Doogie's a smart dog.
Daisy....not so much.
But they both do well with a challenge - and sometimes we want something to keep them busy - maybe exert a little brainpower without focusing all their attention on us? That's where this new toy comes in...
Ok, so it turns out that, after having the Seek-A-Treat Shuffle Bone Dog Puzzle for two days, it's not something we'll be able to just load up with food and then leave them with it. It's a one-dog-at-a-time toy that needs supervision. And when we want to give Doogie a chance with it, Daisy's pretty much got to be pinned down or she goes hyper spazz all over it, interrupting Doogie and starting a fight. Not a problem, just hold her and watch Doogie do his brain work.
It's interesting - Daisy's a bit more haphazard and violent with it, and Doogie's better about using a foot to slide the circular tiles around (or sometimes his nose). It's funny listening to them work at it - they can smell the food through the little holes in the tiles, and doing so really amplifies the noise their sniffers make.
We'll have to watch to make sure no one cuts a nose or gums - the edges could be a little smoother. I'm also learning it's maybe something better on carpet than the vinyl, where it slides around A LOT.
I've a feeling it won't take them long where it's no longer a challenge to still figure it out - where they have to work a bit to figure out where the treats are hidden. They'll probably just start going through the motions of exposing each of the little treat-holding slots. Oh well - for about $14.50 on Amazon (cheaper than we've seen it locally), it seems to do the job of entertaining/frustrating them for now, and making them work at something. There are more elaborate puzzles (yes, that cost more), but this was a good cheap experiment, and they like it (well, they like the treats we hide in it!). Plus it was good to shake things up and introduce something new.
Still, the all-time winner for keeping them busy and making them work for their food (like half of the dry food they get for dinner) is the Tricky Treat Ball (or what I call "Dinner Ball"). We have two large ones, and the older one we got is made of a softer/bendier plastic than the newer one. The dogs have started to think of these as chew toys once they're done with dinner, so we do have to pick them up once in awhile. The harder plastic one now has about a 1/4 of it covered in black duct tape to cover up the holes the dogs chewed in it, which started freeing the food faster (smart dogs!).
Image via WikipediaOh oh oh! And I can't forget their Kong dog toys. They each have a Kong that's appropriately sized for them, and I've finally figured out the BEEEEEST way to keep the dogs busy for a LONG time (like when we're trying to eat dinner and watch some tv). Put a small dab of peanut butter down in the "bottom" of the Kong first - a plain old table knife works well for this. Smear it inside the Kong all crazy-like, no sense in being tidy here. Doogie gets maybe 3/4 of a Tablespoon, and Daisy a little less. Then we fill the Kong with the other half of their dinner portion of dry kibble - right up to the opening. Then schmear a little more peanut butter to seal the hole. They get through the initial peanut butter seal and the dry food really fast...but that first blop of peanut butter in there? Wow - they really have to work for it! I'm sure the tongue exercises they're doing are a real work out to get to that peanut butter! Brett doesn't usually bother with the first blob of peanut butter, and they finish up Kong time much faster that way...I like to keep them busy longer. ;-)