Activity Toys - Alone or Together
Can do alone
We strongly recommend you supervise dogs with ALL activity toys to start with, until you are confident that they can use them properly and safely (e.g. only chew what should be chewed!). Some dogs also need a bit of support and encouragement to start with and maybe even to be rewarded for 'giving it a go'.
Many toys can then be given to dogs to use on their own, some are always better done together and for others it depends on the game!
These are the toys that are designed to be done with more active supervision - and even participation! Left to their own devices, they are likely to be used inappropriately (simply tipping them over rather than working calmly and methodically), or they are more difficult and need support and encouragement to avoid frustration or to ensure that the dog uses the skills the toy is intended to help develop. It may even need you to place or hide something or help the dog get in to the toy once they have located and retrieved it. Fabulous activities, but definitely better together in our view.
Nosework and foraging activities
Foraging is about searching for food and it is a hugely beneficial activity for dogs, not just physically (for gentle exercise and movement) but mentally. It is calming, can reduce anxiety and boredom and is an incredibly powerful tool for promoting relaxation. For our 'foraging' activity section, we have chosen those toys that we use most often for those purposes (and particularly as a part of ACE Free Work - more on this in our online course section). For us, it isn't so much about the active 'dry food' dispensing toys (which are great as an activity and for enrichment but are more physically focused), it is the activities which get noses on the floor (or up in the air) and promote gentle mooching and manipulating of objects to find the food within - typically there is a bit more problem solving involved. But you can of course pop things like a kong or a lickimat in as part of a foraging set-up too!