Smarten Up Poochie, Dog Brick Review

Pet owners know nothing is too good for their poochie or kitty. They readily spend $100 on their beloved companions without batting an eyelash. Hey if you got the money, who better to spoil than your pets? In my quest to find something not only fun but mentally stimulating for my dog Miko, I came across a line of pet toys from a Swedish company called Nina Ottosson. They were kind enough to send my dog a few items from their new lineup. Hit the jump for my Miko’s review.

All the toys are based around simple puzzles that a 5 year old human child could easily master – namely because we have prehensile limbs. Dogs and cats have nothing but muzzles and paws. In the video below, I don’t doubt Miko knows exactly how to get to the treats. He just has a hard time figuring out how to use his nose and paws to get to them and that’s where the fun comes in.

One of the toys Miko received was the DogBrick, a series of sliding tiles and removable bone-shaped caps hiding treats. It’s made of hard plastic with nothing he could accidentally swallow. As soon as I placed the toy on the floor he spent the next 15 minutes pawing, biting, pushing and licking to get to the goodies. It didn’t take him long to figure out a careful grip maneuvers the bone-shaped caps out of the way.

Sliding the tiles was more of a challenge. Out of frustration he cried and accidentally pushed one of the tiles revealing his treat. He stared at the DogBrick for a few seconds then cleverly started pawing everything until something moved.

Eureka! This moment of recognitive recognition and problem solving was amazing. I could actually see the lightbulb brighten as all the gears in his head started turning – “just keep pawing and something’s bound to happen” he’s thinking.

Sure enough in no time Miko was able to slide all the tiles over. After a careful inspection to make sure he got all the treats out, he sat down, licked his chops and looked up at me.

This first attempt took him about 15-20 minutes to complete. His second attempt shaved off 3 minutes. His third attempt shaved off another 2 minutes. Is he learning and retaining those lessons? Hard to say. Nina Ottosson claims their toys are recommended by scientists, veterinarians and pet trainers. It’s stimulating and can energize a bored, destructive dog into an active, loving companion.

I can see Miko absolutely loved his new toy. They come in both plastic and wooden varieties. The wooden ones are beautifully crafted. They’re also a lot harder to clean than the plastic one because poochie becomes a drool factory while playing. The plastic ones are lighter and easier to transport so if you’re thinking about a purchase, go for those.

What we liked:

  • Unique pet puzzles
  • Stimulates the dog, they love it!
  • Can exhaust them enough to nap and that’s a good thing
  • Entertaining to watch
  • Might smarten up your pet!
  • Plastic versions are easily washed

What could be improved:

  • Heavier base so it doesn’t slide around so much
  • Some of the sliding components don’t slide smoothly
  • Wooden versions are difficult to clean
  • A little bit pricey for a pet toy – $50

Designer: Nina Ottosson [ Buy It Here ]


Nina Ottosson Dog Brick from Long Tran on Vimeo.

15 Comments

  • This is great, I love it.

  • Carl says:

    small plastic parts which a dog could swallow. it ends up everywhere. and well its a bit cruel. how would you like your food locked in a rubix cube?
    I think i will do very well in the USA.. yee haaw!

    • LJ says:

      Carl, you obviously didn’t watch the video clip… There are no loose parts that a dog could swallow. And therefore it does not “end up everywhere”. Cruel?! As you can see, dogs actually like problemsolving when there is an immediate reward – food.

  • Chung Dha says:

    The shape and side need bit changes could see the dog have problem getting hold of the bone covers. Also the vid looks pretty cruel. Just train your dog and don’t get lazy yourself, mostly when a dog is lazy pretty much reflect the owner who is also lazy.

    • Nicole says:

      Wow, Chung Dha, do you have any idea what you are talking about??? You shouldn’t spout opinions on things you know nothing about as you just come across as an ignorant simpleton!! The toy is not meant to be easy, the entire point is that your dog has to work for the food!!! The dog had trouble getting hold of the bone covers so he had to use his brain and try different things. Next of all this toy does not train your dog, lol, it provides your dog with mental exercise. Owners who use this are helping to keep their dogs stimulated not being lazy!! Also for this dog; he is nine years old and this is only the second time he has used the puzzle so give him a break. If you think toys like this are a waste of time i feel very sorry for any dog you own, he must be very bored and misunderstood.

  • Katie says:

    I agree with the review. There are better models of her toys that are easier for them to paw and nose their way through. The Tornado and Trubble make better games for the dog since one spins and the other has pegs that stick out. The sliding plastic pieces can be tough for dogs that have bigger paws especially.

    I’m not sure if it actually makes a dog smarter, but it did make mine a lot easier to train. She was really difficult to get to focus and the toy helped her with that I believe (or perhaps its just some placebo effect). A little pricey but I do think they are worth it for dogs that have a tougher time concentraing (puppies!).

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