Pawcurean Literary and Hairball Society ebook is here!

Winner! Carla and Tino!

Happy Friday! As we speak there are 22 of you out there busily working on your 12 Days of Petmas posts that will be starting in a week, which is pretty much my favorite thing ever.

In the meantime, I have the last of the Gift Guide items, as well as a couple of gifts for you.

My Pick:

The 2011 Pawcurious Calendar is here! ‘Words to Live By’ Volume 2 is chock full of Brody and Koa.

Like last year, all proceeds will be donated. What I decided to do this year is take all the proceeds, buy pet food with it, and deliver it to Helen Woodward for distribution in the AniMeals program. This is a program that delivers pet food to people in the Meals on Wheels program, allowing them to keep their companions as well as keep their food delivery for themselves, as opposed to having to share it with their pets. It is a great cause. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kekoa’s Pick:

I’m a huge fan of Kyjen toys. They are one of the rare companies that lives up to the hype: Quality products that are fun, durable, and you’ll like as much as your pets do. Anyone who knows me knows I have a thing for gingerbread- I JUST LOVE IT- so a gingerbread Kyjen toy can be filed under “Irresistible” in this house.

Apollo’s Pick:

The Kitt-In Box is a little desktop cat bed meant to move your feline off your keyboard, which if your cat is anything like mine is his second favorite place in the world after your pillow, and off to the side of your desk. It’s like a little bread-box of kitteh.

Brody’s Pick:

From the moment I first learned about Nina Ottosson puzzle toys, I was intrigued. Little puzzle toys filled with treats as a mind exercise as well as a way to keep your pet busy is a great idea. I particularly like how the Dog Twister version, which is shaped like a pie, has little interlocking ‘bones’ that can be removed to add an additional level of difficulty once your pet gets the hang of the basics.

This is Brody’s first introduction to the Dog Twister after I bought him one a couple of months ago:

YouTube Preview Image

He was despondent when he emptied it all out.

I was sent one to review, but since I already had one I of course set it aside to gift to one of you. So there you have it:

Giveaway One: Nina Ottosson Dog Twister!

To enter, simply comment with a story about how smart your pet is (or not, as the case may be. ;)) Winner will be selected at random using Contest closes 12/9 at midnight PST.

And the other giveaway is actually from all of you. Behold the Inaugural Pawcurean Literary and Hairball Society Recipe Collection! This is a downloadable e-book featuring the pet recipes you all sent it.

Giveaway 2: The Pawcurean Literary and Hairball Society 2010 Cookbook!

Download The Pawcurean E-Cookbook

This is free to download. If you are so inclined to make a donation, because that is a beautiful thing, please do so to your local shelter.

Filed: Blog, Giveaways, Picks of the Litter, Reviews Tagged: , ,
  • This is a story of one smart dog and one … not-so-smart dog. When we leave, we have always given dogs frozen kongs stuffed full of a mix of kibble and wet food (accounted for in their daily food amount). They think that us leaving is the best thing in the world because of this. Our German shepherd-chow chow mix, Cordy, loves these and can unpack this frozen solid treat in about 15 minutes.

    Then there’s Kaylee, our Chinese shar pei. To say she’s as dumb as a sack of hammers is being insulting to the hammers (she’s very cute, just not very bright). Kaylee just stares at a frozen kong. Nudges it with her nose. Licks the small end a few times. Stares at it. Sniffs it. Licks all of the rubber. Lays down and pouts. If it thaws a bit and some happens to fall out, she’ll eat that, and the cycle resumes.

    We stopped giving her frozen kongs because of the waste of food, and now she gets green beans and kibble frozen into a block of ice (also good for her bad kidneys!). That, at least, is something she can manage! (unless she accidentally loses it amongst her blanket and I come home to find a soggy green-beany mess … sigh)

    So, the twister will most likely be for Cordy, but we always let Kaylee try those sorts of things, too, just in case two brain cells accidentally rub against each other and she figures it out (hasn’t happened yet, though!).

  • Cathey

    Awesome toy! I think our Fiona would benefit from the Twister. While she is not “generally” destructive otherwise, she has made sawdust of more than one Kong – one the industrial strength black one! I think this would keep her busy for part of the day when we are gone. Lizzie and Bailey are great problem solvers, but Fiona, not so much! Could be good for her.
    The book said Westies were problem solvers and that is really true. She wanted to get closer to my husband and being the short dog of the three, this is problematic. She figured out that she could jump on the couch, to the couch’s arm and them up to the back of the couch and she’s right there–right near Joe’s chest and arms and he can pet me, me, and only me!
    Owning multiple dogs at the same time, that’s the best thing – they are truly like kids, all different, all requiring different “parenting” skills!
    LOVE the idea of dog food delivered with Meals on Wheels – I have never heard of this but think it’s one of the best ideas ever. Thanks for everything, Dr. V!!

