If your dog gets easily bored, if you want to train their brain, or just slow down their eating, there’s lots to like about this durable, well-built and easy-to-clean toy. It’s on the expensive side for a dog toy, but it provides excellent value for money.
- Durable and wipes clean
- Good for slowing down fast eaters
- Keeps the dog occupied for a while
- Fairly high price for a dog toy
- Some dogs will need supervision
Dog toys range from the simple to the complex. The Nina Ottosson Dog Worker interactive treat puzzle toy sits comfortably in the "complex" end of the scale and is ideal for dogs with a little more going on up top than the average pooch.
It uses compartments to hide your dog’s favorite treats (or even their main meal), and they’ll have to use their problem-solving skills to figure out how to get the rewards out. You can fit quite a few different treats in the various hiding holes, and there’s a combination of movements needed to release all of the snacks – so it’s also ideal for dogs who are either become bored easily by conventional toys, or need some way of slowing them down because they gobble up their food far too quickly.
Nina Ottosson has a wide range of interactive toys that your dog can play with, but we’re looking at the Worker (green) toy, which is labeled “advanced.” If you have a highly intelligent dog, you can get even more complex toys, while for those that aren’t quite so blessed , there are simpler options too.
If you’d like to find more fantastic toys for your dog to get to grips with, check out our guide to the best dog toys.
Nina Ottosson Dog Worker: Features
Although this is a relatively complex toy for your dog to figure out, it’s fairly simple in design and construction. It features a number of holes that you can place treats in – or perhaps smear with something like peanut butter or meat jelly – which are then covered over by movable flaps, plugs, or a large, circular wheel in the middle of the toy.
Dogs will need to use their brains to figure out how to unlock the treats, and you also have the option to include a two or three-step motion to make it extra challenging. For example, you can plug the large, circular wheel so that not only does the dog have to move the plug out of the way, but it then has to rotate the wheel to get a treat out.
Designed to be durable, none of the parts are removable. It is made from BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free materials, which are safe and also make it easy to wipe clean when you need to. Considering just how much your dog is likely to sniff, lick, and chew the toy, it’s recommended that you give it a good wipe every now and then to keep it fresh.
It’s fairly large for a dog toy, so it’s perhaps not one for those with limited space, but it is also quite flat, so you should be able to store it away neatly when not in use. It has rubber feet on the bottom, which makes it ideal for hard floors, as it shouldn’t slip and slide about as your dog investigates it. Although you can of course use it on carpeted floors if you wish, using it on a hard floor makes it easier to clean up any mess that may come from the food inside it.
Nina Ottosson Dog Worker: Performance
Over the years I must have spent hundreds of dollars on various different dog toys for my miniature dachshund, who is easily bored and very, very destructive. I was therefore slightly hesitant before I purchased the Nina Ottosson toy, as it’s certainly not a cheap proposition.
However, after a couple of weeks of using it, it seems to be worth every penny, as my dog loves playing with it, and it feels like a great way to give her some treats, while also making sure she works to “earn” them.
That said, there are some important caveats to take note of. While she loves playing with it now, it took some time for her to understand how each of the treat compartments could be accessed, and I feared she would easily get bored and walk away. I sat with her and moved the toy’s parts with my hands, and encouraged her with plenty of praise when she managed to move something by herself.
Some of the toy’s parts are stiffer than others, so if you have a very small dog, perhaps with very small paws (such as a chihuahua), then they might struggle with some of the compartments. By contrast, very large dogs may overwhelm the toy, so generally I’d recommend it for small to medium-sized dogs.
Another important thing is to ensure that you supervise your dog while playing with this toy, especially if they are prone to chewing. Occasionally, my dog will get fed up with trying to figure out how to get the treats out and simply take the approach of trying to chew her way through to them – it hasn’t worked yet, and nothing has detached, but as nothing is totally indestructible, it’s not something I’d feel wholly comfortable leaving her alone with.
Should you buy the Nina Ottosson Dog Worker?
Although reasonably expensive for a dog toy, this is a toy that should hopefully give your dog lots of enjoyment, last very well, and give them far more mental stimulation than the average toy.
If you have a dog that has been easily bored by other “normal” toys, it’s one that comes well-recommended, and it’s quite a fun exercise teaching your dog how to use it – so it’s good for bonding as well.
Lastly, if you have a dog that is eating its dinner far too quickly and you need to slow it down, this could be used to help. It’s durable, well-built and easy to clean, and overall comes very highly recommended.
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