Dog Behavior & Training Dog Toy Reviews

Utilizing Busy Buddy Dog Toys for Behavior Enrichment

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Written by Rachael Sando

An Opportunity

At the BlogPaws 2015 Conference in Nashville, TN,  we were invited to attend a VIP luncheon hosted by PetSafe®. At this luncheon we learned all about PetSafe and the great products that they make including Busy Buddy® Toys, Pet Fountains, Harnesses/Leashes, and so much more!  Imagine our surprise when at the end of the luncheon MyDogLikes was surprised with a $500 gift card to use however we wanted (OMGEEEE).

MyDogLikes and PetSafe are partnering up for a special promotion to benefit animal shelters across the country.

My head started spinning, PetSafe makes so many great products, how would we decide? I knew we could review/ giveaway lots of fabulous stuff to our readers, but I thought this was a great opportunity to pay it forward.

I contacted Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester, and asked them what they needed. Their answer, Busy Buddy Toys for their Behavioral Enrichment Program! Perfect!

The beautiful exterior of Lollypop Farm in Rochester, NY

Behavioral Enrichment?

Not really sure what that means? Don’t worry, I didn’t know much about the behavioral enrichment program either which is exactly why I came in to Lollypop Farm to speak with Behavior and Training Manager, Rebecca Lohnes!

A little peanut butter stuffed inside is all it takes to turn Busy Buddy's into Interactive Dog Toys!

The Behavioral Enrichment Program at Lollypop Farm was originally developed with the aid of Kelley Bollen, MS, CABC, a graduate of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Since its inception the program has grown and continues to evolve as staff at Lollypop Farm look for ways to provide rich and varied experiences that help the animals to become more adoptable.  

Why do shelters need Behavioral Enrichment Programs?

There is a misconception out there that dogs that are in shelters are “broken”; someone else’s’ discarded dog with behavioral problems. Unfortunately, this stereotype is sometimes perpetuated based on the behavior that potential adopters see when walking through kennels. Says Lollypop Farm’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Gillian Hargrave:

“A dog has less than three seconds to make an impact on someone. Some are really nice dogs, but they are so stressed they can’t present themselves well to prospective adopters.”

Unfortunately, this stress typically presents as barking, whining, and throwing of their bodies at the kennel doors. As it was explained to me, these pups are looking for comfort and attention in the only way they know how.

A beautiful dog up for adoption at Lollypop Farm

Despite the efforts of volunteers and staff, the environment in a shelter is not natural and many animals feel uncomfortable and confused in their kennels. This behavior leads potential adopters to bypass these animals, labeling them as too excitable or difficult to handle.

Natural Environment

This sweet dog was recently adopted from Lollypop Farm in Rochester, NY!Consider for a moment how rich and varied a dog’s day can be at a home. Between walks, window watching, visitors, and baskets of toys to rummage through, a dog in a home has the opportunity to be him/herself, exploring the environment and all of the things in it when he chooses. Now consider how that compares to the four walls of a kennel. Constraints such as time, staff/volunteers, physical space, behavioral needs, contamination risks, and safety, significantly limit the experiences of a dog. Dogs who are especially sensitive to their environment or who spend a significant amount of time in a shelter can experience cognitive and behavioral changes as a result.

What is the answer?

The dedicated volunteers and staff at shelters work day in and day out to create an enriching environment for shelter dogs so that they can be happier and more cognitively and physically stimulated while awaiting their forever home. Lollypop Farm, like many other shelters across the country, understands the importance of creating an atmosphere that mimics the natural environment and offers varying intellectual experiences. Instituting behavioral enrichment programs is one of the best ways to ensure happy, healthy, and highly adoptable dogs!

Sweet Keira (currently up for adoption at Lollypop Farm) patiently waiting to play with a PetSafe dog toy!As part of the behavioral program all dogs who are up for adoption receive some basic obedience training, regular outdoor time, and daily walks. Recognizing that the shelter environment is not a natural environment, the enrichment program at Lollypop Farm helps to provide varied intellectual experiences.

