Monday Mischef – Mentally Challenging Toys Review Part 1

QQ is a high energy puppy. We try to tire him out with hikes and walks, and we train him in doing a multitude of tricks. However, during the week when I’m working from home, he frequently looks bored and sad. After a week of feeling guilty, and thinking of the upcoming rainy season where this might happen even on weekends when we can’t go hiking, I decided to buy some dog puzzles and toys that will mentally stimulate my easily bored puppy. We actually already had some of these toys already, but I decided to try some new well-reviewed ones that I saw in some dog blogs. After trying them out for a couple of weeks, I’m ready to do some reviews on both the old and new puzzle toys we have.

We currently have six dog puzzles in rotation and I’ve decided to split them into two reviews. The first review will cover the treat-dispensing toys. The second review will cover the dog puzzles suitable for feeding meals.

We have three treat-dispensing toys. As described, these are toys where you can put treats in, and dogs roll the toys around in order to get the treats to fall out. I really like these type of toys, more than the puzzle type even, because there isn’t any sequence or trick that QQ can easily figure out to get at the treats quickly. QQ typically take anywhere between 5-15 minutes each time he plays with these toys, depending on how many treats there are in the toy and his luck of the day. On the other hand, because it doesn’t require much brain-work per se, I feel that QQ isn’t all that mentally stimulated.

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This is the first toy. It has a blue rubbery texture encasing a crackly plastic interior. There’s an opening where treats go inside. You can kinda move it around so that the plastic opening doesn’t match up flush against the rubber opening. Then QQ has to “chew” the toy a little, in order to get both openings to match up before he rolls the toy around to get the treats to fall out. It’s a little additional work.IMG_6019

QQ loves this toy, as you can see. Even if there isn’t any treats in it, he occasionally still enjoys chewing on it. Perhaps because he likes listening to the crackly sound of the interior plastic. This was one of his first toy. I think we bought it even before we brought him home. It was one of the “prep” toys we bought as first time dog owners do. In fact, I do not remember at all where I bought this toy. I did some research and I can’t find what the name of the toy is (we threw away the packaging when we opened it), I would love to buy some backups of it. It was a little too big for him when he was a puppy, but he definitely grew into it. And seeing as how we are still using it a year later, it clearly lasts! The rubber exterior doesn’t show a single dent from QQ’s chewing.  If anyone recognizes it and know where to buy it, please let me know.

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The only issue might be that QQ is pretty pro at getting the treats out now and it doesn’t take him very long. The small size of the opening also means that I usually have to break the treat into quarters or halves to make it fit inside.

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This is the second toy. It’s the orange peanut on the right. I bought this toy on Amazon back in February of this year. The bag next to it is Jump Your Bones Roo Bites, treats that fit perfectly inside the peanut, as you can see below.14141729176_67ebe6003f_o

As you can see, the peanut has only one opening, and it’s pretty wide. Therefore, it’s the least challenging of all the three treat dispensing toy. However, its odd shape and the fact that the opening is at the end presents a little difficulty for QQ. He has to kinda flip it over on the end in order to get the treats out. It typically takes him about 10-15 minutes to get 7-8 treats out. The wide opening means small sized treats goes in easily and there’s no need to break the treats. After we finished Roo Bites, we are using Max and Ruffy’s Mini Bites. They fit the opening perfectly. It’s the best toy when I’m in a hurry and need to keep QQ distracted and entertained for a quick 5-10 minutes. Pick the toy up, throw 7-8 treats inside, set it down, and I’m done.

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QQ loves his peanut. He doesn’t play with it by itself like he does with the blue ball, but he recognizes that when I pick it up, it means he’s getting treats and he gets all excited. It’s supposed to have a peanut flavor smell, but I don’t really smell peanut. It smells pleasant though. The texture is rubbery and it’s made in USA. It gets a little dusty and QQ’s fur stick onto the rubber exterior, but after a wash, it looks brand new. QQ doesn’t really chew it though, he only pushes it around to get the treats out. But the rubber exterior means QQ is free to chew on it if he wants to.

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And occasionally hugs it when he’s sleeping.

No, he doesn’t. I posed the last picture.

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The third and last treat dispensing toy is the Nina Ottosson Treat Maze Toy. This is one of the new toys I bought this month. And yes, it’s bigger than QQ’s face. It’s technically for large dogs, but it works for QQ, who is approximately 17 lbs now.

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There’s actually two parts of the maze, the top half and the bottom half. I’m not sure if the maze structure is any different. Basically you drop treats in the center hold, either side, and the dog is supposed to spin the maze and the treats come flying out on the openings on both side. There’s two openings on each side.

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QQ however, did not get the hang of spinning. It might also be because he’s working on a carpeted area. So what he does is, he flips the whole toy over and over, using his head, as seen in the photo above. And the treats do come out that way! Because the toy is so big, and perhaps the structure of the maze interior is more complex, it usually takes him a few flips before he gets a treat out. It also hard for him to maneuver because the toy is so large. All this, and perhaps because the toy is the newest, I would say this is the toy that engages him the longest of all three toy. It takes him over 15 minutes to get 7-8 treats out.

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One issue though, is that the sides of the toy does not hold up to his teeth. When he finishes the treats, or when he gets frustrated, he nibbles on the edges and teeth marks immediately appears. Therefore, he has to be supervised with this toy and it can’t be left out for him to chew and play with as he pleases. This means I can’t use it to entertain him when I’m not available to supervise, or when he is alone, like I can with the other two treat dispensing toys above.

And that’s the review of the three treat dispensing toys we currently have, watch out for Part 2!

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12 thoughts on “Monday Mischef – Mentally Challenging Toys Review Part 1

    • QQ would say that anything that contains treat is fun, it would be even more fun if he doesn’t have to work at it to get the treats. Keekee. Puppy toys that last are the best, aren’t they?

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