* Prices may differ from that shown
The Nina Ottosson range of dog toys have been out for some years now, and in recent times have been remodelled in this more durable plastic, which is much easier to keep clean than the previous MDF/Wood incarnations.
This particular game is made up of three different bone shaped levels, which are attached vertically through the middle so that they spin round freely. You put the dogs food or treats in the empty bone compartments and get the dog to search and find the food. To start with you want to encourage the dog to explore the game and figure out what they need to do to get to the food - using a good tasty treat such as ham or chicken will make the dog really interested. These being strong smelling will also help the dog to search out the food.
The game also comes with a set of small white bone shaped locks which stop the levels from spinning. The locks fit into the bone shaped compartments so that the dog has to remove them (pick them up with their mouth) before they can get to the food. If the dog starts chewing at the game and it's bothering you simply pick it up and take it away for 10-15 seconds, the dog will get the idea that this behaviour doesn't work.
Dogs are so inquisitive and really seem to love this game, some seem to get it quicker than others, at puppy classes a young puppy got the game straight away with the locks in, and really showed off, my 7 year old dog really is a doofus and takes a long time to figure these out!
The price may put people off but the plastic is so easy to clean, they take to being manhandled and chewed quite a bit, and will last a long time. I also swap them round with my other dog owner friends as we have different games.
These games are not to be left with your dog on their own, but instead are games you can play together, it'll strengthen the bond between you and your dog, and mental activiity and problem solving wears dogs out far more than simply walking. In their natural habitiat dogs don't get fed out of a bowl so make meal time interesting and invest in some of these games, your dog would thankyou for it!
Me and my sister 'share' a bulldog. When she split up with her husband my Dad decided it would be nice to get her a dog for company. He found a bulldog for her and knowing I had wanted a bulldog since I was a small child he insisted that Butch was to be shared between the two of us!
Butch is spoilt rotten by my sister. Anything he needs or doesn't need he has and she adores him! Recently when I went over to see them I noticed he had a new toy on the kitchen side. I was unsure what the toy was exactly but knew it must be his as it was shaped like a bone!
My sister told me it was an interactive toy for him, something to keep him occupied whilst she was not at home. It was the Dog Tornado Interactive Dog Treats Game by Nina Ottoson. I thought that was a good idea and asked where she had got it from. She told me she found it in Pets at Home and had paid a whopping £24.99 for it! I asked her if she was mad but she insisted she had seen it on The Dog Whisperer and it was a brilliant idea!
So the game is shaped like a bone, it has 3 levels and they can be spun around, showing the different levels. On each level there are places to put treats for the dog. Therefore, the dog must spin the levels round to reveal the treats, keeping them occupied whilst their owners aren't about.
If your dog susses this out too quickly, the game also comes with bits to put in the gaps so the levels can only be spun a particular way or you can also use these bits to cover up treats.
Butch loves his tornado. He has it every day when my sister goes to work and he gets straight to it, sniffing out his treats. He is quite quick at it now so we always use the extra bits to cover up his treats and make it more difficult for him to find them.
I have watched Butch with his Tornado on numerous occasions and often he can spend a good 10 minutes trying to find his treats! This is brilliant for us as it allows us to leave without him noticing and by the time he does notice he's not bothered anymore!
We have had the Tornado a good few months now and it is still in brilliant condition. The plastic is still bright and colourful and it is not damaged in any way despite Butch being a burly bulldog.
The Tornado is very expensive but I think its a great idea, Butch uses it every day so it will eventually work out to be good value for money! It allows the dog to use their brain and occupies them for a few minutes keeping them out of your hair!
Nina Ottosson also has a number of other dog toys available, they can be found on the pets at home website http://www.petsathome.com/shop/dog/dog-toys/boredom-dog-toys
So would I recommend this? Yes. It is expensive but I imagine it will last a dog a good few years and it is a brilliant way to keep them entertained, I know for a fact that Butch would recommend it!
My job in Dog Care and Welfare for Guide Dogs for the Blind, means that I have the opportunity to work with all different kinds of dog activities and toys. I am able to see the effects they have and how these effects differ between each dog. Nina Ottosson's Dog Tornado is one of their favourites, with most dogs responding well to the interactive toy.
