5 Interactive Dog Toys and Puzzles – Review

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEver wanted to buy a dog interactive toy for your dog, but unsure which, out of all the many options out there, to get? Having faced the same problem, after much deliberation and consideration, here are my short listed top 5!

Because of the lengthy coverage, this post will have 5 different sections for each of the 5 different interactive toys and puzzles:

  • Nina Ottosson Dog Brick Interactive Game
  • Nina Ottosson Dog Casino Interactive Game
  • Kong Wobbler
  • StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Pet Toy
  • Smarter Toys IQ Ball Treat Dispensing Dog Toy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA All these were purchased from Amazon and received within two weeks via free shipping (Amazon provides free shipping to Singapore and Mexico with eligible purchases over USD125)!

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Balancing Bunny πŸ˜›

So without further ado, here are the reviews of the 5 different dog toys and puzzles:

1. Nina Ottoson Dog Brick Interactive Game

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This puzzle works by sliding pieces. There are little indentations under the sliders, and dogs have to use their nose or paws to move the sliders around to get the treats. Although one of the simpler Nina Ottosson dog puzzles, it’s a good start if your dog, like mine, is new to interactive dog toys.

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Dog Brick Puzzle

There are 2 difficulty levels within this game. You could either completely cover the treats with the slider pieces, or leave the treats slightly exposed. This is good for dogs learning nose work, as they will be trained to use their nose to sniff out the treats and move the sliders!

For Cotton who often uses her paws to move objects around, this is good training for her to use her nose more πŸ˜›

Pros

  • Relatively simple and easy
  • Non-slip and not excessively noisy
  • High quality, sturdy feel and sliders move smoothly
  • Large enough for bigger dogs, yet still suitable for smaller dogs
  • Slobber or drool can be wiped off easily (dish-washer safe)

Cons:

  • Might be too easy for most dogs after the initial tries
  • Difficulty level cannot be adjusted as much

Here’s a short video of Cotton trying out the Dog Brick Puzzle for the very first time. She took to it rather quickly after a little help:

2. Nina Ottosson Dog Casino Interactive Game

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This puzzle toy works with the basis of “lock and key”. The little light blue bones on the top serve as a lock for the mini drawers below. The dog has to lift the bone keys out, before the drawers containing the treats can be opened.

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Dog Casino Puzzle

This puzzle is considered one of the more challenging puzzles by Nina Ottosson. You might have to split the learning process into 2 parts – Firstly to grab the little bone “locks” off the puzzle, and secondly to open the drawers.

Pros:

  • High difficulty, great for fast learners and smart dogs
  • Difficulty level can be somewhat adjusted
  • Similar to the Dog Brick, high quality with no sharp edges that could cause cuts and bruises and is non-slip

Cons:

  • Might take awhile before the dog figures out how to get to the treats
  • Costly at USD39.98

As this toy will require some time for Cotton, here’s a short video of the workings of Dog Casino:

3. Kong Wobbler
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The Kong Wobbler works through, as the name suggest, wobbling. The base of the Wobbler is weighted, like a roly-poly, hence it springs back after getting knocked down by the dog’s paw or nose. The Kong Wobbler opens in the middle where kibbles or treats can be added. Each knock allows the treats to fall out.
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The Kong Wobbler comes in 2 sizes – Large and Small. The large size can contain up to 1cup of kibbles, while the small can contain up to 1/2 cup.

The large size is recommended for dogs over 25lbs, while the small is suitable for dogs smaller than 25lbs.

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Pros:

  • Heavy weighted, hence will not move around that much, unless kicked by the dog around
  • Little to no noise made from the wobbler itself, good for dogs that are easily spooked. However, depending on the force exerted, may be noisy on hardwood floors.
  • Easy to clean due to removable upper body
  • Comes in 2 sizes to accommodate different sized dogs
  • Made of very strong FDA-approved plastic-polymer, prevents strong chewers from destroying it

Cons:

  • No adjustments in difficulty, may be boring or serve no purpose in slow feeding if your dog is extremely intelligent
  • Might not be suitable for weaker dogs with less strength, due to the heavy weighted round bottom
  • Due to limited capacity, might not have sufficient space for one entire meal for a large dog

Cotton’s first try with the Kong Wobbler:

She took to the wobbler rather well and seems to understand how it works. Perhaps she used to play with these toys, who knows? πŸ˜€

4. StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Pet Toy

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The Bob-A-Lot’s works with the same concept as the Kong Wobbler. However, what a sets the Bob-A-Lot apart is the ability to adjust difficulty level.

