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Decoding Pet Food Labels for a Healthier Furry Friend

Decoding Pet Food Labels for a Healthier Furry Friend

Choosing the right pet food is crucial for your furry friend's health and well-being. However, navigating the sea of information on pet food labels can be overwhelming. Fear not! In this guide, we'll break down the essentials of decoding pet food labels, empowering you to make informed decisions about what goes into your pet's bowl.


Understanding Ingredient Lists: The ingredient list is your first stop in decoding pet food labels. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight, so the first few ingredients are the most significant. Look for high-quality protein sources like meat, fish, or poultry as the primary ingredients. Avoid foods with vague terms like "meat by-products" or "animal digest," as these can be less nutritious and digestible.

Protein Content: Protein is a crucial component of your pet's diet, supporting muscle development and overall health. Check the guaranteed analysis section to find the protein content. For dogs, a good target is around 18-25% protein in dry food, while cats typically need a higher protein content of 26-40%.

Identifying Fillers and Additives: Watch out for fillers like corn, wheat, and soy, often used to bulk up pet food but contribute little to nutritional value. Additionally, be mindful of artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives. Opt for foods with natural and minimal additives to ensure a wholesome diet for your pet.

Understanding "Complete and Balanced": Pet food labelled as "complete and balanced" means it meets the nutritional standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Look for this statement on the packaging to ensure your pet's food provides the necessary nutrients for their life stage (e.g., puppy, adult, senior).

Investigating the Source: Take a step beyond the label and research the brand's reputation. A company with a commitment to quality sourcing and transparent manufacturing practices is more likely to provide a reliable and nutritious product for your pet.


Decoding pet food labels is a journey worth taking for the health and happiness of your four-legged friend. Armed with knowledge about ingredients, protein content, fillers, and special diet indicators, you can confidently choose a pet food that aligns with your standards and meets your pet's unique nutritional needs. Remember, the right choice at the pet food aisle is a step towards a vibrant and thriving life for your beloved companion.

So, next time you find yourself pondering over pet food labels, remember the keys we've uncovered. Your pet's well-being is in your hands—make it a journey filled with nourishment, joy, and the wagging tails of contentment.

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Travel Tips for Your Furry Friend: Making Adventures with Your Dog Memorable and Safe

Travel Tips for Your Furry Friend: Making Adventures with Your Dog Memorable and Safe

Travelling with your canine companion can be an incredible experience, whether it's a weekend road trip or a cross-country adventure. But to ensure that your furry friend's travel is as enjoyable and safe as possible, there are a few important considerations to remember. In this post, we'll provide you with essential travel tips for your dog to make your journeys together memorable and worry-free.

1. Plan Ahead:

Before embarking on your trip, take some time to plan. This includes:

  • Choosing Pet-Friendly Destinations: Research and select destinations that are welcoming to dogs, including pet-friendly accommodations, parks, and attractions.

  • Health Checkup: Schedule a visit to the vet to make sure your dog is in good health for travel. Ensure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations and carry copies of health records.

  • Identification: Ensure your dog has proper identification, including a collar with an up-to-date ID tag and a microchip with current information.

2. Pack for Your Pup:

Just as you pack for yourself, your dog will also need some essentials for the journey. Don't forget to bring:

  • Food and Water: Pack enough of your dog's regular food, and don't forget a supply of clean water and a portable bowl.

  • Leash and Harness: Even if your dog is well-behaved off-leash, a leash is crucial for safety during travel.

  • Travel Crate or Seat Belt: Secure your dog in the car with a travel crate or a seat belt harness for their safety.

  • Favourite Toys and Bedding: Familiar items will help your dog feel more comfortable in new surroundings.

  • First Aid Kit: Include essential pet first aid supplies in case of minor injuries.

3. Be Mindful of Car Travel:

If you're traveling by car, here are some car-specific tips:

  • Frequent Breaks: Plan to take regular breaks to allow your dog to stretch, relieve themselves, and stay hydrated.

  • Avoid Car Sickness: Some dogs experience motion sickness. Consult your vet for advice on managing this issue.

  • Never Leave Your Dog in a Hot Car: Even with the windows cracked, cars can quickly become dangerously hot. Never leave your dog unattended in a vehicle.

4. Air Travel Considerations:

If you're flying with your dog, be sure to:

  • Check Airline Regulations: Each airline has its own rules regarding pet travel. Ensure you're aware of the specific requirements and book accordingly.

  • Use an Approved Pet Carrier: Invest in an airline-approved pet carrier that's comfortable and spacious for your dog.

  • Visit the Vet: Get a thorough health checkup and any necessary travel documents before flying.

5. Respect Local Regulations:

While exploring new destinations, respect local regulations, including leash laws, pet waste disposal, and any restrictions on dogs in public places.

6. Keep Your Dog Comfortable:

  • Hydration: Ensure your dog has access to clean water at all times, especially in warm weather.

  • Shade and Rest: On hot days, provide shade and rest breaks to prevent overheating.

  • Safe Exploration: Allow your dog to explore new places but keep them on a leash or under control to prevent them from wandering into dangerous situations.

Travelling with your dog can be a wonderful bonding experience, but it requires some planning and consideration. Following these travel tips ensures that your furry friend's adventures are safe and enjoyable. Remember to prioritize your dog's well-being and happiness throughout the journey, and you'll create lasting memories together.

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Unleash Your Dog's Inner Genius: The Power of Mental Stimulation

Unleash Your Dog's Inner Genius: The Power of Mental Stimulation

At Terrible Toby's, we're all about keeping tails wagging and brains ticking! We know that a happy and healthy dog is a mentally stimulated one. In this article, we'll explore why mental stimulation is so important for your furry friend, and we'll introduce you to some pawsitively brilliant toys that will make your dog's tail wag with delight.

The Need for Mental Stimulation

Dogs are natural problem solvers, and they thrive when their minds are kept active and engaged. So why is mental stimulation vital for your canine companion?

1. Stress Be Gone: Mental exercises are like a spa day for your dog's brain. They help reduce stress and anxiety, promoting a calm and relaxed pet.

2. Problem-Solving Pro: Mental challenges boost your dog's problem-solving skills. It's like enrolling your pup in their very own canine university.

3. Bonding Time: When you engage your dog in mental games and puzzles, you're not only challenging their intellect but also building a stronger bond with your furry friend.

4. Bye-bye Boredom: Boredom can lead to a furry hurricane of chaos, including barking marathons and furniture-chewing contests. Mental stimulation keeps those antics at bay.


