As the world starts to re-open, you may be thinking about how your dog will react when you go back to work. How do you transition your dog back into that routine?
Or, if you're working from home and need to keep your dog busy, what can you do?
Here are 5 quality, essential, enrichment toys (beyond Kongs and puzzles) for you to give your dog when you leave the house or begin your workday.
1) Slow Feeders
The name "slow feeder" is misleading. Yes, it does slow your dog down when eating, but slow feeders are awesome for ALL dogs, not just dogs that eat fast. Here's why:
First, anything that requires your dog to work for their food is a good thing. Slowing down an already slow eater just keeps your dog busy for an even longer period of time.
If you feed raw or wet food, put it in the slow feeder and freeze it. This takes your dog even longer to eat the meal. You could smear cream cheese, or peanut butter inside and freeze that too. The possibilities are endless.
If you feed kibble, spread out the kibble across a bunch of slow feeders. If they are all the same, you can stack them up, lock them together, and all of a sudden, you've created a food puzzle. Dogs knock it over and paw at it to disconnect the slow feeders and get the food out.
It's a great game, and time occupier.
So if you're thinking "my dog doesn't need a slow feeder," think again. It's really just a super tool that makes food last a while, and makes it fun!
Hopefully, your dog has the opportunity to chew on lots of good things like bully sticks, fish sticks, pig ears, etc. Long lasting chews are essential.
But, let's talk about those really expensive bully sticks that dogs seem to tear through faster than you would like. Wouldn't it be nice if they lasted a little bit longer?
The Quizl does the trick. A bully stick can fit inside of the quizl, which gives you control of how much bully stick is exposed for your dog to eat.
If you have a very heavy chewer, he might be able to inch the bully stick out slowly by chewing on the Quizl. But most likely, you can just take pliers to pull it out.
Plus, you don't have to worry about your dog choking on the tiny ends of the bully stick, since it'll be inside of the Quizl.
Quizls are not just for bully sticks. You can wedge a biscuit in there, smear some Cheese Whiz, or fill it with anything your dog likes. This bone-shaped necessity saves money and extends the life of treats. Win-win.
3) Tux and Topl
The Tux and Topl are nifty little treat dispensing toys. You can freeze food in it, or wedge cookies inside.
These are great alternatives to Kongs, if your dog needs something a little easier to work with.
The great thing is that they are small enough to wiggle into the crevices of the freezer (unlike the slow feeder), and make a nice snack-sized portion for the 3PM stretch.
4) Topl Continued
The Topl also makes a great kibble dispenser. A large and small Topl connect to create a food toy that your dog can roll around the room to get the kibble out of. Pretty genius and such a versatile product to accommodate for all different types of food.
Sniffing is calming, and if you have a rambunctious one, you need a snufflemat. A snufflemat is a mat with tons of fringe that you can hide food in. This is great for kibble, or any sort of dry food.
Dogs sniff around the fringe to find the food.
Although it's a great tool to keep your dog busy, the best part is that it works as a training tool as well.
If you have a wiggleworm who doesn't stay still to put on a harness, load up a snufflemat with treats and have your dog sniff out the food while you put the harness on. No chasing your pup around the house. Use the snufflemat to bring your dog to you, rather than you wrestling with your dog.
If you have a small dog and are considering a Sleepypod carrier, a snufflemat does wonders for training your dog to love the carrier.
Fill up the snufflemat and put it inside of the carrier. Leave the door open, and let your dog eat out of the snufflemat. This builds up an association that the carrier is where delicious things happen so it's a good place to be.
Can you just throw a treat in there? Sure. But it'll be gobbled up in a second. In a snufflemat, it takes time, which is exactly what you want.
You might be thinking, well, my dog can finish a (Kong, Slow Feeder, Tux, Topl, Snufflemat, etc) in 10 minutes and I'll be gone much longer than that.
A tip? Put out a bunch of different things for your dog to work on and hide it around the house. Create stations for your dog to go to. Instead of feeding your dog breakfast before going to work, have your dog look for his breakfast while you are at work.
Put a snufflemat in the living room, the Quizl behind the couch, and slow feeder in the kitchen. Be creative!
The cool thing is that your dog may go back and forth between the different food stations, keeping even busier for longer. By the time your dog is done, it's nap time, and you're coming home to a relaxed pup.
Want to explore these enrichment toys? Click here to shop for your dog's new favorite toy!