Now that Jet is older he doesn’t get as much physical exercise as he should.
As an older dog with arthritis, hip dysplasia, heart disease, and a repaired CCL, this is expected.
As a dog (and an intelligent working breed), however, this places an increased importance on mental stimulation.
When Jet was a little more mobile, we would achieve this with shorter walks and through playing games like “hide and seek” or “find it.”
Now that Jet is very much limited in his movement, we rely heavily on interactive toys.
Today I want to share with you 5 of our favorite interactive toys.
The Kong Wobbler
I’ve mentioned before how much we love the Kong Wobbler. Like most interactive dog toys this isn’t a particularly cheap toy, but it isn’t expensive either at just under $20.
This toy is very much like the boppy clowns that kids used to have years ago. You fill the wobbler with kibble or treats (no bigger than the small hole on the front) and your dog has to work to get them out. As they knock over the wobbler it pops back up again and rolls around and sometimes treats will fall out.
The bottom section is filled with some type of sand and the top section unscrews for easy cleaning.
Your dog will generally require some mobility to play with this one since they tend to bat it around like a cat with a ball of yarn.
Why do we like the Kong Wobbler?
We LOVE the Kong Wobbler because it creates interactivity unlike some of the other so-called “interactive” treat toys. This one actually pops up and sets itself up to be knocked over again. Plus, it’s easy to clean, quieter than most other treat dispensing toys, good quality hard plastic, AND the treats don’t just fall out every time.
Outward Hound Hide a Bee
This is definitely not a toy for dogs that don’t do well with plush toys. Jet, however, loves them. Give him a rubber toy and he will shred it, but give him a plush toy and he will love it like his favorite babydoll.
The Outward Hound Hide a Bee runs around $11 and comes with three plush bees that fit into a plush hive. The hive has multiple openings for the bees to fit into and be pulled out of and each bee has a squeaker inside.
We play with this toy when Jet is having very rough mobility days. I will fill the hive with bees and hold it as Jet pulls out one bee. As he goes to pull out the second bee, I will put the first bee back into the hive and so on – thus creating an unending supply of bees.
Jet REALLY enjoys this game because he loves his plush toys.
Outward Hound also makes a squirrel and tree version of this toy (which also comes in a junior and GIGANTIC size) that Jet’s furry uncle loves most, and a bird and birdhouse version.
This is a toy that will require you to throw it in the washer once in a while, but it washes well and if something does happen to one of the bees, refill packs are available.
Why do we like the Hide a Bee?
We love the Hide a Bee because it offers interactive fun with minimal mobility demands. This is also an interactive dog toy that we can both enjoy together which gives us quality time together.
Just a note: There are some knock-off and similar versions of this toy available from other manufacturers, but we have found that they don’t hold up as well over time or they just aren’t as good quality as the Outward Hound version.
Trixie Chess Game (Level 3)
Trixie’s line of interactive puzzles is one of our favorite lines of interactive dog toys. Prices vary depending on which of the puzzles you get, this one you can grab for around $21. These games all require some setting up, owner interaction, and cleaning afterwards, and play time out of one set up can be particularly fast if your dog is quite intelligent, but the games are still worth grabbing!
These games all require some setting up, owner interaction, and cleaning afterwards, and play time out of one set up can be particularly fast if your dog is quite intelligent, but the games are still worth grabbing!
The chess game is one of the higher level Trixie interactive puzzle games and one of our favorites.
Jet is exceptionally fast at these types of games so each game session is over quite quickly, but he enjoys playing so it’s worth it.
When playing these games, we use small treats that will fit under the pieces, but make sure not to put treats under every piece. This gives Jet the incentive to keep looking under pieces for treats.
This line of interactive toys for dogs is quite varied, but it does require mobility of the front legs in order to play. Jet uses his front paws to slide the sliders and his nose to knock over the large pieces.
Why do we like the Trixie Puzzle Toys?
We like the Trixie line because they are well made and they present more of a challenge than some other interactive toys. When playing with these puzzles, dogs MUST engage their brain, their sense of smell, and their front paws/nose to get what they want.
ARF Interactive Fun Dog IQ Toy
The ARF IQ dog toy is another interactive puzzle toy, but this one adds a little something different – the ability to really challenge your dog by testing their ability to learn and identify the individual puzzle pieces.
The price of this puzzle toy is comparable to others at just around $20 and it’s definitely worth it if you have a dog who needs a new challenge.
Each puzzle piece on this puzzle is identifiable with a clearly marked symbol, teach your dog to identify each symbol to increase the difficulty of this game.
Jet likes this one because it presents a new challenge in comparison to our other puzzle toys and it doesn’t require him to move around while playing so we can play it on achy days.
Why do we like the ARF Interactive Fun Dog IQ Toy?
We love this one because it’s challenging. It’s also challenging to clean after use, but that’s not enough to stop us from loving it!
The Furbo Dog Camera
This is the first thing on the list that we don’t own and we haven’t yet tried, but the concept is so awesome that I would more than likely sell my soul for one.
The Furbo is an interactive pet cam. This means that pet parents who leave home frequently can check in with their pups throughout the day. How does your dog know that you’re checking in? Well, it has a voice function so that you can actually call to your dog through the Furbo. When they come running you can then talk to them, watch them on camera AND dispense treats! The camera on the Furbo even has an LED filter so that you can see at night in case you unexpectedly work late and forget to leave the lights on at home. Or, if you’re like me and want to see just what all that rustling around your pet is doing in their bed in the middle of the night without waking your partner.
The Furbo even has an alert system that you can set up so if, say, your dog is barking, it will send an alert to your smartphone through the Furbo app to tell you that your dog is barking and ask if you would like to check on them.
According to everything I read, the Furbo is sturdy enough to withstand “dog life”, has a privacy mode to set the system to cut off as soon as you are home, and it has social media settings so that if you’re a Twitter nerd like I am, you can share screenshots and video clips!
The Furbo isn’t on the market yet, but you can pre-order yours for $139 and it’ll be shipped to you in October! Seriously, that’s not that far away and it’s really not that much to spend if you have an anxious dog like I do OR if you’re an anxious pet parent!
You can pre-order your Furbo from their website here.
Why do we like the Furbo?
…Really? The video pretty much speaks for itself!