When we got the verdict on Cookie's issues with her back legs and she was ordered strict rest, my heart was breaking for her.
Cookie is a very active dog and she loves being active.
She loves running and hunting her little critters. She loves playing with JD and going for hikes. Now all that was suddenly taken away from her. How was she going to get through that?
First thing I immediately pointed out to the orthopedic specialist was that she won't be able to do this without some chemical help. Which is what we started her on.
She still needed to be doing SOMETHING.
We of course play all sorts of training and shaping games but I felt we need to find more ways of entertaining her.
I was always both intrigued and skeptical about the puzzle toys for dogs.
At first sight these things look awesome. Working the dog's brain, providing mental challenge. But how long would this last? How much mental challenge would they be once the dog figures out how it works?
Some of these things are pretty expensive and I didn't feel like spending all that money on something that might last a few days at best.
We experimented with some DIY games, such as a muffin tin and tennis balls.
Cookie did indeed figure out how it works very quickly and after than was more interested in the balls than working with the puzzle.
When she was ordered strict rest, though, I decided to revisit the idea.
Perhaps not as much because I had high hopes for it to do something amazing but because I needed to feel I was trying to do something nice for her.
On the way from the orthopedic consultation, hubby took me to one of the pet stores and I went looking for puzzle games.
They had three of those, fortunately quite cheap. They did look a bit too simple in principle but I was going to try anyway. Unfortunately, the one that looked most intriguing was a "factory lemon". I'm glad I found out before I brought it home. I asked the girl at the store if we could take it out of the box so I could check it out and see what it does. Turned out that the part that was supposed to turn was not doing that very well, getting stuck and making agonizing noise when forced.
I then had the other two opened and checked them out.
They worked the way they should. Were they going to provide any worthy entertainment for Cookie? That remained to be seen. For about $25 each I got both of them.
We opened them up as soon as we got home and Cookie got to try them.
As I suspected, she figured out how they work right on the spot. Which meant that each fill lasted just seconds. But when refilled, she was happy to work the treats out of it again and again.
Of course, can have her play with it too long and have to make sure the treats I use are tiny. But she is having fun with it.
A month after we got those games, she still has fun using them.
I know that I have to refill them very frequently so I just have a bag of treats right there with me. She gets the treats out and I refill. And so we go on that way a few times with each of the toys.
She does look forward to this and has fun working it.
After the first half minute when she had to figure out how they work it doesn't involve much of problem solving any more. But it still involves manipulating the objects in order to get the reward. There are couple pieces which she needs to take into her mouth "just so" to be able to get them out because they don't stick out enough, whether that's on purpose or not. But she does find the only one direction at which to grab them in order to be able to get them out.
If she wasn't raw-fed, I'd serve all her meals in these.
For dogs who eat their food too fast, these toys would be one way of slowing them down. Of course, supervision is required but that makes no never mind to me.
Cookie likes the work.
Cookie is quite eager to get these to play with. We concluded that it gives her something to do and she likes having to work for the food.
In the wild, a dog would have to work for every bit of food they get. Find it, catch it ... most of their days would have been spent working for food. Living with us, food is served in a bowl and often no work is needed in order to get it.
As tempting as that might seem, what is a dog to do with their day?
Do dogs feel satisfaction when the accomplish something?
I believe they do. And I do believe that dogs do need to have jobs or work for their meal. I do believe it makes them happier.
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat
Observation Skills Of Dogs
If You Want Your Dog To Do Something, Teach It
Tricks? It's Not Just About The Tricks
What Constitutes The Perfect Dog?
Are Dog Training Classes Really For The Dogs?
Look Where You Want To Go: Finding My Reactive Dog Training Zen Zone?
Dog Training And Emotions
Dog Training And Emotions: Postscript
Dogs Love Sentences In Question Form?
Not All Dog Trainers Were Created Equal Either
A Thought On Separation Anxiety
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
About Freedom, Trust And Responsibility: A "Pilot Study"
So, We Have A Bear
About Happiness: What Makes Your Dog Happy?
Our Example Of The Use Of "Look At That" (LAT)
Why Do Dogs Dig?
Who Is In The Wrong?
Your Dog Wants To Follow You. You Just Gotta Be Going Some Place
We Still Have Two Dogs: A "Pilot Study" Part Two
Early Winter Safety: Exploring New Territories
Cookie Is Okay. We ... Might Be, Eventually. (Don't Try This At Home)
One Thing I Love About Winter: I See What They "See"
Give Your Dog What They Need, Get What You Want
Cookie, The First Of The Great Hunting Rottweilers
Distance Is a Relative Concept
Dog Communication: Be Good to Cookie or She'll Tell on You
The Benefit of the Doubt
Putting The Guilty Dog Look To Rest?
The Stench of Fear: Is There Good and Bad Timing for Vet Visits?
I am a Helicopter Dog Mom
Routines: Easy Come, Hard to Go
Things Always Change: Cookie's Hunting Adventures
The Advantage of Your Dog Not Barking All the Time: Cookie Saves Horses' Asses
"Look at That" (LAT) Game and Barking at Traffic
The Role of Thresholds in Dog Training and Behavior
Dog Days of Summer: Keeping an Eye on Cookie
Dog Days of Summer: Cookie Gets Her SprinklerThe Evolution of My View on What Is and Isn't Dirty
Not F***ing Cheerios, That's for Sure
Hi, My Name Is "No", What's Yours?
Dogs, Porcupines, Wasps and Learning
Mouse Hunting, Leash Pulling, Begging at the Table and Intermittent Reinforcement
Self-Entertaining Dog? Dogs Need Interaction
Dogs Are Always Testing the Waters
Tick Alert: It's a Conversation if You're Listening
How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Dog in One Easy Step