Mind games, 3 in 1 puzzle toy by Dog it

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!)

imageSo here it is, set up ready for the first and simplest puzzle. The dog has to lift/push the green caps to find their reward underneath.

imageThe 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!

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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!

Celebrating dog milestones #1

rochdale mayors fete

Technically this post has two reasons to celebrate. The first being… I am on holiday! My first big holiday since starting my small biz, two years ago. But I suppose the second being the most important, and the focus of this post…

The first half of my holiday has taken me about 100 miles west, back home for a visit. Then the second half will be spent in Cyprus, not sure how many miles away that is! So on Sunday my mum and I visited the ‘Mayors Charity Country Fete’, which was about a twenty minute walk from her house. It was decided that a walk rather than a car ride would be best, so the dogs wouldn’t be so hyped up to arrive at such an event.

The fete held a dog & pony show, but whether we entered depended on Jess’ reaction/behaviour as we walked around. So far so good, so we headed to the registration booth. I suppose this was our first ‘test’ as it was a pretty small, enclosed area with lots of new people and dogs passing through. Jess did well.

We decided to enter Jess in ‘Golden oldie’ (which made me a little sad, but that’s a whole other post!) and ‘Prettiest girl’, with Max in ‘Waggiest tail’. Alas, we did not win, not a sausage, as my mum says! But without wanting to sound too ‘cliché’, it really was the ‘taking part that counts’ for Jess. As some of you may know she is nervous of new people/situations and her dog greeting is sometimes a little full on. We are fairly good at reading her signs of anxiety now, her avoidance and displacement behaviours, and have our usual explanation to new people. But she was near perfect on Sunday. My mum has been making an extra effort walking lately, and says she has learnt a lot more about Jess’ behaviour. Her dog ‘hellos’ were polite(ish), and the crowds didn’t seem to faze her. Our only ‘incidents’ were Jess backing away from the judge and her whining when I left her to enter Max’s class. One of the problems I’ve found entering dog shows is that the dogs start to get a little restless with all the waiting round, which Max did. I also admit I thought we had ‘Waggiest tail’ in the bag, I don’t know what went wrong! But I’m not bitter…

But on a serious note, I just felt so happy for Jess. Happy that she could enjoy the day without feeling too worried, and experience everything the same way everyone else did. We didn’t feel that we had to leave early, or separate ourselves from people or dogs. We’ve come a long way from having to cross the road to pass a stranger. A happy dog equals a happy human!

shih tzu bandana

Welcome…

Hello! I’m Katie, and welcome to DogTailsBlog! I currently have four dogs in my life, Jess, Max, Sam and Oscar, amongst other small furry animals! They will be joining me on my journey of blogging; reviewing dog products, Kong toy fillers, sharing hints and tips and just day to day doggy adventures!

As for my four legged friends, Jess is my lovely rescue dog. She stayed with my mum while I went to university, and is still living there while I get myself settled and steady, now that i’ve graduated. She was adopted from Manchester and Cheshire Dogs’ Home, and was very nervous and uncomfortable around people and dogs when we brought her home. She still isn’t 100% sure about some things but she has come a long way, and is the main reason I encourage adopting dogs from a shelter (which I will talk about lots in my posts!)

Max is my mums dog, and he’s a very mischievous little Shih Tzu! Although he can be cheeky, he has ‘a look’ which usually gets him out of trouble!

I have recently moved in with Sam, a great big white German Shepherd. He’s a rescue dog too, adopted as a puppy from Hull Animal Welfare Trust by my boyfriend and his family. He’s definitely the biggest dog I know, but also one of the softest!

And last but not least there’s Oscar, a boisterous black Labrador who is owned by my dad and his partner. I have never met a dog that loves his football as much as he does!

So those are my canine companions, making my blogging experience complete with waggy tails, wet noses and muddy paws x