keeping the dogs busy when you are, too


We are blessed with two extremely loveable yet mildly neurotic mastiffs. I’ve written before about the lengths we’ve gone to to soothe our male dog Sofa’s anxiety issues. One huge help has been hiring someone to stay with our dogs in their home when we go out of town. The only problem is, each of our two dogs weighs 100+ pounds, so unless she has a friend available to help, our dog sitter has to walk them one at a time. So to help alleviate the dogs’ stress of being alone in the house or having the routine changed a bit, this is what I devised:

1) Two words: Kong Wobbler. Our dogs are pretty crafty and mighty chewers, so normal Kong toys weren’t much of a challenge for them. The Wobbler is a whole ‘nother story. Instead of rubber like regular Kongs, this one is made of thick, hard plastic that unscrews so you can put treats inside. The bottom is weighted so that the toy wobbles (of course) and rolls, and the small opening makes it a lot more challenging for our dogs to get to the treats. We did a test run with the Wobblers before we left town, and our dogs were positively obsessive about them. They chewed them furiously without doing much more than putting a few grooves in the plastic, and because the toys are a bit slippery in addition to being wobbly, our dogs actually got a lot of exercise jumping up to chase after them. One note: when the hard-plastic Wobblers hit the floor, they are loud. So unless your home is fully carpeted, don’t give out these toys if you plan to take a nap.

2) This may convince you that I’m a little neurotic, too. There’s nothing that makes our dogs happier than a new toy, so I bought new versions of several of their proven favorites, plus two all-new toys to try. After removing all the tags, I divided the toys up into bags labeled with days of the week. On the designated day, our do sitter can simply open a bag and hand a brand-new Doggles MonsterPull, Kong Plush Snake or JW Pet iN Action toy to each dog. Presto, occupado!

Nothing can replace a lot of love, some human playtime, or a good long walk, but so far it appears that these strategies are keeping my dogs sane—and our dog sitter, too. –Mary T.

P.S. The iN Action toy is new, so I don’t know yet how that one will work out, but all the rest of these toys have been proven to stand up to extremely vigorous play and chewing.

From our partners

My wheaten had knee surgery this summer, which meant 8 weeks of restricted activity – stuck in an x-pen. I can definitely say that the Wobbler is amazing! He was literally losing his mind from boredom and the Wobbler (as well as other interactive toys) really helped.

I got him a “Tug a Jug” for Christmas so we’ll see how he likes that. Not sure if it’s super durable, though. :)

My German/Australian shepherd mix didn’t know what to do with himself after our other dog passed away. He’s never been very interested in kongs but he loves his Buster Food Cube. He will roll and play with it for hours.

Oh, I love that Kong Wobbler idea – I’m totally getting one for my beagle.

Angela M.

I have to say the Kong wobbler is our go-to toy to keep Cupcake busy. Another thing he really enjoys is a frozen bone. We get marrow bones from the grocery store and always keep them handy. They instantly occupy him and make him happy for about 30 minutes!