  • Georgia Jewel

    My 2 year old cat Pewter opens doors like Houdini. I’ve never had to baby proof when my boys were small, but since we got Pewts, the whole place has been locked and strapped down. He can get in almost anything.

  • Jeanie

    Our dogs Bama and Sadie would love this. Bama is a shepherd/pyrenees and is a big old lovable moose while Sadie is a shepherd/lab and is very much the queen of the house and a lady. They are smart enough to have us trained each in their own way:)

  • Lisa W

    Sophie has my husband trained! We tend to eat in the family room, and Sophie just quietly walks up to Jeff, puts her chin on his leg, and looks up at him with those little golden eyes. Not a sound, not a bit of drool, nothing — just puts on her “I’m really sweet and cute and polite and I would really like a bite of that please” face. Blink, blink. Works like a charm. Oscar is arguably even smarter — he waits until Jeff gives Sophie a bite, then gets down from the sofa and walks over to get his bit of whatever is on the fork or spoon! He lets Sophie do all the work, pretending like he doesn’t even notice, but that boy doesn’t miss a trick!

  • Tonya

    What a CUTE video!!! I love that you took his paw and showed him how to move the piece. It sure didn’t take him long to get the hang of it. Good boy, Brody!
    I would love for Clyde to give that Twister a try. He is one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever been around. And he is ultra food motivated! No fancy training treats required – just entice him with a bit of kibble, and he will perform for you. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve yet to find a treat “puzzle” that he can’t solve. I just love watching the wheels turn in his head when he’s problem solving!
    Thanks for the awesome recipe collection. How fun!
    I’ve already put the Pawcurious calendar on my Christmas wishlist. I have enjoyed the 2010 Brody calendar so much. I look at some of those pictures and just can’t believe how quickly he grew up! The AniMeals program is a wonderful concept! I’m going to have to check around here and see if there’s anything similar.
    Thanks, Dr. V!

  • Karen B.

    My poodles would love the Nina Ottosson toy; we already have the dog brick and it fascinates me to watch how different they are when they play with it. Finn (Standard Poodle) sometimes resorts to brute force, while Theo (Mini Poodle puppy) is more methodical and thoughtful about it. You can see the little light bulb go off above his head.

  • My golden Teller learned to turn on light switches by watching me turn on lights. As I move through the house he goes ahead of me flipping on lights – hallway, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen…now if only I could get him to turn them OFF!

    • Leigh

      That is too cool!!

  • Carla

    Wow, I love this twister…Tino would LOVE it!

  • My doodlebug isn’t exactly the sharpest crayon in the box, but even he might get a kick out of the twister ๐Ÿ™‚

  • JC

    I don’t know if this illustrates how *smart* Cinder is, but mostly everyone knows how much she absolutely loves televison. So, when she is being too friendly with people like licking their faces or trying to get onto their laps, I tell her “Go watch your show!” and she runs over to the television. No joke… I didn’t train her to do it either. She also knows “Go see what’s on tv.” LOL Does that make me a terrible dog mom?! ;0)

  • Steph B

    I would love the Twister! My Cavalier figured out the dog Trouble Puzzle after about an hour of “training” (ie, showing here that there was food in there, and reminding her to use paws and not teeth) and she loved it. Our new puppy will need something to challenge him as he grows!

  • Lucy

    My girls have one of the treat dispensing balls and they figure when its empty if they bash it against the floor or try to rip the little top opening cover off they will get more treat.

    Is this thing pretty tough? lol

  • Lauren

    I always say to Tuck that it must be nice to have a trained human. He figured out for himself that if he sits by the stairs to the den, or by the door in the den, I will get up from what I’m doing and let him outside to go to the bathroom. If I’m eating or busy, he whines and does a pee-pee dance so I eventually get up to let him out, even though he then just chases the birds. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Lisa W

      Too funny! Both of mine are the same way with the back door. Sometimes you have to wonder who belongs to whom!

  • Leigh

    We just got a new pup, and our middle-aged yellow lab is still not thrilled with her. The other day when i was petting them, the pup was bounding around trying to push her way into getting more attention. My lab left, came back with a Kong Wubba, shook it in her face, and when she started getting interested in it, he tossed it in the yard. When she took off after it, he came to me pushed his way under my arm to hog all the attention! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Love the toy and calendar! Call my dog dumb or smart but when my Golden Retriever has a kong ball filled with treats he brings it to me — I throw it — treats break — he eats — and repeats this til all the treats are gone. Who’s got who trained?

  • Great thing your doing with the Calendars for HWAC Animeals program, what a great program. My dogs are not the brightest so could use that twister game lol. But since one’s a corgi with very vertically challenged legs it would be interesting to see him try to use it and I am sure I’d have to show his paw how to move it too. The lightbulb momnet when they figure it out would be priceless though. Brody is way to smart!

