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Dog games to buy for your dog this Christmas

December 7, 2014 18 comments

A few people have sent me notes and private messages inquiring about the games I play with my dogs. They wanted to know what game or games would for their dog(s). I know Christmas is coming up, so I thought I would at least share my own experience with some of the games I have and tell you which ones I want to get next.

Trixie Chess Game

UntitledThe Chess Game by Trixie was the first game I ever purchased for my dogs. I thought it would be a difficult one  for them to figure out (it was labeled Level 3), and it was, but only for a short time. Cupcake was the first to figure out that there were treats under those golden cups, but it wasn’t long before Jasper and Daisy did too.

It was also Cupcake (Master Puzzle-solver) who first figured out that the red blocks slid sideways, and that they hid even more treats. She loves this puzzle, but mostly because it is so easy for her now.

I love this toy because it got my dogs started on puzzles. I also love it because it helped Daisy to gain confidence. When I first tried this puzzle with Daisy she was skittish and jumpy and nervous. She needed a lot of encouragement to keep trying, but she never stopped trying. Now she is a quick as Cupcake at solving it and she loves it just as much as Cupcake does.

My opinion? A great puzzle to start out on. If your dogs are a little more shy or tentative, this is a great one to start on. It’s also a great game for beginner dog gamers.

 

He is not going to let the game beat him. 😄Nina Ottosson Dog Tornado 

The next game I purchased for the dogs was the Nina Ottosson Dog Tornado Interactive Dog Toy. I was lucky this time because I was able to let my dogs try it out before I purchased it. The toy has 3 levels, with each containing 4 spots in which to place a treat. Each level spins around to reveal the treat. Dogs can nudge or paw each level to get it to move. The game also has 4 bone-shaped cups that can cover any one of the treat spots and prevent them from moving on to the next level until the cups are removed.

I love this toy because it allows me to increase or decrease the complexity of the puzzle based on which dog is doing it. For Maggie, I can leave it at its easiest level (no cups) and help encourage her to solve it on her own. For Daisy Game night!and Cupcake, I increase the difficulty by placing the bone cups on the higher levels so they can get them out. Jasper seems to have become more of a pro at this one, so I put the cups in the middle level and on the bottom so he really has to work to remove them and get to the treats.

There is only one thing I don’t like about this toy and that is the bone cups themselves. They are smooth and difficult to get out (especially for Cupcake with her limited teeth) because they slip out of their mouths so easily. If they had groves in them it would be easier but I still love this game a lot. I just put them upside down for Cupcake, so they are not a deterrent to the fun.

My opinion? A great game for beginners and intermediate dog gamers. The ability to make it easy or more difficult is fun for me and my dogs. They love this game.

 

The best way to solve a puzzle is to chew it up until the chicken falls out. 😄 #doggamesNina Ottosson Dog Twister

The most recent game I purchased for Jasper, Daisy and Cupcake is the Nina Ottosson Dog Twister Interactive game. By far, this is the hardest dog game we have in the house. I know for sure this is true because more than once Daisy has given up and tried to chew it apart just so she can get to the treats!

The Dog Twister is made up of ten sliding pie pieces within a circle frame. Each pie piece hides a spot in which to hide treats. A dog must slide each pie piece in order to reveal the treat hidden underneath.Can you help me mom? This one is hard! #doggames

Sounds easy right? Not quite. The game also comes with twelve bone inserts that can be used to prevent a dog from moving the pie pieces. The only way to move a pie piece after that is to remove the bone(s).  As the game master, you can put in one to two bones or all twelve and increase the difficulty of the game.

My dog love this one, but are also easily frustrated by it, so I help them out on this one quite a bit. So far, the only one to figure out that the bone pieces need to be removed is Daisy, and even she is hit or miss on this. I started all four dogs out with no bone pieces and have now worked up to two, with help from mom.

My opinion? This game might be a better choice for a more experienced dog gamer. If you want a game that your dog can grow into over time, this might be the game for you, but I think I would start with an easier one for dogs who are new to dog games.

Future game purchases

There are quite a few other dog games out there ranging from easy to more difficult. Amazon has quite a few of them. I already have my eye on a few more that I want to try out with my dogs.