At Terrible Toby's, we've got a treasure chest of toys designed to keep your dog's brilliant mind in tip-top shape. Here are some of our favourites:

1. Snuffle Mats: The Nose Knows!

  • Imagine a world of delicious scents and hidden treasures. Snuffle mats tap into your dog's incredible sense of smell. Hide tiny treats, and watch your pup turn into a sniffer detective.
  • How it works: These mats are like a field of sniffable flowers for your pup. You hide treats or kibble within the mat, and your dog uses their keen sense of smell to sniff them out, turning snack time into a delightful scavenger hunt.

2. Dog Puzzles: Canine Conundrums!

  • Dog puzzles are like a canine Rubik's Cube. They require your pet to solve various challenges to earn that tasty reward. It's like hosting an escape room party for your dog!
  • How it works: These puzzles come in various designs, from treat-dispensing cubes to sliding puzzles. Your dog has to manipulate parts of the puzzle to access the hidden treats, making it a rewarding and engaging brain teaser.

3. Lickimats: Yum with a Side of Zen!

  • Sometimes, mental stimulation comes in the form of a luscious treat. Spread your dog's favorite treat on a lickimat, and watch them blissfully enjoy a calm and delicious experience.
  • How it works: Lickimats are textured mats designed for spreading dog-safe spreads like peanut butter, yogurt, or wet food. Your dog will spend time licking it clean, which is not only tasty but also a calming and mentally enriching activity.

4. Treat Dispensers: The Canine Jackpot!

  • Treat dispensers, like the ones we offer, present your dog with a rewarding puzzle. Fill them with goodies, and your furry Einstein must figure out how to release the treasures. It's like a game show they can't resist.
  • How it works: These toys come in various shapes and sizes, but the principle is the same. You load them with treats or kibble, and your dog must figure out how to shake, roll, or manipulate the toy to access the hidden rewards, making snack time an engaging challenge.


How to Get Started

The world of mental stimulation is your oyster, and we're here to guide you through it. To start, choose activities that match your dog's current skill level. As they master those, raise the challenge level. By integrating mental stimulation into your daily routine, you're keeping your pet entertained, engaged, and thriving.

Remember, every dog is unique, so don't be afraid to try a variety of these brain-teasing toys to find your pup's favourites. At Terrible Toby's, we're here to help you discover the perfect tools for your dog's mental stimulation journey.

Mental stimulation is not just play; it's a way of nurturing your dog's well-being and intellect. By enriching their lives with these stimulating toys from Terrible Toby's, you're fostering happiness and intelligence in your furry companion.

So come visit us and explore our selection of mentally stimulating dog toys. Unleash your dog's inner genius, and let the good times and tail wags roll!


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How to Keep Your Furry Friend Safe and Happy this Halloween

How to Keep Your Furry Friend Safe and Happy this Halloween

Halloween is a spooktacular time of the year, filled with costumes, candy, and decorations. But while you're getting into the spirit of the season, it's essential to remember that your four-legged family members might not share the same enthusiasm for Halloween as you do. In this blog post, we'll explore some tips and tricks to ensure your dog has a safe and happy Halloween.

1. Costume Considerations

Sure, dressing up your dog in a cute costume is adorable, but it's not always a treat for them. Some dogs love the attention, while others may feel uncomfortable or restricted. If your pup doesn't enjoy dressing up, don't force it. Instead, consider a simple bandana or festive collar. Always ensure the costume doesn't obstruct their movement or vision, and remove it if they seem distressed.

2. Mind the Treats

Treats and sweets are a Halloween staple, but they're not suitable for dogs. Chocolate, xylitol (found in sugar-free gum and candy), and other common Halloween candies can be toxic to pets. Be sure to keep all treats out of your dog's reach, and inform your family and guests not to share their goodies with Fido.

3. Decorate with Caution

Halloween decorations can be spooky, but they can also pose hazards to your pup. Items like candles, jack-o'-lanterns, and small decorations can be knocked over or chewed on, leading to burns or other injuries. Opt for battery-operated candles or LED lights to keep your decorations pet-friendly.

4. Trick-or-Treating Etiquette

If you plan to take your dog trick-or-treating, make sure they are comfortable around strangers, children, and other dogs. Keep your dog on a secure leash and bring some doggy bags to clean up after them. Be aware that costumes and masks can be scary for some dogs, so be prepared to move along if your pup seems stressed.

5. Create a Safe Space

If you're hosting a Halloween gathering or expecting a lot of trick-or-treaters, consider setting up a quiet, safe space for your dog. This space can be a room where they can relax away from the commotion. Provide some of their favorite toys, a cozy bed, and water to keep them comfortable.

6. ID and Microchipping

Halloween is a time when doors are frequently opened and closed. It's easy for your dog to slip out unnoticed. Ensure that your dog has proper identification, including a collar with an ID tag and, ideally, a microchip. That way, if they do escape, you have a better chance of reuniting with them.

7. Monitoring Noise Levels

Halloween can be noisy with fireworks, parties, and excited children. Some dogs are sensitive to loud noises, so consider keeping them inside during the evening's festivities. Providing soothing background music or a white noise machine can help calm your pet.

8. Pet-Approved Treats

To involve your dog in the Halloween fun, consider preparing some pet-approved treats or buying them special Halloween-themed goodies from your local pet store. It's a way for them to be part of the celebration without risking their health.

Remember, Halloween can be a fun and memorable time for you and your dog if you take the necessary precautions. By following these tips, you can ensure that your furry friend has a happy and safe Halloween, filled with treats, cuddles, and tail-wags!

Happy Halloween to you and your beloved canine companion!

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Halloween Horrors - What To Do if Your Dog Eats Chocolate

Halloween Horrors - What To Do if Your Dog Eats Chocolate

Halloween brings spooky fun for humans, but for our canine companions, it can present unexpected dangers—especially when it comes to chocolate. If your dog has indulged in some Halloween sweets, it's crucial to know what steps to take promptly. In this guide, we'll navigate through the specific actions to ensure your dog's safety and well-being in the event of a chocolate mishap during the Halloween festivities.

  1. Identify the Treat: Determine the type and amount of chocolate your dog has consumed from those tempting Halloween treats. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate contain higher levels of theobromine, which can be harmful to dogs.

  2. Contact Your Vet ASAP: Waste no time in reaching out to your veterinarian. Share details about the chocolate type, your dog's weight, and any symptoms they may be experiencing. Halloween night or not, your vet's guidance is crucial.

  3. Watch for Halloween Horrors: Keep a close eye on your dog for Halloween horrors like vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, or increased heart rate—common signs of chocolate toxicity. Note the time of ingestion for accurate information when communicating with your vet.

