But what about the human half of the equation? Is there any particular type of person who’s more likely to buy and use her products? “Not really. We have customers of all types and ages! It seemed to be mostly women at first, but the number of male purchasers has increased a lot over the last few years, possibly because many vets recommend these products for dogs who are lame or have been through an operation. We have also seen that many dog trainers and dog psychologists are talking about, demonstrating and using the products.”
Sweden is known for its environmental consciousness, and Nina is proud that her toys are as environmentally friendly as possible. The wood comes from timber that cannot be otherwise used, and the nonwooden parts are made from recycled plastic mixed with the fine sawdust that’s a manufacturing byproduct of the wooden sections. And, as is common in Sweden, at the end of their useful lives, the toys can be left at recycling stations so the materials can be reused.
Currently, Ottosson is in discussion with U.S. retailers. “It will be exciting and interesting to see how America takes to the toys and if [U.S. customers] appreciate them as much as the rest of the world. I hope that the dogs in America will also appreciate the opportunity to work and play with my toys.”
Ottosson is clearly passionate about canines. “It is vitally important that dogs have the opportunity to exercise their brains as well as their bodies. Just like people, they need stimulation, play, exercise and rest. And, just like people, different dogs need different levels of each—understimulated, they can develop their own, less attractive behavior patterns,” she says. But best of all, the most valuable result of this collaborative play is the strengthened bond between the dog and his person.
Nina Ottosson Zoo Active Products
Available in the U.S. through
Paw Lickers Bakery & Boutique for Pets
Greenfield Center, N.Y.