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Play With Your Food

“Don’t play with your food!” These are words most children hear from their parents. When it comes to our dogs, those are words you will not hear us say to any dog. We actively encourage dogs to play with, search for, or otherwise work for their food in some way. This is extremely enriching and fulfilling for dogs as long as we don't make it too difficult and frustrating. 

As with almost all hunting animals, there is a very deep satisfaction to “the hunt.” This is referred to as ‘Seeking’ and it produces more reward than finding what they are seeking, by way of the release of dopamine, the “happy” hormone. Dopamine acts on areas of the brain to give you feelings of pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation. So seeking feels better than finding. When we feed our dogs in a bowl, we completely remove the seeking aspect of eating. By giving dogs a job to do for their food, we are not punishing them or teasing them, we are making them happy. So let them play with their food. Scatter the kibble on the floor so they have to find it. Feed your dog in a food puzzle toy or other food toy, like a Kong stuffed with canned dog food and frozen for warm summer afternoons. Find what makes your dog seek and they shall find, and they shall be happy.

Sammy with his kong
Can I play now?

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