Disclaimer: As a professional member of The Association of INTODogs, I received this Trainer Pack free of charge from K9 Connectables to trial with my own dogs. The following review is unbiased and totally neutral based on my dogs’ and my tests.
K9 Connectables make unique toys, designed to enrich, mentally stimulate and build confidence. The idea behind the toys is that as your dog gains confidence, the toys can be connected together (like the well known children’s building blocks) to make ever more complex structures, developing your dog’s problem-solving skills.
Each kit is sold in two parts, the starter pack (containing the three essential toys), and the puzzle kit (two additional pieces to add more levels of complexity) and they come in three different sizes: mini (for dogs weighing between 3 and 9kg), medium (dogs weighing between 8 and 25kg) and large (dogs weighing between 20 and 40kg). Each pack contains lots of information on how to use and the type of enrichment each piece provides (e.g. dental hygiene, foraging etc.). There is also the obligatory warnings regarding supervising your dog during play and not being indestructible toys. The packaging is made from recyclable cardboard and my only issue is the use of cable/zip ties to hold the pieces to the card – in the current climate it would be nice to see packaging move away from non recyclable material to something sustainable or biodegradable.
The pieces are made from BPA free plastic and feel quite sturdy (when pressed by human hands). There is a slight smell to them, but no worse than most new toys and my dogs did not seem to mind it. Each piece has male and female ends that connect to the opposite end of another piece. The connection is firm and the pieces do not come apart easily when dropped on a hard floor.
Each piece has unique moulded ridges and valleys that are good for spreading soft food (for example, pate, peanut butter, squeezy cheese, etc.), providing great mental stimulation by offering different sensations on the tongue while licking around the different shapes. Each piece also has two bone-shaped holes which will take the company’s own bone treats.
The pieces are firm enough for general chewing, but may be too firm for puppies or senior dogs and not tough enough for strong chewers (like Staffies). I don’t know whether it is possible with this type of material, but the company may like to consider offering a softer option that is kinder (with more give) for dogs with sensitive or weaker mouths (similar to the puppy and senior kongs) and another option that really is tough enough for more powerful (and determined) jaws.
The treats are designed to fit snugly in the bone-shaped holes and the large blue “base” toy can hold 3 treats in each hole. One thing I noticed is that I couldn’t see the size on the packaging. The mini and medium/large ones are easy to tell apart, but unless you have the medium and large side by side, you could mistakenly buy large instead of medium (and vice versa) as there isn’t much difference in size. Perhaps colour coding the kits/treats or adding the size to the treat packs might make it easier for people to spot the correct sized treats (see update below).
Looking at the toys, they seem to be very versatile and their usability is only limited by your own imagination. Something the company recognises – on the outside of the box it states “Only for dogs …” and inside the box “… who can think outside of the box” . It’s very clever marketing and when you open the lid, it also reminds you to think outside of the box. That’s what these toys do …
I have done a short video review of the large kit and possible ideas for use. This is my first video review so apologies for the naff-ness of it and all the sniffing (coming down with a cold).
Every ridge and furrow of every piece is useful (from the connector difficulty level, to the complex shapes that can be built, to the type of treats that can be used).
In the video I talk about an “end cap” or “bung” that could be used to close off a section without having to use another toy. I think making a simple connecting piece (about twice the length of the male connector – about six ridges) would add to the versatility of the whole kit (by encouraging even more configurations). But that is just my opinion and not having one doesn’t detract to the usefulness of the toys.
These pictures show the slight puncture and scrape marks from chewing and justifies the statement that they are only for light to average chewers. Impressively though, the end shows no sign of wear so far. It will be interesting to see how long they last my two.
I believe K9Connectables have also been working on a slow feeder to add to the range, which could be great for mealtimes. My only concern, as with all slow feeding items is that dogs may become frustrated if they cannot get at the food quickly enough. As with all enrichment toys – know your dog, start off simple to build confidence, gradually increasing complexity and always end on a high for the dog.
For me, these are a great enrichment toy. The price may put some people off, but when you look at what you get for the money and how versatile they are, I think they are definitely worth it (providing they are long-ish lasting).
They can be bought direct from K9Connectables.com and other retailers
Thanks for reading/watching this review, I hope it has been useful and thank you K9connectables for gifting this trial kit.
Remember … Think, Dog Positive!
Apparently there are only two sizes of treats, mini and medium/large. The newer treats (Salmon flavour) have packaging stating “Designed for Medium and Large Connectables”. Excellent! No more confusion :).