Dog puzzles

Mavis at Nine Months

Mavis is now nine months old! She’s closing in on a year so fast that I almost want time to slow down. I’m also excited to see her become a dog, you know?

Parti colored Cocker Spaniel puppy therapy dog in training harness on walk

New Things

  • Mavis graduated Adult Level II training classes with flying colors! She is now phased out of training at Petco because they don’t have any classes higher than Adult II, haha.
  • She took her Canine Good Citizen Test and missed the mark on just one behavior, which was having a stranger touch her paws. This is important for therapy work (because people will be touching her if she’s a therapy dog!), so we are working really hard on paw touching before we re-take the CGC test.
  • She’s going to be a big sister!

Hard Things

  • She loves playing fetch with a ball, but if it rolls underneath something, you would think the world was ending. She whines, cries, scratches, and barks until she gets that ball back.
  • When it’s cold out, she goes #2 on our back porch. Yuck.
  • She still jumps on the couch from time to time (when Malcolm taunts her… he is a bad influence on her, ha!).
  • I recently had to run into Walmart while Jimmy and I had Mavis in the car with us, so I left her in the car with Jimmy and he said her little body shook the entire time I was in the store because she missed me. Poor gal. I missed her just as much!
Black lab cuddling cocker spaniel puppy on raised dog bed

Mavis loves cuddling with her big sister! Also, they really love their raised bed.

Other Things

  • I can’t wait for it to warm up in Pittsburgh so we can do more training outside!
  • Mavis still hasn’t gone into heat. I think it’s normal for the first heat cycle to begin any time from six months to a year, so I expect it to happen soon.
  • Her growth seems to have slowed down.
  • She is still doing great with not being in a crate and not chewing things.
  • She still gets along wonderfully with basically any dog she meets. She wants to play, play, play all the time.
  • Sometimes I just look at her and just kiss her little face. She’s so cute and truly brings me so much joy!
Cocker spaniel puppy practicing leave it command with dog food puzzles

Practicing the “leave it” command by waiting patiently before being allowed to figure out her puzzles!

Favorite Things

There you have it, that’s Mavis at nine months! Our puppy is turning into a dog before our eyes! We love the dog she’s becoming and can’t wait to see her be a big sister in the fall!


Our Favorite Dog Toys and Puzzles

I’ve wanted to post about what Jimmy and I use and love for our pets for such a long time, and I think I’ve finally gathered together all of my thoughts. Once I started writing this post I realized I’m going to need to split everything up into seperate posts or else this would be one long post.

So, let’s start with our favorite dog puzzles and toys and be on the lookout for our favorite cat puzzles and toys in my next post!

The best dog toys and puzzles

1. Hide-A-Squirrel Puzzle Toy

I kept reading great reviews for this toy and didn’t understand what the fuss was about until I bought it and saw how much Mavis loves it. Basically, you can put the squirrels in the holes of the “tree trunk” and your dog figures out how to get them out. She thinks it’s so cool to pull the squirrels out. I also see her just playing with the squirrels a lot, too.

2. Paw Flapper Interactive Puzzle

If your dog is a fast eater, I’d recommend this feeding puzzle. You put food inside the holes and the base of the puzzle spins. Your dog first has to open the flaps and then spin the base of the puzzle to get all the food out. It’s a great way to get them to use their mind to work for their food. You can see Mavis figuring out this puzzle around the 5:00 mark in this vlog.

3. KONG Classic

The KONG is such a great toy for feeding treats to strong chewers. I usually spoon peanut butter into a KONG and stuff a treat inside to make it harder. Lola and Mavis then have to use their paws and tongues to get the peanut butter and treat out. It takes them a good 15 minutes or so and they love it. If you really want to make it last longer, you can freeze the KONG with peanut butter inside. Other fillings you can use are apple sauce, bananas, and the KONG Easy Treat (it basically looks like Easy Cheese spray and is a lot less messy than using peanut butter!).

4. Hol-ee Roller Ball

This was another toy that I didn’t get what the fuss was about until we tried it ourselves. This is definitely Mavis’ favorite toy. She loves to play fetch with this ball and sometimes I stuff pieces of old t-shirts or rags inside it with treats rolled in them and she gets to “destroy” the toy by ripping the t-shirt and rag strips out of the ball and eating the treats. If your dog likes to rip apart toys, I’d recommend this toy with the t-shirt and rag strips idea. The ball comes in different sizes and there’s also an extreme version for heavy chewers.

5. Chuckit! Paraflight Frisbee

This is actually a toy that my brother’s golden retriever, Jax, loves. He’s obsessed with playing frisbee and usually destroys frisbees pretty quickly. He once cut his tongue on a plastic frisbee and that was a bit of a disaster. This frisbee is soft, flexible, and designed to fly well. I can’t wait to see if Mavis will play frisbee once it warms up outside!

6. Trixie Flip Board

This is a bit of a challenging puzzle, so I’d only recommend spending your money on this one if your dog already has shown interest in puzzles and enjoys them. This puzzle has sliding discs, levers, and cones that need to be moved or lifted in order for your dog to get their food or treats. Mavis and Lola both love this puzzle! Trixie also has other levels of puzzles that are more or less difficult than this one that I’d recommend checking out!

7. Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble

This is a puzzle feeder that we use multiple times a day in our house. It comes in small or large sizes (we use the small for Mavis and the large for Lola). You unscrew the ball and put dog food or treats inside and then twist it back together. The top and bottom of the ball have holes that you can customize the size of (by cutting little rubber nubs) based on your dogs kibble size or how hard/easy you want to make it. Your dog then has to roll the ball in order to dispense their food or treats. We use this for at least one meal a day for Mavis and Lola and it takes them about 30 minutes to finish their meal plus they have to walk around to get their food out, which gets them some extra exercise. Bonus: it’s also dishwasher safe!

8. Dogwood Stick Chew Toy

Has anyone given their dog an elk antler? Our dogs love them but man are they expensive! This is a cheaper alternative to an elk antler and is made of real dogwood. I have no idea why dogs like to chew dogwood, but ours really enjoy this! It doesn’t splinter like a simple stick would and comes in different sizes and flavors. I keep one in our house and one in my truck for Mavis to chew on while we drive to pet sitting jobs. She gets to excited to get in my truck because she knows her dogwood stick is in there!

So, there you have it! Those are some of our favorite dog toys and puzzles. I could have listed about a million more, but I tried to pick our absolute favorites and have good variety for dogs that like to chew/fetch/solve puzzles/etc.!