Review: Nina Ottosson Dog Puzzle Toys
Copy: Serena Faber Nelson
Photography: Serena Faber Nelson
Pet lifestyle expert Serena Faber-Nelson is the founder of Pretty Fluffy. A contributor to Everyday with Rachael Ray, Modern Dog Magazine, Cesars Way and more; her modern, stylized take on DIY dog treats has seen her recipes viewed millions of times over.
Serena is the author of the go-to dog mom bible, Dog Mama, and the popular dog treat recipe book, Healthy Homemade Dog Treats.
Want a toy that keeps your dog occupied and entertained, AND makes them smarter? You need Nina Ottosson Dog Toys in your life!
Why Nina Ottosson for the best interactive dog toys?
For a lot of dog owners, cuteness is what draws us all of those plush toys out there on the market. We love how cuddly and soft they are, while our dog squeaks them to their heart’s content. For other pups they can’t go past a game of fetch.
But imagine if there was a dog toy that was designed to stimulate a dog’s brain whilst reinforcing their relationship with you. We’ve FOUND IT!
The Nina Ottosson dog toys range consists of a number durable interactive games, each with a unique mechanism that requires mental as well as physical dexterity to work through the challenges and reveal hidden food rewards.
By challenging your pup to think, act and problem solve these toys literally make your dog smarter and give them a feeling of satisfaction at the end.
Is my pup smart enough to use treat puzzles for dogs?
I have to say, before Soda tried her first Nina Ottosson toy a few years ago this is what I thought. Now Soda is a pretty switched on dog, but these toys looked HARD.
Yet, when you see them in practice you realise just how well designed they are to fit your pooch’s natural instincts.
Working with you by their side, your dog problem solves through trial and error driven by their motivation for that yummy treat.
Plus each toy comes with suggestions on how to make the game easier or harder depending on your dog’s suitability.
So no matter how book-smart your pup is, there is a Nina Ottosson game design to suit every dog!
We took a few for a test drive and here’s what we found out…
Nina Ottosson Dog Treat Maze
The Dog Treat Maze acts similarly to a Kong or Treat Ball, but on a more sophisticated level.
You put the treats in the top and then your pup has to work to get the Dog Treat Maze in motion so that it wobbles, rocks and sometimes spins around, so that the treats pass through a maze inside on both sides and then fall out through the openings on both top and bottom.
Soda found the process to get the treats fairly easy, but the game was more time consuming than your average treat ball – keeping her for entertained for ages.
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Easy
Nina Ottosson Dog Tornado
The Dog Tornado has four layers of rotating discs – three of these layers having compartments where treats can be hidden.
Your pup has to learn to rotate the different layers in different directions with their nose or paw in order to find the yummy goodies inside.
For Soda, this toy started to test both her dexterity and street smarts. To start she could smell the treats but tried to ‘dig’ at the game inside of seeking them out (not very lady like at all!)
But this is where owner interaction comes in. I was slowly able to show Soda that by gently nudging the layers with her nose, she could spin them and find the treats within. It was such a great exercise in bonding with her – and so rewarding for me to watch her grasp the concept.
We gave it double thumbs up for fun and dog/owner interaction!
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Easy to Medium
Nina Ottosson Dog Casino
Take your dog to Vegas* with this the Nina Ottosson Dog Casino!
Perfect for interactive playtime, the game features hidden treat trays that your dog pulls out to access their reward.
For super smart dogs you can up the ante, by increasing the level of difficulty by locking some of the trays with pegs on the top. Then your dog has to unlock the pegs before being able to pull the trays. Whew!
I have to admit, with Soda, we’re still at the level of having most of the trays left a little open, and no locks in place.
So far she’s learnt how to use her paws the pull out the trays gently (it’s amazing to watch her be so delicate!) and each time we play it she gets better and better.
This one is an awesome option for dogs that want to improve their dexterity; and for those pups who want an extra challenge.
* Don’t actually take your dog to Vegas. That would be crazy…Unless you’ve taught him how to count cards..
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Medium to Hard
Nina Ottosson Mix Max Puzzle
The Mix Max Puzzle is the grandaddy of interactive dog toy games.
It works through a grid of sliding pieces – each with an opening at the top where the owner can place a treat.
Your pooch then has to work out how to slide each piece to the openings on the side of the game to collect their treat.
Then comes the fun part! Once your dog gets the hang of one game tile, you connect it to another, and another, and on you go… Your pup then has to slide the pieces from one tile to the next until they reach the side opening.
For Soda, she rocked the Mix Max Puzzle when it was just the one tile. By letting her see me insert the treats she knew they were inside the sliding pieces. Although she initially tried to chew at the pieces to get to the treat, I slowly instructed her to push them with her nose and before long she was able to slide one to the side opening and devour her goodie!
At this stage, using one more tile has proved hard for Soda. She gets a little frustrated trying to get it all the way from Tile #1 to Tile #3 and reverts to trying to chew through the sliding pieces. But bit by bit we’re slowly improving. It’s really amazing watching her progress.
The Mix Max Puzzle is the perfect for all dogs as you really can work to any level of difficulty and it’s great to watch your pup improve.
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Options to go from Easy to Very Hard
Nina Ottosson Dog Puzzles: What We Loved
- Unique and highly interactive dog toys.
- Exercises your dog’s mind and improves their dexterity.
- Strengthens the bond between you and your dog through interactive play.
- Large range to choose from to suit your dog’s intelligence and activity levels.
- Durable and easy to clean.
- Each toy can be used in varying degrees of difficulty – ensuring your dog doesn’t outgrow it.
- Dogs of all sizes and ages. A GREAT Boredom Buster!
- Dogs that have a lot of energy.
- Inside or smaller dogs that require gentle play.
- Ageing dogs – help keep their mind active.
- Great for rainy days.
- Dogs with owners that want to interact with them and watch them learn.
Where To Buy:
Nina Ottosson Dog Toys can be purchased at all good pet stores and directly through Nina Ottosson:
Click to Buy >>> Nina Ottosson Dog Toys: Dog Treat Maze
Click to Buy >>> Nina Ottosson Dog Toys: Dog Tornado
Click to Buy >>> Nina Ottosson Dog Toys: Dog Casino
Click to Buy >>> Nina Ottosson Dog Toys: Mix Max Puzzle
Copy: Serena Faber Nelson
Photography: Serena Faber Nelson