Product Review: Brick Food Puzzle
This food puzzle is one of my favourite ones currently out there. It's moderately easy, making it perfect for puppies and beginners. Supervised play is definitely recommended, like with any other interactive toy, and if your dog resorts to chewing and biting it, switch to a more physical game or activity, before trying again.
Why I recommend it
You will find this to be a really great starter food puzzle compared to others available in the market, mainly because your dog or puppy should be able to rather easily find snacks when trying it out the first time. Dogs will need to try to push, carry lift, move, or nudge the pieces around.
Making it so your dog will have many ways to get rewarded for their efforts sooner than later, and not likely feel like they're getting frustrated working through it, with little to no luck. Another ideal attribute is that before you hand it to your dog, you can easily remove and detach different pieces of this food puzzle toy (great for cleaning purposes), to adjust its difficulty as a whole, and make it even easier for your dog. Thanks to this, you could even just have it be more like a tray or a slow feeder. Perfect for a really young pup that's just dipping his paws and nose into the wonderful world of enrichment.
The rectangular shape of this puzzle also makes it fairly easy to freeze (that's right!) in your freezer for a few hours, for some extra licking fun for your dog. Doing this then turns the puzzle into more of a licky mat, which is perfect for when your dog is feeling like he could use a break from a long day, and mellow out
If your dog already has other, more challenging puzzles at home, this is still a great addition to their collection and allows you to keep them guessing as you alternate between puzzles.
When you should use it
Just like most food puzzles and enrichment/problem-solving toys, this one is perfect to use either to provide your dog with their breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just a snack. Pet parents of young dogs, especially high-energy and working breeds should be taking advantage of as many little opportunities to burn mental energy (in fun, healthy ways of course), on a daily basis! As a result, your dog gets yummy food, feels great solving their puzzle, and is much more likely to settle and relax while you go about your day. A tired dog is a happy dog!
Also, speaking of a tired dog, if you're providing this puzzle when your dog is feeling hungry but also very energetic, it might be wise to switch to a more physical game like tug and pull or even a walk/jog first, to burn some physical energy, should your dog start biting, tossing and throwing the puzzle around.
Sometimes our dogs need a bit of help loosening up their body and burning some extra physical energy, in order for their brain to more easily go into problem-solving mode, and get the most out of this type of activity.
"Puzzle games are fun and creative, easy to play with indoors or outdoors, and are developed with the dog’s natural movements and instincts in mind." – Nina Ottosson
How this food puzzle works
This toy has a few mechanics to it, that your dog will need to go through, to get every piece. The first (and probably the one that takes some dogs the longest to figure out) will be to lift. The white, bone-shaped pieces will need to be lifted so that the other pieces can move. If this is something your dog is having a tough time with, what you can do to help them is tie a small cord to tie a knot inside the bone and another knot at the end of the rope, for your dog to tug on to lift the bone.
Once the bones are lifted or pushed out of the way, your dog can eat any treats there, before nudging or pushing around the corresponding red pieces to uncover the food you've placed underneath, and lift the lid to get to the pieces hidden inside!
Where you should use it and where you can get this puzzle
You can use this puzzle anywhere you'd like in your home. Though preferably, especially with young dogs, it's always best and safest to supervise their use of food puzzles and most toys. You can also consider placing this puzzle inside your dog's crate, to help further create a positive association with your dog's crate. And when it comes to where you can get it, most pet stores have started carrying puzzles and other types of interactive toys, but you can also find it on Amazon, among other food puzzles you can add to your collection.
Who should use the Brick Food Puzzle
This particular puzzle is great for any pup, no matter their age, so long as you're able to supervise and guide them as needed. The more drive and interest in snuffling, searching, and finding food/smells your puppy has, the sooner you should probably consider grabbing this puzzle. You could have it ready to be used before even getting your puppy or dog, and earn some brownie points with them, from day one! This is also a great opportunity for young children to use this puzzle as an engaging and positive way to interact with their dog, providing them with a snack or their meal inside it. As opposed to other ways that might make it a bit tough for a young or energetic dog to focus their attention without this much of a clear visual and indicator of what's going to be happening next, and how. Which type of food should I use?
