Dogster Obsessions: The Foobler, a Self-Reloading Puzzle Feeder for Dogs

This toy can intermittently deliver treats for as long as nine hours; it's available for pre-order.


I’ve written about a few interesting Kickstarter campaigns, introducing my readers to innovative dog lovers who are trying to raise money to launch new dog products. Recently I learned about a project that met and exceeded its Kickstarter funding goal at the end of January. This is no small feat –- Foobler more than doubled its goal of $40,000! Interested dog owners can still pre-order a Foobler of their own; read on to find out how.

The Foobler ($45) is an automatic puzzle feeding toy. Spherical in shape, the inside of the Foobler contains six pods that can hold a combined total of two cups of kibble or small treats. A dog owner can set the Foobler to dispense a new pod’s worth of food every 15, 30, 60, or 90 minutes. At the sound of a bell, the dog is alerted that the game is on! Like other puzzle toys, the dog must bat and nuzzle the Foobler to release the pieces of kibble.

Because the Foobler combines the entertainment of a puzzle toy with the convenience of an automatic feeder, it can be used to engage a dog in healthy, constructive play when its owner is away at work or running errands. Set at the longest interval setting of 90 minutes, a dog can play with the Foobler throughout a nearly nine-hour period, which is just incredible.

When I leave Ace at home while I go to work, I tend to put her toys and chews out of her reach for her safety. I was glad to see that the Foobler’s designers have taken into consideration the safety of a dog left alone with a food-containing toy. The Foobler is made of durable polyethylene, and the batteries and electronics are “buried inside a double wall construction that requires significant intentional steps to access.”

To change the settings on the original Foobler, simply toggle a switch directly on the device. Foobler recently introduced the Bluetooth Foobler ($65), which allows the user to control the Foobler’s setting through an iOS or Android smartphone app.

With the Bluetooth Foobler’s app, you can further customize when the Foobler releases treats to your dog, with options like on-demand dispensing and setting a specific daily dispensing schedule. You can even control more than one Bluetooth Foobler from the same app, perhaps for two different dogs or to feed two different kids of food.

I like the bright, cheerful color choices for the Foobler: Apple (red and green) and Water (blue and orange), as well as a custom green and blue option for the Bluetooth Foobler. The overall design is clean and attractive.

I am particularly impressed by how easy it seems to clean the Foobler. This video on its Kickstarter page shows that it’s as simple as removing the electronics casing and popping the body of the Foobler into the sink or dishwasher (yes, it’s true: The Foobler is dishwasher safe).

Although its successful Kickstarter campaign has closed, Foobler is taking pre-orders of both the original and the Bluetooth Foobler on its website. The original Foobler’s projected delivery is May 2014, and the Bluetooth Foobler should be shipping in October 2014. Domestic shipping is included in the price, while shipping outside the U.S. is an additional $15.

What do you think, Dogster readers? Would you give the Foobler a try? What are your tried-and-true tricks for keeping your dog entertained while you’re away? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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About the Author: This East Coast transplant enjoys the bounty of San Francisco, including its microclimates, farmers’ markets, and secret stairway walks. When she’s not walking with, talking about, or kissing the face of her Boston Terrier, Ace, she blogs about Ace’s adventures. Product reviews writer and guinea pig at Dogster.

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