Chew-tastic Fridays

I’m always looking for something to entertain Baxter because I feel bad when I’m going about my evening and he is just staring at me looking bored. I know how important mental and physical stimulation are, and both of those can be provided through chewing or licking toys, treats, and kongs. I can’t, however, give him a lot of yummy bones or easily destructible chew toys because they will hurt his poor tummy, so I have a limited number of options.

The problem is, Baxter can be picky about what he likes to play with, not to mention has no clue how to really “play” with toys at all. So I am happy whenever I find a toy that he likes to work on for more than just an initial sniff. It’s been a rare occasion, but is slowly becoming more regular. So far we have had minor success with a very strong rope toy (as seen on the picture I put on the blog’s facebook page), a moose antler which doesn’t break, splinter, or rip apart like marrow bones but still requires strict supervision, and this random toy:

And then poof, the interest is gone.

I’ve actually found it very difficult to find the perfect toy/mode of distraction for Baxter. They have to have a few criteria: 1) Entertaining enough to last him a decent amount of time (anything past 30 minutes would be awesome – he blows through frozen kongs in a matter of 10 minutes). Usually this means they have to taste good in some way shape or form. 2) Indestructible, meaning he cannot rip off big (or even little) pieces and swallow them. 3) If they are food, then they can’t be super rich or full of unhealthy ingredients. Roasted marrow bones, treat sticks, bully sticks – they all hurt his sensitive stomach.

So, the search continues. Until then I’ll just have to keep him too sleepy to be bored, something that has been very easy since we’ve started having regular play dates with pit bull Bella! Stay tuned for pictures of this too-cute pair.

Have a great weekend!

7 thoughts on “Chew-tastic Fridays

  1. Heather

    In “The Other End of the Leash” Patricia McConnell talks about how to get dogs interested in tennis balls. Her dog wanted nothing to do with them and now he loves playing fetch. She placed treats in hollowed out tennis balls and started out throwing them just a couple feet and gradually increased the distance until he didn’t need the treats any more. One of my adopted dogs was a stray too and he had no idea what to do with toys. We taught him by playing with the toys with him and now he will play a little. His favorite thing though is dog puzzles (move this piece, lift this one etc). If Baxter is food motivated that may be a great way to tire his doggie brain. We also hide treats in a room (starting out super easy, then making it harder and harder) and the pups have to try to find them. Reading about Nose Works will get you started. Our pibble loves it! Hope this helps a little!

  2. Since Kenji has had issues with being interested in his food (bizarre dog, I know) we decided to get him one of these:

    http://www.sitstay.com/dog/supplies/servlet/product_10001_10001_91904_-1_Kibble+Nibble_13251_13360_

    It keeps him entertained forever because it’s hard to get the food out and it’s pretty hard to break (he eventually realized that if he picks it up and drops it food falls out, but it still hasn’t broken). It’s the best of both worlds because he entertains himself, it stimulates his brain, and it makes him actually work for his food (he can get stuff out of kongs in two minutes).

    If just food in it wouldn’t entertain Baxter though you could put treats or something!

    Can’t wait to see your little bugger again!

    • PS: If you’ve reached your max Baxter budget this month (send me the website you were talking about for budgeting, PLEASE) then maybe Kenji and I can get him one for Christmas! Missyou!

  3. Have you tried toys like the Kong Wobbler or the Tricky Treat Ball? They dispense food like kibble, or whatever other treats he can handle, but the dog has to work at getting the treats out himself. Both have been very good for keeping my dog busy, though they are a bit loud.

    Good luck! It’s tough having a destructo dog with a sensitive stomach! I am so grateful my nutjob spits out everything she tears apart!

  4. I also recently bought something called a Luna Ball. It’s rubber, glows in the dark, bounces, and is basically indestructible. I don’t know if Bax is allowed to have cheese or cold cuts or any kind of food that you can cut into thin slices, but for our dogs I roll up a slice of cheese, stick it in the hole (when it gets in there it expands back to flat against the side of the ball), and bounce it for them. They adore it, and it takes them a while to get the cheese out.

  5. For a while I was rotating through a few food toys with Skye. She got her breakfast in a Gatorade bottle that I poked a few holes in, a Kong or other chew mid day (her tummy is a little stronger than Bax’s) and her dinner in a Buster Cube, a tennis ball w/ a slit cut in it, or a different treat ball. I have also been known to drip some chicken broth on a soft toy (think catnip) to keep a dog entertained and chewing a little longer than they would otherwise. Good luck!

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