Looking to mix up your dog’s daily feeding? Look no further than the Bob-A-Lot.
The Bob-A-Lot is a popular dog puzzle toy that allows you to add some mental enrichment to your dog’s life, requiring your dog to engage with the toy in order to get his eats.
We’ll dive into our hands-on review of the Bob-A-Lot and talk about how this toy works, how it compares to similar alternative puzzle toys, and where you can get this toy if you decide it’s a good fit.
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Why Feed with Puzzle Toys?
Puzzle toys are a great way to provide mental enrichment for your dog. They keep your pet entertained and engaged. A puzzle toy dispenses food or treats based on the animal’s ability to manipulate it in a particular manner, such as pushing it around with their nose or pawing at it with their claws.
There are a number of reasons why feeding your pet with a puzzle toy is such a smart idea:
- Keeps your dog mentally stimulated. Puzzle toys are great for providing mental enrichment. Dogs need projects and challenges, just like us. Most dogs spend the majority of their day bored indoors. Providing mental enrichment is essential to keep your dog happy and satisfied!
- Stops a dog from eating too quickly. Some dogs will wolf down their food in an instant if given the chance. Eating too fast can cause all sorts of health problems for your pet, such as bloat. A feeder toy like the Bob-A-Lot will force your dog to slow down!
- Distracts a dog from triggers. A puzzle toy can also be a great distraction for dogs who are moderate anxiety or arousal around visitors. Just bring out the Bob-A-Lot and your dog may find that it’s more interesting to play with his toy and get food, rather than fret about strangers in the home
- Builds a dog’s confidence. For shy dogs, a toy like this may require some encouragement, but once your dog gets the hang of it, he may find his confidence growing. The dog is rewarded for engaging with the toy, getting food in exchange for knocking the toy around. This encourages the dog for his bravery and can go a long way to building up a nervous dog’s confidence levels.
What is the Bob-A-Lot and How Does it Work?
The Bob-A-Lot is a small, weighted dog toy made of hard plastic with a colorful yellow top, and a green and purple bottom-half. You fill the inner compartment of the toy with kibble, and watch your dog push and knock it around to get his dinner!
As the dog knocks and rolls the toy, kibble will get dislodged and fall out from the lower compartment’s hole. The hole can even be adjusted so that the kibble opening can be smaller or larger depending on your dog’s skill level.
The Bob-A-Lot is an excellent way to give your dog some extra stimulation while he eats his meal.
Bob-A-Lot Fast Facts
- Manufacturer: Starmark
- Sizes: Small (about 1 cup of food) and Large (holds 3 cups of food)
- Material: Hard plastic
How Does the Bob-A-Lot Compare to Other Puzzle Toys?
While the Bob-A-Lot’s design is not revolutionary and is used in many other puzzle toys, the Bob-A-Lot’s most unique feature is the ability to adjust the size of the kibble hole opening.
This can be especially handy for clever dogs. Most dogs will need to start out with the hole at its largest setting.
While the dog is still getting accustomed to the toy, it’s best to make the toy easy. A larger hole means that kibble will quickly and easily fall out of the toy, encouraging the dog to continue to knock and roll it. Then, once the dog gets the hang of the toy, you can adjust the hole and make it smaller so that the dog must work harder to get food out.
This is important because if the toy starts off too difficult and the dog can’t figure out how to make it work, the dog may give up and not even attempt to engage with the toy anymore.
My dog Remy and I frequently use the Bob-A-Lot and are big fans of it!
Admittedly, it can be a bit more work to load up the Bob-A-Lot with kibble than with other puzzle toys, as you have to shake the kibble into the top-loading hole. But, as long as you are using appropriately sized kibble, it’s not too much trouble (even larger sized kibble for large dog breeds can work, it just required a bit more time shaking and jostling the kibble into the loading slot).
- Kong Wobbler. The Kong Wobbler is a toy that operates in a very similar way to the Bob-A-Lot, except that it does not have adjustable difficulty. Learn more about the differences between these two toys in our full article on the Bob-A-Lot vs the Kong Wobbler.
- PupPod. The PupPod operates similar to the Bob-A-Lot, but is more interactive and tech-packed, encouraging your dog to recognize patterns and knock the wobble toy at specific times in exchange for treats.
- Stuffed Kong. If your dog is a bit too hesitant about these more motion-based toys, a stuffed Kong might be a better option. Simply stuff a Classic Kong with food and freeze it for a fun frozen treat your dog can lick and lap up.
How Do You Clean the Bob-A-Lot?
The Bob-A-Lot can be a bit tricky to clean, but it doesn’t pose a ton of issues. Just take off the unit’s top cap and run warm, soapy water through the entire device. The water that flows through the top will come out through the bottom kibble-dispensing hole.
I’d suggest closing the bottom door, filling up the device with warm soapy water, and letting it sit for a while before opening the bottom door back up and rinsing the entire unit out. This item is not considered dishwasher safe, as bits of the outer layer of plastic will start to peel off if it’s put in the dishwasher (I learned this the hard way).
Ultimately, the Bob-A-Lot is a great puzzle toy and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a fantastic way to add some stimulation to your dog’s day, and my dog Remy and I enjoy using it as part of our puzzle play routine.
Have you ever used a Bob-A-Lot? Let us know in the comments about what you thought of it!