toys to Chew On

Many dogs, especially puppies, enjoy chewing on shoes, so why not give them something made from shoes to chew on?

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Puppies, especially larger dog breeds, need many toys to become a socialized animal. Even though they are necessary for a dog’s growth and development, their owners struggle to keep up with their destruction. Owners often spend tons money every month on toys that will be shredded within a few days.

From our interviews, tests, and prototype we found that dogs prefer rope-like toys and rubber balls as opposed to other toys. So at first, we though to create a rope made from thinly tied strings; however, we realized that they can shred them in no time. We decided that we want to work with a stronger and healthier material, leather. Leather is very good for dog toys since it is organic, safe, chemical-free, and odorless. This is very beneficial not only to the dog, but it is also the easiest and cheapest to manufacture when compared to other types of molded toys. Then in the middle of the leather toy, we will have a ball made from rubber granulate that is tied with knots on either side in the leather to keep it in place. Our idea with the ball, is that it will add another dimension to the toy. The owners can now throw the ball for the dog and have the option to play fetch with a ball that bounces, which dogs love.

Our solution is to use the scraps from the full grain leather in shoes. We will cut it into strips, braid it together to make rope, then make holes in the ball and slide it to the middle. Once the ball is in place, we will tie the knots in the rope to keep the ball in place. This idea will make a fun and long lasting dog toy.

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • Rubber Granulate
  • Full Grain Leather Scraps

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

The toy will be made using two main materials: recycled full grain leather and recycled rubber granulate. We chose to avoid coated or synthetic leather due to the potential of the chemical be toxic to the animal. The main body of the rope will be made by braiding the full grain leather together with knots added every 3 inches. The rubber ball will be made by melting down the recycled rubber granulate and molding it into a sphere.

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

The pictures demonstrate an early prototype and drawing of our dog toy and its implementation.

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing
  • Prototyping

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

The customer archetype is an environmentally conscious pet owner. The customer that will benefit the most will most likely be puppy owners, since puppies (especially larger breeds) will go through multiple toys a month or even a week.

How will you scale your idea? Please describe in detail your plan to scale your concept.

We plan kick off with a trial production run by giving out our product to friends and families to see their opinions on our product and gather feedback. If they respond positively, we will shift gears into full production mode, selling our product online and to local retailers. If it does well, we will then upscale our production and pitch our product to multinational retailers such as Target, Walmart, Costco, etc. The greatest obstacle will be to autonomize the production. Another obstacle would be the upfront cost for molding the rubber granulate into a rubber ball since this process would require injection molding machines.

How is your idea innovative?

The idea is innovative as it requires little manufacturing, and still makes for a great product. This decreases the carbon footprint from manufacturing and does the least to affect the material's future usability. Additionally, the manufacturing process should be cheaper than the process for other toys because it only requires cutting the leather into smaller strips and melting and molding the rubber granulate.

What inspired this idea?

While interviewing a friend, he mentioned that he spend over $300 a year on toys for his husky puppy. I inquired further and found that he constantly have to buy new toys from a store, so I designed a more economical, durable, and environmentally friendly way for pet owners entertain their pets.

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

Anzi, Brian, and Arturo are all Mechanical Engineering students. Matt is an Industrial Engineering major and Matt and Anzi are Entrepreneurship minors. Each of us has experience in design thinking, computer aided design, and mechanics of materials.

In what city are you located?

San Luis Obispo

In what country are you located?


Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

Becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of our concept by helping us create a presentable prototype that we can then bring to retailers for possible sales. We will also be able to get full product development. Lastly, with a partner like Nike, we will be able to have strong support from any other partners we may need.


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