Published: 29th November 2019
This Bengaluru duo has come up with games you can play with your pawed friends
Freya Rehman and Preeti Narayanan make hand-crafted wooden games for dogs but its not all fun and games
One fine evening, Freya Rehman and Preeti Narayanan were sipping chai as they lovingly watched their dogs lazing around them. Freya has five and Preeti has eleven. That's when they began to discuss how it would be interesting if they invented a new game for their dogs. Something that would allow them to give each one individual attention.
They found it necessary to give individual attention to their dear pets because they had reached a stage where they couldn't. "We wanted to spend time with them individually. It was difficult to engage with each one separately. So we decided that instead of just using their toys to play with them, it might be a good idea to come up with a game," Freya said. And so they came up with a 'dog puzzle' — well, it's nothing like the puzzles us humans play with but the duo insist that the 'puzzle' is not just a toy. Which is why it's called a game.
Freya Rehman (Pic: Happytailz games)
"When it is a toy, it can be played with alone. That is the reason why we don't prefer calling it a toy. These are games that require dog parents to participate as well. Also, the dog needs to do some thinking while playing the game," Freya said. So what is this game? It's a wooden board with cylindrical-shaped holes, there are cylindrical pegs that fit these holes and the dog has to remove these pegs. And what motives them to remove the pegs? Parents hide treats at the bottom! "Tens minutes of playing this game is almost equivalent to one hour of walk as it gives a physical and mental workout to the dog," she adds.
"The game worked for our dogs and we thought it was much necessary to share it with dog parents like us," shares Freya.
As they are dog parents themselves, they test their products on their dogs first. The games are completely made out of wood which is obviously safe for dogs and are hand-crafted. "We do the cutting, shaping and designing. Every single piece used in it is pet-friendly and no harmful substances are used. We do a number of quality checks before giving the product out for sale," assures Preeti.
It's time to play!
The duo also helps customers find the right kind of product for their dogs. "Our games are designed to get the dogs to indulge in activities like lifting, sliding, etc. So we have a brief conversation with our customer to know the behaviour and the breed of their dog and help them choose the right game if they are confused," says Preeti.
Some of us may wonder the purpose of it, Freya says that it is much more than a game, but how? " If my dog is hyperactive, he may not be calm enough to sit in a place. I will offer him the game only if he sits. He is too excited to play the game that he chooses to obey. So now, I have made him sit and also understand that he is being rewarded if he obeys," explains Preeti. " It can also be used to get fussy eaters to eat, by making it a fun activity. This means it's not merely a game but something which helps promote the mental health and behaviour of dogs," Freya adds.
Preeti Narayanan (Pic: Happytailz)
The game is not hard to maintain, it needs the attention one gives to any standard wooden object." Every puzzle is sold with a tutorial video on how to use it and its maintenance. We always advise our customers to wipe the product dry after playing, to prevent moisture from dampening it," says Preeti.
Apart from this, Happytailz is also conducting online competitions for dogs and their human parents. "Happytailz Olympics is conducted during winter and Happytailz Bingo is conducted during summer. The main aim of conducting such competition is to give you a chance to have fun with your pet. Simple as that! And it is not necessary that you must be a customer of Happytailz to take part in this," Preeti concludes.
Their interesting games
Frieda consists of a square peg, cylindrical peg, a rectangular slider and a flip. The dog has to lift or move the slider to get his treat. This involves a lot of brain activity as the dog has to find a way to get his treat. This helps the dog parent understand it's strength in each of these movements and train them accordingly.
Lucy is a board game which has nine cylindrical pegs placed on a square board. You can hide your treat randomly in the cavity under these pegs. Your dog has to remove these pegs to get his treat. Now the dog learns the pickup movement, which in turn trains them to smell and reach their treat.
Linus is a slider board game. The dog learns to move aside sliders to reach treats underneath. Some of these movements dogs learn may transfer into their day to day lives. Some intelligent dogs have figured out how to open sliding cupboards and drawers after playing these games.