German Shepherd Corner

Trixie Game Bone Puzzle: A Game for Laid Back Owners

I’m so excited to talk about games today!  The Trixie Game Bone Puzzle to be precise…

This is the first article in my quest to find the best toys for my dogs and yours.

trixie-game-bone-puzzle-what-is-in-the-box

Puzzle Games for Your GSD

I’ll tell you what I like and what I don’t like about the toys.

And of course, you’ll get the final verdict from the dogs themselves.

The whole idea started with Chuck, a reader here at GSC.

He asked about imaginative ways to train and entertain his GSD/Husky Dakotah.

See, I do take requests! :)

We had cold, rainy weather this past weekend.  So it was the perfect time to break out the new  puzzle games I got on Amazon this past week.

What are the Benefits of Puzzle Games?

Puzzles are a super way to train and play with your German Shepherd.

  • They help your dog channel their curious and energetic minds into something positive.
  • Release energy when physical exercise is not possible.
  • Puzzle games also make dogs problem solvers.  And believe me, you want a problem solving dog.
Trixie Game Bone Puzzle Mental stimulation

Puzzle Games Make Happy Dogs

Why do you want a problem solving German Shepherd?

The benefit is their problem solving skills spill over into formal training sessions.

Dogs with problems solving skills learn quicker and excel at more and more difficult challenges.

But puzzle games are also for when;

You need to keep them busy and under your eye while you get something done.

Or…

Nature is keeping you from playing tug, fetch or agility outside.

You have an older, less physically active dog like Charley.

Or, you’re just in a laid back mood.

This past  weekend the pack and I played with the Trixie Game Bone puzzle.

And we got a good few hours of play, had a ton of fun and great laughs.

Yes, I always laugh with my dogs!

<< See the Trixie Game Bone Puzzle Level 1 and 2 on Amazon >>

Trixie Game Bone Puzzle

The instructions say the game is for “beginner to intermediate canine gamers”.

I think that depends on a few of things;

  • What drives your dog.  What does your dog perceive as ‘worth working for’?
  • Their personality type.  Is your dog an introvert or extrovert?
  • Age and aptitude. Very young or much older dogs might take longer to ‘get into’ the puzzle than a dog in his or her prime.

How Did My Dogs Do?

Canine Gamer - Trixie Game bone Puzzle

Our Canine Gamer

Charley took the longest to settle in with the puzzle.  That’s because she’s the more cautious of the 3.

She had a bad past and takes longer to trust new things and people.

Lexi, she’s the youngest, at just over 12 months old she loved exploring the puzzle in short bursts.

She’s still very much a young pup and her drive is more focused on things that move fast, like the NERF Dog Ball Blaster.

Ze, is the puzzle gamer in the house.

He took to the game like a duck to water…

His fastest time on level 1 was just over 30 seconds within the first 3 tries.

His best time on level 2 was just 1:30 within 2 tries.

But…

Teaching puzzle play is not a race, the focus is mental development through stimulation.

And there are no wrong answers.

So, in the beginning, take your time with your German Shepherd.  Keep encouraging him or her.  It’s important that your German Shepherd feels it’s worth continuing with the game.

The key here is to help them win.  If they don’t see reward in the game they will lose interest and check out.

<< See the Trixie Game Bone Puzzle Level 1 and 2 on Amazon >>

What’s in the box?

  1. The puzzle consists of a black and white base – shaped like a bone.
  2. 6 Solitaire cones – 3 white and 3 black.
  3. An instruction booklet with general advice and tips on how to get started.

What’s the Quality like?

The entire puzzle is made from heavyweight wood at 1″ (2.5 cm) thick.  And 31 x 20 cm, roughly 12″ x 8″  . It’s covered in a lacquer which gives it a durable, hard and safe coating.

The size and weight prevents the base from slipping across the floor too easily – which I like.

But it’s still light enough to move around which keeps your dog engaged.

Trixie Game Bone Puzzle - Solitaire

Trixie Game Bone Puzzle Level 1 Solitaire

German Shepherds are large dogs, with powerful jaws and strong bodies.

And when the game is at it’s most exciting the puzzle is flung, pushed, pawed, spun and nibbled.

After 2 hours of play, there’s not a scratch on the Trixie game bone puzzle.

