Luna graduated from puppy training this past weekend. For six weeks we convened in a giant playpen at Petco. Although we didn't agree with everything the trainer recommended, I thought her tip about feeding made sense: Never put your dog's kibble in a bowl. What?! Turns out, when you feed your dog from a bowl, you miss an opportunity for intellectual stimulation. Instead, you should put her kibble in some sort of dispenser.
This seemed worth trying, because Luna will start eating from her bowl but gets easily distracted and we have to constantly remind her to "Eat!" Nobody likes a nag. We started with one of Luna's favorite toys, a sturdy Calistoga water bottle. We unscrewed the cap and filled it with her entire meal of 1/4 c of kibble. She loved it! Too bad the bottle gets gross from Luna's slobber and needs to be recycled every day. The search for an upgrade began.
This treat ball caught my eye, but had some troubling reviews on Amazon about the plastic cracking:
The Premier twist and treat toy looked sturdier but seemed too small to dispense an entire 1/4 c meal:
Too impatient to wait for an online delivery, I picked up the only kibble dispenser I could find: The Kong Wobbler in the size small. Made of sturdy plastic that Luna can't chew, it looked promising:
At first, she tried to get the kibble from the hole because she could smell the food, but then she figured out that she had to tip the toy such that the hole touched the floor to dispense the kibble.
- Don't give the Wobbler to your pup when she is very hungry.
- Demonstrate tipping the Wobbler so your pup can see how it works.
- If it's too frustrating for your pup, stay nearby and help her. Eventually, she'll get it. Or start her off with a water bottle and then move onto the Wobbler when she gets used to the idea of a kibble dispenser.
- Only reserve this toy for feeding so it remains special.
- After half an hour, pick up the kibble and put it away. You want to keep your pup on a consistent feeding schedule so you can predict her bowel movements.
- If you're anal, you may find the mess of kibble all over your floor very disturbing.
- The hard plastic against the hardwood floor may rattle your nerves.
- Works best with kibble. We tried putting in small soft treats--too sticky. Crunchy freeze-dried treats--too square.
Very sturdy, dishwasher safe, what more can you ask for? Meal times go faster now. Although this toy was designed to prevent fast eaters from wolfing down their kibble, it also works for slow eaters who get distracted. We probably could have scraped by with a water bottle, but the Wobbler was a worthwhile upgrade. It keeps Luna entertained so mealtimes become fun and stimulating.