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Article: Dual Enrichment

Dual Enrichment

Dual Enrichment

/ an unedited sharing from a customer /

One of the joys of being a fur parent is seeing your puppy’s happiness in discovering their favorite food, their most treasured toy and in witnessing moments of pure bliss when they are at their favorite dog park or beach. 
As any loving fur parent can attest, we want our fur kids to have their absolute best life. We feed them the best food, make sure they are comfy in the home (how many beds have we all purchased), enroll them in puppy socials/arrange play dates, and can’t think of a vacation or dinner out without them. We can also agree that it can be difficult to keep our fur kids entertained and to find fun things for them to do. 

THE SEARCH
At home, we have our fair share of stuffies and chew toys, but we wanted to integrate interactive, enrichment toys that would challenge and mentally stimulate our puppy, 4000 (Four Thousand). With the internet at our finger tips, we researched the top toys that Amazon, Google, and top dog blogs recommended. We tried our hand at ball treat dispensers, puzzles, rubber toy lines that allowed for treats and food to be stuffed. While some held her interest for some time, some of the toys revealed some issues we did not realize until we tested them out. Ball dispensers loudly rolling in our kitchen with the occasional bang/ smack against the wall wasn’t ideal for work-from-home video conferences. The stomping of paws against plastic puzzle toys and difficulty in thoroughly cleaning all the components did not make these a top choice for us. She also mastered her puzzle toys quickly leading us to figure out backup options to keep her occupied during times when we needed no distractions. And although she would love her rubber interactive toys, we wanted something a bit more challenging for her.
MEETING THE NOU
Social media introduced us to the NOU from the Lambwolf Collective. What was this toy that fur parents were hiding treats in? We purchased a crinkle NOU and it has been a game changer. At first, my husband gave me the “another stuffie purchase” look, but then he started to see the multifaceted uses of her NOU. We started throwing it around the home and she joyfully went to fetch it. Then it was a great game of tug of war.4000 is a curious pup and loves to come into kitchen while I cook. It was during one of these nights that I stuffed a few of her favorite chicken heart treats in between some quick ties and gave her the NOU to keep occupied and away from the stove. I got back to cooking and the next thing I hear is my husband calling out , “So, we are definitely getting a few more of these!”He was saying this while taking videos of 4000 as she excitedly worked her nosing skills while trying to untie her NOU to get to her yummies. First, my husband has never encouraged the purchase of yet another dog toy (yes, we have quite a few) and second, I didn’t know who was more excited, him or our puppy. To see the joy on his face while he was taking videos of 4000 vs. NOU was priceless. 

A PLAY OBJECT FOR THE PUP + HUMANIn the days to come, he would think of how he could make the NOU more challenging for 4000. How tightly should he tie the knots. What kind of hitches should he be throwing and in what direction. How best should he hide her treats. Not working from home, I would randomly get updates on how 4000 did with my husband’s “NOU Challenge of the Day.” 4000 was even being timed on how long it would take her to get to all of her treats. One night, I saw this dynamic duo occupied in the living room. 4000 patiently sitting, watching him knot her NOU while he hid her treats. There he was, proud and engaged dog dad, encouraging his girl as she worked excitedly at her NOU. When she came upon a tighter knot, he would encourage her, pointing and saying “tug here”. If too tight, he would help loosen a spot for her and cheer and clap as she got her treat. We have a record time of 49 minutes! We have been impressed by her focus while using her nose, paws, and mouth to work through her NOU challenges. We love how it never really is the same challenge for her and it allows for work-from-home fur parents a low-noise option for an interactive toy.As the head furparent who has done most of the research and retail purchases on everything from food to supplements to toys and the main person taking videos and pictures of 4000, seeing my husband and puppy get so excited and engaged with each other over an enrichment activity has been heartwarming. Receiving updates from my husband regarding her successful completion of her challenge is a highlight of my day. The NOU toy has not only enhanced 4000’s life but ours as well. Her happiness has elevated our own.

This gem of a toy is versatile, easy to clean, and yes, beautifully made. It is our favorite interactive toy and we look forward to incorporating additional NOU’s and the O NOU’s in future challenges.

Written by Irene Moy, mom of 4000

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