Do you think your dog might be bored? Dogs need more than physical stimulation. Regardless of their intelligence, all dogs need mental stimulation to stay active and happy. Most dogs love to use their nose to solve problems, and these great puzzle toys for dogs will help your dog keep his mind sharp.
These toys also work great for dogs that eat too fast or are prone to bloat. They have to work to get the food, so they can’t gulp it all down in one bite.
Before getting to the toys, a few important things to note:
- Don’t allow your dog to play with these toys unsupervised, especially before you know whether she’ll destroy them. Toys can be broken into small pieces that your dog can choke on, or sharp pieces that can cause major damage to your dog’s digestive tract.
- If you see any sign that your dog is damaging the toy instead of just playing with it, remove the toy immediately!
- Most of these toys are not meant for super destructive dogs. If your dog is super destructive, try these toys instead.
- Remember to adjust how much you feed your dog when you use treats to motivate her.
The IQ Treat Ball is a nifty little toy. It’s about the size of a tennis ball, and it grips the individual kibbles. This ball is great for smaller to medium sized dogs, and provides a full workout to get the food.
Another great puzzle ball, the Foobler comes with a timer! The ball has chambers, and opens them on a timer set by the owner. For dogs that get bored easily, the Foobler kicks back in every 15 to 90 minutes and adds new treats. Your dog will need to be taught that the “ding” of the timer means more food, so they don’t get bored after the first round and ignore the toy the rest of the day.
This toy is really cool! It’s called the Clever Pet Hub. It’s an automatic feeder, but it’s also a huge enrichment toy. It goes through a series of phases with your dog. First, it just provides kibble to get your dog interested. Then it teaches your dog to nose the touch pads on the front, and eventually teaches the dog to tap the pads in a shown order. It’s basically Dance Dance Revolution for dogs. It has a steep price tag, but will keep your pet engaged all day, every day. It also connects with your smart phone and tells you what your dog has learned. This is probably one of the coolest puzzle toys for dogs I have ever seen!
This Trixie Flip Board teaches problem solving. The dog has to perform various acts to get to the treats. Some items slide, others pick up, and doors open. While most pups master this toy quickly, it’s durable and keeps them busy for at least a few minutes.
It wouldn’t be a complete list without a Kong toy. The Kong Wobbler is a heavy-duty rubber toy, with a small hole. As the dog noses around the toy, individual treats and kibble pop out. Depending on your dog’s activity level, it might keep your dog busy for a half hour or more. The top twists off for easy access and cleaning.
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