Interactive puzzle toys are a great way to prevent smart dogs with active minds from getting bored. Mental enrichment is as important to a dog’s health and exercise requirements as physical exercise. Especially since mental stimulation uses as much energy as physical activity. I’ve included large dog puzzle toys in this list too. Big breeds like Bernese Mountain dogs and German Shepherds need mental stimulation too!
When leaving your dog alone, hide three or four puzzle food toys around the house to add extra stimulation. Interactive toys involve mental challenges like mazes and pattern recognition, providing positive reinforcement.
This should help to boost your dog’s attention span. When introducing your dog to a puzzle toy, start at the easiest level and reward them with low-calorie treats for the first few times they use it.
Remember, positive reinforcement is the best way to keep your dog’s attention span on the task. Avoid toys with small parts that could become choking hazards.
Here are the six best puzzle toys for dogs, along with an extra big recommendation for making a dog toy yourself:
This is a puzzle with three spinning layers and four compartments on each level, and bone puzzle pieces to increase the difficulty. The Tornado Puzzle is an interactive toy that provides mental stimulation and challenge for dogs.
It has three spinning layers and four compartments on each level, along with bone puzzle pieces to add difficulty. This will help to keep your dog’s attention span and provide positive reinforcement for good behavior.
It’s a great way to prevent boredom and stimulate your pet’s mental health.
A mat with long fibers to hide treats and let your pup sniff them out!
The Snuffle Mat is an innovative dog toy that helps prevent boredom and stimulate your pet’s mental health. The mat is made of long fibers that are used to hide treats and let your pup sniff them out. This is a great way to provide mental enrichment for large active dogs with strong minds, as it encourages the use of their sense of smell.
The Snuffle Mat is easy to use and comes in different sizes to fit any breed, making it a great choice for almost any dog. This makes it one of the best puzzle toys for large dogs. With the proper guidance and positive reinforcement, you can help your pup learn how to use this fun interactive toy.
Trixie Mad Scientist
This is a dog puzzle toy with beakers that release treats when moved in a certain way.
Hide-A-Squirrel Puzzle – a plush toy with three stuffed squirrels hiding inside a tree trunk, which makes them difficult to remove. The Hide-A-Squirrel Puzzle is an interactive toy that helps relieve boredom and encourages problem-solving skills in dogs.
The toy consists of a plush tree trunk with three stuffed squirrels hidden inside, making them difficult to remove. The challenge is to figure out how to get the treats out without damaging the toy
Busy Buddy Tug a Jug
This is a textured natural rubber toy that makes the dog pull the rope in a precise way to get treats out, and can hold a lot of food.
The Busy Buddy Tug a Jug is an interactive and stimulating dog toy that will provide your pup with plenty of mental enrichment. This toy consists of a textured natural rubber jug with a rope protruding from it.
The game is to pull the rope in exactly the right way for treats to be released from the jug. This large dog puzzle toy is a great way to provide your pup with mental stimulation and keep them busy for hours.
Is a strong chew toy that can be filled with food, providing mental stimulation and dental benefits. This is a durable rubber chew toy in the shape of a cone that can hold treats inside, and has an unpredictable bounce when thrown. The Kong Classic is one of the most well-known interactive dog toys on the market. It is quite famous for being an excellent chew toy and providing mental stimulation.
The Kong Classic is a great way to keep your pup busy and engaged, as they figure out how to get the treats out. This toy also provides dental benefits, as your pup chews on it to get the treat inside.
Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel
This puzzle toy has a soft, plush tree trunk and squirrels that dogs can remove and play with. The Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel is an innovative, interactive dog toy that provides your pup with plenty of entertainment.
This playful puzzle toy consists of a plush tree trunk and three stuffed squirrels that your pup can remove and play with. It’s a great way to keep your dog busy and provide mental stimulation.
Outward Hound Ottosson Puzzle Brick
This is the same brand as above, this is a puzzle toy with removable bones that dogs can flip, slide and lift to reveal hidden treats and food.
The Outward Hound Ottosson Puzzle Brick is an incredibly fun and interactive dog toy designed to stimulate your pup’s mind. This puzzle toy consists of a durable plastic base with removable bones that can be flipped, slid, and lifted to reveal hidden treats or food. It’s the perfect way to keep your pup entertained for hours on end while also providing them with mental stimulation.
This Wobbler is an interactive toy that dispenses treats as the dog plays with it and it can be a real enigma!
The Kong Wobbler is a great way to keep your pup entertained and provide them with mental stimulation. The toy is shaped like a bell and filled with food, which your pup can pull out of the toy as they play.
The Kong Wobbler is an interactive and stimulating dog toy that provides plenty of entertainment for your pup. This unique toy is shaped like a bell and filled with food, which your pup can pull out as they play. The Wobbler is designed to dispense treats as the dog plays with it, providing mental stimulation and helping to relieve boredom and anxiety in dogs.
DIY dog puzzle toys
Do It Yourself toys for dogs can also be a great way to provide mental stimulation and keep your dog occupied. If you have the time and resources, try making a DIY dog puzzle toy with food out of an old cardboard box or plastic container. Fill it with treats and challenge your pup to figure out how to get them out!
How to make a DIY puzzle toy with treats for your dog step-by-step:
- Take a cardboard box or plastic container and cut out holes slightly smaller than the treats you’ll be using. Make sure there are enough holes for your dog to get all of the treats out!
- Put the treats inside and fill up any extra space with crumpled paper, cotton balls, or anything else that will make it more difficult for your pup to get the treats out.
- Let your dog explore and figure out how to get the treats out of their puzzle toy! Be prepared to offer encouragement if they seem stuck—you can use verbal cues like “get it” or “find it” when they’re close to finding a treat.
- When your dog has successfully completed the puzzle game, reward them with a treat and lots of praise!
These DIY dog puzzles can be made from materials you already have around the house, and they’re a great way to provide mental stimulation for your pup while also saving money. Plus, watching your pup figure out how to get those treats out is sure to put a smile on your face!
You could also buy one of the many pre-made puzzle toys available in stores or online. These typically require your pup to manipulate different pieces of the toy in order to get a treat, providing hours of entertainment for both you and your pet.
Additionally, if all else fails you can always take your furry friend for a walk or game of fetch—it’s sure to tire them out!
No matter what activity you choose, staying active and mentally engaged is essential for your pup’s well-being. Homemade dog puzzle toys are a great way to provide physical and mental stimulation, without needing a lot of time or money. So get creative, have fun with it, and watch your pup learn and grow!
These are just a few of the many interactive dog toys that can help provide your pup with mental enrichment, play and help keep their minds healthy. Whether you choose to invest in one or all of these options, remember to always supervise your pup during playtime, and reward them positively for completing each task!
Happy playing and learning! Your pup is sure to love these interactive dog toys. Enjoy the extra bonding time with your pup, as they explore and engage in stimulating activities.
Do you have a preference for dog toys? Have I left any out? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.