We believe dog puzzles are the bread and butter for stimulating, growing and calming your doggy. Dog puzzles aim to keep your doogle entertained for extended periods of time while helping them develop.
Snuffle mats and dog puzzles go hand in hand in and food games like the snuffle mat ensure you keep your doggy mentally stimulated and healthy. Ultimately, they help your dog grow. Another amazing benefit is that as your dog becomes more stimulated and less distracted by its surroundings by focusing on the snuffle mat, they become more confident and less stressed.
Dog puzzles are normally made up of sliding compartments that help your dog sniff their food while learning to use their paws or nose to open them. Depending on the dog puzzle you will find extra levels of difficulty to help enhance your dogs stimulation as they get use to the existing puzzles.
Interestingly enough there is an affect on your dogs mental stimulation that's just like going for a walk. Studies show these puzzles help calm your dog down as even 10 minutes of mental stimulation can be as good as a 20 minute walk. We recommend doing one puzzle a day at least (unless you're slow feeding). Watch your beautiful doggy become faster, better and calmer!
What do we do?
Well, when Jesse was a young pup and between her injury (I'll share more in a blog post about this), we realised how damn smart she was. To this day she amazes us..but at the same time it shows how much we must be ON IT to keep her busy. Especially as a working dog we need to go the extra mile.
My partner and I use these puzzles to help calm Jesse down, concentrate on a task and learn. It has done wonders! So.. we tell Jesse to sit and centre (Jesse will need to come and sit between our legs and drop) before allowing her to start. To top this off, we touch Jesse's nose and say "release" to help her know when it's time to enjoy her favourite game.
Jesse the smart sneaky doogle now sees the puzzle and tries to sit and centre. Remember don't reward unless you have asked for it - they're too quick for that..like Jesse.
For the snuffle mat, it's a tiny bit different (tiny!)
We use salmon treats (and some others) in the snuffle mat. We tell Jesse to sit and drop and wait. Once Jesse see's the snuffle mat she is excited, but by asking her to sit, drop and wait she is already realising she's doing a "job" for us - and making us proud. Jesse will normally come and watch us set up the mat - an eager beaver! However, at the same time she knows theres a big reward coming (treats and fun!). We place the snuffle mat on the ground about 1m away and ask Jesse to 'watch' (which is where we raise a finger to our nose and move around the snuffle mat so she looks us in the eye.
The watch command is really important for reactive dogs, along with the touch command. Jesse - well is hard with the watch. Immediately we tap her nose and say 'release'. Jesse will immediately know that she's allowed to jump into another favourite game!
Stay tuned for our next update on what how we use these tools and toys!