HISTORY OF NINA OTTOSSON
Nina Ottosson began designing her selection of brain-activating dog toys in 1990, then went on to set up the Swedish company Zoo Active Products AB in 1993. Other products include the Dog Twister, the Dog Pyramid and the Dog Smart, most of these products are avaliable in either plastic or wood. These products are also suitable for the use of cats, parrots, monkeys and even horses.
THE DOG TORNADO
This interactive toy is designed with four layers of rotating discs, treats can then be hidden in the compartments of the bottom three layers. The idea is that the dog will need to move these discs around with its nose or paws in order to recieve the rewards. This will then provide the dog with mental stimulation and will help encourage positive natural behavoiurs. The Dog Tornado is avaliable in a plastic version (as shown above) and a wooden version. I do find the plastic one slightly better as it is more durable and easier to clean, however, the texture of the wooden one allows the dogs to move the discs better.
The toy's difficulty level can be increased or decreased, which is a nice feature as not all dogs will respond in the same way. To increase the difficulty, place treats in random compartments or use the white plastic bone-shaped covers that come with it to place over treats. This will mean that the dog will have to hunt harder for the rewards, thus making it a more enjoyable experience for dogs who find the toy otherwise easy. To decrease the difficulty, place treats in every compartment to encourage further play, you can also attatch string to the different layers if your dog is finding it difficult to move them. If the game is too easy or too difficult for the dog to understand it could have a detrimental affect, which is why the Dog Tornado makes a perfect toy for all dogs.
The Dog Tornado should be completed under supervision to discourage any biting or chewing of the plastic or wood. Playing with the toy together also helps to build bonds and improve the relationship between the dog and its owner. This brings so much enjoyment to me and the dog who I am playing with at the time. Also remember to encourage the dog and praise him/her for finding any treats, the dogs love this and it gets them so excited.
This product also received a Glee Award in 2008.
I recently completed a study on the effects of physical and mental stimulation, for the physical study I used a free-running activity and for the mental study I used the Dog Tornado. I found that physical stimulation has the most positive effect on the dogs, regardless of their breed and personality, however, this is not always possible. In the case of pet dogs, time can be an issue and there is always the possibility that if a dog becomes injured, physical stimulation will not be an option.
The Dog Tornado had a positive effect on most dogs, playing an important part towards their health and welfare. As you probably know, a bored dog is a destructive dog. The Dog Tornado can help to control negative behaviours and excessive vocal behaviours.
I did find, however, that hyperactive dogs didn't respond as well to this toy. The problem was that the dogs found this toy really easy and completed it within minutes, leaving them with bounds of energy left over. However, by increasing the difficulty with the plastic bone-shaped covers and placing the treats in random compartments, the dog was able to enjoy this toy a lot more.
PRICE AND AVALIABILITY
The Nina Ottosson Dog Tornado (plastic version) is avaliable at Amazon and Argos for £24. They are also avaliable at Hyperdrug.co.uk, the plastic one priced at £23.35 and the wooden one at £24.51. To see a video of how these products work and to see the full range of Nina Ottosson products, visit www.nina-ottosson.com.
Overall, I find the Dog Tornado to be very beneficial to the dogs mental health. To see the enjoyment that comes from 10 minutes with this toy is really lovely and it brings me a lot of happiness with it. I would recommend this toy to any dog owner. Nina Ottosson toys are also recommended by dog experts and veternarians.
We got this for our dog after reading lots of positive reviews about it.
I really enjoy dog training and I liked the challenges that the Dog Tornado offers of exercising our dog's brain, and bonding with her by helping her learn some new tricks.
The idea is very simple, there are 4 bone shaped layers, and in each layer you can hide food in four compartments. The dog needs to learn to spin each layer with her nose or paws in order to reach the treats below. There are white (bone shaped) covers which you can use to make it more challenging, which you can see in the picture above.
We ordered one, and since my girlfriend works from home in the afternoon, she got the chance to have first go with the Tornado (and with the dog of course!).
I eagerly phoned to see how she got on, expecting that it would take a few weeks before the dog managed to get all the treats succesfully. Instead I discovered that after 10 minutes, our dog had worked out how to spin the levels with her nose, with a little assistance from her paws. Now, she's a very intelligent dog (every dog owner thinks their dog is the most intelligent in the world!) but I thought that it would take her a bit longer, and so I was initially a bit disappointed. Our dog is a rescue lab cross german shepherd cross staffie, possibly crossed with collie, so you'd expect her to be intelligent but I thought it would take her longer to work it out.
