Cabin Fever Inspires Dog Games
It’s been raining so much lately that we got cabin fever here at the Let’s Go Dog house. So when the sun came out briefly this weekend it was clearly time to try a new game for us: the Dog Bottle Game.
The Dog Bottle Game
Maybe you’ve seen videos of the interactive Bottle Game for Dogs. It plays like this:
Plastic water bottles holding little treat nuggets hang on a dowel across a wooden frame. Dogs spin the bottles to make treats fly out through the mouth of the bottle.
Dogs are challenged into discovering the spinning strategy that will set the treats free.
But I wanted a travel version of the game. A wooden frame would be too cumbersome to take road tripping.
So instead of a fixed frame and dowel to hold the bottles, I strung a bottle on a cord between two trees.
The trick was to figure out how to get the cord strung tight without having to tie knots. I’m sure I could learn nifty knots, even quick release ones, but I wanted something even easier.
I found just what I needed at my local hardware store: cord tighteners! (They are also available on-line.)
Putting it Together
- Gather materials:
* A plastic bottle
* 2 cord tighteners
* A sturdy cord
* A long screw
* A knife
* Treats (small)
- Cut an “x” on opposite sides of the bottle, up in the top 1/3rd (we want the bottle to be bottom-heavy when it hangs.)
- Push the screw through each “x”, making a hole. The hole does not have to be pretty.
- Tie one end of the cord around the head of the screw.
- Thread the cord through one hole in the bottle and out the other.
- Remove the cord from the screw.
- Load each of the cord tighteners with the cord, and tie a knot on each end.
- Wrap each cord end around a tree trunk and pull to stretch it tight, with the bottle hanging between.
- Now fill the bottle with stinky yummy little dog treats, small enough to easily pass through the mouth of the bottle
Proof of Concept Test
I first tested the game at home so there would be no distractions and no hurry.
Zack quickly learned to spin the bottle, by any way possible, to get the treats. Zoe let Zack do the work then helped search for treats in the grass between bottle batting sessions.
A Real World Test
To see if I could set it up and handle the dogs in a busier, public place without too much fuss, I took the game and dogs to the park. Sometimes I get a little flustered when I’m handling the dogs where there are other people and (possibly loose) dogs close by, so a real world test was required.
The test was a success.
Sometimes Zack would bite and pull at the bottle. He even tried the sling-shot method a few times with some success. Both alternative methods tore at the holes in the bottle. By the end of the game there were rips all the way from the holes to the top of the bottle.
The travel version of the Bottle Game for Dogs is quick and easy to make. I will definitely be packing this game for road trips.
I will however make a couple small improvements for next time:
- Re-enforce the holes with a little duct tape.
- Lay a blanket or small tarp down under the game so dirt and other mysterious chunks doesn’t get eaten with the treats.
Your turn: Do you have a favorite dog game that travels well?
Bella’s Bottle Game YouTube Video
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