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Monday, November 1, 2010

Fido Feeding Fun

by Carrie Boyko, C.E.B.

Just like us, occasionally our dogs may enjoy a little changeup in the way their dinner is presented. Here's a few ideas that will make dinner a little different, and perhaps even a bit of a mental game. That's good for your pup too:
  1. Play Hide-a-Kibble with Rover's dinner. Choose a contained area where you have a hard floor, to protect from any staining. Measure up your dog's meal and then scatter the chow around and in between all pieces of furniture and other items on the floor. This 'treat for your dog's nose' will make for a fun game of Kibble Hunt. Just to make sure your dog knows what going on, scatter the last few pieces with him watching. Now it's your turn to watch. Grab your camera as your dog enjoys being a hound for a short time, even if he's a Terrier or a Retriever...even a Heinz 57! One final tip. If you have more than one dog, the food may be found more quickly by the bigger dog and your little one may miss much of dinner. Allow your pups to play this game solo, to assure they get to find and eat their own meal.
  2. Tanner's favorite food-finding game is the treat ball. There are a bunch of these on the market, so when you choose one, just be sure to consider its size and weight compared to the size of your dog. A large, heavy treat ball will be difficult and even scary for your toy-sized dog to push with his snout or his paws. That said, "Let the fun begin" by filling the ball with your pup's meal and closing off the area in which you'd like him to play with the toy. Start by dropping the ball on the floor in front of Fido, and then a couple of pieces of kibble just in front of it, as you give the ball a little push. Fido will figure out very quickly where that kibble comes from and start to push the ball. NOTE: This is a terrific way to feed your dog if you have one of those "vacuum-eaters"; you know, the dogs that eat at the speed of light. This is not a healthy habit, so try the treat ball to slow the process down.
  3. Hide and Seek: This game is simpler and again takes only one example to get your pup going. Just drop a mouthful of kibble underneath small items around the house. I like to use toys, rugs, pillows and other light-weight items. Help the dog find one, and off he'll go to seek out other treasures around your home. NOTE: Close doors to rooms you'd prefer he not snuffle through.
  4. Another version of Hide and Seek can be played outdoors in your yard, but only if it is fenced. You don't want a food fight if another dog happens to get wind of the yummies in your yard. NOTE: Don't place handfuls of kibble under bushes, as stubby bush branches could scrape or cut Fido while he's focused on the hunt. Keep it safe!
At the top of this post you viewed a slide show of Tanner playing version #2 with the treat ball. Who can guess how long it took him to empty the ball? The reader with the right answer in a comment below will get a surprise gift. 

Want a treat ball for your Fido? We had one of these and it was great!

Be sure to stop in at GoPetFriendly to ready my latest guest post: Preparing Rover to be a Well-Behaved Holiday Visitor, and Fido Friendly, where I offer Healthy After-School Snacks for Kids and Dogs to Share.

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Patti said...

I'm going to say it took Tanner 35 minutes to empty the ball.....

Unknown said...

Some suggestions we have include:
- loading up a kong. It's so much fun to see a large breed, like Bennie the Mastiff(here beside me) put all his weight + both paws and pounce on the Kong trying to tip it around
- popping a kibble up in the air, like trying to catch popcorn. Throwing the kibble about, even across the floor brings out the prey drive in some.

Deeanna Harrington

Kristin said...

I'm going to say Tanner was able to empty the ball in 6 minutes and 29 seconds. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm always interested in these types of food devices, but I have a feeling Gus would get frustrated and just stare at us, crying until we emptied it for him :) My guess is 16 minutes!

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

Dear Gus: Our friend Juliet, a tiny Yorkie, loves her treat ball. Maybe Gus would surprise you and enjoy it for all the wonderful smells.

I would suggest the first time you use it, you add a few especially good-smelling yummies to help Gus's nose really get working. Good luck and thanks for stopping by again.

Nature by Dawn said...

Maya loves hide-and-seek with food!! Sephi is not so good at this game. She ends up only looking in places where Maya already found something. Sephi isn't good at figuring out how to get treats out of Kongs or other toys either. Even though she is the much better behaved dog, she is not as smart as Maya.

Matt said...

My dogs absolutely love the treat ball! I use it when I leave for work because it helps to keep them occupied. Just through a few treats in there an they roll around with it trying to get the treats out.

Carrie said...

No right answers yet, but you're all guessing around the right answer--under and over.

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