Nina Ottosson’s Tips & Tricks: Hacking the Wobble Bowl

Some dogs have a hard time figuring out our puzzles, while other dogs figure them out too quickly! Nina Ottosson’s Tip & Tricks is a series of posts that cover how to make each puzzle game harder for dogs that are quick to solve them, and easier for dogs still getting the hang of it.

The next dog puzzle Nina is going to cover is the Wobble Bowl. The Wobble Bowl is a Level 1 dog puzzle that is both a slow feeder and a mental challenge. It turns mealtime into an interactive game, keeps dogs engaged, and helps them eat at a healthier pace. The Wobble Bowl is fun for all dogs regardless of age, size, or breed!

How the Wobble Bowl Works

Always start by letting the dog watch you fill the game with treats and food. I recommend using extra tasty treats the first time the dog plays with a new game.

Remove the stopper from the lid. Pour kibble or treats into the Wobble Bowl. Close the lid with the stopper, place the game on the floor, and let the games begin!

The transparent lid makes the food or treats visible in order to motivate the dog to work on getting all the pieces. The Wobble Bowl works great with both dry kibble and treats.

Making the Wobble Bowl Easier

wobble bowl and dog

To make it easier, in the beginning, you can shake it slightly to disperse the food (and scent of the food), and even put some food pieces just inside some of the openings, so that these easily fall out when the dog starts playing with the Wobble Bowl.

Play together with the dog, sit next to, and help them understand how the game works by showing your dog how to wobble it back and forth with his nose or paws until the food falls out on the sides.

You can also remove the lid and use it as a wobbling slow feeder.

Making the Wobble Bowl More Challenging

Remove the transparent lid.

Cut out pieces of paper, then tape over one or several openings from the inside, leaving at least one opening exposed. How many taped openings depends on how advanced you want the puzzle to be.

You can also tape over one or two openings in the maze inside to make it even more challenging.

Put the lid back on and let the games begin!

Motivate More

You can even put toys or small balls in the Wobble Bowl. It both makes the game more difficult and can also motivate dogs that aren’t as food-motivated as others.

Extra Tips & Tricks for the Wobble Bowl

  • PLACE THE GAME IN A DOG BED: If your dog is convalescent or a tough or a strong paw player, it allows a calmer play.
  • FOR FAST-EATING DOGS: Use the puzzle as a slow feeder. Serve the dog’s food in the game and let the dog work for the food.
  • PUZZLE RACE: If you have several games, you can make a puzzle race by placing several games in a row, and just put a few treats in each game.
  • HIDE THE GAMES in different rooms or in the garden. Sometimes I hide them under towels and blankets. It’s much appreciated by dogs, especially on rainy days.
  • PLAY TOGETHER: Playing together with your dog strengthens the bond and builds your relationship with your dog.
woman with dog
  • BOREDOM: Puzzle games prevent and reduce boredom and prevent behavior problems.
  • OLD DOGS: The games are great to activate older dogs that are still mentally healthy.

Practice Training with Dog Puzzles

While you hide treats in the game and/or until you place the game on the floor, you can practice commands. Try to teach the dog to sit or lay down and wait for you to say “go ahead”. Dogs learn the usual commands like wait, sit, and release incredibly fast if doing it in positive forms, and treat puzzles are very positive in a dog’s world. This also strengthens the bond with your dog.

dog with wobble bowl slow feeder

Cleaning the Wobble Bowl

Snap off the transparent lid for easy cleaning with warm water and mild soap.

Playing by the Rules

Nina Ottosson dog puzzles are focused on challenging the dog’s brain. These games are not like a regular toy, and they are not indestructible, which is why we also advise close supervision so the dog plays the right way, especially until you know how your dog works with the games. Then you can make your own decision on how you want your dog to use the games.

Playing with puzzle games is fun! Dogs love to work for food & treats. Because of that, it’s very important to supervise, especially with puppies and young dogs. Teach the dog how to use them and not let the dog chew on the puzzle or turn it upside down. As soon as this starts happening, you need to stop the play.

Safety First!

When choosing a toy, make sure to choose an appropriate size/style/level for your dog. No toy or game is indestructible. ALWAYS supervise your dog closely, teach your dog how the game/toy works. Do not leave the dog alone with a treat game/toy, do not let the dog chew on the game/toy or pieces. Inspect regularly for damage and remove if broken, or if parts become separated, as serious injury may result. For dogs only, not a children’s toy. When empty, store until next supervised use.

I hope you will have a lot of fun playing puzzle games with your dog.

// Nina Ottosson

nina ottosson with dogs