  4. Induce Vomiting (with Vet Guidance): If advised by your vet, consider inducing vomiting to eliminate the chocolate. However, never attempt this without professional guidance, as it may not be suitable for all situations.

  5. Activated Charcoal, the Halloween Hero (With Vet Guidance): Your vet may recommend activated charcoal to absorb toxins and prevent further absorption. Follow their advice closely to ensure the best possible outcome.

  6. Keep the Hydration Cauldron Brewing: Encourage your dog to drink water to stay hydrated and help flush out toxins. This is an essential step in the Halloween emergency spell.

  7. Eternal Vigilance for 24 Hours: Even if your dog seems fine initially, maintain a watchful eye for the next 24 hours. Some symptoms may manifest later. Follow any additional instructions provided by your veterinarian.

  8. Warding Off Future Chocolate Curses: Take preventive measures to avoid future Halloween chocolate mishaps. Keep all chocolate treats out of your dog's reach, and educate everyone at home about the spooky dangers of sharing chocolate with pets.

As the Halloween moon shines, it's important to act swiftly and wisely if your dog snatches a chocolate treat. Consulting with your vet is the key to a successful spell against chocolate toxicity. By following these Halloween-specific steps, you can ensure your furry friend's safety and enjoy a worry-free celebration of the spookiest night of the year.

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Dog Coats - Finding the Perfect Fit

Dog Coats - Finding the Perfect Fit

If you haven’t noticed already, it’s getting chilly again… It’s that time of year when bundling up becomes essential for some pups.  However, finding a coat that fits your pup can be a challenging affair.  Especially if your pet doesn’t fit into that “one size fits all” category of dog coat.  It’s extremely important to choose the correct-sized coat for your dog.  The majority of coats and sweaters are measured based on the back length of your pup.  Unfortunately, though, this isn’t the only dimension that matters.  Dogs come in so many different shapes and sizes & finding the right fit can be next to impossible when all you know is the back length.  That’s why we recommend heading in-store so that you can try on your pet’s coat before purchasing.  

When considering what size to get, there are a few key places to check.  First, check your pup’s chest.  A lot of sweaters have not taken into account deep-chested breeds. If the sweater is starting to stretch, or you can’t get 2 fingers between the chest and the sweater, you may need a bigger size.  Certain brands, such as Canada Pooch, offer “Plus” sizes which have a deeper chest and belly.  If you can’t find the right chest fit for your pet, consider trying a “plus” size.  It’s also important to ensure that the coat or sweater is not too loose on your pup’s chest.  If the sweater is too loose, your pup will lose precious body heat.  Plus it might dangle on the ground or get caught in their legs.  A perfect-sized coat will sit against your pet’s chest, but allow you to comfortably put two fingers in between the chest and coat.

A great sweater option that includes plus sizing is the Canada Pooch Cool Factor Hoodie

Next, you should look at your dog's legs.  When a coat stretches too much, the first movement lost is the front legs.  With sizing that’s too small your pet will not be able to walk properly and could start “hobbling” around. Long-term use of a sweater that’s too small can cause movement problems and muscle issues.  So it’s extremely important to check whether your dog’s legs are able to move properly.  

The easiest way to ensure proper movement is to let your dog walk around with the sweater on.  They should be able to move the exact same way they would without the sweater on.  If you notice them “hopping” or moving their front legs less, then the sweater is most likely too tight for their body.  You can also start to tell if the sweater is too small in the legs when putting it on.  Your pup's legs should be able to lift up and into both arm holes with very little force.  Some sweater models require a small stretch when putting legs through, but should never require lots of force.  If you feel yourself pulling on the sweater aggressively as you’re putting it on, it’s most likely too small.

A very forgiving option when it comes to leg sizing is the GF Pet Super Puff Parka

The last size that should be considered is the length of the jacket.  Funny that this is the last part that we consider, given it’s the first dimension available.  The length of your pet’s jacket is important to an extent, but it’s also one of the first dimensions we would sacrifice when it comes to finding a great fit.  A perfectly fitted dog jacket would match the two criteria listed above & also reach the base of your pet’s tail.  This will give maximum coverage for your pet’s back and belly, without impeding their movement.

That being said, if the jacket that fits perfectly in the back length is way too large on the chest, we recommend going down a size.  It’s more important to have a snug fit on the chest, where your pet’s vital organs are, than it is to have full back coverage.  Keeping your dog’s vital organs warm will help them stay warmer than covering their back.  On the other hand, if the coat with a perfect back length is too tight on your pet, we recommend going up a size.  As we’ve mentioned, coats that impair your pet’s movement can cause long-term mobility issues down the road.  So having a proper fit on the chest, that does not impair mobility, is definitely more important.  Having a coat that’s too long, but fits well on the dog’s chest will help a lot more than a coat that impairs their mobility.  

With this in mind, having a coat hang more than 3 inches past your pet's tail can cause a mess when they need to go to the bathroom. So be sure to keep this in mind when choosing the proper size.  Slightly too long is okay, way too long gets messy.

To summarize, finding the right fit for your pup takes three checks.  First, check their chest and ensure it’s fitting snuggly against their fur, with the ability to put at least two fingers between.  Next, check their front legs.  Are they able to move properly or is their movement impaired by the coat?  Finally, check the back length.  Ensure that the back is not so short that the coat is ineffective but not so long that it will cause a mess during bathroom breaks.  Finding a perfectly fitted coat for your dog can definitely be challenging so feel free to stop in store for more advice and to try on a few models.  We’re also always happy to order in new models or sizes for your pet to try out.

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Go To Guide on Pet First Aid

Go To Guide on Pet First Aid

Along with having a standard first aid kit in your house, it is important for pet owners to also have a pet first aid kit. Now you might be wondering what should go in this kit. Well, we curated a list of what you should have and other items we recommended along with the reasoning behind the items. 

Essential Items

  • Pet papers
    • Medical records
    • Emergency numbers 
    • Vaccination records
    • Medications
  • Gauze
    • Gauze can be used for injuries for you and your pet. 


