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Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Yin Yang Yum Dog puzzle

 Is it worth the money?

Right before my move from Pennsylvania to Minnesota this past summer I had the privilege to acquire an 8 week old Newfoundland /Golden mix puppy which Peter fondly named Brody. Crazy you ask? You betcha!  But I have never been of sound mind anyway!

  The test of packing up one’s home of twenty years within a month then taking the 18 hour journey across the states in one day proved to be bittersweet.  We were embarking on a new adventure but also leaving good friends and family behind.  Then came the unpacking and putting away our old junk into the new home  and it was a task I did not really have time to think long about. The majority of our boxes went from the moving truck into the garage to make unpacking  the truck move a bit faster.   After all, we had plenty of time to unpack those boxes right?  Wrong! With the Minnesota cold air soon to be bestowed upon us we needed to get things out of the garage to make room for the cars.    

Cold weather also means Brody who is now six months old, but still very much a puppy, cannot stay outside all day as he would like too, to check out, dig up, and eat every clay filled frozen piece of dirt with a little grass mixed in. That grass root vegetable source is very important to him!

So with much to do myself I did have to figure out how to keep him occupied at times. Tearing up boxes only lasts so long before you get tired of picking up pieces of cardboard strewn in every room.

 I have to admit, I love to give my dogs something that stimulates the mind especially when normal training can’t be done several times a day on a daily basis. I like the idea that someone came along to invent a product for a dog because this tells me they do realize that the family dog is not just for the outside dog house anymore! There are things one can do to keep busy a fussy needy pup that can stimulate its mind at the same time. When the mind is stimulated the dog gets a bit more tired and we know that a tired dog is a good dog!

In moving, I lost my hometown doggie support group but  I was lucky enough to move into a home that had a puppy the same age as mine living right next door!  This works well for late afternoons and the weekends, but the neighbor does have to work.  Far be it from me to tell her to take a day off so the pups can play, though I am sure she would agree to do so if there weren’t a pesky mortgage to pay!

Enter a trip to Petco where we, Peter and I, found the Yin Yang Yum dog puzzle. I have to admit it seemed like a good purchase at the time. There were hidden compartments to put the dog’s treats or food in and the dog had to open these compartments in order to get the reward.

  When I first gave Brody this puzzle I used a high value reward so the smell would come through very clearly.  Upon first examination of this contraption Brody was interested because of the food inside   however he did give up a few times, walking away from the puzzle to see if mom or dad had that same treat in their pocket.  We did, but refused to give it to him and redirected him back to the puzzle to watch him struggle with it a little while longer.  Finally he was able to get the puzzle apart and retrieve his reward. The first go around lasted a little while, the second and third rounds went fairly quickly and by the fourth time he had the puzzle opened and emptied in about 2 minutes 30 seconds.  That was that.  From that point on he knew exactly how to get his treats out. 

As I stated above, I like my dogs to use their minds but if I am busy I would like their entertainment to last a little longer than 2 minutes.  I find that my homemade Gatorade bottle does the same as far as mind stimulation but also keeps the dog engaged a lot longer.   

So if I compare this puzzle for mind stimulation it would rate fairly high but rating it as to keeping the dog active for any period of time it rates fairly low.  

Yin Yang Yum

The product: Plastic, large and small chambers. Two round removable parts for the dog to take out to get to the first two chambers.  Sides that slide open to get to the remaining chambers.

Price: $14.99 at PetCo

Pros: Your dog has to use its mind to get to the chambers holding the food. It is entertaining and mind stimulating.

1) Once the dog figures out how to use the Yin Yang puzzle the dog can virtually get in and eat everything in a short time.

2) There are two loose pieces which can get lost or chewed on. If the pieces are lost or destroyed then the first chamber is open leaving the dog to only have to paw at the side to get to the inside chambers.

Time: It does not last long once the dog has figured it out so you have to constantly refill it.
The inside chambers: You are limited to what you can put inside them. The chambers are small so don’t hold larger biscuits, even small biscuits have to be broken in half.

The Yin Yang Yum ~VS ~ the Large Gatorade Bottle

I stated to feed Brody his meals in a large Gatorade bottle when I needed him out of my hair for a bit. This worked out well which is why I invested in the Yin Yang puzzle to begin with.

Large Gatorade Bottle

1)  The price! Buy a large 2 liter bottle of Gatorade, drink it, and use the bottle for a puzzle toy. 

2) You can put a lot more food and treats inside the bottle so playing with it can last  from 20 minutes to a half hour or more. A dog’s full meal can be placed inside.

3) The dog has to use its mind to get the food out but also the mind is used to figure out how to grasp the bottle and remove it from tight places such as underneath a table or couch.  


It does make a mess until the dog eats the food.

It can get stuck under furniture which may require you help the dog.

The dog will continue to eye every Gatorade bottle you ever hold in your hand until it is empty!

Your home becomes a plastic recycle bin!

 Either of them can become a hazard if the dog is not supervised as eating non food items such as plastic can cause a blockage of the intestines.  Sharp pieces can actually pierce a hole in the intestinal tract causing serious illness.

As always never leave any item with a dog unsupervised.

Brody started eating his meal out of the Gatorade bottle a couple of months ago when I started back to work at my computer in the basement.  He has gotten to the point where while in the basement he will only eat his kibble from the bottle, however upstairs in the kitchen he will eat out of a dog bowl. I sometimes wonder what I am creating here! All I can say is he is happy to toss the bottle all around the basement floor, and doing  this uses his mind, fills his belly and tires his body which makes it a good thing!  To make it a bit harder to get the food out so it lasts even longer rather than break up every biscuit I put one or two full ones in there which blocks the entrance of the  bottle neck which makes it harder to get the food out. The other night Brody worked on the bottle for a long time and in the end with the one long biscuit remaining he brought the bottle to me to take the biscuit out for him! How could I refuse? 

To me the Gatorade bottle is similar to the box of the very large expensive toy you just bought your kids. They'd rather play in the box!

To see video of the Yin Yang Yum in use click here

To see video of the Gatorade Bottle Addiction click here