My family was one of those families. You know, the games- playing variety. Twenty Questions, 30,000 piece jigsaw puzzles, Jenga, and, Mom’s personal favorite (for obvious reasons), The Quiet Game. We played ‘em all.
These familial moments were only marred by the fact that our dog was left out of the fun (he just couldn’t get I Spy). But now, with the introduction of Nina Ottosson’s line of interactive toys, he can finally get in on the action.
As with so many ground-breaking ideas, necessity proved the mother of invention. As a new mom, Ottosson suddenly found herself with less time to interact meaningfully with her dogs. She knew that consistently challenging her dogs was integral to their development, not to mention her relationship with them, so she created Ottosson’s Zoo Active Products, a line of games that ask your dog to combine wits, motor skills, and memory to get a treat. Forget mindless chewing and squeaking‚ these are toys that require your dog to think.
I started my dog, Olly, on one of the simpler toys, the Dog Brick. Olly watched as I placed treats in hollows in the game board, then covered them up with sliding tiles. Upon my signal, Olly started scraping away at the board with his front paws. I helped him by pointing, indicating certain tiles. He was digging it, literally and figuratively, and it was so much fun to watch. (I think it’s the unabashed excitement Olly lets loose at the prospect of a treat that I so admire. There’s no pretending he wouldn’t give his first born for that treat as he noses, digs and whines at Ottosson’s toys, trying to figure out a way to get at the goods.)
Next up was The Box. This game asks your dog to pick up a block and drop it into a hole in the top of a box. When the block goes in, a treat falls out. Watching your dog puzzle it out, make the connection, and be rewarded with a treat is enthralling. A game that keeps us both entertained is totally genius. I especially like that some of Ottosson’s games require Olly to work his paws while others require him to pick things up with his mouth or move things with his nose. Plus, the games enable you to practice commands like sit, stay, lie down, and fetch while playing. All in all, Ottosson’s interactive games make for quality time for the whole family (these things draw a crowd) and beat the heck out of attempting to play Monopoly with the dog.
For more information visit nina-ottosson.com.