Her owner, and retired psychology professor, Dr. John Pilley, has published the study he did with Chaser, which shows that she understands basic sentence structure of nouns, verbs, prepositions, and direct objects.
Want to know if your smart dog can learn grammar? Dr. Pilley has a youtube channel with videos showing how they did it. This seems like a great way to tire out the minds of dogs while not tiring out ourselves too much!
The Green Dog Feeder is one of the newest additions to our store and has quickly become one of our favorites.
At first, I wasn't sure if it would be difficult enough for my seasoned puzzle-toy-working dogs, since they can see the food.
But I loved that it could be loaded with wet food, dry food, or even liquid (there are valleys in the base), so I was interested in trying it. As you can see, it also holds an entire meal:
I was excited to see the minutes pass by as they worked on this one! In all, it takes them 20-30 minutes to finish it. Even though they can see the food, it is difficult for them to figure out how to get it out from between the blades of grass. It's been so much fun watching their brains turn on this one.
After awhile, Mija gets tired and lies down to work on it:
I was also delighted to discover that my dogs don't need a lot of supervision with this puzzle toy. My dogs are rambunctuous and I have to hold onto their prized Nina Ottosson toys so they don't flip them over to get at the food. I was surprised to see my dogs unable to flip over the Green, and it wasn't for a lack of trying. But every time they used their paws to try to flip it, all they did was slide it on the floor:
It's also very sturdy and even though they "explored" it with their teeth, it is holding up well for us.
And finally, the Green offers handy features for me too. It's a quiet toy that my dogs don't bang around my kitchen - a huge bonus after I've come home from a long day at work. And it's easy to load and easy to clean - just throw it in the dishwasher!
The Green is the first toy by Danish Company, Northmate, who plan on making a whole line of toys to challenge and stimulate the minds of dogs. We look forward to their next one!
Thank you to all of our wonderful customers who enabled us to donate over $4,000 to dog rescue nonprofits last year, our first full year!
Our mission at Firecracker Dog is to raise funds for dog rescue by selling dog puzzle toys. We donate all profits to dog rescue nonprofits. We are also trying to raise awareness about dog puzzle toys in the hopes of helping more dog/people relationships so that more dogs stay in their homes and less are given up to animal shelters.
Thank you to everyone who has joined us in the endeavor as we work to help the efforts in making a no-kill USA!
Super-smart. Super-athletic. Super-cute. Mustang Sally is, in a word, AMAZING.
Sally picks up new tricks nearly instantly - a prominent local Austin trainer called her a "sponge", and "the kind of dog trainers love to work with". She is an agility queen. She is a champion snuggler. She loves to run, play, learn new tricks, and explore, and she loves, loves, loves spending time with her many admirers.
Sadly, Mustang Sally was a victim of serious neglect early in life. She still needs some help trusting strangers, both dog and human, but she loves to work hard and is willing to learn anything. She belongs with a patient adopter who is willing to continue her studies and help her find constructive ways to burn off all her amazing energy. In return, Mustang Sally offers loads of fun, laughs, and kisses.
The Barnacle is the newest in the Busy Buddy line and I'm super, crazy-excited about it.
I can't tell you how many dog puzzle toys we've tried where the manufacturer's marketing has us giddy with excitement and then once we get the toy, the dogs break it in the first 30 seconds or finish it in 2 minutes (we don't carry those).
But the Barnacle delivers. I think it may give KONG a run for its money as *the* toy you leave alone with your dogs. (Of course, our standard warning applies - no toy is completely indestructible, even the KONG, and you should know your dog before leaving alone with a toy.)
The Barnacle has three main treat chambers, all different sizes. You can stuff those with dry treats, or you can stuff with wet food and even freeze the wet food in there, once your dog gets really good at getting the food out. When I use dry treats, I like to use treats that are a little bigger than the opening and I squeeze the opening to fit the treat inside, as shown in this photo below.
