Enrichment & Toys
Get a Grip
Companion dog training
Let me present some of my favorite enrichment items:
My go-to starter treat ball is the Orbee-Tuff® Mazee. It is the easiest of the 3 treat balls I use but still the
kind of challenge that means you can use it again and again. Being easier than the other two means the
dog gets immediate reinforcement for engaging with the ball and thus encourages them working it for
quite a while. It is made of a soft vinyl that seems like the dog would chew it up in no time but it is actually
amazingly durable and stands up to hard chewers. As with all puzzle feeders you should take it away
once the dog is done and not let it use it as a regular toy.
Many years ago, a round, hard treat ball was sold for a short time and then discontinued. It was an
outstanding enrichment item and I was very disappointed when it could no longer be found. I must have
outstanding enrichment item and I was very disappointed when it could no longer be found. I must have
had mine for close to 20 years and they are still intact and work well. Just recently I was excited to come
across an updated version made by Kruuse called Buster Treat Ball.

For beginners I make sure to fill the ball to the brim to ensure immediate payout when the dog works it.
As the ball empties it gradually becomes harder.
And then there is the king of interactive, treat dispensing items, the Buster Cube. This is the original that
abuse; again, you don't leave it for the dog to play with but put it away when done. There is a large
version is the original and later they came out with a small version. The small one is slightly more
rounded and more ball like while the large one is more square which is what increases the difficulty level
And then there is the king of interactive, treat dispensing items, the Buster Cube. This is the original that
the others are derived from. It is also a Kruuse product, now. These also last forever and can take lots of
abuse; again, you don't leave it for the dog to play with but put it away when done. There is a large
version is the original and later they came out with a small version. The small one is slightly more
rounded and more ball like while the large one is more square which is what increases the difficulty level
and makes it a great next step as the dog gains experience and confidence and needs more of a
challenge.
Even though there are limits to the usefulness of Kongs, every dog owner should have a least
a couple of moderately sized ones. They are convenient, easy to fill, and sturdy, especially the
black ones. They don't occupy most dogs as long a I would like but if I took the time to learn,  
experiment, and stuff them just right they would be even more useful. Still, they are great when
you just need a short activity. My go-to fillings are peanut butter and cream cheese that I left
over rice, oatmeal, grits etc, and if you have some meat to add in you are getting into gourmet
territory. There are several websites on the Internet with ideas; her is just one of them:
https://dogs.thefuntimesguide.com/stuff_this_in_a_kong/
Here are some ideas:
https://www.pinterest.com/explore/dog-enrichment/?lp=true
Puzzle feeders can be expensive but
have two of Nina Ottosson's that are
easy nor too difficult for most dogs.