During our first class we talked to the trainer about Athena's high energy level and her tendencies to get into trouble around the house (like when she miraculously finds a used tissue or dirty sock when we swore there were none left out). The trainer simply said, "put away her food bowl."
|Bye, bye, food bowl. Hello, yummy treat toys!|
|Eating a snack from the Contempo Halo Bottle treat dispenser|
So, for the past two weeks we have been rationing out Athena's usual two cups of kibble (plus a few yummy treats) throughout the day. She eats her breakfast, snack, and dinner in food dispensing toys and then receives the rest of her kibble during daily training exercises. Now she must work for every bit of food that she receives which provides her with the much needed mental stimulation.
|All of the wonderful things that we bought from Pet Mountain for only $80!|
Seeing as treat dispensing toys are often expensive, we decided to do some online shopping for reasonably priced toys. We came across Pet Mountain which sells their toys (and other pet supplies) for ridiculously cheap prices (nobody can beat a half priced Kong!) so we bought an entire box full of toys to keep Athena occupied and stimulated.
Here is a list of the food dispensing toys that we purchased (and how much they cost us):
- XL Kong Extreme- $10.79
- L Kong Extreme- $6.97
- L Kong Stuff-a-Ball- $8.99
- Kong Wobbler- $10.40
- Contempo Tessa- $6.00
- Contempo Halo Bottle Treat Dispenser- $4.00
- 5" Atomic Treat Ball- $7.47
Food dispensing toys that we already owned:
Food dispensing toys that we wish we owned:
- Premier Busy Buddy Tug-a-Jug
- StarMark Treat Dispensing Chew Ball
- Buster Food Cube
- Smarter Toys IQ Treat Ball
- Premier Twist and Treat
Spoiled Athena now has plenty of toy options to choose from when working for her food. Soon we will review some of our favorite treat dispensing toys to let you know how long they keep Athena occupied and how durable they are for power chewers (so far we are in love with the Contempo Tessa- why have we never seen this toy sold in a store?!).
|Contempo Tessa in action|
Since putting her food bowl away two weeks ago, we have seen some MAJOR improvements in Athena's behavior. She spends quite a bit of time each day tackling her food dispensers. Whether it be a kibble filled Bob-a-Lot that takes thirty minutes to clean out, or a frozen pumpkin/peanut butter/kibble Kong that lasts up to three hours, Athena is now very well occupied throughout the day and ready for some major snoozing afterwards. The rest of her kibble is plopped around the house for mini training sessions such as doggy pushups and recall. Athena also earns quite a bit of her training kibble during walks as she works to perfect her loose leash walking.
Have you ever put your dog's food bowl away and traded it for treat dispensing toys? What are your favorite treat dispensers on the market?