Choosing a gift for someone who has everything is hard! Even if that someone is a dog! After doing some research at Christmas time, I ended up investing in the ‘Mind games 3 in 1 puzzle toy’, by ‘Dog it’ for Jess and Max. I set a budget of £20 and under, mainly because I’d spent enough already but also I noticed a lot of the puzzle toys out there were very similar in their function and logic, but just differed in their shape or material. For example, you could pay £24.99 for a toy with the same mechanics as a £4.99 one, but one was wooden and the other plastic. I paid £12.49 + free postage for my chosen toy and I suppose the main thing that appealed to me about it, was the fact it was 3 puzzles in 1 (in an attempt to get my moneys-worth!)
The green caps have a rim around them, which enables them to slot/click into place between the two white parts of the toy. This makes them slide around the board without lifting up, creating puzzle number two. It was actually my 12 year old brother that figured out how to slot them into place! I was (embarrassingly) baffled!
Puzzle number three involves a sliding green disc, that the dog has push around to find their treat.
So how did we find it? Well this was Jess and Max’s first puzzle toy, so when I presented it to them both they had quite unimpressed expressions! With a little encouragement Jess was the most keen, which is always the case. She is highly food motivated, never gives up on a Kong and picks things up really quickly. Once she had the scent of the hidden roast chicken she whizzed through all three of the puzzles, although I’d say she found puzzle three the hardest to figure out at first. Here is Jess using puzzle three, I like how she uses her teeth to try and lift the disc!
Max on the other hand can be a fussy eater and he quickly loses interest in tasks such as training or emptying a Kong. He will just walk away, and this was the case with this toy. However, I have noticed he likes to eat alone and that he’s a slow eater. So maybe if he wasn’t so close to us with the puzzle toy (away from me and my camera) he would interact with it a little more, and wouldn’t feel under pressure to rush it. I also wonder if he finds things like this more difficult having a flat face/snout. Jess can nudge the disc with her nose whereas Max has to stick his full face in there! There may have been a little social learning too, as Max watched Jess complete the puzzle before having a go himself. Here he is using puzzle three:
Overall, I think the way both dogs interacted with the toy reflected their own personalities. It was pretty much what I would expect from them both. As for the toy itself, the plastic is sturdy, and it has suction pads on the bottom to prevent sliding (which I didn’t notice straight away). The fact that it’s three puzzles in one makes the price reasonable, in comparison to others. It does it’s job in providing a puzzle and something novel for the dog, and it’s cute to watch them pawing and figuring it out! But if you’re looking for a puzzle that takes a while to crack this one may not be the one, I think it’s a great starter puzzle though before moving onto something more advanced. I’m open to suggestions to modify/add to the toy if anyone has any ideas!