Dog Toys - How to Make Your Dog Work For His Food

One of the best ways to keep your dog out of trouble is to provide him with gainful employment. Make your dog work for ALL of his food. Don't just present food to him on a silver dog bowl. Use his daily rations of food for training and handling. If there is food left over, stuff it in toys so that he has to work to get it out. Some interesting ways to make your dog work for his food:
  1. Interactive food toys - Some good ones include the Buster Cube, Premier Busy Buddy Collection, and of course Kongs. Frozen Kongs are great for when you have to leave your dog home alone. Put some wet food into a Classic Kong and freeze it. You dog will have fun licking and chewing at it for a long time.
  2. Paper food ball - Put food on some paper and bunch up the paper into a ball. Let your dog figure out how to tear the ball open to get at the food. Note: Make sure that your dog does not swallow the paper. If you dog is addicted to eating paper and paper products, then this game is not for you. Once your dog conquers the paper ball, you can push the paper ball into a Holl-ee Roller rubber ball to make things more challenging.
  3. Cardboard box - Next time you finish some cereal, keep those nice cereal boxes around. Start by putting some kibble and bits of cheese into the cereal box, and just close the tab. Once your dog figures out that the box can be easily opened by stomping on it, you can increase the difficulty by folding up the top of the box. Tape can also be used but only if your dog does not eat it. When your dog figures out that chewing through the box will get him what he wants, you can put some food in a Holl-ee Roller rubber ball or Kong and put that in the box. Note: Only play this game with your dog if he does not eat the pieces of cardboard.
  4. Dr. Noys Toys - These toys have velcro openings to give you access to the squeakers inside the toy. Open up the compartment, take out the squeaker, put some food into the toy, and close the velcro opening. If there is loose stuffing in the toy, remove that too. My dogs have a lot of fun trying to open up the toy. Supervise your dog when he is working on this toys to make sure that he does not swallow pieces of the soft-toy.
  5. I-Qube - The I-Qube is made of soft fabric, in the shape of a box. There are openings on each side of the box from which you can insert squeaky balls. My dogs quickly lost interest in getting out the squeaky balls, but they are always very interested in getting food toys out. Put some Kongs, Dr. Noy's toys, or other food toys into the I-Qube to increase the difficulty of the food extraction task.
  6. Laundry Basket (or other safe, plastic basket) - Get a plastic laundry basket and put some toys and food toys under it. Make sure your dog sees you doing this, then let him figure out how to get at the toys. Make sure the basket has no sharp edges. Also use a basket size that is appropriate for your dog. You may want to start with a smaller basket that is easier to push over or lift up. Once your dog gets some practice, increase the difficulty by increasing the basket size.
Combine different dog toys together to come up with new ways to challenge your dog. This will exercise your dog mentally and physically, and make him into a smarter, well-behaved canine.

Most of all, have fun!
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