Trixie Mad Scientist

Tribe Mad Scientist for Dogs

Number one on my list is the Trixie Mad Scientist for Dogs. This one requires that treats are placed in the beaker-shaped modules suspended above the game’s base. In order for a dog to get the treats out, he must spin the bottles with his nose. I think Jasper would really love this one. They say it is a Level Two game, but I have a feeling it will be more difficult for all my dogs.

Trixie Gambling TowerThe other game I am looking to buy is the Trixie Gambling Tower. This one requires a dog to pull pieces out with their teeth and to remove cups to get to the treats. This game is labeled Level 1 (Easy), but I still think it would be a fun one to do with my dogs. This is a great one for beginning dog gamers too.

Whatever toy you decide to get your pet, make sure it is fun for them and you. Give your dog time to figure it out on her own, but if you see her becoming frustrated, help her out.  I promise you, you won’t be giving her the solution to the whole puzzle. I have shown my dogs how to do something on each of their puzzles and they rarely take that information and use it again the next time.

I hope you all have a great time! Let me know how it goes!

(Side note: I was in Petco this weekend to get new leashes and they had a whole wall dedicated to dog toys! You don’t have to wait for it to be delivered. You can go get one now. )

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Yes. I tend to go a little overboard for my dogs. Am I alone?

November 30, 2014 29 comments

If you ask, I am sure many people would tell you that I tend to go a little overboard where my pets are concerned. (I know for sure my family would!) I tend to buy them things that I think will enrich their lives and make them happy.

I think in the case of my dogs, I wanted to make up for the bad lives they had early on. I also want them to have lives that is enriched by a wide variety of fun experiences. (What’s the fun in having a dog if you can’t enjoy the fun they have with you?)

So while I do have a logic behind what I do for my pets, I also know that I am not the norm.

After all, I …

Buy dog games for my dogs, just so they can work their brains on a cold winter’s night.

Waiting his turn

Can you help me mom? This one is hard! #doggames

Game night!

Have at least 20 tennis balls so my crazy Sheltie has plenty to play with throughout the year.

Ball in play #Sheltie

Jasper action shot

A morning walk alongside the Mississippi River with my sister and dogs. Jasper had fun. :)

Purchased a leather couch immediately after the last one got rained on (don’t ask) just so my puppy mill girl, Daisy, could have her “safe place” back again.
A rare moment. She let me take pictures of her.

Take my dogs to a wide variety of parks so they can explore something new and different.

Cupcake and Jasper on the footbridge. #lebanonhills #mn

Photobomb. Courtesy of Jasper.

I'm going in #Daisy

Hello turtle! #nature #sheltie #turtle

Hide treats in the yard so my dogs can have fun using their noses and their brains to find them.

Is there something in there? #doggames

I think there’s a treat in there.

Cupcake smells cheese. #doggames

Maybe the treat is in here!

I think mom his some treats under here. #doggames

Yup. There is most definitely a treat in there.

Even placed a step stool next to my tall bed just so my dogs can come up when they want.

The bed and the step up.

But this weekend I think I may have gone a little overboard (even for me). On a trip to Costco I found a dog bed that was the absolute ultimate in dog bed luxury.

How could I resist?

It contains orthopedic memory foam with cooling gel and has a plush pillow top cover. It’s softer than a baby’s bottom and it is so squish-able, in that memory foam kind of way, that even I want to lie down on it.

It’s too bad I didn’t think about the size. Hmmm… crazy? Overboard?

Maggie on the new dog bed.

So, what over-the top-kind of thing have you done for your pet(s)?

Dogs: A Game of Chess Perhaps?

March 26, 2012 8 comments

Strategy Game - Chess

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Pet Expo in downtown Minneapolis. I was really excited to go because I got to hang out with some of my old Minnesota Valley Humane Society volunteer friends, Sue, Mona and Becky. Since the shelter closed last year, it’s been harder and harder to see one another, so this was a great chance to spend some time together and share our love of animals.

Becky’s goal was to Hug a Bulldog and Kiss a Pug (two fundraisers for local dog rescues), Mona and Sue’s was to see everything we could (and we did!), mine was to see what new and exciting pet products were available for pets (more to come!)

One of my most exiting finds isn’t all that new. In fact, I’ve seen variations of this for a long time via Nina Ottosson’s website. This one is from Trixie and is called Chess. I just love these type of dog activity toys. Although this one does not appear to be by Nina Ottosson, I have no doubt that it is modeled after one of her many toys.

