These interactive toys aren’t just dog’s play — they sharpen your dog’s problem-solving skills while rewarding them with treats

Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Composite

Outward Hound’s Nina Ottosson Interactive Dog Toys challenge dogs with complex problems that are fun to solve. Dogs are rewarded with treats hidden inside the puzzles.
The popular dog puzzle toys tap into a dog’s natural instincts to forage, scavenge, and problem-solve.
Outward Hound offers 10 interactive toy models in three levels of difficulty, ranging in price from $10 to $25.

A decade ago, when I was a dog lover working to become a professional dog trainer, a friend gifted me the Nina Ottosson Dog Casino toy. “My dog can’t figure it out,” she told me. “Maybe you can use it.”

Inside the box was a blue plastic tray with drawers tucked into its sides. White bone shapes anchored to the top of the tray had to be moved in order for its corresponding drawer to open, revealing treats hidden inside.

I experimented on little Roo first. He sidled up to the toy, sniffing for the treats hidden in its drawers. I left the dog bones loose to start, making the game a little less complex until he got the hang of it. Half-an-hour later, Roo was moving bones and opening drawers like a champ.

If Roo could work through the Dog Casino in under an hour, what could Bentley, the smartest dog I knew, do? Watching the Australian Cattle Dog figure out how to approach and solve the problem at hand was 10 minutes of pure joy.

Not everyone excelled at the game, which Outward Hound scores a level 3 out of 3. Scully ran around the tray pawing and whining. Within two minutes she had given up. Charlie sniffed it twice, then returned to the couch. But I was hooked. Enrichment had taken on a whole new dimension.

Why many (but not all) dogs love Outward Hound’s Nina Ottosson Interactive Dog Toys

These dog puzzle toys are used for enrichment. The term refers to the activities and objects that provide mental stimulation and encourage a captive or domesticated animal to tap into the natural behaviors they (or their ancestors) would practice in the wild. For dogs, toys that promote scavenging, foraging, and problem-solving, as well as novel sights, scents, and experiences are considered enrichment.

Sold in three different skill levels — Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 — each Nina Ottosson puzzle requires a dog to problem-solve in order to earn a food reward. The Dog Tornado, for example, has four layers of bone-shaped trays that can be stocked with treats. To release it, the dog must rotate each layer.

Nina Ottosson Interactive Dog Toys are made of high-quality plastic or composite wood-plastic. Even though my Dog Casino regularly earned the scars left by hard-thinking doggy teeth and paws, it never succumbed to a serious injury. The toys are sturdily made. Fill their …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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