Just a dog and his toy.

I am a huge advocate of food puzzles for dogs.  I used various kinds on all of my fosters and always recommend them to customers who inquire about how to keep their hyperactive dogs busy.

But then there was Rufus.  For a very long time, he just didn’t get it.


You want me to do WHAT??

I don’t think it came from a place of stupidity or lameness, I just think he’s a little unsure about pushing stuff around with his own body, for fear of messing something up.  Case in point: the dude still won’t go through a doorway until the door is open enough for him squeeze in without having to push it open himself.  He will sit there a whine, even when he can TOTALLY see me calling him from the other side.  Such a wimp.

At the beginning, we tried Kongs.  He absolutely loves licking frozen peanut butter, pumpkin or yogurt out of them, but if you put any type of treat or kibble in there, he just gives up.  And the Kong Wobbler?  Completely out of the question.

Then a few months ago, I received this little toy in a Barkbox:


Meet the Monster Ball. While he had no interest in it at first, I thought I’d try putting a little bit of kibble in it and see his reaction.  For some reason, he was SUPER into it right away.  He was rolling it around, nosing it and getting rewarded handsomely in the process.  I think the combination of the toy’s smaller size as well as the fact that it’s not super difficult made for a pretty fun game.  Now he gets about half his meal this way every evening and has a blast…except when it rolls under the coffee table 100 times.  That’s less fun for me, really.


Waiting for the “ok” to dive in.

In all honesty, I think the more I have trained him and worked his brain, the more confident he has become with new obstacles he’s presented with. It’s been a slow process, but completely worth it.  He now has two other treat dispensing toys I use on a regular basis and it brings me so much joy to see him all puppy-like and curious whenever I give him something new.

We may still be a very long way from conquering the Wobbler, but I’m confident my guy can do it!


17 thoughts on “Just a dog and his toy.

  1. Yay, Rufus!! That’s awesome that you got that monster ball in your Barkbox! Athena has the green monster mouth that’s wider rather than round. We stuff a dental bone in there and she loves to work to get it out.

    Many of our treat dispensing toys are similar to the Wobbler in that Athena has to bob them around to get the kibble to fall out. Rufus might like the Twist & Treat (which can also be frozen like a Kong, or flung around the house to release kibble), the Tug-a-Jug, or the Tricky Treat Ball. Athena’s current favorite is the Magic Mushroom, which is essentially a bobbing type dispenser, but she really likes to fling it all around the house and paw at it too.

    • The other two toys I briefly mentioned are the Twist & Treat and the Tricky Treat Ball- he loves them both. However, I have yet to try the Tug-A-Jug. I’m thinking the hard plastic might be a bit too much for him, but it’s worth a shot! Thanks 🙂

  2. I got the boys each a wobbler, Jake wobbled for 5 seconds, became so terrified of it that it caused him to spontaneously poop. Melvin picked his wobbler up and tossed it into the wall, causing a dent. Neither of these two events were as adorable as these two photos of Rufus!

    • We have yet to try that one! This may sound totally neurotic, but Rufus seems to be pretty sensitive to textures. He absolutely loooooves stuffed toys and shies away from those made of harder materials. Because of that,I’m hesitant to try something with a harder shell but I love trying new things with him, so we’ll see. Thanks for the suggestion 🙂

  3. I love his expression in the first photo!
    Our pups aren’t that into being stimulated with food dispensing challenges unless it’s a Kong–which is odd because they are beyond food obsessed. You bring up a good point about training that desire. As I always say about everything training related it feels like, it may be time we work on that! Madden on the other hand is all about any challenge. (Personally I think she’s just a bit brighter than my kiddos.)
    You make me want Barkbox…why must everyone tempt me so???

  4. Polly Pocket was not good with the Kong Wobbler either. She would just look and it and then look at me as if to say “are you going to deal with this or what?” This toy looks pretty cool though! I might have to check that out for the Moby man!

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