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Dog enrichment toys can be one of the most useful tools for a Pet Parent. Also known as puzzle or treat dispensing toys, they can provide hours of productive fun for your dog. KONG® has a variety of toys that fit this category, including Classic KONG® and Goodie Bone. If introduced correctly, they will occupy your dog with a progressively challenging and intellectually stimulating activity.
Dog enrichment toys are also very effective when used as redirection tools to distract your dog from engaging in unwanted behaviors or as special rewards during or after training sessions. Many Pet Parents utilize enrichment toys daily to busy their dogs, freeing them to focus on other activities.
Treat-dispensing enrichment toys are different from most other toys because they typically require a short introduction or training period. Most enrichment toys are very easy to introduce and the experience can help you bond with your dog. Just follow the basic steps below:
Once your dog successfully solves the treat-dispensing puzzle multiple times at the easiest level, it‘s time to slowly increase the difficulty. Do not immediately move to the highest level of difficulty, take your time and gradually increase the challenge. Remember to let your dog win at each increasing level of difficulty.
If your dog has repeated difficulty solving the puzzle at more challenging levels, go back to the last level solved. Continue at the previous level for a longer period of time before increasing the difficulty.
After some experimentation with the toy at various levels of challenge, you may find a certain sized treat or previous level of difficulty is perfect for entertaining or occupying your dog.
At this point, instead of continually trying to force a higher level of difficulty, try adding variety with additional enrichment toys. Introduce the new toys following the same introductory steps. Offering a variety of puzzle toys will keep your dog interested in the challenge and provide a greater degree of intellectual stimulation and growth.
You can also try offering multiple enrichment toys per session for longer playtimes.