22 May 2011

Nina Ottosson’s Interactive Treat Games

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I am going to discuss the interactive games Nina Ottosson has designed for dogs. They are designed to give dogs a mental workout, something they need to keep them busy and even tire them out. So, these toys keep your dog active when you have run out of ideas for them to do. Sounds great in practice, but do they work? I am going to discuss three of Nina Ottosson’s toys, an easy, medium and hard, all available from Pets at Home. I personally have the Dog Tornado Interactive Dog Treats Game, which is the hard game; I will give a review on this. For the other two, I will look at other reviews online to get a picture of what they are like.

Dog Magic Interactive Dog Treats Game

This is said to be the easiest of the three interactive games available from pets at home. The idea is that your dog removes the bones on top to reveal a treat below.  At £19.99, it is the cheapest of the three. Having never used it, I have been searching the Internet to find a variety of reviews to get a good idea of this toy. The game is dishwasher proof and has non-slip feet so it will stay where you put it. The majority of customers, including animal behaviourists, recommended this game. The dogs seem to get a lot out of this, unless, as one customer pointed out, the dog has no sense at all, in which case, the games do not work. On the other end of the scale, a few comments have been that it is not enough of a challenge for the dog; it only takes them a couple of minutes to figure this out. For this game there is a real mixed bag of reviews. However, I think the overall comments are good, including for breeds such as Labradors, Border Collies, toy Poodles and Pomeranians. I am sure it is good for many other breeds as well. It is described as built well, tough and well worth the money.

Dog Brick Interactive Dog Treats Game

This is the medium of the three in Pets at Home. Your dog has to slide the bricks to reveal the treats. Like the others, it is tough, non-slip and dishwasher proof. At £27.99, the medium game is the most expensive. The medium toy seems to entertain dogs a bit more than the easy toy; this is of course to be expected. This game is equally as recommended by customers, all of which appear to have had dogs for a long time. One customer writes that it is great for older dogs and younger dogs that can’t go for long walks but still need mental activity. One customer who owns a Jack Russell said her dog could not quite do the bricks with his mouth but learnt to do it with his feet. This sounds great to challenge dogs further. This sounds like a good game, which is more challenging than the first. Although a couple of dogs have had to move onto the harder game to keep their dogs entertained, this seems like a good tough product,

Dog Tornado Interactive Dog Treats Game

This hard game is £26.99 from Pets at Home. This is the one I have bought and used on my German Shepherd. He was about 1 and a half when we started using this toy. The game is based on three rotating bone shaped compartments; your dog has to move the compartments around to find the treats inside. It is tough and won’t slip, and I found I could almost get his entire dinner into it in one go, which is a good way for him to work for his dinner. Personally, I do not like this game. I found that it did not mentally stimulate my dog at all, without any instruction from me; he nudged the compartments with his nose and ate the food within seconds. After looking at reviews online, I have found other people have similar issues to me. The dogs just don’t find this game hard enough and after doing it a couple of times, they know exactly what to do and it has no mental stimulation for them. Because of this, I do not think this game is worth the money you pay. Overall, this product has three stars on the Pets at Home website. I would not recommend it, but others do. I think these products depend a lot on the dog you have, it’s size, age and breed.

I would love to hear about your experiences of the Nina Ottosson toys.


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