  • Non-stick/self-adhering bandages
    • Self-adhering bandages are used for wrapping injuries or rewrapping if there was a prior vet appointment.
    • Self adhering bandages are great for pets because they won’t stick to their fur
  • Self-adherent tape 
    • Self-adherent tape has the same philosophy as self-adhering bandages. The tape is thinner and can be used for securing gauze or smaller jobs 
  • Cotton balls/cotton rounds
    • Used for applying medicine or cleaning wounds 
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide 
    • Help clean wounds and prevent infections
    • Make a solution to cause dogs to throw up (More information farther down)
  • Antibiotic spray/ointment 
    • To treat cuts, rashes, sores, dry skin and allergies
    • The antibiotic ointment should be dog safe as a human ointment isn’t suitable for dogs
  • Kwik Stop
    • Used to stop bleeding if kwik gets nicked
  • Digital thermometer
  • Scissors 
  • Tweezers

Recommended Items

  • Syringes
    • Use for flushing wounds or administering medications
  • Flashlight
    • In case of emergencies
  • Towels

What does Hydrogen Peroxide Do?
I’m sure our dogs have eaten something they’re not supposed to, in the situation, it can be stressful but there are steps to take to ensure that your pup will be safe. Not only does it disinfect cuts, it can also be a lifesaver. It is important to have 3% hydrogen peroxide (nothing higher) on hand. The steps you’re going to want to take are;

  1. Calling your vet
    1. Call your vet to explain the situation to ensure it is
  2. If your dog hasn’t eaten in the last 2 hours, make a small meal and feed it to them, they will more likely vomit after. 
  3. Make a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution
    1. Solution: 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of your dog’s body weight, maximum dose of 3 tablespoons for dogs who weigh more than 45 pounds, But ask your veterinarian about the best dosage for your dog and only induce vomiting if your dog ate the substance within 2 hours.
  4. Administer the dose with a syringe or turkey baster if you have no syringe on hand
    1. Squirting between the back teeth or from the front to the back of your dog’s mouth
    2. If your dog doesn’t vomit within 15 minutes you can administer a second dosage.
  5. Make sure to stay with your dog and collect the vomit for the vet to analyze, make sure they don’  re-ingest it. 
  6. Keep an eye out for any other reactions such as vomiting for more than 45 minutes or other sick-like symptoms
  7. Follow up with your vet asap  

Most of this information was sourced from American Kennel Association. We would like to express that we are not experts, we believe that this information is important and should be shared among pet owners. If you have any questions or concerns or anything you want to add to the list, feel free to message us or stop by the store!  

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Picking the Right Collar/Harness

Picking the Right Collar/Harness

Just like finding the right leash, it is important to also have the right collar or harness for your dog. There are a few different styles each all having different uses, features and training purposes while still keeping your pet looking stylish. 

Handle Harness

A handle harness is great for dogs who hate putting their heads through a neck piece of a traditional harness. The harness sits on the dog’s back and has two straps that go around their front legs and clips around the armpits. The handle allows for more control and is perfect for more reactive dogs or dogs who are still in training. Handle harnesses are great for any size dog as the handle allows for control. The harnesses design puts even pressure on the dog’s chest and torso so no areas take more stress than others

Standard/comfort harness

The standard harness (or the comfort harness) is the typical design where your dog will put their head through the neckpiece, the fabric will sit at the chest, and a strap and a D-ring sit near the back buckling them in. These still allow for your pup to move freely without any pinching or itching. The harness puts the force on the dog’s chest and back. These harnesses are generally not recommended for larger or rambunctious dogs because it can promote leash pulling. If a harness is not on properly or comfortable for the dog, they can shift their weight to their back legs so they don't have as much pressure in the front.

Adventure harness 

An adventure harness is very similar to a standard harness minus the piece on the chest. All of the fabric sits under the chest and on their stomach. This is another great harness for dogs who don't like putting their head through anything. This one clips on and off like a collar and clips on the back as well providing your dog with the freedom for your adventure. These harnesses are great as they dont put the same amount of strain on joints that another harness could. This one having minimal fabric allows more freedom. 

Over-the-head harness

Over-the-head harnesses are similar to the standard harness with having the dogs put their head through the top. This harness sits a little higher on the chest and is shorter in length. Without proper support in the harness, the compressions and lack of motion can cause health problems in the future. It is important to consult with an expert and get a harness that is best suited for your dog. These halters come in XL but are more geared towards small or medium dogs. 

Martingale Collars

There are two different kinds of martingale collars, ones with a chain and ones without, both working the same way. Martingales are great for those escape artists. Simply attach your desired leash to the D-ring and when your dog pulls the collar will automatically tighten, preventing them from slipping out. Along with your dog never slipping out of martingale collars, the collar doesn’t have to be extremely tight around the dog’s neck providing more comfort. These collars are great for any breed or size of dog. The tightening of the collar is meant to be slightly uncomfortable for the dog, so if your dog is pulling for majority of the walk, they may develop a negative reaction to collars. 

Standard Collar

Standard collars are great for wanting to show off their style. These can come in multiple different colours, patterns and materials making them unique for each dog. All collars have some sort of adjustable mechanism whether that be a sliding clip or if they have different holes to put a prong in, much like a belt. The other closure is a standard plastic or metal buckle. The standard collars are the most common ones you will see in stores or on dogs. Collars are relatively safe unless they are too loose. In a situation like that your dog could be scratching its ear and get tangled up or if the collar is too loose there is a chance your dog could slip out and escape. 


An honourable mention is the HALTI head collar. The HALTI stops pulling. You clip your leash to a D-ring that is connected to the rest of the collar. When your dog pulls on the lead, it gently brings their head back towards you, getting them to focus back, and teaching them quickly not to pull. This is a great training tool to implement the idea of not pulling along with them not barking as it goes over their mouth. Halti's should be used in conjunction with training and not a tool to rely on as it can cause a negative feeling towards it. 

Just like the leash post, there were many styles and options discussed. Finding a collar or harness can be stressful but we would be happy to help fit your dog with the right style for you and them. We also always like to note that if there is anything you believe we missed or that should be added in send us a message or come in and we’d be happy to learn more.

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Introducing a Rescue Dog into the Family

Introducing a Rescue Dog into the Family

Hello! My name is Alex and I’m the summer Marketing Assistant for Terrible Tobys. I’ve absolutely been loving the position and one of the tasks that I’ve been doing throughout my term has been coming up with and writing blog posts for our website, some of which you might have already read. One of my ideas was talking about introducing a new dog to the family, specifically introducing a rescue dog into your family and a previous dog. Over quarantine, my family did just that, and who better to interview about this is my mom! I asked her a few questions regarding our family history and her history with dogs, the process of adopting a rescue and things she learned. 

Introduce yourself, the dogs and when/where we got them

My name is Fiona and my family currently has a mixed breed dog called Forrest. We adopted Forrest 2 ½ years ago from Texas through UDR. UDR rescued a group of dogs from a kill shelter and brought them to Canada in early 2020. Forrest is between 4 and 7 years old. Until last year, we also had a 13 year old Goldiepoo called Brooks who we got from a breeder when she was 6 months old. Unfortunately, she passed away in February (2021).

