Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tricky Treater Dog Food Dispensing Ball

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
Let's Get this Show on the Road!
There's no denying that my boys are food motivated. But Oliver's nose is a few notches ahead of Tanner's. As we prepared to roll this photo shoot, Tanner was patient and accommodating. Oliver was Mr. Eager! What he didn't realize was that this toy may be a bit large for his tiny snout. He weighs in at a whopping 10 lbs., so his little nose could be a bit sensitive to pushing around this ball that is larger than his head. The two boys had to team up to both enjoy the goodies spilling out of this enjoyable brain teaser. 
Team Up for Fun

The team up approach works well whenever your dogs are good with one another's food--no food aggression. If your dogs tend to be protective of their noms, better to use this tool in a confined space, one dog at a time. Better safe than sorry.

To make sure that the Tricky Treater is suitable for all dogs, no matter how aggressive their interaction style, the Petlinks folks built in a system for adjusting the feeding amount. Unscrew the 2 halves of the ball to reveal a storage area in one half of the ball that includes a trap
Inside Adjustment Area
door with 4 notches. This allows you to make the game easier or more challenging, depending on your dog's nose skills and his motivation. If he needs more help, open the doorway larger to allow for more scent to escape and food to come out more easily.

The Tricky Treater can be used with your dog's kibble or even small treats. Keep in mind Fido's figure before filling it full of dog treats, however. You don't want to increase his chance of any health issues either. Better to use the ball as a breakfast dispensing game than to serve up dessert using the ball.

So, what exactly, makes a treat ball a game? Here's a few skills that your dog will gain from playing with the Tricky Treater:
  • Building his recognition of scent and ability to follow it.
  • Focus: Fido will stay tuned into this task as long as the food continues to trickle out. Use the slowest setting that works for your dog, to give him the maximum workout for his brain, body and problem-solving skills.
  • Use of his snout as a tool.
  • Paw dexterity, another important skill.
  • Problem-solving: For example, if the toy gets lodged in a corner or underneath furniture, how will Fido free it up? In our video below, Tanner demonstrates use of his paws, snout, going all-in with his body to rescue it (don't miss this funny scene), and also grabbing the toy with his mouth.
  • The ridges on the Tricky Treater are somewhat soft and pliable, assuring that he won't injure his teeth or cause any gum damage. These ridges also give him something to grip as he uses his teeth to grab the toy. The ability to grab and lift is a terrific skill.
  • Speed: Believe it or not, your dog will likely discover that the faster he rolls the ball, the more quickly the food will spill out. I have watched Tanner's speed pick up each time he plays with the Tricky Treater.
  • Building food motivation: This tool can be a skill builder if you're working on any sort of training with your dog. If Fido will work for food, you're sure to be able to train him to do many tasks, skills or tricks.
On the flip side of the speed issue, an upside of using a treat dispensing toy to feed your dog is to slow down his eating speed. Veterinarians warn against dogs eating too fast, as this has been associated with bloat, a life-threatening condition. Remember that your dog should not engage in active play or a lengthy walk after eating a full meal. Always plan an hour of rest after mealtime or a large snack.

Let's watch Tanner and Oliver as they tag-team the Tricky Treater, successfully enjoying all the contents of the ball's storage compartment:

You can learn more about the benefits of feeding your dog using a dispensing toy at our dog trainer's video. Michael does a great job of explaining the benefits.

Some of the features of the Tricky Treater that appeal to our green side are the recyclable packaging and the use of recycled plastics in the toy. Kudos to Worldwise and the Petlinks System for using their Eco friendly thinking when designing this toy.

Looking to pick up a Tricky Treater for your pup? I checked up with the website and learned that there are quite a few retailers that carry the Petlinks line. I'll list these below. You'll also find the toy at Amazon here. 

If you have questions, please do touch base with the Petlinks folks at Twitter or Facebook to ask your questions and get further insight. I also found a video about the Tricky Treater here.

Retailers that carry the Petlinks System:
Petlinks' Instructions for First Use: Close the opening completely and fill only the top with treats. Once your dog learns how to use the ball, set the opening to the maximum setting. Over time, gradually set the opening smaller and smaller to challenge your dog.

All Things Dog Blog's addendum to the Petlinks' instructions: If your dog is already a frequent flyer with a treat ball, don't be too hasty with the maximum setting. Your Fido may plow through the treats or food, overdoing it. Always consider your dog's existing skills when using a new toy. Finally, please use this, and all dog toys, with supervision.

Hoping for a giveaway? You're right on track with our plan. Watch the site for news soon.

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Petlinks asked us to review the Tricky Treater displensing toy and has provided us with this review product. We have not been compensated, and the opinions included here and in our giveaway are completely our own.


Cattle Aussies said...

That looks fun! Puzzle dispensing toys are enjoyed by everyone around here!

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