With the weather too cold to walk much, I decided to get Josie one of those dog treat puzzles. Many years ago, I got one of those clear acrylic balls that you load with treats and the dog rolls it around until some come out, and she was not a fan. She’s not much into balls, and treats that are in a container are off limits, and she is not much of a rebel – more of a groveler. So I gave that toy to Carly’s Shih Tzu, Roman, and it was a big hit. Roman is not a groveler, and when he wants the ball refilled, he carries it in to where his people are and slams it down on the floor.
For Josie’s second foray into treat-oriented puzzles, I bought the Trixie Dog Activity Flip Board. It’s an intermediate puzzle, which I figured Josie could handle, and wasn’t terribly expensive at about $12.25. The reviews were positive, unlike those for the puzzle made of pressed board of some type, which had cut some dogs’ noses. Ouch. Also, beging plastic, this thing is very washable.
It came with very specific instructions, and I followed them to the letter. Make it positive, don’t pressure your dog, give it treats just for interacting with the toy. I left the sliders partway open in the beginning, and she pushed them with her nose at first, but then moved on to using her paw. I had taught her “touch” just a few days before, and that helped. She would touch the yellow lever and I would take a treat from the compartment and give it to her, so she could see there were more in there. Eventually she opened it quite by accident, and I told her it was all hers and gave her an even higher-value treat in addition. I got it about a week ago, and it’s taken her this long to get really good, mostly because she’s not bold, and had to get used to plastic things making noise.
I wanted something that would entertain her without me being there, and that hasn’t panned out yet. Josie is very submissive, and I still have to reassure her that it’s okay for her to just take food out of this. I imagine she’ll get over that in time, but she’s not going to be opening kitchen cabinets anytime soon. Ever, really.
One final thing – Josie weighs 3.5 pounds. This puzzle is a great size for her, but I’ve seen some by the same maker that have large cones that can’t be knocked over, and she wouldn’t be able to get her bitty mouth around them to pick them up. Just an FYI.