Spin Master’s Present Pets are the latest, gimmick ridden, must-have toy that many parents, including my wife and I, found themselves jumping through hoops to find this past holiday season. And not a day goes by that I don’t fantasize about taking a bat to the incredibly annoying dog that is the apple of my daughter’s eye.
In this actual parent review of this toy, you will learn why you need to avoid this toy… or get it for the parent you secretly hate.
What's in this review
What are Present Pets?
Present Pets are a combination of robotics, noise, stuffed animals, noise, and more noise. And while they fail at being a robotic companion or a stuffed animal (more on that later), they succeed at being noisy. Fucking. Noisy.
If you can’t tell, they are really loud and obnoxious.
Present Pets have one main gimmick. The little pieces of crap unbox themselves. Your child pulls a tab from the box and parts of the box pop off.
Of course, what they don’t tell you in their marketing, is that the little shit only gets itself part way out. You have to get the stupid thing out of the box as it yips and yaps in your fucking face.
Spin Masters state they offer over 100 different sounds, but I can assure you, all you will hear is yip yip yip, grrr, some weird as purring, and yawning. I’ve never heard a real dog make half the noises this thing regularly makes.
They also say the Present Pet interacts with your child. And they sort of do, but most of their motions resemble a medical emergency, not cute, fun puppy actions.
Why your kids will love Present Pets
Here’s the insidious thing about toy makers: they know how to sell their shit to kids. That’s good for them, but bad for a lot of parents already on the verge of losing their sanity.
My daughter saw a commercial for these creatures on Disney Junior. And of course, she wanted the pretty puppy with a pink ear that unboxes itself.
And that’s the main draw, as far as I can tell. The box pops open on its own in a brief burst of pomp and circumstance.
The surprise element may also enthrall your kids for about five minutes. Which one will you get? Oh the suspense! Of course, that’s great if your kid isn’t picky. Mine wanted one with a pink ear, which thank God she got. Otherwise we may have felt bad enough to try another go at it, which would have been even more awkward because this was a Santa present and the dude’s supposed to know all. Talk about killing the magic.
After the surprise and the unboxing is over, the dog yips and yaps at an unnaturally high, piercing volume. It also has a bit of mild, shaking movement that sort of makes me worried the thing is having a seizure or stroke. They do interact with your child some, assuming you can stand keeping it on long enough to let them interact in the first place.
Why you’ll hate this toy
If you’ve read this far, you know the main reason I can’t stand it is the noise. It’s loud. Noisy toys can be fine and all, but most of the best ones come with at least some form of volume control. Present Pets have one volume level: loud. It’s that, or turn the stupid thing off, which is what we have our daughter do most of the time.
Of course, turning off the dog makes it into nothing more than a 40ish dollar stuffed animal. The only problem is, it’s literally hard plastic covered by a thin piece of furry fabric. It’s hard and not cuddly, which makes it an unsuitable friend to sleep with and cuddle, despite the company’s claims.
When it is on, it has two functions: yip loudly and bounce around in place like it’s having a medical emergency. I mean, really after it unboxes itself, which really isn’t that cool, it becomes a lack luster toy on all other accounts. It will respond to your child’s voice, as far as I can tell, and if you push the right buttons, it will move differently or something. It’s hard to tell for sure though.
It doesn’t walk. The pet doesn’t learn any commands, though you can rub it’s belly and push its buttons for some additional actions.
It yips and yaps. A. Lot. If I wanted a dog that did that, I’d get one of those little shit kicker dogs that bark at anything that moves. Spoiler alert: I don’t have one of those because they annoy me. At least this one comes with an off button.
Who should get Present Pets?
Present Pets are designed for younger children. If the child in your life likes annoying little toys that make loud noises, they will likely love this toy.
You will not.