That's the negative. The positive is that she really enjoyed it, and still really enjoys it. This may be down to the treats that she recieves, but I have also noticed that when we use it, even only for 10 minutes, it does make her a little more tired and calms her down, which I would say comes from having to concentrate on something and solve the puzzle.
She couldn't get her mouth around the white bone covers, and got frustrated with them trying to paw them out of their holders unsuccesfully. Nina Ottosson suggests tying string to them to help the dog lift them up, but we've not tried this yet, instead just playing with it by mixing up which compartment or compartments we select for placing the treats into. We may try looping the string in the future, but for now we'll just carry on using it as standard. I do think they should have made it a bit easier for the dog to pick up and get a grip on the white covers - maybe by making the sides less smooth, or with a grippable point. It was a little disheartening seeing her realise what she needed to do, but struggling to do it.
These Nina Ottosson toys are well made, from sturdy plastic and strong enough to be bashed around. They are easily wiped down afterwards to clean them off, and as I said at the beginning, they are based on really good ideals. You're bound to have fun with them with your dog, whether they grasp it straight away or not.
They are pretty pricey though, so I think I'll wait for a sale before I rush out to buy another in the series, but I'd reccomend it to people looking to entertain their dog in a different way.
Nina Ottosson began producing her products for dogs in 1993, with her aim being to create educational toys for dogs which would encourage them to think in order to be rewarded, thus giving them mental (and physical) stimulation, a sense of achievement and encourage them to learn, play and allowing them to have fun at the same time.
The dog 'Tornado' is the only toy I have bought for my own dog, Rolo, so far, although I volunteer at my local guide dog centre and have seen many other toys in the range in use there. The toys come in both wooden and now plastic versions too; the wooden ones I've seen tend to be a bit chewed up, while Rolo's plastic one (which is a cool bone-shape) is still in prime condition, although he isn't really interested in chewing it, yet then again, maybe wood is more appealing for chewing...
The idea with the Tornado is that you fill the hollow dishes of the toy with treats, then cover the food in the three rotating tiers and the dog must use his nose and paws to spin the stacked discs around in order to reveal and obtain the treats. They will of course get better with practise.
Nina Ottosson's toys come in various difficulty levels, and this toy is a skill level 'hard' with three points. If your dog is a little apprehensive about new toys like this, there is a simpler, one tier tornado to get them started and give them the idea, or if your dog is a genius, the new plastic version of the Tornado comes with some plastic bone covers with scent holes on top which you can use to cover a couple of the dishes making it a little more tricky as the dog must remove the bones before he can fully rotate the Tornado, and if your dog struggles lifting the bone covers (they aren't a great shape for the dog to grip and manipulate) Ottosson suggests putting string through the holes with which the dog can lift the covers.
This toy is popular with Rolo, mainly because it gives him food, and it will take him between 5 and 10 minutes to empty it without the bones, and maybe 20 minutes with the bones as he hasn't really grasped that concept yet!
But it's great for a rainy day when there's not much for your dog to do and it keeps their mind healthy and gives them some independence as they can play it alone and get the food themselves.
The Tornado is dishwasher friendly, robust and comes with anti-slip pads on the bottom.
There are videos of the toy in action on youtube for those who haven't encountered these toys before, and Nina Ottosson's site gives plenty of information and suggests that these toys can also be used for other animals, such as 'cats, parrots, horses, rats, lemurs and monkeys!'
Other products on the range include puzzles where the dog has to lift up plastic/wooden covers to reveal the food, and games where they must slide covers up and down to reveal their treats, but there are many, many different games on offer, and our plastic tornado came with an instructional DVD to assist you in making sure your dog has a good introduction to the game and that you both get the most our of it.
I would highly recommend these toys as they are a great way to entertain your dog while keeping them mentally healthy, however, they are expensive. I did quite a lot of shopping around and found that while they cost £25 at Pets at Home, plus postage, they are a very reasonable £18.85 (some in the range are cheaper) with free postage at Vet UK online, which is where I bought mine from, and hope to buy another from the range for Rolo at Christmas!
Highly recommended by Rolo and me.