Aspects of Behavioral Enrichment:

Lollypop Farm's behavior enrichment program is a crucial component of their pet adoption processScents– Dogs love to sniff and have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses (compared to about 6 million in humans). Dogs explore their environment with their noses providing lots of mental stimulation for them. In order to provide varied olfactory experiences for pups in the shelter, Lollypop Farm sprays different scents in the kennels everyday!  

SoundsWhether the sounds of the neighborhood, the TV, or radio, dogs are sensitive to the noises in their environment. Dogs not only have a larger range of frequencies they can hear, but their ears contain more muscles allowing them to locate sounds better. You probably know someone who leaves the radio or TV on for their dogs during the day (it might even be you). This is something that Lollypop Farm does, playing music/talk radio and more recently experimenting with televisions on carts for pups who like to watch their morning soaps!

ActionWhile physical exercise outdoors is important, puzzles and interactive dog toys can also play an integral role in keeping dogs stimulated. Using lots of variation in treats and helping dogs explore and locate these treats is just one way that Lollypop Farm provides some extra fun for the pups. Paper lunch bags and cardboard boxes/tubes are an easy and inexpensive way to provide some exploratory fun.

Heavy duty dog toys, like PetSafe’s Busy Buddy line are also popular because they can be reused and also hold treats inside. As dogs work to get at the goodies inside, they are forced to really stretches those doggy brains! The only drawback is the cost for a lot of shelters.

Busy Buddy Dog Toys can be stuffed with peanut butter or other treats to keep dogs interested and occupied

Here comes the FUN part!

PetSafe to the Rescue (literally)!

Using $250 of my very generous PetSafe gift card, I made a large purchase of Busy Buddy dog toys for Lollypop Farm. Shortly after placing my order, the goodies arrived and I was off to Lollypop Farm! With a box of Busy Buddy Toys in hand, I recruited help from two very happy and sweet doggy volunteers, Dixie (adopted) and Keira Bell (available-and oh so sweet!).

Sweet Keira Bell - available for adoption at Lollypop Farm in Rochester, NY

It was time to see behavioral enrichment in action!

Busy Buddy Dog Toys

Busy Buddy Toys are made out of a unique vanilla scented rubber that can stand up to some pretty serious fun! The entire line of Busy Buddy toys come in various sizes for our petite and extra large friends. These toys also come in various “chew strengths” providing options for our dainty friends and power chewers. These two features help pet parents to make good choices for their friends based either on dog size or the power of their chew. We love this feature because it can be customized for your dog and his/her habits.  

Beautiful and sweet Keira Bell is one of the current dogs for adoption at Lollypop Farm near Rochester, NY!

This adoptable dog enjoying some puppy playtime at Lollypop Farm

The Busy Buddy Treat Dispensing line combines the yumminess of treats with durable, bouncy, interactive fun! These toys contain a patented Treat Meter® which allows you to customize how easy it is for your pup to get treats out from inside. These toys can be stuffed with all sorts of goodies like hard/frozen treats, kibble, or soft treats like peanut butter or canned food. No worries about the mess-just toss these super versatile toys in the dishwasher!

Looking for Stuffable Dog Toys other than the KONG? Check out PetSafe's Busy Buddy line!

Fun, right?!

There is MORE!

Remember how I said I only used half of my gift card!? Well, the rest is up for grabs! Do you think your favorite shelter would love PetSafe’s Busy Buddy Toys? How about $250 of Busy Buddy toys?

Enter your favorite shelter into a drawing to win $250 of Busy Buddy Dog Toys! The winner will also receive $50 of Busy Buddy toys for their own pup! 

Want to pick some up for yourself?

Check out some of our favorites from Amazon:

Tell us about your favorite shelter below!


