Diana Simonsen, CPDT-KA, CTDI[PupPod] Tell us about your experience dog training. [Diana Simonsen] I’ve been a trainer for over ten years and had my own training company. I’ve evolved from different training methods to positive reinforcement training. Could really see using PupPod as another mechanism to use positive training methods so your reinforcing the behavior you want. You can encourage all kinds of wonderful behaviors. Right Valen? [PupPod] How does mental stimulation work into the advice you give your clients? [Diana Simonsen] It’s really interesting because a lot of clients talk about for mental stimulation, “well my dog goes to the dog park every day so they must be tired.” But that not really mental stimulation, that’s physical stimulation. And so, all the food puzzles…we recommend food puzzles for all our clients. Dogs need to use their mind, use they senses, use their nose, use their paws…all the tactile stimulation. It’s just a great way to round out all their energy so you can get a dog very tired with mental stimulation alone. Even more than taking them to the dog park. [PupPod] How does mental stimulation play a role with their health? [Diana Simonsen] It’s really interesting because it evolves through the different stages of a dog’s life. For a puppy, you can use mental stimulation to build resiliency…to build a connection between you and your dog. For a dog like Valen who was placed with me when he was an adult, he is able to make connections and get over things in his past because he’s having this new, very simple, very clean way to interact together. For senior dogs that are maybe not as mobile, something like PupPod would be incredibly helpful where they are not able to run around as much, but they’re still mentally very, very aware and would love to be able to play a fun game like this. [PupPod] How do you compare the effectiveness of mental stimulation vs. physical stimulation to tire a dog out? [Diana Simonsen] Mental stimulation vs. physical stimuation. I think you can get a dog equally tired. People say I’ll take the dog to the dog park, but that’s not interacting with you. And that’s not interacting in a way that might even be safe or healthy for your dog or even appropriate for all the ages levels of the dog. Mental stimulation is something they can do from the time they’re born to the time their life is ending. They can always be doing mental stimulation. [PupPod] Is there anything you found to be interesting with PupPod that you didn’t expect? [Diana Simonsen] I didn’t know anything about PupPod. I watched one video on the website. I certainly know about KONGs and as a trainer, we use remote reinforcers all the time. Whether it’s an automated remote reinforcer like a Pet Tutor or Manners Minder / Treat & Train or even just a food ball and train the dog to go to the food ball on cue. It’s a great way to get a dog up and moving and get a whole lot of behavior that you like and want to reinforce.