With a deep love of food, Barkley the pug can certainly be categorized as a very food motivated dog. Having been bred to sit in laps plus a bum leg, Barkley wouldn’t be considered a very athletic canine. Far from it, in fact.
That’s why when a fellow AnimalSense trainer recommended a food ball for the pug, I had no idea just how wonderful this activity would be for a fairly bored, lazy guy.
I brought the ball into our home, filled it with some of his kibble and laid it on the ground for him to figure out. The ball, with two small openings on either end, dispenses food as the dog rolls it around. The pup ends up rolling and chasing the ball while enjoying the food as it spills out. Owners can feed their dog their entire meal from the ball or just a couple of treats, which essentially makes the pooch work for his food. Astonishingly, Barkley figured this out quickly and was an expert in no time. This activity is both mentally and physically stimulating for the dog and is a terrific way to keep them engaged – especially when you’re looking to keep them occupied. It’s also quite entertaining to watch.
I would certainly recommend this activity ball and other food dispensing toys/puzzles to other dog owners as a means of mental and physical exercise. They can also be helpful for dogs that eat their food too fast, forcing them to eat their food at a much slower pace as it is dispensed while they work for it. It can also help redirect potentially destructive behaviors into positive playtime.