Pet Product Review: Do Educational Dog and Cat Toys Work?

We have been reading quite a bit about educational dog and cat games coming on the market. Some of them looked quite complex. We wanted to test some of them, as we know that our pet loving peeps were starting to become curious about these so called games entering into the market.

The questions we had centered on, ease of use, fun for the pet and do the pets learn a behavior that is complex.

The first game that we are going to put to the test in this ongoing series, is the Nina Ottoson, “Dog Casino”.

We received the Dog Casino, removed it from the box and read the directions. The Casino came with an instructional DVD as well. We figured…let’s just read the instructions and give it a go. We will use the DVD as a back up if the dogs aren’t getting the gist. Quite frankly, we were extremely skeptical. The Casino looked like it was complex and we didn’t think our dogs would catch on. Philomena the Minature Pincher is very food driven and Chachala the Chihuahua is not as much. So here we go.

The instructions were explicit. Once we learned to remove the bone shaped peg up out of the hole, the drawer would open. (Yeah for us!) The instructions read that you should have the dogs watch you place the treats in the drawer and leave the drawer open the first time then let them take the treats from the drawers. Once they have learned that behavior and they are comfortable with the physical game itself, then try again closing the drawer half way, then all of the way. The first time we dropped the tiny pieces of treats into the drawer the dogs were really watching intently. We told them “OK” and up they came making the rounds to get the treats out.

The third time, when we closed the drawers without the bone pegs to hold them closed as directed, we didn’t think they would catch on. BANG! In no time they were pawing at the drawers and opening them! OK, they “Got it” and we were very surprised! We filled the drawers one more time without the bone pegs to hold the drawers shut and they were having fun opening the drawers and finding the treats.

Now for the real test. The Advanced Placement (AP) course of the dog world, the bone pegs! We put the treat under the hollow portion of the bone peg as instructed and gave each dog a little help finding the treat. This took about 3 bones each before they could figure out the best way to get the treat out. After that, Phil was pulling the peg out with her teeth and eating the treat underneath. Cha was using her paw to dislodge the bone and eat the treat, then they learned the drawer would now open so they went for that treat too.

This tape was filmed about 10 minutes into the process and we were absolutely amazed as how quickly they learned the rather complex behavior and how much fun they were having! Check it out!

You can tell the game is sturdy and can take pawing, slobber and being walked on by the “Gamers”.

We were so pleasantly surprised by this game! The Nina Ottoson, “Dog Casino” is a jackpot of fun for you and your furbabies!

Paw Rating:
Chachala: “I love it! I enjoyed playing with my sister and can’t wait to play again!” 4 PAWS UP

Philomena: “I love it too! Our peeps didn’t think we would like it as much as we do. I want to play again after dinner, OK Mommie and Poppie Peep?” 4 PAWS UP

We found the game on Amazon at a retail price between $42-$49.95. (We were sent a complimentary game to review.) The game instructions state that a cat would enjoy playing as well.

If you have an educational game you would like reviewed, please email

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