An Irish inventor has revealed how he was inspired to set up his own business and create a range of dog toys after his pet Labrador ate his wedding album.
James McIlvenna, from Howth, set out to invent his range of interactive dog toys after he spotted a gap in the market.
He developed K9 Connectables’ Kibble Connector, which he says encourage dogs to pursue their nutrition through interaction - slowing down their mealtimes and battling canine boredom.
“Sandy is extremely high energy and while going through her early biting phase, managed to jump up onto the hall table and tear apart our wedding album which had come through the post,” Mr McIlvenna explained.
A lot of dog problems stem from boredom. They need to be challenged and feel as if they are working for their keep
“A lot of dog problems stem from boredom. They need to be challenged and feel as if they are working for their keep. Exercise alone is never enough – they need stimulation and to be mentally engaged.
“They have been bred throughout history to do things for humans, but in the last century the script has been flipped.”
To develop the toys, Mr McIlvenna worked with dog behavioural experts, veterinary professionals and a team of dog owners.
Mr McIlvenna said the patented food dispensing system gets dogs moving by using their own food to motivate them at mealtimes, solving a range of problems before they are fed.
“The idea with the K9 Connectables series of toys is that you stuff the dog’s favourite food and treats inside and connect them together,” he added.
“They work with your dog’s instinct to hunt and work for food, challenging them to unlock the treats inside.
It takes Sandy up to 45 minutes of constant play to get all of her food and treats
“The dog can smell the food but has to use their brain to figure out how to break the connections and get their rewards.
“The Kibble Connector is designed with a patented connection system which you can connect more toys to and gradually make the task even harder for your pet.
“For example, it takes Sandy up to 45 minutes of constant play to get all of her food and treats from inside the toys that we add on to it.
The toys have been endorsed by INTODogs, an association for dog trainers, behaviourists and other dog professionals.