About the author

Rachael Sando

Rachael is a School Psychologist with degrees from the University of Rochester and RIT. Though a lifelong dog lover, this passion has taken on a new direction through the utilization of therapy animals in her day job. Charlie, our Golden Retriever, works with Rachael as a school therapy dog in a local primary school where he brings comfort and support to students and staff on a daily basis.


  • That’s a really nice idea. I wish we still had a shelter near us, but it closed a few years back and the other ones are quite a drive, so Mom doesn’t go there unless she needs a pet. PetSafe was very generous, we still have one more giveaway ourselves.

  • Wow, how generous of PetSafe and how generous of you as well! Your Lollypop shelter sounds like a great place that does everything they can to get pets adopted.
    Our favorite shelter is one the rescue we got our pup Luke through started. They were originally just a rescue when we adopted Luke but now they have built a shelter. We’d love to help them out too.
    Great giveaway…thanks!

  • I would donate to New Hope Animal Shelter it is about 40 miles away, they also help people in need with vouchers for spay and neutering. Lolly Pop Farm, sounds like they have a great program and really care. I’m glad you shared with them.

  • My favourite rescue shelter is Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (North Gower, ON) and although they do not rescue dogs they do have many young raccoons and skunks who would love the toys.

  • My City’s shelter is feverishly trying to become a no kill shelter, and are building two locations to house the thousands of dogs that come by! I would love to help them in any way I can, and this prize is amazing.

  • What an amazing giveaway! So cool! Our favorite shelter is Oregon Humane Society. OHS is no kill, they employee PR trainers who are certified with a CPDT-KA. They also take animal transfers from other shelters who are overwhelmed. They work really hard to make sure the animals are happy and healthy. It is the cleanest facility I’ve ever been to. Both girls came from there and they were transfers from the Klamath Falls shelter.

  • I would donate to PAWS shelter (Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society). I love no kill shelters!

  • I would love to Nominate the Hillside SPCA in Pottsville, PA. who are a NO KILL facility and not only take in cats and dogs but any animal who needs to be taken in. They help with shots and fixing if you cant afford to do it on your own.

  • Okay, WHAT AN AWESOME GIVEAWAY!!!!! This is such a generous way to use your gift card, I can’t even believe it! How amazing of you guys! <3 I love this program they've got – different scents, treats, etc each day?! That's a great way to make life a little easier and more interesting for shelter dogs. We have several favorite shelters in the area, but the toys would probably end up going to PAWS Humane Society located in Charles City, Iowa. They've got a wonderful staff but not much money or supplies.

  • WOW what an awesome giveaway – we would love for the box to go to the Dreams Disabled R Animal Mountain Sanctuary, DREAMS, a final resting place for Disabled R Senior Animals. A home sanctuary in the hills of the central valley of Cali, for senior animals in need. Danielle runs it on a shoestring budget by herself and she totally deserves them.

  • Both the Idaho Humane Society and the West Valley Animal Shelter in Idaho are no kill shelters which do a marvelous job of caring for and finding homes for animals. I can’t say enough good about both facilities. They are staffed by wonderful people who are truly devoted to animals.

  • OMD! This would be so awesome for the Humane Society of NW Louisiana. The volunteers work and play so much with the dogs waiting for forever homes. These would be great fun!

  • Wow, you are so generous! What a bunch of lucky dogs in Lollypop Farm and the winner’s chosen rescue. I’m torn between 3: Humane CNY (where I adopted Theo) Regional Animal Shelter and Helping Hounds.

  • Wow, what a lovely idea. We’re like Emma though, and don’t have a local shelter. Still, PetSafe were very generous, and a shelter is going to be made very happy soon.

  • I’m entering for Glen Highland Farm Sweet Border Collie Rescue. What a great organization that take in unwanted and homeless border collies and border collie mixes, gets them healthy and then adopted into wonderful homes.

  • What a great giveaway! I live in Italy and I do not know the shelters in the US, then I would like to donate to a shelter chosen by My Dog Likes!

