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6 Reasons Your Dog Needs an Interactive Dog Toy


Interactive Dog Toy

In many ways, dogs are just like human children.  They require mental stimulation, quality time with a “parent,” and can be destructive when bored.  Interactive dog toys, which force a dog to solve a puzzle in order to earn a reward, can provide all of the above mentioned needs.

Interactive dog toys come in many sizes, shapes, and difficulty levels.  Perhaps the first and most well known interactive toy is the KONG, which forces dogs to figure out how to get all of the cheese, peanut butter, or kibble out of the rubberized toy.  A more difficult toy may hide treats in compartments that the dog must figure out how to open in order to find the tasty reward.  No matter your dog’s skill level, there is sure to be a toy that fits his or her needs.

Mental Stimulation
Dogs require mental stimulation throughout their day in order to remain happy and healthy.  A productive opportunity to use their brain will keep dogs from solving their own puzzles, such as figuring out how to escape the yard or determining the best way to climb onto the counter top.

Relieve Boredom
Most dogs are left home alone for hours at a time.  Especially if the dog is young, boredom can set in when the owner is away.  A bored dog will go at great lengths to entertain him or herself, including developing bad habits such as obsessively licking at itself, or more destructive tendencies such as digging in the yard, chewing the furniture, or destroying the couch. You need chew proof toys.

Fight Canine Dementia
Just as humans can fight early onset dementia by using their brains more often, so can dogs.  The more problem solving that a dog engages in, the sharper its brain will remain when he or she reaches old age.  Your dog will become smarter as a result of the toy; giving you a chance to brag to your friends about your pup’s advanced intelligence.

Improve Separation Anxiety
Does your dog become destructive when you leave the home?  An interactive dog toy can help distract your pet from the fact that you are away.  A common way to train dogs that have mild to moderate separation anxiety is to teach them to associate the owner’s absence with a high-value reward.  For instance, giving a separation anxiety-affected dog a frozen KONG filled with cheese or liver treats can turn an anxiety filled absence into a reward.

In the beginning, your dog may require help in learning how to play with his or her new toy.  This will be a bonding experience with your pet, as you work together to solve the puzzle.  When your dog finally gets it on his or her own, your excitement will be an additional reward for your pup.

Entertainment for You
If nothing else, watching your pet intently work towards finding treats in a puzzle, maze, or treat ball is incredibly entertaining.  You will either find that your pet is exceptionally intelligent, or that he or she isn’t the sharpest crayon in the box.

We also suggest reading our article on Puppy Proofing Your Home.

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