A new Irish invention is set to ensure that the country’s smartest dogs are made to work for their supper this Christmas.
Industrial designer James McIlvenna, from Howth, set out to invent his range of interactive dog toys after his pet labrador Sandy ate his wedding album.
K9 Connectables’ Kibble Connector encourages dogs to actively pursue their nutrition through interaction, slowing down mealtimes and battling canine boredom.
The patented food dispensing system gets dogs moving by using their own food to motivate them at mealtimes, solving a range of problems before they are fed.
James explained: “Sandy is extremely high energy and while going through her early biting phase, managed to jump up onto the hall table and tear apart our wedding album which had come through the post.
“A lot of dog problems stem from boredom. They need to be challenged and feel as if they are working for their keep. Exercise alone is never enough – they need stimulation and to be mentally engaged.
“The idea with the K9 Connectables series of toys is that you stuff the dog’s favourite food and treats inside and connect them together.
“They work with your dog’s instinct to hunt and work for food, challenging them to unlock the treats inside.
“The dog can smell the food but has to use their brain to figure out how to break the connections and get their rewards.
“It takes Sandy up to 45 minutes of constant play to get all of her food and treats from inside the toys that we add on to it.”
The toys connect together for infinite variety with up to six levels of difficulty – from easy soft play for gentle pooches to tougher pro level for high energy dogs.
James said: “You can add extra treats to the toys and when each connection is figured out by your dog, they get a little reward. They also get to break the connections apart which is very satisfying for them.
“The dispenser flow is adjustable and it also connects to the other pieces in the range to present pets with a playtime and mealtime challenge.”
To develop these toys, James worked with dog behavioural experts, veterinary professionals and a dedicated team of dog owners. The full range is available at k9connectables.com with early bird pricing until the end of November.