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Category Emerging Talent

2017

Category Public Choice

2017

Category Winner

2017

K9 Connectables – Dog toys

STUDIO / DESIGNER

Dog Day Design LTD.

James McIlvenna

www.k9connectables.com

CATEGORY

Consumer Products

Product Design

CONTRIBUTORS

James McIlvenna – Lead Designer Diarmuid Kelly – Industrial Designer Finn Magee – Industrial & Graphic Designer

Design Challenge and Design Ideas

For 1000’s of years, dogs have been bred to do specific jobs for human beings, and in the last 100 years that has been flipped on its head where pet dogs have become more of a companion than working dog. With increased urbanisation and busy lives dog owners are finding it difficult to satisfy all the needs of a canine. First of all, dogs require security, shelter, food, water and sleep. Once these basic requirements are met dogs look to fulfil their primal instincts. Retrievers love to fetch, hounds love to sniff and terriers love to keep vermin away. While a lot of owners can fulfil these inherent desires of dogs a lot of modern dog owners cannot. When a dog does not get enough physical exercise AND mental stimulation a host of behavioural problems can form which include; * Boredom * Loneliness * Obesity * Anxiety * Destructive behavior

How the brief was fulfilled

Dog Day Design Ltd has obsessively designed, tested and developed a range of unique connectable dog toys called K9 Connectables, aimed at the high end of the market. Using 3D printing as our prototyping method and a pack of hungry, high-energy dogs as our test subjects, we were able to quickly identify features that worked and those that did not. We created and tested over fifty prototypes until we got to three designs that we felt would work. We worked with dog-behaviour experts, trainers, vets, and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers on what the best aspects of toys on the market were, and how to improve on existing ideas. The unique aspect of the K9 Connectables design is that they connect together to form large assemblies that can be broken apart by dogs, which triggers treats to be dispensed or licked out, for even more effort. There are four different levels of difficulty for dogs, ranging between 7kg and 30kg, to figure out how to break apart and get their treats. The final products are made from a durable TPE, which was very close to our prototyping material, which allowed us to have great confidence in testing and the development of the 3D-printed designs. A tremendous amount of work went into testing the actual connection system, which is currently patent pending. The connections needed to be easy enough to connect together for those young and old, with limited dexterity, but, crucially, difficult enough to be a challenge for dogs to break apart with their powerful jaws. We achieved this by using an inverted notch on the head of each toy (two or more for added difficulty), then, for the female connection, we used the same notch, but reversed. This created a fishhook-/arrowhead-type situation, which worked well for our goals. The toys are tested to British children’s toy standards, float on water, and are dishwasher safe. K9 Connectables help dogs to settle, be calm while their owner is out, promote appropriate chew items, and prevent unwanted behaviours from forming. These completely unique dog toys entertain and challenge dogs for sustained periods of time, are excellent for mental stimulation and exercise, and engage dogs’ primal instincts.

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