The base of the Bob-A-Lot is completely rounded, hence the will be some movement especially on hardwood or marble floor. There is also slightly more noise as compared to the Wobbler due to it’s plastic material.
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There are 2 ways to adjust the difficulty level. The first would be a little tab at the opening of the Bob-A-Lot:

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The second is at the treats exit:

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Pros:

  • Difficulty level can be adjusted: keeps dog occupied for a longer period
  • Comes in 2 sizes to accommodate different dogs
  • Large space inside to fill an entire meal’s worth (up to 3 cups of food)

Cons:

  • Completely rounded base, if large strength used, Bob-A-Lot may hit the dog back when it springs back
  • Any food trapped may be difficult to remove due to only opening being small
  • Slightly noisier than the Kong on hardwood floor
  • Made of plastic, strong chewers might chew through it

Cotton’s first try with the Bob-A-Lot:

5. Smarter Toys IQ Ball Treat Dispensing Dog Toy

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The IQ ball is another treats dispensing toy, but unlike the Wobbler and the Bob-A-Lot, since it’s round, it rolls about when the dog paws or noses it. Hence, it would be good to occupy the dog for a rainy day with no walks! The difficulty level can also be adjusted as per your dog’s requirements, making play time longer for the smarter dogs. However, it is considerably noisier than the Wobbler and Bob-A-Lot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It comes in 3 different components, 2 covers and 1 one plastic plate. Treats are places at the bottom cover, then covered with the plastic plate followed by the cover with the exit hole for treats.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The difficulty level can be adjusted through widening or closing the slider on the plastic plate.

IMG_1423.JPGPros:

  • Rolls about and dog has to follow, great for lazy dogs or rainy days with no walks
  • Difficulty level can be adjusted
  • Comes in 2 sizes (3in and 5in diameter)
  • Durable hard plastic that is strong enough to withstand throws and rolls
  • Awkward shape prevents chewing

Cons:

  • Makes more noise than the Wobbler and Bob-A-Lot
  • Might roll under furniture

Cotton’s first try with the IQ ball. She came to check the Kong Wobbler after a few rolls of the IQ balls, which is probably because of the greater difficulty level.

Some general tips:
1. If your dog seems disinterested in the toy, start off with very reinforcing high value treats to tempt your dog to figure out how to obtain the treats
2. Always supervise when playing especially with aggressive chewers
3. Start off easy before progressing to the harder levels

Personally, out of the 5, my favourite treats dispensing toy has got to be the Kong Wobbler. Its simplistic and classic Kong design makes it pleasing to the eye, and it’s opening at the middle makes for easy cleaning, a major plus for me. The heavy weighted base also prevents a 180 degree spring back, hence preventing the toy from whacking your dog in the face, unlike the Bob-A-Lot, which continues full-speed bobbing after a hit due to the round base. However, for a more intelligent, larger sized dog, the Bob-A-Lot should be preferable as this problem will be circumvented and the difficulty level can be adjusted.

Comparing between the dog casino and the dog brick puzzle, I prefer the former due to it’s higher difficulty level. There are many ways to get about playing with it, I.e hiding the treats under the bones cup, rather than the relatively one-dimensional dog brick puzzle.

You can purchase these from Amazon (updated as of 21 Sep 2014):
1. Nina Ottosson Dog Brick Interactive Game (USD 39.98)
2. Nina Ottosson Dog Casino Interactive Game (USD 21.99)
3. Kong Wobbler Small (USD 8.49)
4. StarMark Bob-A-Lot (USD 12.97)
5. Smarter Toys IQ ball (USD 7.99)

More interactive toy reviews:

  1. Donna’s Dog first wood IQ toy – Review
  2. Cotton’s take The Foobler
  3. Vanillapup Picks: Nina Ottosson Dog Tornado

So, what’s your dog’s favourite toy? πŸ™‚

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Cotton with the 3 interactive treats dispensing toys

Jamie and Cotton ❀

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14 thoughts on “5 Interactive Dog Toys and Puzzles – Review

  1. Sarah Ferguson says:

    I’m always looking for sturdy interactive toys – how sturdy was the Kong? Choppy tends to “solve” all her interactive toys in the same way: by brute force/destruction of the toy. She has only destroyed a couple Kongs over the years, so that might be an option.

    • cottonthemaltese says:

      It’s not made of rubber like the Kong Classic, but very heavy plastic polymer, hence I think it would be difficult to even chew for an aggressive chewer. However cotton doesn’t chew items so I wouldn’t know with 100% accuracy πŸ™‚ From what I have read online, the most difficult to destroy would still be the IQ ball because it’s too awkward for dogs to get a grip on πŸ™‚ Definitely not the Bob-A-Lot though.

  2. Jie Jie says:

    I miss Cotton and you so much omg ); Reading these posts fill me with such nostalgia and longing D,: Been showing these pics to my friend lol.

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