You should not buy Present Pets if you:
- value your sanity
- hate loud noises
- have limited patience
- value not loathing a toy
On the flip side, you should consider purchasing a Present Pet if you:
- are into self-inflicted pain and suffering
- have a lot of patience
- are an aunt, uncle or other relative who won’t ever have kids, so you will never receive a revenge gift that is equally annoying
- hate the parents of the child you are buying the gift for and just don’t care; it’s a subtle way to say “I hate you” in the best, passive-aggressive sort of way
What kinds of Present Pets are available?
Spin Master sells three different types of Present Pet. Each type has two possible choices, giving your kids a 50/50 shot of getting the pet they want the first time around.
The varieties include:
- Fancy Puppies – features rose gold bows, paws, and accessories
- Glitter Puppies – if we’re honest, these “puppies” look more like cats more than anything else
- Diamond Dalmatian – don’t look anything like Dalmatians, except for the black and white coloration
Present Pets Review
Amount child will like it
Amount you will like it
Present Pet Summary
Present Pets are my wife’s and I first experience into the “I really want this for Christmas” gift request. Our young daughter, who still believes in Santa, asked him for the animatronic pet. All season long, she talked about that being her biggest hope for a present.
And she didn’t want just any Present Pet. She wanted the one with the one pink ear also known as one of two Fancy Puppy options.
Well, we spent quite a bit of time searching for the right type of Present Pet at several retailers that were all sold out. We ended up getting my brother in law to drive to a Walmart to pick up an online order. Little did we know, we were setting ourselves up for one of the most annoying gifts you could give a child.
So the main gimmick is the thing unwraps itself. By this, I mean portions of the box will pop off once your child (or you) pull the tab. It doesn’t get all the way unwrapped, so you will need to help it the rest of the way out. Not so bad, right?
Well, it’s fine until you realize the thing has one volume level: loud. Like really fucking loud. You can hear it from just about anywhere in the house when it is on. And there is no way to reduce the volume.
Of course, my daughter loves the stupid thing. She wanted to sleep with it at night, which we had to tell her no.
Why you might ask? We were somewhat concerned she’d turn it on and wake the whole house up. But the real reason is the thing is as hard as it is loud. Unlike a real stuffed animal, if you drop it, it falls hard. And I’m not sure if it or the floor will break first. The hard body made us tell our daughter it had to sleep its own bed.
Spin Masters, who makes Present Pets, says the dog makes over 100 different noises. Seriously? All I really hear is yipping, yawning, growling, and annoying odd noises.
It also sort of interacts with my daughter, but that’s assuming we let her turn it on in the first place. Seriously, we limit that more than screen time in this house. Sure, it may sound like we are being pricks, but it is very, very hard to do anything when the damn puppy is making non-stop noise.
My advice, don’t buy any Preset Pet if you value your sanity. But if you hate a particular parent, this gift is perfect for their kid. It is almost guaranteed to piss them off while delighting their child, putting them in an awkward spot. It’s an insidious form of devilry that is truly passive aggressive.
Just beware of the possible revenge gift. The unsuspecting parent you dumped this delight on might try to one up your gift giving and send your little one their own Present Puppies or something much worse. Shit could get real, real fast.
Great gift for a kid of parents you secretly hate.
Your kid will likely love it.
Has an off button, it’s only real redeeming quality.
LOUD, VERY, VERY LOUD
Hard body not great for cuddling
No volume button
Can’t choose which pet comes in it, which makes it not great for people with picky kids
Do you have a Present Pet?
If you made the mistake of buying a Present Pet, make sure to leave your review. It may just help someone before they make the same mistake we did. Of course, if you like it, that’s fair too. Wrong. But fair.
This is a bit late, but sometime in late 2022, my daughter’s Present Pet stopped making any noise except for the whirring of gears as it spasmed around. While this is blessed silence for my wife and I, it is understandably sad for our daughter.
So in case you are wondering, the toy lasted about 1.5 years as a fully functioning unit. Though my daughter still plays with it some, the rather expensive toy has a short functioning life.
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