Dogs are naturally active and athletic animals, and if they get bored they can start to misbehave and become destructive. After all, they rely on you to make their lives interesting and keep them entertained, fit, healthy and happy – so it’s your responsibility to provide ways to keep their brains and body active.
That’s why an interactive toy – particularly the type that contains and dispenses pet treats – ticks all the right boxes. They can be stuffed with your pet’s favourite treats in ways to make it either easy or difficult for them to get the rewards out. As a general rule, the smarter the dog, the more challenging you can make it (but don’t make it too hard or the dog’s motivation will disappear!).
To begin with, show your dog the treat being inserted into the toy and shake so they can hear it rattling around. Tell them to “sit”, place it on the floor in front of them and get them to “take”. Supervise them while they get used to it and begin to work out how to get at the treat. They will be using their intellect and be entertained and intrigued by doing this as well as keeping their gums and teeth healthy by gnawing (some toys even have little bristle discs that act like toothbrushes).
As they become more familiar, enthusiastic and confident you can increase their physical exercise by playing ‘hide and seek’ with the toy around the house and getting them to use their hunting skills by sniffing it out or taking it out to the park and throwing it for them to chase.
There are lots of different types of treat dispensing toys on the market designed for both dogs and puppies that provide hours of fun and entertainment as well as keeping your pet occupied and well exercised.