I also love how easy it is to clean.  Just a good wipe down with a warm cloth and there’s no sign of doggy slobber or treat crumbs.

Although it’s sturdy it’s easy to pack up.  Just lay it flat, pop the cones into their slots and store.

I’m really happy with the quality of this puzzle compared to others we’ve tried – reviews to come.  Especially when you consider the price range.

<< See the Trixie Game Bone Puzzle Level 1 and 2 on Amazon >>

Trixie Game Bone Puzzle Level 1 and 2: How to Play

The Trixie Game Bone Puzzle is actually 2 games in 1.  But you could push it to 3 in 1 by mixing things up.

Solitaire

Side one of the puzzle is Solitaire.

It has 6 round slots to drop treats in.  And 6 cones that fit snug into the slots to hide the treats.

Now your German Shepherd has the task of using that highly intelligent mind to topple the cones and reach the treat.

Advanced Chess

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Trixie Game Bone Puzzle Advanced Chess Level 2

Side two is the game of Chess.

It has 4 sliding discs in 2 grooves with 6 round slots for placing treats in.

Drop a treat in a round slot and slide over the disc.

Now it’s up to your dog to puzzle his or her way through the problem of getting to the treat.

The instructions that come with the Trixie Game Bone Puzzle are very thorough, so I won’t get into them here.

But, there’s some essential advice missing…

To make life easier and the game more engaging, it’s important to ‘prime’ your GSD before the game actually begins.

I think this is important so I’ll go into detail here…

And I’ll share a video to show you exactly how I do it.

How to Prime Your GSD for the Game [With Video]

I prime my dogs whenever I introduce something new into their lives.

For example…

  • Offering a new toy.
  • Teaching a new game.
  • Learning a new trick or behavior.
  • Meeting a new person – if it’s necessary.

It’s especially useful for dogs that are skittish or overly cautious – like Charley.

  • To prime your German Shepherd to play with the Trixie Game Bone Puzzle lay the puzzle out in front of your dog.
  • You want your German Shepherd to move around the toy, checking it out from every angle.  So don’t worry about asking for a sit-stay behavior.  Just let your dog be free to explore.
  • Each time your dog looks at the puzzle toss a treat.  Don’t speak here, just prime your dog with rewards.  Do this a few times and then move it up a notch…
  • Now treat only when your dog sniffs at the toy.  If your dog only looks, don’t treat.
  • Then move on to only treating your dog when he or she touches the toy with their nose or paw.
  • After that, only treat when your dog moves the toy with his or her nose or paw.

While you’re priming you’ll notice your dog look at you for a treat once he’s caught on that you’re treating him for a specific action.

At this point you can move onto treating only for the next step in the process.

This priming exercise not only helps your dog be comfortable with the toy.  Your dog will quickly learn how to interact with the puzzle.

Once your German Shepherd is primed and interacting with the puzzle it’s time for the games to begin!

Here’s a video of me priming Ze for the game.  You’ll notice he’s already interested and looking for ways to interact with the Trixie Game Bone Puzzle.

<< See the Trixie Game Bone Puzzle Level 1 and 2 on Amazon>>

3 comments… add one

  • Hi Rosemary, that is a very thorough review, love it! Wonderful to see that you support your German Shepherd’s working genes by stimulating his senses.

    I’ll be participating in a dog Enrichment Challenge hosted by Paw5 that will take place from October 17 through the 21st. I’ll be writing about it on my blog this week.

    You & your pups would make great candidates in participating and sharing ideas on how to mentally and physically engage your pups, especially working dogs!
    You can post pictures/videos and follow along on Instagram using the hashtag #Paw5EnrichedLifeChallenge. Would be cool to see your pup(s) in action again! (Watched your video on YouTube and subscribed, too).

    • Hi Barbra!

      Thanks for much for stopping by and your feedback, and for subscribing to my new Youtube channel!

      I’ve just started reading about the Dog Enrichment Challenge after reading your comment and we’re all game here at home! LOL! Thanks for sharing this great initiative with me.

      Hope to see you, Missy and Buzz there too!

      Chat soon,
      R

  • Allison

    First we have a gamer and then a gamer girl, now a gamer dog!!! Stop this madness!

    Haha, jokes aside, I enjoyed reading the article and the game looks pretty cool as well.

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