Sources and additional reading
We only use credible, science=based sources for our Discovery Kits, so you can rest assured that you and your dog are in good hands.
Here are a list of sources for the Dumpster thrivers Discovery Kits:
Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz. This is a perennial Dogby favorite
Feeding Smart with the Science Dog by Linda P Case
Dog is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You by Clive D. L. Wynne, PhD
Frequently Asked Questions about General Pet Nutrition from the Clinical Nutrition Service at The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University
Did Eating Human Poop Play a Role in the Evolution of Dogs? by Hal Herzog PhD
Product sourcing, care, cleaning, and cautions
The Puzzle DishLearn more
Details: Fun Feeder Slo Tray from Outward Hound.
Care & Cautions: Give your dog personal space away from other human and canine family members while they use their food puzzle and pick it up as soon as they finish to minimize the risk of aggression. Never approach your dog while they have a food puzzle or try to take it from them.
While this is about as indestructible as a dog toy can get, it's still not indestructible, so pick it up between uses and inspect it for signs of damage before use.
Cleaning: Top rack dishwasher safe.
The Scratch Board
Details: Bamboo board with removable 120-grit sandpaper. Assembled by Dogby.
Care & Cautions: You can easily replace the sandpaper on this scratch board when it becomes worn or if you prefer a different grit. We recommend Diablo sanding sheets with adhesive backing from Home Depot.
Cleaning: Spot clean with soap and warm water.
The Carrot PuzzleLearn more
Details: Orbee-Tuff Carrot made in the USA from BPA, lead, and phthalate-free TPE material. From Planet Dog.
Care & Cautions: This carrot is designed for dogs of all sizes but won't stand up to intense chewing. If you see your dog gnawing on the carrot, redirect them to try a different way to get the treats out.
Always inspect your food puzzles for signs of damage and supervise your dog while they use them.
Give your dog personal space away from other human and canine family members while they use their food puzzle and pick it up as soon as they finish to minimize the risk of aggression. Never approach your dog while they have a food puzzle or try to take it from them.
Cleaning: Hand wash only.
The Haddock SkinsLearn more
Details: Single-ingredient, sustainably-caught, hand-folded, dehydrated haddock skins from Polkadog.
Care & Cautions: Use as a puzzle filler or meal topper. Don't use after expiration date listed on tube.
The Agility Cones
Details: 4 LDPE plastic agility/soccer cones.
Care & Cautions: Not intended to be used as a toy. Keep away from your dog when not in use.
The Training TreatsLearn more
Details: Crunchy treats with 3 calories each made in the USA with real liver from Charlee Bear.
Care & Cautions: Treats shouldn't make up more than 10% of your dog's daily calories.
Don't use after expiration date listed on bag.
The Puzzle Dish and the Carrot Toy
Food puzzle safety
Food puzzles can bring out aggressive, possessive behavior in even the friendliest of dogs. It's a normal aspect of their behavior as the descendents of scavengers.
Follow these guidelines to keep your family safe:
- Use physical barriers like doors and baby gates to keep kids and other pets away while your dog is solving their food puzzle.
- Some dogs want complete privacy while solving a food puzzles, others will want you to in the room for companionship. Even so, avoid approaching them head on, getting between them and the puzzle, or touching it.
- Always pick up the puzzle and any uneaten food and treats when your dog finishes and before you let others back into the space.
- Never take a puzzle from your dog. Wait for them to walk away or offer them a trade by tossing a better treat a 4-6 feet away and seeing if they voluntarily give up the puzzle to go get it.
- If your dog gives you a stink eye, freezes, growls, or bares, their teeth while they have their puzzle, back up and give them space.
- Reach out to Dogby or a certified dog trainer in your area for help if you are concerned about your dog's behavior around food puzzles.
All about food puzzles
If you are new to food puzzles and want to learn more about them, this article can get you started.
The Scratch Board
Troubleshooting and Tips
- Don't be afraid to go back a step in the training plan. - It's normal for a dog to drop back a step or two and to suddenly not be able to do what seemed easy to them a minute ago. In these situations, the fastest way forward is always to go backwards first. Go back to a step where your dog can succeed and give them more practice before making it harder.
- Some dogs might need half steps. - For a variety of reasons, some dogs will need a more gradual approach. If your dog is crushing step 1 but bombing on step 2 no matter what you try, you might need to make up a step 1.5 to help them bridge the gap.
- If your dog won't step on the washcloth at all, start by rewarding any interest in it at all. If they look at it or sniff it, praise them and give them a treat.
- It's ok if your dog is stepping or gently pawing the washcloth at this stage. They don't need to be digging or scratching yet. Once we introduce the scratch board in step 3, they will likely start doing it instictively.
- If your dog is really freaked out by the scratch board, let your dog check it out before training again. Put the scratch board on the ground and put 10-20 treats on the ground around it. Sprinkle a few right on top and the rest within an 18-inch radius of it. Let your dog eat the treats at their own pace and don't pull them closer or push the board at them. Repeat a few times a day until they eat the treats from on top of the scratch board as happily and easily as the others.
- What we're trying to describe here is swiveling the board side to side so it gets your dog's outer or inner nails.