If your dog is interested in toys (which I guess most are) you'll know how much a good play enriches his day. Our dogs love their toys whether it's chasing a ball or worrying away at a distraction toy to get the goodies out of it. Buddy's favourite toy of all time was his Kong Wubba, which is the only toy he ever stood up to Star over, refusing very un-Labrador-like to share it. Star loves her plush squeaky telephone toy, but she can only have supervised access to it because Buddy would see it off in two minutes flat.
Dr. Roger Mugford knows all about the value of keeping dogs occupied and has apparently been applying that knowledge to keep some more exotic animals happy too:
From Paignton to Pretoria – The Company Of Animals keeps zoo animals happy around the world
Playtime at Paignton Zoo just got more exciting with the introduction of interactive dog toys from The Company Of Animals, for animals including tigers, monkeys and meerkats.
The toys, designed to keep domestic pets happy, can be played with by other animals in exactly the same way and are currently being used at the zoo to cut down on stereotypical behaviour, such as pacing up and down, which can be a sign of boredom.
Paignton Zoo played host to the ninth International Conference on Environmental Enrichment this year, where the use of the boredom-busting toys was discussed, along with other issues related to enriching the lives of captive animals.
The mental and physical stimulation requirements of animals in zoos mirror those of our pets, which is why a variety of different species have enjoyed playing with Kongs, Nina Ottosson Interactive Toys and Boomer Balls. Busy, stimulated animals are happy animals as shown by Paignton and many other zoos worldwide.
Julian Chapman, Head Keeper of Mammals at Paignton Zoo, comments: “Enriching our animals’ environments is of paramount importance to us at Paignton Zoo. We’ve built a reputation for having some of the most advanced enclosures for animals and we take into consideration all factors, from what we feed them to ways of enriching their lives with interactive toys. Our meerkats in particular have benefited from the Nina Ottosson range of toys from The Company Of Animals. “
The Company Of Animals has been contributing to the enrichment of captive animals around the globe, with Pretoria Zoo in South Africa already using its dog toys. In particular, birds of prey are having great fun with Kongs as some can naturally dislocate their shoulders to get inside small holes for food. Fish too love finding their food in Kongs and even the shy lobsters, who usually hide away when the public is around, are only too happy to come out if they smell one.
The Nina Ottosson range of dog toys consists of different puzzle games that each has its own method of concealing treats. An animal has to use his natural problem-solving abilities to work out how to get his reward, while stimulating his brain in the process and diverting his attention away from potentially destructive behaviour.
Kongs have long been a dog’s favourite as the robust rubber toys can be stuffed with food and treats to give hours of entertainment. Their unique shape also means they bounce in unexpected directions, so life is never dull with a Kong.
The Company of Animals has also supplied such toys for environmental enrichment to Animals Asia, the RSPCA and London Zoo.
About The Company of Animals
Founded by Dr Roger Mugford, The Company of Animals is the UK’s leading specialist in dog behaviour and training products, all designed to achieve a positive outcome pets. COA design and manufacture a wide range of acclaimed products, including the Halti & Halti-Harness, Pet Corrector, Coachies, CLIX training range and much more. They are also the distributor for the internationally acclaimed KONG range of products. http://www.companyofanimals.co.uk/