An interactive dog toy is any toy where the dog has to engage its brain to work out how to get treats or food out of the toy. Arguably the dog has to interact with any dog toy, but truly interactive dog toys require a lot more thought (and usually a yummy reward).
The main reason BlindDog has embraced the trend at the ripe old age of ten, is that she is what experts call food motivated, and what I call greedy. She will do anything for food.
Secondly, as she was a rescue dog, she never really learned to play when she was younger (with the exception of one specific squeaky toy, now long since lost), which is a shame as Bichons are usually very playful. So wrestling and chasing with toys that give her FOOD is a good replacement.
Also, as she can’t see very well any more, it’s great for her to have toys which smell of food and rattle from the dog biscuits inside so she can easily find them. I make no apologies for the fact that most of her toys were chosen to be as noisy as possible!
The reason I’m a die-hard fan of interactive toys is that I know when she plays with them she’s getting a great physical work-out, and its important for older dogs to have frequent gentle exercise throughout the day so as not to put to much strain on their joints.
Its also really easy to use interactive toys to feed your dog’s daily ration and keep them occupied at the same time. This is great if your dog is on a low calorie or prescription diet and has to avoid other chews and treats that you might otherwise give them to keep them out from under your feet. Your dog is having fun, using up energy and not eating anything ‘bad’.
Finally, interactive toys are great for exercising dogs’ brains, something that is so important when your dog’s main ‘job’ is snoozing onthe sofa! People often forget that small dogs need a brain work-out too, not just bored border collies and labradors. I had always thought BlindDog leant more towards cute than clever, but she has been so quick to work out some of her puzzle toys that she’s clearly not just a pretty face!
Interactive toys can be expensive compared to other toys and for the uninitiated it can be difficult to know what to buy. But the enjoyment they bring to your dog (the break they give you) are priceless! There’s also nothing to stop you using your imagination and making your own. To help you chose what to buy, BlindDog and I will review some of the best interactive dog toys.