Here’s the truth: most dogs don’t get nearly enough enrichment in their lives. Most dogs live fairly boring lives, only going on a walk a day (if even that) and not getting nearly enough mental stimulation.
Being deprived of mental enrichment leads to a number of problems in dogs. It can cause them to become anxious or bored, or to develop compulsive behaviors that are extremely harmful to their owners, even potentially resulting in aggression.
The Kong Wobbler is one way you can help your dog combat these problems. This puzzle toy is a great way to keep your dog’s mind active and engaged as they eat their dinner, helping them live a much more enriched life than they otherwise would.
In this article, we’ll give a full hands-on review of the Kong Wobbler, talk about why puzzle toys are so awesome, and discuss some other puzzle toy options too!
Why Use a Puzzle Toy?
Puzzle toys are great for keeping your dog mentally engaged while they eat their dinner. They’re also a great way to entertain your dog during the day when you’re not around to keep them busy, preventing boredom and keeping their minds sharp!
How Does the Kong Wobbler Work?
The Kong Wobbler is one of the most popular types of puzzle toys for dogs on the market right now, developed by the people at the Kong Company.
If you haven’t heard of Kong before, they’re a company that specializes in developing dog toys and other pet products. They’re most famous for the Classic Kong – the bright red snowman-shaped rubber toy that’s a mainstay at many canine homes and shelter environments.
The Kong Wobbler is much larger than a Classic Kong, uses different materials, and functions a bit differently.
The Kong Wobbler is a roughly 1-foot-tall toy, made out of very hard plastic with a weighted bottom. When your dog paws at it or noses it around, the weight in the bottom causes the toy to wobble and rock back and forth, dispensing kibble from the inner compartment as it goes!
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Here’s how to use a Kong Wobbler:
- Unscrew the top and bottom pieces of the Kong Wobbler device
- Pour your dog’s kibble meal into the top piece
- Rethread the top and bottom pieces
- Put the toy down on the ground and let your dog go at it!
Keep in mind that if it’s your dog’s first time using the toy, you may need to show her how it works. Knock the Kong Wobbler around yourself until it spits out kibble to get her excited about it!
The Kong Wobbler is a great tool for canine enrichment because it challenges your dog to solve a problem in order to get food out, which dogs absolutely love.
Rather than just giving your dog his food in an easy to eat, boring pile on the ground, you can give her something fun and challenging to keep her engaged while she eats her dinner.
Pros and Cons of the Kong Wobbler: Our Hands-On Experience
The Kong Wobbler is a truly epic dog puzzle toy, and I’ve used it myself with my dog Remy many times. My favorite thing about the Kong Wobbler is that it’s so easy to fill up. Just unscrew the top, pour in kibble, and you’re done.
Because the device is simple and only has a few pieces, it’s also very easy to clean.
The only major downside to the Kong Wobbler is that the difficulty can’t be adjusted (unlike with the Bob-A-Lot, which allows you to change the difficulty level).
The problem I had with the Kong Wobbler is that, while initially challenging for my dog Remy, it quickly became too easy once my dog figured out how the toy worked.
Remy went from requiring about 6 to 8 minutes to get all the kibble pieces out, to only 2 to 3 minutes! It just became too easy after a while to provide many challenges. However, for dogs who are a few crayons short of a Crayola 24 pack (to put it kindly), the Kong Wobbler may continue to provide plenty of enrichment!
My other issue with the Kong Wobbler is that I’ve found it doesn’t bounce back up quite as quickly on carpeted surfaces when compared to the Bob-A-Lot. This isn’t a huge deal, but something to note as I think this is part of the reason why it became so easy for my dog Remy.
Kong Wobbler Alternatives
The Kong Wobbler is definitely a great pick for any owner’s first puzzle toy. It’s simple. It’s easy. It will be fun for your dog! What more could you want? But, if you’re looking for some other options, we can also recommend:
- Bob-A-Lot. The Bob-A-Lot is very similar to the Kong Wobbler, with the only major difference being that you can make the toy more challenging by closing the kibble-dispensing compartment door. This is probably the better option for smarty pants dogs.
- PupPod. The PupPod wobbler looks a lot like the Kong Wobbler, but it’s part of a more tech-heavy and interactive unit. While the first level of PupPod operates almost identically to the Kong Wobbler, at higher levels, this toy encourages your dog to identify patterns and knock the wobble toy only when specific criteria are met. It’s a great option for super-smart canines who you want to keep on their toes.
- Stuffed Kong. If your dog is too overwhelmed by moving and knocking toys, a stuffed Kong is a calmer, more easy-going option. All you need to do is stuff a Classic Kong with your dog’s food, freeze it, and you’ll have a nice treat your dog can lick up (licking is nice and calming for dogs too).
The Kong Wobbler is a tried-and-true favorite for many pet owners, including myself. Compared to other puzzle toys, it’s simple and easy to set up, making it a really perfect first go at puzzle toys.
The only downside is that as your dog gets better at solving the challenge provided by this toy, she may find it to be too easy (although that really depends on the individual dog).
We still think this toy would work great for most pets who need something simple and engaging, but not too challenging. It’s also a great toy for nervous dogs who need help building their confidence. Hesitant dogs can be rewarded for knocking around and engaging with a weird, scary new toy.
This can be a huge confidence booster!
Have you ever used the Kong Wobbler? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!