  • Val

    Granddog Nalo would love the Twister … he once hid a piece of pizza in the white couch!

  • We already own another of the Nina O. toys, the one called “The Brick”. I bought it last year thinking it would be a terrific challenge and keep her busy for at least half an hour. While the first time did take her a little bit of time, she became a pro very quickly, even when we added the cute little bones to increase the difficulty. D’oh! I’d love to try another one out and see how she does now that she has all this experience. Puzzle toys are my favourite ones to play with. I love watching dogs problem solve. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Yay for the cookbook!

  • Melissa

    My parents have one of the Nina Ottoson toys at home. Gibbs, our 5.5 mo. golden is very smart. We’re working on teaching him how to roll himself in a blanket. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • When Pru became tall enough to put her front paws on the kitchen table and counter tops, she would attempt to counter surf at every meal and meal preparation. After learning that this behavior is not acceptable unless in the presence of her grandfather (she had him wrapped around her paw) she will now walk around the kitchen on her hind legs so she is able to see what is on the counter/table without putting her paws on it. I’ve given up trying to make her stop because it’s just so dang adorable.

  • Allie

    I have two dogs, one of which regularly amazes us with his apparent understanding of full sentences. In one example, we were doing some work with large equipment in the yard – he’s not afraid of much, so he still wants to be in the middle of things, even if they are loud. His brother-dog was off at a safe distance watching us work. I finally looked at Keto (the smarty pants) and said “It’s not safe over here, why don’t you go lie down over where Toby is?” He knows what down means, but usually it’s right where he’s standing. He looked at me, then walked over to where his brother Toby was hanging out and plopped down.

    Then recently, my husband was working from home and Keto came and did his “hungry squeak” at 5:08pm which is a little too early for them to eat in our household. So, my husband said: “You can eat in half an hour.” Wouldn’t you know that Keto walked away and came back at 5:38pm and squeaked for dinner. Crazy.

    I feed them from puzzle balls sometimes and it’s fun to watch their different minds work. Keto would love the puzzle as he’s smart and VERY food motivated. Toby is smarter than we give him credit for (mostly because he typically plays the overly-cute goofball role), so I’d love to see how he tackled it as well. I love having two dogs and seeing how different they are!

  • Jenny Dillon

    Murphy ( AKA Lulu) loves all puzzle games( ex. plush squirrels in a tree) they entertain her for hours. This toy looks like it would really challenge her !

  • Geo was my BC mix, one of my destiny dogs. I was showing him at an obedience fun match. Being a mixed breed I planned on showing him in UKC where he had to do a recall over the high jump. When we got to that part of the routine I set him up, went to the other side of the jump and said “Geo come”. Geo came, but around rather than over the jump. He knew the exercise, so what was up with that? One member said he was stressed, but he knew the building, knew the people and wasn’t acting stressed. Another member thought I should physically correct him, but there was no way I was doing that, there had to be a reason. The reason hit me on the way home, Geo’s cue for coming over the jump wasn’t “come”, it was “hup”. “Come” was his cue for coming on the flat like in AKC. He did exactly what I told him to do; it was my error. I was so proud of him.

  • Brenda Klingler

    Oooooh Please send Tina the puzzle. She is not the smartest dog in the world. Maybe it would help her exercise her brain as much as she does her jaws.

  • Dave Z.

    My Niki (who is the World’s Most Polite Dog) deserves this for being soooooo good (well most of the time).

  • Miranda

    Our first dog Junior learned how to kick the grass after doing his business from our second dog Henry. He never did it before we adopted Henry, it was hilarious to watch him figure it out in his brain “ok…kick now!?” Henry gives hugs, he will walk up to us on the couch, put his chest against ours and his head behind ours and just stay there with our arms around him for the longest time, I love it when he gives me hugs ” )

  • If I had to take a guess, I’d place my bet on Maggie, our lab, by a hair. Our two dogs have two very distinct ways of learning. Sadie, my pit mix, is a people pleaser. When learning, she looks to Mom for how Mom wants her to act to get the treat. This works wonders for some basic commands but if Mom’s not in the equation, she’s about as smart as a box of rocks. Then there’s Maggie. Mags is what I call our “independent” learner. She’s wicked smart but looks to the easiest way to get the treat the fastest and avoiding those things she doesn’t like doing at all costs (like going over/under things and staying still). Unless this toy sounds like a vacuum, I’m confident she’ll conquer it in no time. Sadie, eh, I’ll probably end up pointing to where the treat is for her to finally get it!

  • Finn is clever when it comes to figuring out a way to get what he wants. He quickly learned he gets no after dinner cookies until all his dinner is gone. So he will finish, rattle the bowl, and come nudge me to let me know he ate his dinner, and gets a cookie now. He will also sneak things past me into the house to chew on the rug. He knows we don’t allow him to bring in bones, shoes or gloves and chew on them. (He waits until you aren’t looking or out of the room to snatch them)
    I think he would have fun with this, he enjoys his kong and squash.

