Enrichment feeders is a term used to describe a toy/device that dog food can be placed in.
Enrichment feeders are available in many different types. A popular choice is the Kong, which is a round, rubber cone that can be filled with food and left for your dog to spend time licking the food out of.
Other popular types include the Bob-A-Lot, which requires the dog to hit it with their paw, to modified dog bowls, with segregated compartments for the food, through to different types of ball feeders and more.
There certainly is a large variety.
You can pick up a few different types which can be used for normal meals, enrichment time or alone time.
Enrichment feeders benefit greyhounds because they’re a large breed that we want to eat slowly. This is because they are at risk of Gastric-Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) when eating too fast, which is twisting of the stomach. Enrichment feeders promote slow eating.
Lastly, enrichment feeders also provide cognitive stimulation - as the greyhound needs to work out how to get the food. This will give your greyhound a meaningful challenge and also tire them out a bit.
At GAP NSW, we use enrichment feeders on a regular basis depending on the dog’s individual preferences.
2 - Remote Train & Treat
A Remote Train and Treat is a small device that treats can be placed in which are dispensed to the dog via remote control or on a timer.
This device is unique in that it stops the treats from being solely associated with you, and instead, associates them with desirable behaviours.
It is useful for a variety of benefits, such as:
Helping a dog develop independence and confidence when apart from you
Redirecting behaviour (such as excitement at the front door)
Teaching a dog to lay down
Teaching a dog to go to their “place” or “go outside” and other distance learning
Teaching a dog when distractions are around
Teaching a dog how to touch an item
Associating a noise when they perform a desirable action
Be sure to do your research before purchasing one of these. They’re typically more of an investment than other dog toys and will have their drawbacks.
With that said, they have their place for refining certain behaviours and are suitable for the avid dog trainer.
3 - Puzzles
Puzzles are quite similar to enrichment feeders. The primary difference is that they’re more of a cognitive development activity, as opposed to a design that slows eating.
Types of puzzles include:
Remove, slide or twist the puzzle pieces to access food
Squeaky plush toy/puzzle feeder combination
Gravity based feeders - such as toys that need to be flipped upside down or constantly moved
We suggest trying the easiest types of toys first.
The completion of the puzzle will depend on how food motivated your dog is. You can use high-value treats that provide a very rewarding experience to further improve motivation.
At GAP NSW, we believe that most greyhounds will love to engage with puzzles. If your greyhound is struggling, try to make an easier version of the puzzle.
Puzzles are a great way to provide mental enrichment and keep your dog busy.