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- My German shepherd needs a lot of mental stimulation, so he uses the Kong Wobbler for all of his meals.
- The Kong Wobbler is a dog food and treat-dispensing toy that comes in two sizes.
- The Wobbler keeps my dog occupied and slows him down when he eats so he doesn't scarf his whole meal down in 30 seconds.
When my German shepherd, Silas, was a puppy, he had endless energy. He could walk for miles and play fetch for hours, and he would still be chomping at the bit for more. I did everything I could to tire him out mentally and physically, and I was constantly looking for products that would entertain him (and that he wouldn't destroy in a matter of minutes).
I also learned that feeding your dog their meal from a food-dispensing toy provides mental stimulation and is a good outlet for their extra energy, so I started feeding Silas with the Kong Wobbler. Now that Silas is 5 years old, he still eats every single meal out of his Kong Wobbler. He hasn't had a traditional food bowl for years.
How the Kong Wobbler works
We've affectionately named the Wobbler the "rolly-polly" in our house because Silas rolls it all around the floor every time he eats. The Wobbler, which is shaped like the beloved Kong Classic dog toy, is filled with sand on the bottom to help it stay upright. Silas pushes it around the floor with his nose, making it wobble back and forth to get his food out.
To fill the Wobbler, you simply unscrew the bottom and put food or treats inside. The large Wobbler holds about 3 cups of Silas' kibble when completely full. There is a small opening on one side just big enough for one piece of kibble to come out at a time.
It takes Silas about 10 to 15 minutes to eat a meal, and those 10 to 15 minutes were some of the most relaxing minutes of the day when he was younger and wanted to play 24/7. I would give him the Wobbler and sit back and relax while he ate.
The Wobbler is made of hard plastic that is very durable and easy to hand-wash or put in the dishwasher. There are very few toys we can give Silas that don't get destroyed instantly, but he's been using the same Wobbler for years, and it's still in great condition.
The biggest perk
The Wobbler stimulates Silas' brain and keeps him occupied, but I also love that it slows him down while he eats. Many dog owners face the problem of their dogs scarfing their food down too quickly. If I set a bowl of food in front of Silas, he'll eat it all right away, but with the Wobbler, he can only eat a few pieces at a time. This dramatically slows down his eating, which can also help reduce the risk of bloat, a condition that German shepherds and other large breed dogs are prone to.
Not all dogs love the Wobbler though
It can be hard to tell if your dog will actually use the Wobbler to get their food. There have been enthusiastically reviewed products I've tried with Silas that he has hated, so you just never know. My in-laws' dog has the small version of the Wobbler and he uses it occasionally, but he doesn't enjoy it as much as Silas. This product likely works best for dogs that are highly motivated to get their food or those that enjoy a challenge.
Dogs, especially those with strong jaws, are notorious for being able to destroy pretty much anything. While Silas doesn't try to chew the Wobbler, I imagine very strong jaws would be able to penetrate the hard plastic.
The bottom line
Silas hasn't eaten his food out of a regular bowl in years, and I don't see him starting anytime soon. Whenever he is hungry, he simply paws at the Wobbler to let us know he needs more food.
We use the Wobbler for every single one of Silas' meals, but it can also be used simply for treats. This would be a great option for dogs that are less motivated to eat their regular meals but could use some mental stimulation.
If you're not sure how your dog will feel about having to work that hard for their food, you could also try a stationary slow feeder. On the other hand, if your dog needs even more mental stimulation, try working their mind with a food puzzle filled with treats.