  • Sadly, Our dogs are not the brightest. :p we have one of the wooden Nina ottoson toys and they’ve never been able to get it without help…although we lent it to a friend and it turns out it may be a height issue?! So I’ve been meaning to find another one to try. I do love all the kyjen toys too!

  • Kim

    Ally is smart as anything. She loves belly rubs so much that she figured out that sitting up like a human (front paw resting on arm rest, hind legs folded under) was a much more effective way to get belly rubs from us and from visitors. She’d love this toy I think!

  • TaxiLab

    I’d love to see Ravioli and Dory try the Dog Twister. Ravi is very smart and would probably figure it out quickly – although I don’t know if he could beat Brody! But, while Dory is athletic as labs come, she isn’t too bright. But boy, is she a pretty pup!

    Love the video and can’t wait to get the calendar!!

  • Lola would love it! She can open doors, and has learned to close them behind her. Darn smart poodle!

  • Elliott

    Our English Bulldog likes to try to suck exhaust pipes which oh yeah, BURN HER MOUTH. We also can’t figure out if she likes the taste or if she’s trying to end it all. Eep!

  • Megan

    Count me out for the puzzle game, but I just wanted to say thank you for putting together the E-book, and thanks to those of you who contributed. I’m sure we’ll be making some Christmas cookies for the puppies this year!

  • I’ve been dying to try one of these with Honey.

    Honey has always had food toys–starting with knocking over a soda bottle at 8 weeks old.

    With her Tug-A-Jug, she’s learned to grasp the rope in the mouth of the bottle with her teeth and pull and push it to force more food out. I’ve watched a lot of dogs on video using a Tug-A-Jug and she’s the only one I’ve seen doing this.

    I think she’s ready for a new challenge. So I hope you pick us to win the Nina Ottison toy.

    Thanks for sponsoring the great giveaway. And I’ll be checking out the recipes for my Christmas baking projects.

  • Toby my big boy cat needs constant stimulation. Over last 12 years I’ve learned what havoc he can bring down upon the house when he doesn’t get it. These days puzzle food dispensers help a lot to consume his kitteh brain power, but I wasn’t always so attuned to how to refocus his antics. One example — When he first came to me 12 years ago he’d HATE it when I watched TV without playing with or petting him at the same time. Of course, in his eyes, I was just sitting there so why shouldn’t I be playing with him? He’d let me feel his displeasure by getting up on top of the tv, staring at me and, while maintaining eye-contact with me, he’d scoot his paw to knock off the closest nicknack. He’d watch it fall to the floor, look at me and move over to the next nicknack, repeating until I got off the couch and gave in by breaking out the laser pointer.

  • Melissa S

    My dog is always outsmarting me. When we go to the dog park, I thought I had taught her to carry her frisbee to and from the park. I initially started by giving her a treat when she carried it from the park back home. I was going to discontinue the treat-giving, because obviously she got the drift that the frisbee should be carried. I sat down on the couch and she started protesting. She was tossing the frisbee in my line of sight and then staring at me. I ignored her, and soon the frisbee was being thrown in my face. It turns out the entire time, she had been training me to give her a treat.

    She learns tricks quicker than any dog I’ve known. We do Rally obedience together and she absolutely loves it. She’s also a Delta certified pet partner. She’s a crazy active dog that could run all day, so needless to say she needs lots of mental stimulation! I’ve been admiring the Nina Ottosson toys for a while, but I cannot afford them with my student budget. She would love to get one for Christmas!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • kel mcnichol

    I love presenting challenges to my dogs! This line of brain teasers is unlike anything out there..they really look so very engaging. I have a papillon, who I can see the wheels turning while you are telling him something. He is my great escape artist. The dogs stay in the kitchen sometimes, otherwise known as jail. It has a gate that cannot be opened or jumped over. he would find ways out. Then come around the corner so excited like “look at me, I did it, you must be missing me!’ and then I would spend a 1/2 hr trying to figure out how he had got out (yep, see who the smart one is) I would love to have a toy that is as smart as he is.

  • Kim

    My animals have their people well trained ๐Ÿ™‚
    My older dog knows how to get us to do her bidding. She will sit and stare at you until you finally ask what she wants. She will then lead you somewhere, whether to the couch, chair, her food bowl, her water dish, the outside door… some of those are obvious what she wants, some less so… With the couch, chair or her crate, we find she’s usually “lost” something either under (couch or chair) or inside the blanket, and just stares until you figure out that she’s asking you to find something for her! And of course we do, since she has us so well-trained- all it takes for our reward is that happy face and wagging tail!!!