Task boxes are great for dogs that like to dig or search for their food. Also you don’t need any specific packages on items for these games.
You can adjust these games to fit your dog’s level and it’s important to start with something easy. Task boxes with bottles and paper balls are easier. Task boxes with multiple kibble dispensing toys, cans with lids and taped packages are for advanced dogs only.
Depending of the content in the box it takes Miki 10-50 minutes to find all his food.
1. Task box with paper balls
You need a good size cardboard box and a magazine or two that and some kibble. You need to take the staples out of the magazines, so that your dog doesn’t accidentally eat them.
Take single sheets of paper from the magazine and wrap one sheet around every kibble or two. I usually make about 50 to 100 of these paper balls and put them into the box. Any excess kibble can be thrown in the gaps.
At first time you may wanna use thicker piece of paper, like the covers of the magazine, so your dog doesn’t eat the paper itself but only the treats inside.
2. Task box with bottles
This time I assembled a task box with various bottles and dog treat tubes. I used kibble and some dry treats for this game because moist and sticky treats would have been too hard to get out.
I put 2 water bottles, 3 kitchen soap bottles, 12 yoghurt bottles and 5 dog treat tubes in the box. You can use any plastic bottles, like water bottles, soda bottles, yoghurt bottles, kitchen soap bottles, ketchup bottles or juice bottles for this game. All bottles should be thoroughly cleaned before they are given to a dog to play. You shouldn’t give any bottles to your dog that have had any toxic substances or chemicals in them.
It took Miki about 30 minutes to get all the kibble and treats out of which the three kitchen soap bottles took 15-20 minutes.
3. Task box, hardened version - only for advanced dogs
You need one big cardboard box with a lid, three or four small carton packages, like a cereal box, a porridge package and a cardboard egg carton, magazine (staples taken out), some masking tape, kibble and a few treats.
I start by making 40 to 50 paper balls, one or two kibble or a treat in each. Then I put some of these paper balls inside the smaller boxes and tape them around. Then I put these small boxes in the big box. If there’s any paper balls left, I put them in the big box as well. If I have any kibble or treats left, I sprinkle them in the big box as well.
You can put other small tasks in the big box as well, like DVD case, a treat dispenser toy, magazine roll, textile ball or even these lava lamps.
This task box is harder because of the lid in the big box. Your dog has to open the lid each time he wants to get something out from it. When sometimes the big box’s lid remains open, I simply close it so Miki needs to open it again.
Miki couldn’t wait, so he decided to offer the box trick for some samples of the food :D
Picture about the box trick
4. Hardest task box ever - only for dogs that are experienced and well motivated to search for their food
Miki seemed to have way too much energy when we were on our daily walk, so I had to make him a good mental challenge to drain that excess energy.
I made this - the hardest task box ever, which included:
- 6 plastic cups, 6 paper cups, 4 tennis balls and 2 Classic Kong toys, combined to six double cones
- 2 cups with lids
- 3 dermosil bottles
- 2 soda bottles
- 2 dog treat tubes
- 1 taped cereal package, which had 20 paper balls inside (and one kibble in each ball)
- 15 small yoghurt bottles
- 3 pill jars
- 1 towel tied to a knot
- 2 rolled towels inside a JW Hol-ee Roller toy
- 1 small carton package
- 2 Kong Genius Leo toys
- 1 Kong Genius Mike toy
- 1 Kong Traxx toy
- 1 Busy Buddy Twist’n Treat toy
- 1 can with lid
- 1 laundry liquid ball
- 1 kibble dispenser
I put all of these tasks inside a cardboard box with lid, except the cereal package. And I used only kibble for these tasks. I put several kibble in the rubber toys but only 1-5 to the other tasks.
It took Miki 50 minutes to eat all the kibble. Miki completed all the tasks with enthusiasm all the way through. And after completion, he gave me THAT look again… which means “that was fun, what fun thing do we do next”. What on earth will I come up the next time, if this still was too easy..? :D
But eventually he got tired and went to bed.
That was fun, what fun thing do we do next…