But what's really cool about the Barnacle are the shallow bone cutouts all along the exterior. You can mash soft food, like peanut butter, bananas, or ez-cheese into these and keep your dog busy for hours trying to get out the last bit of food from all of the spaces.
Because there is no difficulty in getting some of the soft food out of the bone cutouts, this toy will be great for dogs who get easily frustrated, since they'll get immediate rewards. But it's also challenging for expert puzzle toy solvers, as they work to get the food out of the treat chambers and the last bits of soft food from the edges of the bone cutouts.
We've had the Barnacle for about a month and it still looks great! And my dogs seem to live for destroying toys. I strongly recommend this toy as one of the first toys to buy for your dog.
It comes in 4 sizes. Shown below is Mija with the Medium-sized Barnacle. Mija weighs about 55 pounds. Personally, I go for the largest toy possible, so I can stuff a lot of food and keep my dogs busy for as long as possible, so I'd probably go with the Large for her, but the Medium was the first size that Busy Buddy released.
We started Firecracker Dog to raise money for behavior training for shelter dogs and donate 100% of our profits to dog rescue/behavior programs. The first major donation is to Austin Pets Alive!, so they can partner with The Canine Center for Training and Behavior.
Check out this article from the Oak Hill Gazette to learn more about what TCCTB is doing for the dogs that Austin Pets Alive! is saving, like Tiffany (Who has been adopted! The photo above is with her new dad, the day he took her home.).
Thank you to our customers for enabling us to make this donation and to the other donors who have also contributed to this program.
Click here if you'd like to donate to Austin Pets Alive's behavior program. Be sure to select "behavior" in the dropdown programs list so that your donation goes to the behavior training.
The Paramount Theatre in Austin is showing Best in Show on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 10th and 11th, as part of their summer film series.
Anyone who brings a donation for Austin Pets Alive! will get free admission.
In the meantime, they're hosting a dog photo contest and the winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to Firecracker Dog and a $100 donation will be made to Austin Pets Alive! in the winner's name.
Visit their Facebook page to enter your dog and learn more about the film event.
"Usually high-energy dogs are smart dogs," Meyer said. "They look like troublemakers, but really they just get bored and need to entertain themselves."
Thank you so much to the Statesman's Real Magazine and journalist, Ari Auber for featuring Firecracker Dog this month!
Photo by Steve DeBono
My firecracker dog Mattie (also known as Fraggle), has endless energy. No, really … my dog trainer says he’s never seen a dog quite like her. In addition to Fraggle in her background, she’s also likely part Tigger.
The Tigger in her has made me notice that she’s extremely agile. Whether jumping over the couch or taking a giant leap over a fallen tree at the park, I’m always impressed by the height she seems to get, so I thought we’d give agility a try.
We enrolled in Agility 1 at Zoom Room Austin (you can look to see if there’s a Zoom Room in your area here) and I immediately fell in love. Not only had I found an activity that tired Mattie out (both physically and mentally), but she was a rock star! She excelled at everything she tried and absolutely loved doing it (and I got a little exercise in the process). Classes were also great for teaching her “wait” and in building up her patience, which is an exercise I’ve found particularly useful outside of classes.
After Agility 1, we decided to do private sessions to get us through Agility 2 and Agility 3 (Mattie is often reactive on-leash with other dogs, and the private sessions seemed to be a better fit for us). In addition to loving the one-on-one time with our trainer, I also found the private sessions to be affordable and great for my often changing and very busy schedule. One other big plus about Zoom Room is that it’s indoors - meaning Mattie and I can go rain or shine, 109 degree weather or freezing cold outside (and yes, it was a record-breaking 109 degrees yesterday here in Austin).
After passing Agility 2 and 3 with flying colors, we’re now signed up for Agility League, which is a friendly, weekly session that allows the dogs to run courses and compete for “top dog.” League starts mid-July, and we can’t wait!
While I’m sure I’ll have more fun agility stories to come, here is a video of Mattie strutting her stuff in the meantime.