We originally got Brooks after not having a dog for a very long time as we wanted our kids to grow up with a dog. Brooks was the quiet one at the breeder who made herself as small as possible so she was overlooked by everyone. Really she was waiting for our family as she was truly a special dog.

We had always thought about getting a 2nd dog because we had been in a similar situation before and with Brooks getting older, it would help keep her young. Plus we know how heartbreaking it is to lose your dog so still having one when the other one passes helps soften the blow. Also, the first dog teaches the second dog the ropes.

I had been looking at a number of rescue organizations for a while but the timing never seemed right. We (Alex and I) had run into a rescue organization in August of 2019 at the airport in Aruba and that really made me think about it. Probably if we had been able to visit the organization before our last day, we might have brought back a puppy.

Back in February 2020 (before the pandemic) we saw Forrest in a social media post by UDR. There was just something about his handsome face and goofy personality that caught my eye. Several of the pics showed him interacting with the foster’s family daughter too. There are a lot of kids in our neighbourhood so we wanted to make sure he’d be okay with kids even though our kids are older. 

Me and my husband’s very first dog Suzie was also a rescue which we didn’t really understand at the time. She had belonged to someone who no longer wished to keep her. She was a beautiful purebred Collie that somehow won my Mum over in just one night. My husband and I weren’t married at the time so she lived with me and my parents. At the time, we had no idea about rescues or any of the potential challenges that they may face. For the 1st 3 months, she wouldn’t go for a walk and she barked like crazy. We now know that she was just afraid of what might happen if she left the house. If only we understood about rescues needing to decompress.

After my husband and I got married we took Suzie with us to our new home and later that year got our puppy, Teddy. Our first every puppy! It was a rollercoaster but Suzie took the lead and showed him what to do. 


What was the adoption process with Forrest?

To adopt Forrest, we made contact with the rescue organization and submitted an application. Then COVID hit and we weren’t sure if anything would happen but they accepted our application and on a very cold day about a week later, we went for a visit to meet him and to introduce Brooks to her potential new brother. Forrest was just how we saw him in the pics and he looked out of the window and my daughter was in love. We took him for a walk with the foster family and talked about him and how he was in her home. Brooks had no interest in him and Forrest paid little attention to her, truly the perfect siblings. Forrest was relatively calm on the walk and seemed easygoing. That night we confirmed with UDR that we’d like to adopt him and within the week he came home. In that week, UDR did a virtual home inspection and we finalized the contract.

When we heard the news that we were getting him the four of us were all really excited, particularly because by then COVID was a reality and we were already in lockdown. It seemed like the perfect time to bring him home as someone would always be around in the beginning. We were somewhat concerned about him as we knew nothing about his background, not even his real age. And one day we realized, Forrest wasn’t even his real name, it was just the name the original rescue organization gave him. But we thought it suited him and never changed it. He eventually got used to it. Based on what a sweet soul he is, we don’t think he had been abused. We strongly believe someone loved him, they just couldn’t keep him.

Did you do any research about introducing a new dog (especially a rescue dog) into a new family/environment? If so, what did you learn? 

I talked to a number of my co-workers who had adopted rescues and some of the challenges to be prepared for. We heard the rule/philosophy “3 days to decompress and transition into your home, 3 weeks to learn and develop and routine in your home, 3 months for them to really “call” it home” but it’s not until you’re living it that it kicks in. Our first night with him was a bit crazy, he was jumping at food, surfing the counters, and upsetting Brooks. We tried to walk him that night and it didn’t go well as he was so reactive to EVERYTHING. I didn’t have any doubts, I just knew it would take time.

What I learned was to remind myself, that we don’t know what he’s been through and keep the 3/3/3 rule in mind. Some days I even add 3 years to the end of that as Forrest continues to change in our home. He also suffered the loss of Brooks. While she never really interacted or played with him, she was always there. They found a way to exist together. On some level, Forrest understood that her health was failing and tried to comfort her. He regressed in his behaviour for a few weeks. A bit like a teenager.

Walking him was a huge challenge. He was terrible on the leash and reactive to anything on wheels, runners, loud noises...it was so stressful. It got to the point that I would wait till it was dark and go out on my own. Kids would yell at me to get my dog under control! But without fail every time I brought him home from a walk, he got a treat. Initially, when we got him, he was a runner – if the front door was open he was gone. There were a few frantic chases. One time he slipped his harness on a busy road and we thought this would be the end of him. Miraculously, he turned around and ran back to us. We knew we were turning a corner when one day our side gate was left open by mistake. He took the opportunity to get out but didn’t take off, instead decided to lay at the front door waiting for someone to let him in. The treats had really paid off.

We also believe he likely slept outside as, during the first few months, he didn’t like to go out at night before bed. We believed he probably thought he’d get left there or he’d be sleeping. He also ate (still eats) very fast and would try and take Brooks’s food as well. Back in Texas he had a brother (Ranger) and we came up with the idea that they would have to compete for food, but he was never aggressive about it. 

Walking still continued to be an issue. We were actually turned down by a number of places that did obedience training – they weren’t interested in working with him or us. We completed some training at a local pet store. We made a bit of progress but it was stressful for us going there, being at the store for an hour and coming back in the car. Yup, he wasn’t good in the car either. Eventually, I found this amazing man who came to our house and worked with us. It was life changing. With the right training method, anything really is possible. Forrest is now one of the calmest and quietest dogs in the neighbourhood. But as all dogs do,  he still has his moments.  We often say that he has many qualities that came from Brooks. But unlike Brooks, he hates the snow.

What works with a rescue or any dog is love, patience, understanding and acceptance. It will be challenging but it’s so worth it. Find someone to help you with one-on-one training. It might be expensive but it is so worth it. Above all, do your research. Go back a few times to visit before making a decision. Remember that rescue organizations are making decisions that are in the best interest of the animal. If you don’t get chosen, that’s ok. The right one is out there for you.

We through lots of information and stories at you but, we want to reiterate that when introducing a new dog into the family, especially a rescue dog, patience is going to be your best friend. We don’t know what Forrest’s background was so it was important to use to be patient with him and give him the love he deserves. Also, remember to keep in mind the 3/3/3 rule change won’t happen overnight and that's okay. 

We would like to say that we are not experts on this subject, this was our family’s experience with rescue dogs and introducing a new dog into the family. We would love to hear your stories or tips you have with rescue dogs and getting a new dog. 

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Pet Friendly Places in the KW Area

Pet Friendly Places in the KW Area

Pet Friendly Places in the KW Area

With the weather getting warmer, it’s human nature to want to take your pups everywhere you go. But it can be overwhelming with the number of places that are dog friendly in the KW area. We (Owen, Toby, and I) spent the last 2 weeks researching, visiting and interviewing different establishments on how they are dog friendly. We then curated our list of bakeries, breweries and shops that we enjoyed. We also got in contact with Dog Friendly KW and asked them a few questions to see what their favourite dog friendly places were. 

