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Puzzle toys for Borders to play at alone?


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With lockdown, the ability to take the dog out and hike/beach/etc. is pretty challenging. Have people used any of the puzzle toys for dogs, and had good success or lessons learned? I bought mine a Nina Ottosson Advanced Puzzle game and it is underwhelming. It takes her about 5 minutes and she's solved it for the treats. 

So do people have other toys they give their dog to keep them occupied mentally? Or toys in general that the dog just loves playing by him/herself? 

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The best treat dispensing toy I've found is a rigid plastic ball that twists apart. You put kibble or small hard treats in it, put it back together and the dog noses it around and kibbles falls out randomly through a hole in the ball. There's enough obstacles (in the form of furniture, corners, etc, that it frequently takes Gibbs at least 10 minutes to empty the ball. He's taught himself to nudge the ball out corners that it gets stuck in and various other 'sticky' situations. Worst comes to worst, he stares at it 'loudly' and I go get the thing unstuck for him.

I've got another treat dispenser that does take him about a couple minutes to get all the food out of. I use it, but I won't buy another one.

I'll sprinkle kibble in an old bath rug or towel, roll it up, maybe even tie it in a knot if it's worn out enough and give it to him. That does keep him occupied longer. I'll take the cardboard left from a toilet paper roll or a paper towel roll, crimp one end, pour some kibble in, crimp the second end, then give it to him to demolish. If your dog likes to eat cardboard, this is not a good thing. And I do have to clean up slightly slimy cardboard, but not a big deal.

I haven't had any luck with the other toys that promise 'hours of fun for your dog!'.

Ruth & Gibbs

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1 hour ago, urge to herd said:

The best treat dispensing toy I've found is a rigid plastic ball that twists apart. You put kibble or small hard treats in it, put it back together and the dog noses it around and kibbles falls out randomly through a hole in the ball. There's enough obstacles (in the form of furniture, corners, etc, that it frequently takes Gibbs at least 10 minutes to empty the ball. He's taught himself to nudge the ball out corners that it gets stuck in and various other 'sticky' situations. Worst comes to worst, he stares at it 'loudly' and I go get the thing unstuck for him.

I've got another treat dispenser that does take him about a couple minutes to get all the food out of. I use it, but I won't buy another one.

I'll sprinkle kibble in an old bath rug or towel, roll it up, maybe even tie it in a knot if it's worn out enough and give it to him. That does keep him occupied longer. I'll take the cardboard left from a toilet paper roll or a paper towel roll, crimp one end, pour some kibble in, crimp the second end, then give it to him to demolish. If your dog likes to eat cardboard, this is not a good thing. And I do have to clean up slightly slimy cardboard, but not a big deal.

I haven't had any luck with the other toys that promise 'hours of fun for your dog!'.

Ruth & Gibbs

Thanks. We have one of those balls that you put kibble in. It's been a long time since I've used it but I'll try using it for her meal tonight, mixed with a few treats. 

 

Yeah, the puzzle we got took her no time to figure out (basically they created a short cut where, if turned upside down, the treats can fall out). She figured that out and that was that. I'm thinking of using peanut butter this time so it doesn't fall out easily and she has to technically 'solve' it. 

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17 hours ago, drharps said:

Thanks. We have one of those balls that you put kibble in. It's been a long time since I've used it but I'll try using it for her meal tonight, mixed with a few treats. 

 

I forgot to mention that i give G 4 pills a day. I feed him breakfast and dinner from a bowl so I can add a dose of pain medication to the meals. That means I only have to shove a pill down his throat 2x/daily, instead of 4. He's good about it and always gets a treat, but I've also got to give him eye drops at least 3 times a day. I like to give him a break from that stuff if I can.

ETA ~ if it weren't for the meds he'd get one of his meals solely from a puzzle feeder. 

R & G

Edited by urge to herd
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I have a "licki mat" for both my dog and cat. They love it. 
It's for wet food. Unfortunately for me they can't get into the small corners, which makes cleaning it a bit annoying. If you have a dishwasher that would make it a lot easier.

I also have a Kong Wobbler. Which Molly absolutely loves, but is a bit loud :P so I didn't use it too much when I still had downstairs neighbours. I usually give it to her in a hallway so it won't get stuck under the couch. I had to teach her how to use it which was a lot of fun (I had to push it with my face to get her to understand:lol:).

 

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8 hours ago, drharps said:

Good suggestion! Any thoughts on brand or size?

I made one from a dollar store sink mat and fleece remnants, but it wasn't for my dogs. I feed raw and there's no way I'm putting raw meat in one, even though they're washable.

You can also use other things for the base if you want to DIY. Lots of instructions online and you can make them as small or large as you like. I'd think you can spread the kibble out further in larger ones so that the dog has to search more to find it.

If you prefer to purchase one and you're in the US they can be found on Etsy. Probably other places too.

 

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The Nina Ottoman puzzles are for dogs with supervision. I believe it says it on their website and on the packaging. Also you are supposed to teach your dog how it works. Cressa has the tornado, and the casino. 
 

Without supervision I give my dogs wobblers, snuffle mat, Kong’s, a dumbbell treat dispenser, a ball treat dispenser, an egg treat dispenser, monster mouths, and/or hide treats in the room for them to find. I vary it so they don’t get bored. 

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