This is how Spriggan eats all her meals now:
That’s a treat-dispenser ball that I bought on some kind of super sale at Petsmart. I had really wanted to try one of these types of interactive toys with her, but I had two problems:
- They were all too big! I could never find a little small-dog treat dispenser that she had a hope of actually using. Now, Spriggan is very enterprising, and she plays with big-dog toys all the time, but some of these … she just wouldn’t have had a fighting chance. Either there was no way she could pick them up and move them around enough to dispense treats, or the holes for the treats were so huge that it would totally defeat the point.
- I liked the idea of her interacting with something, but if it was to be any fun for any real length of time, I’d have to put quite a lot of treats in there. And I’m wary of giving her too many calories, ’cause she’s a very tiny dog and a relatively low-energy / low-exercise dog at that. (The predisposition toward back problems, made much worse by even a little excess weight, is also a factor.)
So, I hadn’t bought one until I came across this one so cheap. It seemed like the filler hole was a little big for Spriggan treats still, but I thought I could try it as a sometimes-toy.
The first day, I put small and large chunks of treats in it, thinking the large ones might prevent the small ones from just hurling themselves into her mouth. That didn’t totally happen, but I found out that she loved it, and she figured it out quite quickly. “Hey, I roll it around, and I get to eat stuff off the floor!”
Later that evening, I thought, “Gosh, I could put mostly her dinner portion of dog food in there and just a couple of treats. That way, she wouldn’t be consuming more calories than usual, but she could have the experience.” Then I smacked myself and said, “Orrrrr… I could just put nothing BUT dog food in it.”
So that I did. Now, every meal is an interactive one. As our trainer puts it, “A mentally exhausted dog is a physically exhausted dog”, and although it’s a bit like comparing apples to slightly-different-colored-apples of the same species, Spriggan does seem to be a little sleepier and less rambunctious.