Let’s see what Dog Friendly KW had to say about some places in KW.

  • Could you please introduce yourselves and your dogs? 

Hi! We will start off by introducing ourselves - we are Justine and Mackenzie Co-Owners and Co-Founders of Dog Friendly KW (DFKW)! We have been friends for almost twenty years and grew up in Muskoka together. Having lived in Kitchener for the last eight years, we have grown to call this community home.  We love to explore new dog friendly spots, support local businesses and encourage and grow the local dog friendly community. Our vision is to make Kitchener-Waterloo the most dog friendly community in Canada. We are passionate about responsible dog ownership and education and are known to dig into spicy topics on the DFKW Podcast. 

The dogs of DFKW are Willa and Alydar - our picture perfect Italian Greyhounds who are known for their sense of fashion, and Marshall, our 90 lb super mutt rescued from northern Manitoba who is known for being a big ball of sweet and sass rolled into one. 

  • What are your favourite places to visit with your pups (Breweries, patios, cafes, stores)?

Two years ago, this was an easy question to answer - but now, there are so many dog friendly spaces that it is really difficult to choose. Some places we really love include Short Finger Brewing, TWB Brewing, Rural Roots (okay, we really like beer), The Village Biergarten, Camellia Bakeshop, Talula Fields, Cafe Pyrus (and Cafe Pyrus Outpost) and Colour Paradise Greenhouse. There are also a lot of new spots featured in our summer business guide that we haven’t had a chance to visit yet, but are looking forward to checking out in the coming months. 

  • What are the best experiences you've had at a dog friendly place?

One of our favourite things about running this business and community is connecting with small business owners. Some of our most memorable experiences have been the days when we visit a dog friendly location and completely lose track of time chatting with the owner or the staff on-site. Whether it’s chatting about dogs or brainstorming future events, we love connecting with the people behind these businesses.

  • What do you look for in dog friendly places (red flags and green flags)?

We would say that this varies depending on your dog’s personality and preferences. For example, if we are looking for a patio that is suitable for our sensitive Alydar, we may look for a spot that has less vehicle traffic and is a little less stimulating. However, if we are looking for a spot suitable for Marshall, we might look for a more spacious location with lots of space for him to lay down - so, if we’re visiting a super tiny patio, we might leave our big boy at home! If your dog sometimes gets over excited or overwhelmed, visiting somewhere with more space or multiple points of entry or exit can be helpful in case you need to take breaks. One of the reasons The Village Biergarten is one of our favourite places is because it checks off all of these boxes. We also LOVE when places are dog friendly inside and outside so that we have the flexibility to sit indoors should the weather not cooperate. 

  • In your opinion, what do you think dog friendly places should provide their dogs and owners to make them more accessible?

We definitely recommend that dog owners have everything they need on hand to ensure their dog has a good experience in dog friendly space - water, bowl, toy or comfort item, blanket or place cot, etc. That said, a dog friendly location can ensure that there is adequate space between tables to ensure dogs can be a comfortable distance away from others. It’s always a nice touch when businesses offer communal water - however, some dogs (and humans) choose to avoid it because there is always a small risk of illness when water is shared. For outdoor locations specifically, dog friendly locations can offer spots in the shade to ensure pups stay cool - especially in the warmer months! 

As mentioned, we went around and visited some places off of DFKW Summer guide and talked to the owners to learn more about their establishments and what they do to be dog-friendly. We got tons of great information and some sneak peeks at the wonderful ideas these companies have come up with to keep the KW region the best dog-friendly area!

The Civil

A new hotspot at 151 Charles St W, The Civil makes pizza from scratch and offers cocktails, local craft beers like TWB, boozy slushies and gin and tonic flights. Plus, you can bring your pup to the patio to enjoy the meal with you. For your pup, they have water bowls available on the patio for any dog in need of a drink. Visit their Instagram to see some of their delicious creations.


Cafe Pyrus

Cafe Pyrus has been open for 12 years. They have a big shaded patio and love having the dogs out there. They are a vegan cafe located in downtown Kitchener at 305 King St. The cafe serves light bites, salads and baked goods that are accompanied by refreshing cold drinks or a smooth cup of coffee. 

The Outpost has been open for 4 years and is an extension of Cafe Pyrus. The outpost is located off of the Spur Line trail or you can drive down to 105 Roger St. For humans they have a selection of baked goods, drinks and vegan gelato, and for your pups, they offer free dog treats and have a water bowl near where you order. Inside the Outpost, you will be able to find a wall full of pictures of dogs that were taken there when you were still able to go in. Every Saturday from 9-1 they host a market that offers organic vegetables, apples and wraps. Check out both The Outpost and the Cafe on Instagram, and watch their video from Business Unusual. 

Camellia Bake Shop


Camellia Bake Shop is a newly opened, women owned business and allergy friendly bakeshop in the Waterloo area. Located at 305 Northfield E, Alisha has opened up an adorable pet friendly cafe. Alisha had always wanted to open up a cafe at a young age and finally got the opportunity to do so. After some storefronts turning them down, she found the perfect building just off of the Health Valley Trail, and the surrounding stores (Linen and Lore and The Timeless Material Company) makes for a lovely afternoon with your pet. Since opening Camellia bake shop has always been a pet friendly store. As soon as you walk in they immediately ask to pet your dog and then serve you some decadent treats and coffee. They offer an outside patio with umbrellas for those sunny days, or you can sit inside as they offer your dog a bed for them to relax. Along with the bed they have water bowls, treats and of course puppuccinos. As for making their own dog treats, that idea is still in the works. Want to see what they’re up to? Check out their Instagram.

Together We’re Bitter (TWB) Co-Operative Brewery

Together We’re Bitter (TWB)  is a cooperative brewery located at 300 Mill ST Kitchener, but you can also find booths at the St Jacob’s and Kitchener market. Community supported, Worker Owned, is what's printed on their beer cans and they stand by that tagline. As a co-operative business anyone who works there has a say in the business and if the workers put in 2000 hours they have the opportunity to buy in and become a worker-owner. Some of the worker-owners are tradespeople, an example of that is they have a maintenance team inhouse, which not many breweries do. 

