This was the first interactive toy we tried with BlindDog and overall I think it was £5 very well spent. The basic concept doesn’t require much explanation: the ball is hollow, with a opening in it and when you fill it with treats or dog food, the dog has to roll it around to get them out. The main benefit of this particular treat ball is that you can adjust the size of the opening to vary the difficulty or so you can use different sizes of treats or kibble.
The ball looks quite big next to BlindDog (It’s 12cm tall) but that doesn’t stop her at all, and I think it would be suitable for all but the very biggest and tiniest dogs.
The treat ball doesn’t come apart, but the adjustable opening makes it relatively easy to fill with kibble compared to treat balls with one small hole. Filling with BlindDog’s ration of 1/3 cup of kibble is very quick and while it would easily hold a lot more food it would take a little longer. I try and feed at least one of BlindDog’s meals from a puzzle toy every day so from that point of view the toy is perfect.
The best aspect of the training treat ball is it’s entertainment value. BlindDog loves playing with it and will keep coming back to it after the treats are gone (hoping it’s refilled!?). In terms of physical exercise, she will chase after it all round the house, and I think it must be great for improving her dexterity and what I can only describe as paw-nose coordination!
I don’t think BlindDog understands how the toy works (i.e. the opening has to be at the bottom for the treats to fall out) but she has certainly learnt how to manipulate it so they ‘magically’ appear. All in all, it takes her around 25 minutes to empty it but is easy enough that she constantly gets a few treats out and doesn’t get frustrated.
When we first gave it to BlindDog she started trying to chew and lick the opening to get the treats out, but as soon as we showed her how the biscuits fell out when the ball rolled, she was off! BlindDog is quite lacking in the teeth department, so chewing toys up is not really an issue for us and while the toy can stand up to being batted and knocked around I don’t think it would cope with really determined chewing. It’s also worth being aware that a really tiny dog could probably get their jaw stuck in the opening. I would definitely advise supervising your dog with this toy at first and taking the time to show them the easier way to get to the goods!
I would also point out that this is not a quiet toy, particularly on hard floors. We chose this deliberately so BlindDog would have a better chance of following it, but the combination of rattling treats and BlindDog batting it against the skirting board means you have to have thick walls or forgiving neighbours!
The treat ball doesn’t come apart for cleaning, but as we only every use it with dry food it’s not a problem, you can just give it a quick rinse and leave it to dry.
Overall, this toy provides great boredom-busting value for money but durability and noise could be an issue.
Price: About £5
Time for BlindDog to complete: 25 minutes
Difficulty: Easy – Medium