Forget the food bowl: Interactive toys for dogs and how to use them

Green Feeder - interactive toys for dogs Whenever someone asks me how to change “nuisance” (nuisance to humans – normal to dogs) behaviors such as chewing, digging, barking, trash raiding, and counter surfing, one of my first recommendations is to replace the dog’s food bowl with a variety of interactive toys.

Interactive toys are those that dogs play with by extracting something from the toy over a period of time. These toys are usually food-based, but not always. When dogs are taught to play with interactive toys as part of their mealtime routine, their meals become an opportunity for mental stimulation. The best part: this doesn’t take much extra effort on the part of the human!  [Read more…]

DogTV: Initial thoughts on a new leisure activity for dogs

Lab puppy watching DogTVHave you heard of DogTV?  Chances are, if you’re part of San Diego’s dog community, you have.  I was first introduced to it by one of my students who sent me video of her one year old pointer mix puppy attentively engaged in a television program where a dog was chasing a ball in the waves at the beach.  Her dog appeared to love what she saw.

DogTV is a TV channel that airs programming specifically developed for dogs.  That’s right – TV created for dogs.  The concept behind it is that dogs are bored when they’re home alone, and their boredom causes behaviors we dislike, such as chewing the couch, digging in the yard, counter surfing, etc.  This is a reality, and it’s a challenge for all dog owners. [Read more…]