I couldn’t wait to bring it home and try it out with Jasper and Lady. What I didn’t expect was how quickly one of them figured it out. Can you guess who?

What is this?

Curious contraption

Hmmmm... I smell food.

A little paw action.

I'm gonna get that treat!

Aha!

Eureka!

My thank you gift to you – Hartz Angry Birds Contest

December 14, 2011 26 comments

And the WINNERS are….
Geek HillBilly
Mary Haight
Karen Hollebrands
Debbie O’Halloran

I’ll be contacting you via email to get your addresses and to send your puppies their gifts! Congratulations!

Jasper's Angry Bird Obsession

It’s been a long couple of weeks. From the moment Lady first disappeared (and finally returned 12 days later), and through this past week of dealing with what I like to call The Crud, I haven’t really felt much like blogging.

Now that I am finally able to participate in the land of the living again I feel the need to thank all of you who helped in Lady’s search, offered kind words of support, tweeted or shared her story on Facebook, or just sent me healing thoughts. So today’s post is a giveaway of thanks.

On the day that Lady disappeared, a box appeared on my doorstep from Hartz (thank you Meagan!) loaded with some really cool toys from their Angry Birds line. I waited to open it until Lady was back home safe and sound and when she was I let her choose the first toy. The first one she took from the box was the little red plush Angry Bird and it’s been her favorite ever since.

Angry Bird - Lady's Favorite Toy

Hartz sent us a whole box full of toys and while I am sure my dogs would love to have all of them, I would rather share them with all of you in thanks for all your support. So I’m going to make this contest really easy.

Here are the rules for the giveaway:

1. Comment on this post by posting your dog’s name(s). That’s it! Post your dog’s name below and you are entered into the contest.

– The contest will run until midnight (12:00 AM Central Time), December 16, 2011.
– Four prize packs of 2 Hartz toys each will be awarded to 4 doggie families.
– Winners will be selected at random using Random.org.
– Winners will be notified via email.
– Winners will have three days to claim their prize, or another winner will be drawn from the entry pool.
– I will post the winner’s names on my blog on December 17th.

Good luck!




Worried you may not win? Enter Hartz’s Angry Birds Pet Toys Holiday Photo Contest on Facebook and win a free gift basket from Hartz!

Lady and her Angry Bird

The BlogPaws Stash

September 30, 2011 22 comments

A few weeks ago, Pamela and Honey over at Something Wagging This Way Comes had a contest to win some of her BlogPaws swag. There were two bags to choose from a Small-Medium Dog Swag Bag and a Medium-Large Dog Swag Bag. I entered Daisy, Jasper and myself for the Medium-Large Dog Swag Bag, never thinking for a minute that we would win. So imagine my surprise when we did win! All three of us were very excited. We just couldn’t wait to see what was in that bag! Jasper and Daisy Lady (available through Minnesota Sheltie Rescue))

Lady (our favorite foster dog) was lucky enough to join us before our bag arrived. Boy was she excited when we told her what was coming!

Well, now it’s time to reveal the stash. Is this seriously cool or what?

The BlogPaws Stash
Of course, we had to check some of this stuff out a little more closely.

Fido Friendly Magazine First, there was the Fido Friendly magazine. Totally cool! And, look who’s on the cover. Oogy! What an amazing dog and family.

Kong Toy Second, was a toy by one of our favorite dog toy companies of all time – KONG. Jasper was very interested in this new toy. Unfortunately, he was having too much fun for me to grab a good picture of him. So here is what it looked like.