  • That is so generous:) I would love to win this for the Humane Society of Imperial County. They are a no-kill shelter and could really use any help
    They can get. They currently have over 300 animals in their facility which is only large to accommodate 100 animals 🙁 the pups at the shelter need so much love and I’m sure they would enjoy a toy to have fun with. Please check out their page

  • I would like to donate toys to Greenville County Animal Care in South Carolina. They are a high intake, high kill shelter. I love our local No Kill shelter but I try to support GCAC because their animals need it most.

  • So many deserving shelters/programs to nominate…I would have to choose ACCT in Philadelphia where we adopted our Skylar. She is a fantastic addition to our family! Thanks!

  • I would like Macomb Animal Shelter in Mt Clemens Michigan to win the toys. They revamped the shelter and is now a no kill shelter, with updated kennels and ventilation system that circulates fresh air every 5 minutes. I got two of my furbabies from them and they are the best but do get overcrowded and operate on donations. The furbabies here would love to have toys to play with

  • An amazing idea and giveaway! Of course I’m a little biased toward PetSafe AND animal rescue 😉 As someone who is very involved in animal shelters, I can agree that so many more shelters need these behavioral enrichment programs, or something like it. The shelter that receives these items will be so grateful!

  • Sit with Me dog rescue. Such a great rescue. They rescue the dogs that are in dire need of rescue/vet help and find them homes. Also they take in dogs from high kill shelters! The dogs would love these!

  • My favorite shelter is Multnomah Animal Services. They always do so much for the animals in their care. We adopted 4 of our dogs from them 🙂 I would love to win for them!

  • I nominate Charleston Dog Shelter. It’s strictly ran on donations and by volunteers. It’s has a wonderful group of ladies that regularly keep it up and running. They get dogs vet care, spay/neutered, and shots. Then are placed online to show pics so they can be adopted. This is why donations are so important! It’s a no kill shelter and it’s always at full capacity. This would be such a blessing for the shelter! Thank you for offering to some lucky doggies!

  • It’s so generous of you to use your gift card to help shelter dogs! Our favorite shelter (that has cats and dogs) is Denver Dumb Friends League. They find homes for all kinds of dogs and cats with and without special needs, young and old. They do a lot of great work.

  • I would donate to an organization I have been volunteering at for about 5 years. Norcal GSP Rescue (German Shorthaired Pointers) does so much for these dogs. They pull these dogs put of shelters and find forever homes for them. Only a fraction of the money it costs for each dog (vet bills, food, meds, etc.) is covered by the adoption fees. Most comes from fundraisers and private donations. I would love to be able to help this organization.
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  • my favorite shelter is Safe Haven cat shelter and clinic, this was started by 1 woman and has grown into a very large reputable rescue. they have a low cost clinic, they have a pet food bank for both dogs and cats. which i contribute on a reg basis.

    • Safe Haven Shelter sounds like a wonderful place! It is amazing the difference even 1 person can make!

  • Kitsap Humane Society in WA has been trying really hard to get as many dogs adopted as they can. It’s hard, especially with the Staffy mixes – people around here just seem to be so “anti-pitbull” which is a shame, they are such wonderful dogs. I’d love to be able to help them out and nix some of the wintertime boredom coming up for the dogs while they wait for their fur-ever homes!

  • Richmond SPCA is one of the best ASPCA Locations in the country! It is a no kill shelter that not only helps many pets find homes and saves many animals especially bullies from euthanasia, but also offers training classes including agility and AKC good canine citizen test prep! Through Richmond SPCA’s Paws for Health therapy dog program, many people in our community are given a break from day to day life with time with amazing pups! Volunteers can take the shelter dogs on runs a couple days a week as well! Richmond SPCA not only saves animals lives they also give a lot back to our community!

    • Thanks so much for letting us know about Richmond SPCA – It sounds like such a wonderful place!

      I really love that Paws for Health program. What a great way to get people out and moving – and of course the pups must be just thrilled!!