Feeding toy - so far, a non starter...
  • tim3308tim3308
    Posts: 71
    Based on great reviews, blogs, videos of users on youtube, etc., I just bought PetSafe's Magic Mushroom...

    The results couldn't have been more laughable for our year old Akita, Kaiju, and Kuma, 7 year old male Shiba (no attempts w/the females yet).

    First morning attempt I put some food in the "hood" part as instructed, I gently held it up on floor (doesn't balance well by itself), encouraging both dogs (separately) to nudge it over and get some of the kibble. They would hardly even nose it (dogs are fed twice day, 6 minute timer. Dogs are trim). It was painful. Didn't get much food to say the least w/this (they should be hungrier later. Waited to well in the evening last night. Same result. On the Shiba's attempt, it was titled over, some food spilled. Head beside it, he laid on the ground. I gave this 15 minutes, no response...

    Okay, they will be hungrier for the morning attempt... Hardy a reaction this morning (and they basically didn't get fed the day before). Zero uptick. I replace their kibble w/cat food (trainer trick). No change. Will not nudge the mushroom, will eat the spilled Kibble w/my help (semi demonstration), but definitely no "gotta eat that stuff" curiousness in the toy. Even tried akita behind a gate watching the male shiba w/it. He then wanted in and I let him… ate the little spilled cat food and then promptly walked away, shiba just looking on - Ha! What a joke.

    None of our dogs are food driven/obsessed creatures. Never have been. Food guarding Akita? - Ha! No. Early on he was instructed to stay clear of the Shiba's food during feeding time. He does (didn't take much vigilance at all - and one could lay across his food, and he wouldn't blink at a person - but try to take a rawhide bone from him outside of his crate - he will growl w/the best of them. You may have guessed that's why he doesn't get bones outside of his crate now).

    Being a falconer, one of the "secrets" is proper weight control. Hungry(not starved) birds make for smart students... yet googling around and I can't find, "Make sure your dog is extra hungry" , etc., when it comes to these feeding toys. W/my dog's lack of interest, I thought I would see similar discussions? Hardly the case... Not thrilled if that's what I have to do - "starve" the dogs into interest. That's not in the spirit of the feeding game this is supposed to be? Or is it? Dogs will gladly "hunt" for fun, unlike a mature a raptor (they hunt for sustenance).

    Hence this post for those w/experience of feeding toys like this? Thanks.
    Tim Jessell
    http://timjessell.com
    Kuma 7yr/m/Shiba, Miko 6yr/f/Shiba, Saki 5 yr/f/Klee Kai/Shiba, Kaiju 1 year/m/A Akita
  • I think hunger plays some part but I also think the Magic Mushroom isn't the best for interesting/ keeping a dog's focus in general.

    I have both the Petsafe magic mushroom and the Kong Wobbler. When I first started using them I did have to give a 'tutorial' on how they worked so the dogs wouldn't get annoyed and just rip them up. Now they can use both.

    I actually prefer the Kong version better. It's more effective and a bit easier on the dogs that haven't used a feeder before as it doesn't just spill food randomly, my mushroom often just tosses food out at random times and not when the dogs are actually trying. The Kong's shape is a bit easier for them to carry, bat, and play with. It's stronger and a lot more durable so it can take some wear.

    I agree for some reason none of my dogs really had any interest in the mushroom and I now just use it as a treat dispenser as it makes them rather frustrated when I try to feed them out of it. It's more of a toy and less of an actual feeder.
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  • tim3308tim3308
    Posts: 71
    Thanks for your experience Vulpes. Ripping up is of little concern at this point. Ha!
    Kongs are generally safe here as well. I find them so low tech (not that that's always an issue), and higher in owner labor... and my dogs could really give a crap about them as well. Kaiju's thrill world are bones, rawhides, and anything stuffed (plush toys. Those eventually get ripped). On paper, I really like the mushroom's size ,adjustable design, ease of filling, and thick material... just not how unenthused the reception is... :(
    Tim Jessell
    http://timjessell.com
    Kuma 7yr/m/Shiba, Miko 6yr/f/Shiba, Saki 5 yr/f/Klee Kai/Shiba, Kaiju 1 year/m/A Akita
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 3420
    Some dogs aren't motivated enough by food to care about food puzzle toys. If they aren't good workers for treats from the human normally, they probably won't be for a silly puzzle toy. Mayne try one that isn't as hard, like a Kong toy stuffed with kibble...some dogs aren't as clever about figuring out the hard toys.
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