When you share your life with an active dog, there is rarely a dull moment. Energetic dogs are almost always ready for a game, sport, training session. And if you don’t give them these outlets, woe to the furniture that will be devoured, or the children that will get herded, simply out of boredom. Whether naughty or nice, your energetic pup will love these gift ideas!
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Does your dog bark when left alone? Eat your furniture to pass the time? Constantly demand your attention? Save your sanity by turning your pup’s mealtime into playtime. All kinds of dogs can benefit from food-dispensing toys, if chosen carefully and used properly. Here are five ways to add these toys to your daily routine to encourage good behavior from your best friend.
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The multi-billion-dollar pet industry has no shortage of gadgets, toys, and educational resources dedicated to dog training and activities. Read below to check out some of my top picks, ranging from $2 to over $200!
Treat & Train, developed by Dr. Sophia Yin and owned by PetSafe, is a multi-purpose training tool that is most frequently used to help with problem behaviors such as barking and jumping when people enter your home. It can also provide a ton of rainy-day indoor fun for your dog by making him work for his food, burning both physical and mental energy in a small space. (See the video below.) The device includes a food-dispensing container with several options for dispensing treats, a remote control so you can activate the machine from far away, and a target stick. Sound strange? It’s actually brilliant. Here are some ways you can incorporate it into your routine. (Click "Read more" below.)
Feeding your dog from a bowl is like using a Blackberry… there are infinitely more useful options out there. For the overworked urban owner, feeding a dog in a food-dispensing toy is an effective way to help him release some energy (especially “mouthy” energy) and engage his brain while you’re busy doing other things. While never a substitute for training or exercise, these toys add a little fun to your dog’s day without any extra effort on your part.
One of my go-to toys is the oddly named -- and oddly-shaped -- Kong Genius Mike. This tube-like, rubber toy has slits at both ends, which you can fill with treats or kibble. I use this to feed both my dogs their evening dry food; I put the dogs in separate rooms and shut the doors, giving them 5-10 minutes of alone time to work independently. In turn, I get a few minutes of peace and quiet while they’re busy getting all the pieces out. This toy is also suitable for training treats or other hard goodies, but not for wet or sticky food.
Kate is a certified dog behavior consultant and certified dog trainer in Brooklyn, NY with Doggie Academy and in Southbury, CT.