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K9 Connectables, a toy that is apparently improving the mental health of dogs throughout the country, has been shortlisted for a major national design award.

The interactive dog toy provides a solution to some of the problems caused by canine boredom and James Mcllvenna’s invention has now been shortlisted in the consumer product category in the Irish Design Awards.

The Howth-based industrial designer was inspired after his Labrador, Sandy, chewed his wedding album.

“To develop the toys, I worked with dog behavioural experts, veterinary professionals and a dedicated team of dog owners”, James explained.

“Unlike other food filling toys you can increase the difficulty level as your dog gets better at the game by connecting more together”. The toy stimulates a dog’s instinct to hunt and work for food, challenging them to unlock the treats inside the interconnecting toys.

Ciara Darcy, Certified Pet Dog Trainer and behaviour advisor worked with James in developing the product.

She claimed that the toys could be key in preventing unwanted behaviours forming in dogs, teaching dogs how to settle, how to handle controlled frustration and how to problem solve.

K9 Connectables also meet the British Safety standards for children’s toys.