Sometimes we feel too lethargic or lazy to walk Polar, especially after long days at work. Other times we fall prey to illness and can only hibernate in bed with our dogs accompanying us. It is at times like these that having toys to engage your furkid with is a godsend. Specifically, we have 2 Nina Ottoson sets for Polar during moments like these.
We were first introduced to Nina Ottoson toys by Polar’s friendly groomer, Adele. You’ll find that the retail prices of these toys are quite high in Singapore, but trust me, they’re worth it. Hailing from Sweden, these toys are designed to provide a stimulating experience for dogs while adding a new dimension to their relationships with their owners.
Each set has a unique mechanism that requires your pup to exercise his mental as well as physical dexterity in order to uncover hidden food rewards. They can be set to differing levels of complexity, to satisfy all ages and breeds of dog. So whether your dog is a ‘Forrest Gump’ or an ‘Albert Einstein’, there is a Nina Ottosson game design to suit him/her!
(The above paragraph is from Nina Ottosson’s website)
It sounded really cool when Adele introduced it to us so we decided to give it a try. The first one we bought to play with Polar was “The Brick”.
(img src: amazon.com)
At first, Polar was apprehensive towards it but when he could smell the treats hidden under the covers, he got really excited.
We started the puzzle at its base difficulty, which meant that there were no bones obstructing the sliding mechanism of the puzzle. We placed treats in every compartment and let Polar rummage through, and eventually he learnt to slide the covers with his nose or paws.
Polar got through the base level fairly quickly so it was time to up the difficulty. You can increase the level of difficulty by adding a couple of bones to obstruct the sliding mechanism. You’ll need to encourage him to remove the bones to gain access to the other compartments.
It didn’t take long before Polar got the hang of it and was able to clear the puzzle in under 3 minutes. We felt it was time to challenge him further and got the “Tornado” puzzle, which is of a higher difficulty level.
As with the last toy, we started off at the base level, without any obstructions and just filled it with treats.
For Polar, it was like Christmas came early.
Once he got the hang of pushing the puzzle around to access the treat compartments, we raised the difficulty level by adding the bones. This puzzle only came with 3 bones but because we had the other puzzle, we added 3 additional bones to maximise the difficulty.
Polar had a lot of fun with it and at max level, it kept him engaged for a good 12 minutes, and it was absolutely lovely to watch. More importantly, this toy enhances the human-dog connection, as you can interact with your dog throughout the process (e.g. offering him encouragement, giving him clues, etc.), which is unusual for dog toys..
At the end of each play session, you’ll need to rinse off the toys with water and that’s it.
If you want to get these toys, you can find them at most local pet shops. Most good online pet shops should stock them too. We brought the toys into Singapore ourselves from the US.
What do you do with your furkids on days like this? Share with us!
Until next time, stay curious!