Thursday, May 26, 2016

Treat Puzzle Review - Dog Treat Maze by Nina Ottosson

This is a review of the Dog Treat Maze by Nina Ottosson. I would recommend this toy and am offering you a way to purchase it through an affiliate link. This will provide a small income to me and Bella to help us further our cause for happy active dogs everywhere. You are not required to purchase it from us. If you decide to do so, know that we very much appreciate it. 🐶

Bella with Nina Ottosson Dog Treat Maze available at PetCoBella's Review:

If you love to eat - and who doesn't...SRSLY. - then you wanna try a meal in this baby. It is round and has colors and it spins. Most of all it has food and treats in it. So you wanna spend some time with it because when you first get it you are gonna think you just have to bite it to get to the yummy smells inside. And then you will learn techniques like SPIN, BOUNCE, SLAM, PIROUETTE, THROW and maybe even make up some of your own. Make sure they put food and treats and not just food because that makes it better. And better is always better. Get this one. You won't regret it. Unless it's empty. And with emptiness comes regret. I read that somewhere once. I don't remember where. Seems to fit here though, no? I hear this one is size large. If it came in an extra large I would want that because I bet you could fit more treats in it.

Just the Facts: 

The Dog Treat Maze by Nina Ottosson is a spherical maze that is shaped like a dome on both the top and bottom. This gives it a wobble that is fun to watch. It also allows your dog to get their paw or nose under it to wobble it, tumble it and turn it end over end. It spins nicely on hardwood floors. They can use the openings to grab it with their teeth for throwing and dropping. The maze inside on the top and bottom are 90 degrees off center of each other so the top and bottom mazes don't react the same way. This makes filling easier and play longer and more engaging. There is no way to take it apart for cleaning, so only dry treats/food are recommended. There is no way to increase or decrease difficulty of this treat puzzle. Treat/food filling can be done on the top and bottom of the maze and each section is separate so treats do not co-mingle between sides.

Trista's 2 Cents:

Dog Treat Maze by Nina Ottosson
We have had this treat puzzle since the beginning - so over a year. It was the first toy of its kind that we got Bella and our first experience with a treat puzzle. It was under the tree for Bella's first Christmas. We pre-filled with some training treats and wrapped it with paper and bows. I remember she opened the package - wrapping paper and all! - and then proceeded to try to open the puzzle. Oops. Didn't think that one through! This puzzle definitely took some training for her to get the hang of it. So worth it!

My first piece of advice is be prepared to train your dog to use this treat puzzle. It's a maze so they have to move the puzzle around to get the treats out. I highly recommend using a positive reinforcement tool to do this. We used the clicker to enforce the actions that would get the treats - pawing, pushing, spinning, tumbling end over end. And we discouraged her when she began to bite it in frustration. The time you spend training should go quickly if your dog is fairly smart. We did get some damage at first (I blame my lack of preparation with training needed) but the treat puzzle has held up..and all that damage (see right) is from the early days. This is one of the pricier treat puzzles we have purchased - at around $15 to $20 - so we have stuck with the original since it still works perfectly fine. 

This treat maze has also stood up to Bella's tendency to get bored with her toys. There is no figuring out a trick to empty the contents .. and repetition of the same movement over and over will not get the results she is looking for. Varied movement is required and therefore this is a long-term treat puzzle that your dog will enjoy for years to come. Our experience is that it will stand up to the abuse it gets while treat-seeking, as long as your dog is not left to gnaw on it. For that reason, I recommend supervised play. By that I mean - not alone. This is definitely in my arsenal of things for Bella to do when I need to get work done.

Here's a funny thing that happened last night - We were sitting on the couch for some late-night wind-down TV. Bella jumped onto the couch arm so she could reach her treat box that lives on the top of her crate. She took almost a minute picking something out. And then - voila! The toy she chose was the Nina Ottosson Dog Treat Maze! It was empty but she kept picking it up with her teeth and dropping it until we filled it up. I like that she chooses it when she wants to find something to do by herself. It's so much better than a fairly new habit she has started - Finding and then destroying boxes of tissues...not just the boxes but also the tissues! :-/

We are happy with this toy and would recommend it, and purchase it again.

Here are some additional helpful details:

  • It comes in 2 sizes - small and large
  • Use small training treats and small food pellets that do not crumble easily. The food will need to fit into a fairly small opening and will get knocked around quite a bit before escaping from one of the openings
  • For longer play, fill both the top and bottom mazes with treats
  • When filling the holes, here's what I do for maximum treat capacity (and maximum play time) - first fill one side, then on that same side tip the maze toward a NON opening side, flip the maze and repeat
  • Mix treats and food so there is a lower calorie/fat content and still the interesting smell of treats
  • As you get used to how long your dog will want to play, you may end up with treats and food leftovers on the floor - Bella empties it but doesn't always finish the contents at the initial sitting
  • This is a great way to feed your dog if you have a fast eater