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Exercise Your Dog From Your Recliner

GPF rating = 4 paws

Buster and Ty couldn’t be more different. One area this is particularly apparent is exercise. Take Buster for a 3 mile walk … come back … he’s warmed up … you’re tired. Tell Ty you’re going for a 3 mile walk … he cries Uncle … and crawls immediately into bed.

We have the additional challenge of not always being able to walk the dogs. Bad weather. No sidewalks. A road with no shoulder. No pet friendly trails. Try walking a German Shepherd around a small campground 50 times. Not fun.

One thing our dogs do have in common is a love of food. Hmmmm, if only there were a way to combine exercise and food … with the added benefit of tiring out Buster and Ty.

Mind games! No – not something you do to a co-worker or a younger brother or sister. Nina Ottosson mind games.

A while back, we got the Dog Finder™ game to try out. Think Chutes and Ladders meets The Shell Game. Except for dogs!

The blue “game board” is shaped like a big dog treat. (Ty is already salivating!) There are 9 tracks or slides in which you can place food. (Or not!) Then you cover the food with bones. (Ty says wait a minute!)

The goal is for your dog to slide the bones up or down the tracks to a wider section and dislodge them with paw or mouth in order to get the hidden food. You can make the game harder by putting an empty bone or two in the track for your dog to remove before they can work on the treat bone. Mind games!

The idea is that the mental activity of figuring out the game stimulates and tires out your dog. It works! And it’s just plain fun watching Buster and Ty methodically pawing and sniffing.

Dog Finder is just one of a series of Nina Ottosson interactive games. There’s Twister, Brick, Casino, Magic, Spinny, and Tornado. Each game has its own mechanism that requires mental and physical dexterity to work through the challenge and reveal hidden food rewards. They can be set to differing levels of complexity, to satisfy all ages and breeds of dog. The games can also be used to entertain and exercise injured or older dogs.

The games come with set up directions so your dog doesn’t get discouraged at the outset. That was no problem for our boys – we set it up once in “easy” mode, but they figured it out in no time because they are so food motivated.

The games are compact and store away easily – something of great interest to us in the RV. They’re also tough, hard wearing, and dishwasher safe. Oh yeah – cats (and other kinds of pets) can play, too!

But seriously, the games are designed to entertain and develop training and learning skills. You can order any of them online or pick them up at many national pet chain stores. Enjoy!

Ty taking his bone and going home.



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  • These are great games, aren't they? Tashi is really good with the “toronado” but the “dog twister” overfaced him a bit…but he worked it out well enough to get the hidden treats;) They are great rainy day games, and keep dogs from getting bored when outside play isn't possible. Ha, Ty is very funny!

  • peggyfrezon says:

    haha love the picture of Ty at the end, taking his bone away! I just reviewed a similar toy, Dog E Logic on my blog today (great minds think alike!) I have a little video of Kelly playing with it. She seemed to have fun, but it seemed to me she was just randomly knocking and sliding things around. She did find all the hidden treats though!

  • Jersey likes her treat ball, so she might like these puzzles. thanks for sharing!

  • Wanda says:

    I'm thinking this is a great idea! We have 4 dogs who get a little bored in the winter….games for dogs. How wonderful!

  • I got a puzzle game recently, and I'll soon be posting the video results. It was not the result I expected from either Lilly or Ginko.

  • Jon Atwood says:

    It's funny, my girlfriend was at a training seminar all weekend and came home wanting to do more mind stimulating games with our 5 girls.

    Surprise surprise today you do a great post on them!!

    I just ordered 2 of them from Amazon. Thanks so much!!!!

    BTW, your Facebook Connect option to sign in for comments isn't working…

  • That would be so awesome for Mickey!

    • Hi Shauna! I have to admit I felt some apprehension before I gave the game to the dogs. You know, wondering if they were less talented than other animals, maybe not even bright enough to figure out how to get the treats. But, they picked it up right away and had a really good time with it. I highly recommend it and I love that it's dishwasher safe – even though we don't have one in the Winnebago. =)

      • I will have to try one of these with Sadie and Rusty. I can relate to having a little apprehension though. I gave them a tug-o-jug a while back. They walked up to it smelled it and that was it, they never bothered going near it again.

        How long did it occupy Buster and Ty for?

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