We also tried the Savory Chicken flavored Lickety Stix from Pet Safe. Unfortunately, Lady’s reaction seemed to sum up the general feelings expressed by Daisy and Jasper. They were intrigued by the smell, but not so much by the taste. Lady' s Reaction to Lickety Stix

However, the freeze dried turkey heart treats by Oma’s Pride were a huge hit. Lady, Jasper and Daisy were still looking for more after we had emptied the bag! They gave a definitive 12 paws up on. We’ll definitely be ordering more of their treats.
Oma's Pride Pet Treats Freeze Dried Turkey Hearts - Oma's Pride

The decorative t-shirt from Martha Stewart Pets was pretty cute. The silver-sequined skull and cross bones would be perfect for Halloween, but I think perhaps Lady and Jasper would have a different opinion on that matter. Daisy was just grateful that she was too big to even try it on! 🙂
Martha Stewart Pets t-shirt

Lady in the dog t-shirt

Lady in the t-shirt from Martha Stewart Pets


Jasper in the t-shirt from Martha Stewart Pets

We were a bit puzzled by the mystery gift from The Pet Wiki. Jasper thought it was a chew toy. Daisy thought it was something best carried around in her mouth. Lady just wanted it to make squeaking sounds. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be or do any of the things they thought it would. We’re stumped. Can you help us figure out what it is and/or what it does?
The Pet Wiki Mystery Gift-front The Pet Wiki Mystery Gift - Back

There were lots of other great things included in our swag bag, and we’ll be sampling them over the next few weeks, but here’s a list of the other items in our swag bag. We are feeling pretty lucky. Thanks Pamela and Honey!

Petco Tennis Ball
Wellness Super5Mix Sample dog kibble
Back to Basics food scooper
Canidae TidNips dog treats
Bissell Stomp ‘N Go Stain Lifting Pads
TropiClean Clean Teeth Gel
Poop bag holder from Dogster.com
Life+Dog Magazine
Greenies Bumper Sticker
L.W. Bristol Classics Zipper Pull
FoundAnimals sticky notes
Food coupons from Royal Canin and Back to Basics


Welcome to the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop. I encourage you to check out some of the other awesome bloggers out there. Much thanks to our most generous and interesting hosts, Life With Dogs, Two Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume!

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Daisy and Jasper’s “Favorite Things”

December 11, 2010 7 comments

It’s the howliday season – which means, your furry friend has been dreaming of that perfect gift that he/she wants! What? You didn’t know? You haven’t you heard him mumbling in his sleep or waking you up to remind you of what she wants this year? Certainly, they’ve already given you a list right? No? Oh no.

Well, luckily Jasper and Daisy have put together a list of their favorite things from this past year. We hope these will give you some ideas as you head out shopping for your furry friend.

Daisy

Daisy’s Favorite Things
Daisy doesn’t play much (she just started getting the hang of it this year), but she does have some favorite things! Many of them are food oriented. Did I mention she is a Lab with a bottomless pit for a stomach?

3270011102_large.ashx1. Hartz Hedgehog – People have often heard me refer to Daisy’s “woobie”. Daisy’s woobie is also known as the Hartz Hedgehog and she carries it around all of the time – when she’s nervous or excited or just wants something to hold onto. It’s a perfect fit for her Labrador mouth. My biggest issue is keeping it safe from the other dogs who love it as much as she does! It is by far her MOST favorite thing!

home-dog 2. The Thundershirt – This one product has been a lifesaver for Daisy (and me!). Daisy is afraid of thunderstorms. She shakes and paces endlessly. But, once I put on the Thundershirt, Daisy becomes a calm dog. She often will go to her kennel and fall asleep! Now THAT is a great product.

force-lrg>3. The Honest Kitchen: Force – I’ve tried different dogs food with both Daisy and Jasper, but by far she prefers The Honest Kitchen Force flavor. I’ve never seen a dog get so excited to eat! She jumps up and down with excitement when she knows her food is ready (I even caught her trying to steal Jasper’s portion from his dish!). What I like about The Honest Kitchen is it’s healthy – no preservatives, no additives, and filled with fruits and vegetables and chicken. Simply add water and voila!

wobbler_PK_IMP 4. Kong Wobbler – The Kong Wobbler is a great toy to keep dogs busy. It’s durable, easy to use and fun for dogs. Simply put your dog’s kibble or their favorite treat in the bottom of the Wobbler and watch your dog push it back and forth. It reminds me of the Weeble Wobble toys we had when I was a kid. It certainly keeps Daisy busy.

6460108_L 5. Zukes Dog Treats – Like most Labs, Daisy will eat almost anything, but she LOVES Zukes treats. I use them for my training sessions with Daisy, or I will put a few in her Kong Wobbler to keep her busy while I am away. Salmon is her favorite flavor, but chicken and peanut butter are close seconds. Daisy likes them because they smell good, I like them because they are healthy and made with natural ingredients.

