(and Clever) People Make Happy Dog Toys
By Timothy Dickey
Mark and Neil of Happy Dog Toys
Dog Toys recently made a splash with their newly licensed aquarium
based on the Nickelodeon cartoon character SpongeBob Squarepants.
But this Phoenix, Arizona based company has been up to their fun
and funky ways since 1996, developing niche-bending products that
look as comfortable on toy store shelves as pet store endcaps.
The multi-million dollar company, whose yearly sales have doubled
each year since inception, has built their success with durable
products that they know pets and owners will enjoy together. Take
the Reel Dog, for instance, a heavy-duty “fishing pole” style fetch-and-tug
John Florance, co-president: “We believed that there was something
powerful about the notion of a truly interactive dog toy, where
the dog not only interacts with the product, but with the owner
Oddly, traditional toy retailers have been slow to accept the idea
of doggy things in people stores, one of the company’s “pet” issues
(see sidebar). But Happy Dog’s
products have made a significant impact in a market replete with
cheap plastic steaks that squeak, and other highly ignorable animal
toys typically found in supermarkets.
To better understand how Happy Dog innovates and prospers--and what
makes them our Cool Company of the month--it’s best to step into
the workshop of co-founder, Mark Huettner.
A Tale of Two Wives Who Knew Each Other in College
It was a Friday evening, eight years ago. Mark Huettner had
an inspiration so profound…
to see more Animal Toys Products? Click