Last year I joined a canine enrichment group on Facebook. With three dogs, all at different stages in life, I wanted to get some inspiration on games to play and toys to buy to keep my dogs engaged.
On the group, I kept seeing two things mentioned: snuffle mats and K9 Connectables.
Snuffle mats are rectangular pieces of fabric woven together into a rough rug. You shake treats in between the pieces of fabric and your dog uses his nose to sniff them out.
And K9 Connectables are interactive dog toys that you connect together and stuff treats inside. Your dog has to think about the best way to get the tasty reward, out but how easy or difficult that is to achieve depends on how many toys you connect - the more toys you connect, the more difficult it gets.
K9 Connectables are just about to launch to new additions to their range for small dogs and large dogs, and since we have three large dogs here at K9 Magazine, one who loves treats and two who love toys, we were excited to take a look.
Lauren at K9 Connectables was also kind enough to share two bags of the custom bone sized Chicken & Carrot treats, which fit perfectly in their toys.
Here's how our three dogs, Mia, Christopher and Danny got on.
K9 Connectables: The Review
We received three Starter Packs - mini for small dogs (3-9kgs), medium for medium-sized dogs (8-25kgs) and large for larger breeds (20-40kgs).
Each includes three toys - the Original, the Dentist and the Tech Bone - and they're really designed to get you going, you can buy additional connections separately to build up your collection.
Difficulty level: two.
This brightly coloured ball-shaped connection doubles as a bouncy ball and essentially, you stuff the treats inside and fill the hollow bone shapes.
If you give the dog one ball with treats inside, the difficulty is easy. The more you connect, the more you increase the difficulty and your dog has to keep busy and put his thinking cap on to pursue the treat reward inside.
Difficulty level: three.
As the name implies this connection is a great dental chew toy, with the small grooves on the outside helping to promote dental hygiene, they are designed to clean as a dog chews.
The Tech Bone
Difficulty level: four.
In our review, the Tech Bone became the hub of the challenge because every time we wanted to give our dogs a challenge, we'd use it to attach the Original & Dentist into. It can hold multiple connections, one at each end and in the middle, giving it its increased difficulty level.
All connections are dishwasher safe and non-toxic, BPA and Phthalate free.
They also appear to be made from fairly durable material but are recommended for light-medium chewers.
My dogs are consistent chewers, getting their favourite toys out of their toy baskets daily, but they aren't hard chewers, so good quality toys tend to last.
To get started, you can spoon some treats - peanut or almond butter, for example - into the Original, then connect that to the Tech Bone and screw the Dentist into the middle or onto the end of the Tech Bone.
They all attach to each other so it's entirely up to you!
You can also add a spreadable treat into the hollow bones in the connections, or use K9 Connectables bone treats to fill the space. My dogs went crazy for their Chicken & Carrot treats.
K9 Connectables are designed for mental stimulation so for dogs who like to be busy, I can definitely see how these toys easily become 'go-to' dog toys - Christopher, in particular, didn't want to put them down (and by them, I mean his and everyone else's).
My dogs got the connections apart quite easy so perhaps I need to build up our collection and the difficulty next...I'm open to suggestions!
Many thanks to K9 Connectables for sharing the new Starter Packs and bone-shaped treats with us - I think you'll make small dogs and large dogs happy everywhere with the new additions!
Keep an eye on the K9 Connectables for their launch at www.k9connectables.com