TWB has a beautiful patio with umbrellas to give you and your pup some shade or a few tables inside where you can sit and have a house beer. TWB offers a variety of different events including jam sessions every Thursday from 6 pm - 9 pm, starting June 29th, 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm, once a month they are hosting Together We’re Boisterous which is a variety show including stand up comedy, improv and burlesque, and starting July 9th from 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm for every other week, they collaborated with Dog Friendly KW and is doing Barks & Brews Yappy Hour and live music on the patio every Friday. TWB runs fundraising events where proceeds of their sales go towards an organization, more recently organizations like Spectrum Waterloo, American Caribbean Black Waterloo Region and they support local artists like Morningstar designs. Check out more of their events on their Instagram and their video with Business Unusual 

Words Worth Books

Open for 35 years, Words Worth Books is an independent bookshop located in Uptown Waterloo at 96 King Street S. Ever since they opened, Words Worth has always been a pet friendly shop allowing your pups inside the store. When walking in you are greeted with a warm welcome and your pups are greeted with a treat that they have stored behind the counter and water bowls outside. Words Worth is a great location to stop at if you’re having a day in Uptown Waterloo especially if you’re with your pet. If you’re a book lover you should definitely check them out on Instagram.

Counterpoint Brewing

Only a 5 minute drive from our store, Counterpoint Brewing Company on 935 Frederick St, has permanently opened a patio after having it only temporarily for the last 2 years, a great place to take your pet if you love a cold glass of beer. They’re always rotating through beers but love to brew hops, IPAs and pale ales. They always have a dark beer on tap, and recently put out a cream ale and a dessert beer that tastes like a pecan pie. If you’re stopping in to buy some clothing or some beer from the fridge you can bring your dog inside but if you’re sitting down for a drink you and your dog can sit on their patio. Every year, Counterpoint hosts a fundraiser annually for Pound dog rescue and are aiming to host it in September this year. Counterpoint Brewing Company is a community-oriented culture. Every month they have a beer that acts as a fundraiser and proceeds go towards an organization of their choosing. Want to see what they’re up to? Find them on Instagram and Twitter

Lots of cool places and new ideas were talked about throughout this article but we want to hear from you. We only listed 6 places in the KW area. Did we list yours? If not, what’s one of your favourite places to go with your pets. 

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Picking The Right Leash For Your Dog

Picking The Right Leash For Your Dog

Finding the right leash, harness or collar can be hard when there are so many different options. Having to think about what kind of leash is best for you and your dog can be difficult. That's where we come in to help. Here at Terrible Toby’s, we have plenty of different options, but also the explanations behind them. 

Standard Leashes (Flat Leash)

The most common leash you will see is a standard flat leash. These can range in width for the size of your dog and typically come in 6ft (2m), however, you can find shorter and longer ones too. These are your most common leashes for training and most trainers will work with and recommend this type of lead. Typically, these leashes are made with materials such as nylon, leather or woven material. When choosing the right flat leash for your dog, usually if you have a bigger or stronger dog it is important to choose a leash on the wider side, sometimes choosing rope material instead of nylon, whereas if you have a smaller dog, something on the skinner side would be appropriate as well. 

Retractable/Extendable Leashes

Retractable leashes are the second most common leash. They allow various lengths for freedom and movement essentially working like a measuring tape. They can be locked to the desired length or unlocked to follow your dog’s movement, up to a maximum distance. The leash part itself is a nylon cord and the handle is a soft plastic material that will last over time. If at any time there is slack in the leash while locked, unlocking it will bring the material to reduce slack. Retractable leashes are great for dogs because it provides them more freedom to roam around on their walks. Retractable leashes can also be used for training commands such as stay & place, similar to how a long line would be used.  When leash training, retractable leashes typically are not recommended. Retractable leashes don’t give consistent boundaries that a standard leash will. Which can confuse your pup and lead to frustration for both you and them. There have also been cases of low quality leashes failing, which causes the mechanism inside to break and allows your pup to have full range of the leash even when locked. When using retractable leashes, it’s extremely important to choose one that’s graded for your dog’s size. All retractable leashes should have size ratings, the maximum usually being 120lbs. Meaning that if you have an extra large dog, retractable leashes may not be the best option. 

Bungee leashes

Bungee leashes incorporate a bungee into the leash to help absorb shock when your dog pulls.  These leashes are great if you're a big runner and want to bring your dog along. When not stretched out all the way, the leash takes the pressure off of the collar. Meaning if your dog slows down or speeds up they won’t receive an intense shock when hitting the end of the leash. As said earlier, if the dog pulls, the bungee section of the leash takes the strain off the collar and their neck. These leashes are great for adventurous dogs who love to smell, allowing them some freedom without putting strain on your pup or your arm. Bungee leashes are more geared toward leash-trained dogs and are not recommended for reactive dogs. These leashes don’t allow the owners to have much control if there were to be incidents with other dogs. These leashes can also train the dogs to not have any reaction to pulling, with the bungee piece they might not see a problem with pulling as there are no consequences from the leash. 

Training leashes

Training or long line leashes are generally used for training your dog’s recall. These leashes can range from 15ft - 50ft. Long lines simulate an off-leash environment while still having control of the dog ensuring they won’t run. Recommended to be used in an open area, these leashes will help you achieve your command goals like “come”, “heal” or “stay” while giving you the confidence of knowing your dog won’t bolt. Training leashes are recommended for almost any dog, but still be cautious if your dog is reactive, depending on how long your leash is you may not have the control you desire if an incident were to occur.

Seat Belt leashes 

Seatbelt or safety belt leashes are used for car rides. On one end they have a carabiner that attaches to the harness and the other side clips into the seat belt holder. The common length for these is 2.5ft and some can have a bungee portion. They prevent the dogs from climbing around the front and back seats distracting the driver. Having your dog secure in the car is important in case of an accident or abrupt braking. They can also prevent your dog from running loose if there was an accident. One important piece to note is that not all dog seat belts are created equally.  The majority of dog seat belts are only intended to keep your dog in place while driving and are not crash tested.  If you’re looking for a seatbelt for your dog that is crash tested and certified, you have to order a special harness too.  This is because although the seat belt can be strong if it’s attached to a standard harness there will more than likely be a failure in a car accident.

Coupler/Double dog leashes

Double dog leashes or leash couplers are for walking more than one dog at a time. This leash splits off into two sections each having a carabiner at the end to attach to your dog’s collar or harness. Coupler leashes may seem convenient for you, but not for your dogs, especially when walking dogs with height or size differences. You may have less control over the dogs and the dogs don’t have enough space between them, especially if you have pups who love to explore. It is primarily recommended for dogs who are previously leash trained. Using a coupler or double dog leash can prevent your dogs from getting tangled up as they would if using two separate leashes.  However, if they’re not great on a leash, or one dog is reactive you may end up with an even bigger tangle.

