So, we tried out some of the food-dispensing toys that Lori Nanan talked about in her blog post (see above). In addition to reading her dogs' reactions to the toys, here are ours:
- Kong: Our pit puppy (Lily) loves her kong, as well as our soft-mouthed black lab mix (Luna). After finishing her snack, Luna will carry the kong around with her everywhere, until we take it from her. Kongs are great for chew toys as well as food/treat dispensing, and there are a whole number of food combinations you can fill them with. See some here. Don't forget that freezing the kong with the mixture in side makes an even more challenging game for your pup. I have heard that kongs can be destroyed by certain determined chewers, but my experience with many dogs is that they are highly durable.
- Omega Paw Treat ball (see here): is our go to meal-dispensing toy for our pit puppy. She spends about 20 minutes pushing and rolling and picking up and dropping this ball all over our kitchen. We fill it with kibble (she gets two servings to get her the right amount of food) and sometimes pumpkin to seal in the food, and other times peanut butter. Although we LOVE this (and she does too), our soft-mouthed lab Luna actually destroyed one of these in about 5 minutes one time, when left unattended. (She had taken it to the other room to lick out the remaining goodness, and when I went in to check on her, it was in a million small pieces all over the floor). I was SHOCKED since Luna does not destroy much of anything. So... if using this treat ball, NEVER LEAVE YOUR PUP UNSUPERVISED with it! Unlike the kong, is certainly is not a durable chew toy, so we are sure to collect it as soon as our pup's done with her meal.
- Buster Cube: After reading Nanan's blog post and all the fantastic things she had to say about Buster Cubes, I went ahead an ordered one offline. However, after ordering an offer popped up to buy a 3" cube toy. I started to wonder then, how big is the original? (Answer: 5 ") So I ordered the 3" as well. They both arrived within a couple of days, and WOW is the original huge! It's also hard plastic, so it's very noisy. We tried giving this to Luna, and it just scared her as she pushed it around (we even took out the center piece to help her learn that it was dispensing her food!). After a day or two of Luna just laying down and staring at it, we tried serving her dinner in the smaller cube (3"), and this one was a hit! Luna pushes it around the floor and has her whole meal over a 20-30 minute time period! Success! I've put the big one away, and may try it with a client when I find the right dog for it. Note: this toy is bearable on a rug or carpet surface, but I'm not sure I could handle the noise it makes on a solid service like wood or tile.
I hope this article gives you some ideas on how to improve your pup's mealtime and give yourself a much needed break while they focus on their new toys!
**I just tried feeding my pup a snack out of a marrow bone as I put her in her crate for her daytime nap, she seemed to love it - I soaked her kibble in water first to make it stickier and harder to pull out of the bone. This may be a new tool in our food dispensing arsenal!