This puzzle is quite versatile when it comes to which foods you can use, without hindering its composition or its usability. The way it's built and put together, with each of its moving and detachable parts makes it very easy to wash and clean by hand. (I wouldn't try throwing it in the dishwasher, as I haven't given that a try myself!)
With dogs and any type of food, you decide to use, whether they enjoy the taste a lot or very little, it's truly about how and when you use what you have available. Let's start with what will likely be the most used food: your dog's daily kibble. Unless you're working with a really young puppy that is just starting to learn what kibble and solid food are all about, your dog probably already knows that there are other items on the menu, such as treats or even human food, that might be worth holding out for. And so, to ensure that isn't likely to happen, you will want to strategically use your puppy or dog's kibble with this puzzle, by placing only a couple of kibble pieces inside of it, in a way that is not too difficult for them to be easily found and eaten. Simply put, lower-value items like kibble, don't do well as a driving motivator for many dogs, in situations that they find too challenging. So, although you don't want to make it too easy either, be sure to introduce or use kibble first and foremost in easily accomplishable ways, so that your dog is looking forward to the next round of kibble pieces. When it comes to treats, however, it's almost the complete opposite idea as with kibble, for most dogs. I like to get as much as possible, out of my dog's treats, especially with naturally highly motivated dogs that care more about how many times they do something great which earns them the treat, regardless of the size or taste. Bot an even more important reason is that I want to have low-calorie intakes, to make sure the dogs I work with stay as healthy and fit as possible! The next most common option will be raw food, and luckily I think that this puzzle, in particular, makes it quite user-friendly for you to hide some of your dog's raw food inside the multiple compartments. You can then freeze it, ensuring that your dog will need to spend a good amount of time not only uncovering all of his food but also licking his way to a full stomach. After which you'll be able to give the puzzle a good wash and leave it out to dry, which is perfect, as I generally recommend not leaving out any food puzzles at the risk of having them become a chew toy by accident. And so you could choose to use your dog's kibble, treats, or raw food (or even a fun combination!). You can also give wet food a try, especially if you place it inside the puzzle and plop it in the freezer for a few hours.
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Has your dog already mastered the Brick Food Puzzle?
If so, that's okay! Don't stop using it, throw it out, or give it away just yet (unless you have many others). There's so much more you can get out of it, in ways that your dog will love. You can also apply the following ideas before your dog has come anywhere close to mastering it but why rush?
Nevertheless, if you feel like your has gotten to the point where they could solve this puzzle with their eyes closed, consider trying the following: - Use a doggy calming mask. Properly socialized, this item is not only great to help dogs navigate the fears that may come along with a scary storm, but it can also be used to make it so your dog has to 100% use his or her nose and body to troubleshoot their puzzle.
- Throw it inside an empty cardboard box, cover it with their toys, old towels, and clothes, and watch your dog dig his way to the puzzle.
- Hide it somewhere in your home, and hide the pieces underneath the actual puzzle (that's right), so that your dog will have to perform a search and rescue operation, be stumble that the pieces aren't normally where they would be inside the puzzle itself, and then have to figure out how to flip it to get to the pieces underneath. There are a ton more DIY/creative ways you can use this puzzle and others, available here.
✔️ Helps prevent boredom ✔️ Slows down eating ✔️ Burns brain energy ✔️ Encourages mental breaks ✔️ Nurtures problem-solving skills And that’s it. This puzzle is truly one I believe all households should own. Even if you live with a heavy chewer, there's a time and a way to use this puzzle, and with your guidance, your dog will only feel successful and fulfilled, having to problem-solve his or her way to every little nook and cranny, locating every yummy piece of their food.
And they'll have no one else to thank but you! In the name of cutting a long story short, here are the key takeaways. Why get it: Burn mental energy, and helps your dog feel mellow and fulfilled. When to use it: Anytime you'd like to feed your dog their meal or snack. How it's used: Your dog needs to lift, push and open its different pieces around. Where to use it: Anywhere in your home. Your supervision is recommended. Who should use it: Dogs of any age. Have you gotten the Brick Food Puzzle already? Click on the image above to find it on Amazon.
Got any feedback, questions, or concerns about this blog post, or interested to learn more? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!