Three ways to get rid of the food bowl

Providing your dog’s food through toys enriches his life.[/caption]

Dogs appreciate the opportunity to hunt and scavenge for their daily food ration. Dogs that are challenged at mealtime, whether through training from the hand or the chance to play with an interactive toy, often behave better because their lives are stimulating. Using treat dispensing toys and incorporating scent work into feeding time are easy ways to make your dog’s life more interesting.

New dining options for your dog

1. Use a rolling treat ball

Rolling treat balls dispense kibble a few pieces at a time when dogs push them with their noses.

2. Fill a Kong

Stuff a Kong with kibble, then smear peanut butter or cream cheese over the hole in the end. Dogs will lick and chew at it to get the food, then continue to chew and play with it after the meal is over.

3. Play scent work games with boxes

Save package delivery boxes of all sizes — but make sure they are at least big enough for your dog to put his head in. Designate one box as the food box. When your dog isn’t looking, place kibble or a smelly treat in the food box. Let your dog hunt for the food. Praise him profusely when he finds it.

The first few times, you may need to walk with your dog as he searches. Do not point out the food or help too much — just help him understand it’s out there. After a few searches, he should start to search on his own.

Move the food box to a different spot for each search. Take care to use the same box as the food box. Keep the other boxes clean.

Some dogs are afraid of cardboard boxes with flaps. Plastic boxes (like shoeboxes) or other containers will also do the trick.