Jasper

Jasper’s Favorite Things – Unlike Daisy, Jasper will pretty much play with anything. His favorite things mostly involve toys that squeak and tennis balls, but here are some of his favorites!

kibblenibble1. Premier’s Kibble Nibble – By far, this has top be Jasper’s favorite. I put his kibble or treats in it and he will roll it all over the floor for a long time trying to get the treats out. Sometimes he even picks it up and drops it on the floor, hoping to knock a few out that way!

BB_TNT20092. Premier’s Twist and Treat – A variation on the same theme as the Kibble Nibble. This one is a little more durable so both Daisy and Jasper will play with it. The top and bottom twist off and the treats go in the middle. Twist the two halves together and let your dog have a bit of fun pushing it around.

410zggwSG7L._SL500_AA300_3. Kong Squeaky Balls – There’s really no mystery here. The balls area easy to catch and they squeak when a dog chews down on them. Jasper prefers these to all other tennis balls because he loves to squeak them over and over again (which is why all his Squeaker balls stay outside – I need my sanity!).

412xtInG3UL._SL500_AA300_4. Crazy Critters – There is only one thing Jasper likes better than squeaky toys and that is tearing the stuffing out of a stuffed toy that squeaks. I just recently found these and I have to say they are the best! They have all the appeal of a stuffed toy without the stuffing and they have squeakers at both ends of the toy. We have both the Fox and the Raccoon and they are a hit with Jasper. One word of warning – I discovered that once I washed them, the squeakers stopped working, so if you want to keep the fun going I would avoid washing as long as possible.

4815265787_3089a96300_m5. Elk Antlers – To tell the truth, both Jasper and Daisy like this product, but since Jasper has a habit of stealing it from Daisy all of the time I decided to add it to his list. Elk Antlers are great for strong chewers, especially the dog who chews up the bones that everyone says will last a long time (has anyone met Daisy?). I have had one Elk Antler for almost 6 months now and Jasper still chews on it!

There is one last “favorite” to mention. It’s actually on my Favorite’s List and it’s a pet store. Here in Minnesota we have a lot of the usual chain pet food stores, but there is one store that, in my opinion, stands above all others. It’s called Chuck and Don’s Pet Food Outlet.

I like Chuck and Don’s for many reasons, but chief among them is there dedication to customer service. I don’t know what kind of training the Chuck and Don’s staff goes through, but they are by far the best at customer service. They welcome you, ask if they can help you, they will order something if they don’t have it in stock and they even offer to carry your dog food out to your car! I really can’t say enough good things about them. I actually called our Eagan store one time to ask them for a name of a pet toy I was planning to feature in my client newsletter and the lady was able to tell what it was called and who made it based on just a description over the phone! They are also active in supporting animal rescue organizations, pet adoptions other great organizations and events. That is why they are MY favorite thing.

Wednesday Winner: The KONG Wobbler

June 9, 2010 Leave a comment

wobbler_PK_IMP

A couple of months ago, I was exploring various interactive toys for my client newsletter and came across an ad for a new KONG product: the Wobbler. I already had a rolling treat ball at home that Jasper (my Sheltie) absolutely loved, but I wondered if he would like the Wobbler too.

He does! And, so does Daisy!

The Wobbler works just like the Weeble-Wobble toys from when I was a kid. There is sand in the bottom that keeps the toy grounded but allows your dog to tip it to get the treats out of the hole on the side. What I like about this toy is how easy it is to fill with treats and clean up afterwards. And, my dogs really do love it.

The first time I placed the Wobbler on the floor, Jasper backed away, uncertain of what this new thing was and what he was supposed to do with it. But once I showed him how it worked, he was busy pushing it around, knocking it over and pawing at it.
Now, before I leave the house for the day, I fill it with his kibble (or special treats) and leave it on the floor for him and Daisy (my Lab). I never know where I am going to find it when I get home, but that’s part of the fun! I’ve found it in the bathroom (behind the toilet!), under a chair, under the entertainment center, at the top of the basement stairs, in my bedroom, etc. It’s now become a game to guess where I will find it next! Clearly, it is a very popular toy with my dogs.

That’s why the KONG Wobbler is this week’s Wednesday Winner!

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