There were lots of options discussed in the article and we hope we were able to cover each one in enough detail for you. If you have any further questions or want to see the leashes in person,  we’re open 7 days a week and would love to help you find the right leash for your pup. We also always like to note that if there is anything you believe we missed or that should be added in send us a message or come in and we’d be happy to learn more.

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Choosing the Right Puzzle for Your Animal

Choosing the Right Puzzle for Your Animal

IQ Puzzles, Treat Dispensers, Enrichment Toys... They go by a lot of names & there sure are a LOT to choose from. So how do you go about choosing the correct puzzle or treat dispenser for your pet? Toby & I (Owen) have had the opportunity to test tons of these and think we've got a pretty good understanding of how you should go about choosing your pet's next IQ toy. So here are a few steps for choosing the best puzzle or treat dispenser for your pet!
First... Do you want something that you can "set & forget"? By this we mean do you want a treat dispenser that your pet can use without you directly by their side. Something that will last a while and not take a lot of effort or monitoring from your end. *Please note that we do not recommend dog's be left unattended while using treat dispensers. All toys, especially treat dispensers, should be used under moderate supervision.* 
If this is the case, then the standard "puzzle" may not be the best solution for you and your pet. Puzzles, especially the harder ones, can get frustrating for certain dogs & when this happens there's a tendency to try and chew through the puzzle instead of solve it (Toby is amazing at this method of "solving" puzzles). Instead of using a puzzle as your "set and forget" method of entertaining your dog try utilizing a Lickimat to entertain your pet for longer periods of time. Lickimats can be filled with tons of different treats, checkout our post on what to put in a lickimat for more ideas.  They can be used for almost any animal & provide great boredom busting stimulation for your pet. Along with this, using treat dispensers like the Tricky Treat ball & the Tug a Jug are great toys that take little effort from your end to keep your pet happy. A few other great options for low effort treat dispensing toys for your pet include...
For dogs
For Cats & Smaller Animals
Now, if you're looking for a fun experience with your pet. Where mental stimulation and family bonding come together into one great activity.  Then a puzzle for your pet is definitely the right next step.  Puzzles, especially with an animal who's never done one, require direct attention from you while your pet uses it.  Treat the puzzle as a toy that is only taken out when you're ready to play with your pet.  This will bring an entirely new level of excitement to your animal as they start to recognize when you pull out their puzzles for play.  While watching your pet, if you notice them start to get frustrated with the puzzle show them how to solve the next step. If your pet starts to chew or bite at the puzzle, quickly uncover and recover one of the treats in front of them.  This will get them reengaged in the task of finding the treat with logic, rather than with force.  
Each puzzle is unique and requires a different set of motions & problem solving skills to figure out.  So picking the right one for your pet is important. When purchasing your pet's puzzle, be sure to think about their body size & shape to determine whether they can complete the puzzle. Typically I recommend going for a puzzle that primarily uses sliding pieces to solve.  This type of puzzle works well for any animal as they can use their paws or nose to move each slider. A few great beginner puzzles that primarily use sliders include...
Looking for something a bit more challenging for your pet? The Outward Hound Challenge Slider is by far our most popular puzzle.  I actually recommend this puzzle for pets starting out with puzzles too! The reason this is such a great puzzle is because it can be setup at multiple challenge levels.  If your pet is new to puzzles, try hiding treats really close to the start of the puzzle. Giving your pet the opportunity to learn how to solve the puzzle without numerous steps involved. Then as they start to get the hang of solving the puzzle, start moving the treats further and further from the starting point. This adds multiple steps to the puzzle before it's solved, creating a much more challenging solve. The versatility of this puzzle gives it way more flexibility in terms of being easy or hard. Versus some of the other slider puzzles which, once your pet solves them, tend to become too easy & repetitive.
Has your pet conquered sliding puzzles? Or maybe you want something with a few more actions to solve.  Either way, these next puzzles are fantastic for teasing your pet's brain and testing their problem solving skills.  We've labelled these puzzles as "Pull" puzzles.  Pull puzzles are ones that involve a drawer or unlocking mechanism that needs to be pulled with either your pet's paw or snout. Because of the nature of these puzzles, larger dogs may have a harder time with them. However it doesn't mean they won't be able to figure them out. 
The first pull puzzle I would recommend is the Dog Twister. The Dog Twister uses a standard slide method on top, which works great as a beginner puzzle.  But it also includes locks along the side of the puzzle, which lock up each of the sliders. Leaving each lock open will give your pet the chance to learn how to use the sliders. Then as your pet starts to figure out solving the puzzle, start locking some of the sliders in place.  This will add another step and challenge to the puzzle, which your pet will have to figure out before solving it. As your pet progressively gets better and better, lock more of the sliders to add more and more of a challenge.
The next pull puzzle is called the Dog Casino.  The Dog Casino relies heavily on the pulling drawers in order to solve the puzzle.  Starting off, you can hide your pet's treats inside the drawers and allow them to figure out the drawers open.  Once they've figure out how to open each drawer, you can add an extra level of difficulty to the puzzle.  By turning the bones on top of the puzzle, the drawers will become locked.  Now your pet will have to turn each bone on the top of the puzzle before they can access the drawers for their treats. This puzzle is a great intermediate puzzle that works well for small to medium sized dogs.  Unfortunately dogs around Toby's size (95 lbs) start to struggle opening the drawers, which can be frustrating or demotivating for them.
Finally, if your pet is ready for the most challenging puzzle in our collection you can try the Nina Ottosson Multi Puzzle.  The multi-puzzle combines several different challenges into one complicated and mind bending puzzle.  Featuring sliders around the outside, similar to the Challenge Slider. However it also contains small locking mechanisms that will lock up the sliders to create an even harder solve.  Then contained in the middle is a spinner that allows your pet to access one treat compartment at a time. Meaning they will need to open and close each treat compartment before getting to the next. This challenging puzzle can be quite versatile in how difficult you make it, meaning even an intermediate puzzle solver (or really smart pet) will be able to enjoy it. 
The key when choosing a puzzle for your pet is to seek out one with a bit of versatility, but that you're confident your pet will be able to figure out (eventually). Finding a puzzle that can be made harder as your pet learns is a great way to build their problem solving and logic skills.  Plus it's a fantastic way to bond with your pet as you encourage them and show them how to solve the puzzle. Just remember that you should not leave your pet alone with a puzzle, they are plastic and if a dog wants to they can definitely chew through it. Instead treat the time as a way to connect with your dog, while stimulating their mind at the same time.
Still have more questions about the puzzles? Stop by our store to check out each on in person and see how they all work. We're always happy to meet new animal lovers & will gladly answer any questions about our line of puzzle toys for you.
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