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puzzle toys?

Discussion in 'Toys' started by grumpylilmoose, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. grumpylilmoose

    grumpylilmoose Forums Regular

    Jan 6, 2013
    Do they serve a purpose besides just a toy?
    Will it help fundamental skills such as problem solving?

    Any other information would be great!

    I wish I could use search on my phone. :(
  2. missjenneygirl

    missjenneygirl Forums Enthusiast

    Aug 20, 2009
    I too, would like to know if anyone has tried these puzzle toys. Which ones, and how did your dogs do? Did they stay with it, or just walk away when the food didn't magically appear??? Did they look like this :gaah !!
  3. BarbV

    BarbV Forums Celebrity

    I sell them at the store and have been meaning to try them out on my own dogs.

    I actually don't mind that my dogs both chow down in less 2 minutes, but it would be interesting to see how much longer it would take them to work it through.

    btw....if you are really interested in slowing down your dog and really making him work, then check out the Green Interactive Feeder! We sell and I've sold several and not a single return. I guess it really does work. (Be patient and get through the ad)


    Yes, they will still inhale without chewing but they definitely have to work!
  4. HopeShelties

    HopeShelties Forums Enthusiast

    Dec 2, 2008
    I have two which I bought for my dogs in Cleveland last month. I bought these two:
    It is for problem solving skills, but I found dogs who haven't learned to offer struggle. The ones I have done a lot of shaping with have been able to figure it out faster than the ones who have done less shaping.
    The dog who can do these the best is my best shaper.... Athena. She watched in jealousy, whining in the expen, while another struggled to figure it out. As soon as I let her out, she was like 'finally! my turn!'. She tried the red and yellow one first, and just turned her head, and started picking the yellow cups up one after another, getting the treats out. She also automatically figured out which hole(s) had treats in the red and blue one, and took her nose and pushed open the compartments. Of course, this is the dog who I have shaped several tricks with, taught an obedience dumbbell retrieve with, and loves doing the 100 things to do with a box type exercizes. She has also loved to try, and offer. If you are offering treats, she will sit and go through all of the tricks she knows if she's worked up enough.
    Aurora and Breeze figured out the red/blue one fairly well, and were able to do some with the red/yellow. Ember, Kai, and Lark checked them out but were like 'aren't I just supposed to sit and you give me the cookies?'
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  5. take4roll10

    take4roll10 Moderator

    Aug 31, 2009
    I have the Kyjen star spinner http://www.amazon.com/Kyjen-Dog-Games-Spinner-Treat/dp/B00440D8GU

    And this paw-shaped puzzle http://www.amazon.com/Aikiou-Interactive-Dog-Bowl-Pink/dp/B003ATH916

    They don't entertain my dog for long. She quickly figured them out.

    The paw puzzle is only good for about 30 seconds. The star spinner is a little harder and she will work it for about 5 minutes before I have to re-fill it with treats. You can adjust the star one so that it has more resistance and is harder for the dog that open. That is the only reason why it entertains her for 5 minutes. Without the resistance it would also last 30 seconds. :lol:

    Once she gets all the treats out, she double checks everything to make sure she didn't miss any treats and then walks away.

    I use them just as a toy for when she is bored like on a rainy day. It is mentally stimulating which a lot of shelties need. I find that the kong wobbler, kong genius and tug-a-jug toys last a little long then the puzzles I have. Actually the best treat dispensing toy I have is an empty 1 gallon water bottle. Yup! It's noisy on the wood floors, but can actually entertain her for a good 15 minutes.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  6. HopeShelties

    HopeShelties Forums Enthusiast

    Dec 2, 2008
  7. susanmccain

    susanmccain Forums Enthusiast

    Jan 27, 2013
    London, Ohio
    Very interesting. I have seen them but didn't pay much attention. I might give one a try for my youngest Sheltie. Thanks for a good discussion!
  8. romeosangiovese

    romeosangiovese Forums Enthusiast

    Sep 29, 2008
    I love puzzle toys and am a big big fan of them!

    Apart from keeping the dog occupied (it also tires them out) I have found that it increases the dog's problem solving skills and also increases the time it takes before the dog becomes frustrated. Of course, you start with a simpler toy first if the dog gives up easily but once you hit a certain level, I have found that they will just keep going and going. This translates to being more willing to try over and over again despite "failure" and really helps when during training of other things (tricks, etc).

    Romeo played with puzzle toys from puppyhood and when he tackles the harder stuff now, you can almost see his brain click - and it's not just random pawing or just trying his luck to get something out. You can tell that he thought about it and would do precisely what is necessary to get the food out of the toy.

    As an example, he once took a stuffed kong up to the top of the stairs and dropped it, causing it to dislodge food with every bounce on each step (not fun for me). And with one of the Nina Ottoson toys, instead of randomly pulling out pegs and pulling out trays, he would pull out the peg that corresponded with the tray below to get food out. I thought that was pretty amazing! I caught it on video here - http://youtu.be/qh54n3qUdLQ

    Love the Nina Ottoson toys! But a few of her toys can be DIY-ed at home with some simple easy to find materials.
  9. Justicemom

    Justicemom Forums Celebrity

    Oct 2, 2009
    I agree. I have seen an increase in frustation threadhold and problem solving. Birch is affectionately known as the puzzle master. We have tried many of these kind of toys and he usually takes between 2-15 mins to figure them out any more. The simple level 1 toys are no challenge at all.

    There is a lady the goes to all the shows around and she sells them and she knows as on sight. I ask her from the hardest ones she has. She has a store in town and the dogs can stop by and play with the toys. We tried the Twister and this actually slowed him down and I could see the wheels spinning. The problems is it is expensive and we are saving up(maybe Bday present) http://www.nina-ottosson.com/DogTwister-Plastic-2.php

    Birch is intense and never gives up. I have learned to not have the other dogs around when he is working. My favorite is the tug a jug.

    A bit of caution, since these toys do increase problem solving sometimes they create things you don't intend like a canine houdini. Birch can open any type of crate, zipper, cabinets, latches if motivated. Clips and things that require thumbs to open are our friends.:smile2:
  10. Silaria

    Silaria Forums Sage

    Sep 19, 2008
    Aspinwall, PA
    Puzzle games does teach dogs to think and reason, especially when combined with shaping techniques for training. I'm convinced of this.I've been giving Edan puzzle toys since I brought him home as a pup. CJ, his litter-sister, didn't grow up with the puzzle games and the way they approach things is much different.

    Edan will try every trick he knows while figuring out what you want. He'll stick with a puzzle toy until he gets every last bit of food out of it. Sure, he gets a little frustrated and will bark at it but he goes right back to it.

    CJ didn't grow up with these toys or as much formal training - she was a show dog. Though loved, her life consisted of running around the yard with her pack and being loved on by the breeder. She tends to just gives up and walks away. She doesn't put any effort into trying to figure it out. She wants it easy - handed to her on a silver platter. She has improved due to agility and treibball training. You can see her actually attempting to figure things out though she will give up faster than Edan.

    As for our puzzle toys:

    We started with a Buster Cube. In fact he use to get his dinner out of the Buster Cube because he ate so fast.

    The next toy we got him was the Nina Ottosson Dog Domino. He figured out this puzzle in about 20 min. Once he had it figured out, he could solve it in under a minute.

    I purchased this one for Edan also. It was a lot more difficult for him to figure out but once he did, it solves it in under 2 minutes. I can pull this game out after 6 months and it still takes him under 5 minutes to solve it.

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