Best Puzzle Toys for Dogs
To make sure your pooch’s brain stays sharp in their senior years or to provide entertainment for your mischievous pet, offer them puzzle toys- here are some of the best ones the market has to offer.
Same as they need physical exercise, dogs need mental stimulation, too. Almost every dog will have a curious, inquisitive side to them that requires engaging playtime, but some pooches really need to be challenged, otherwise they can develop behavioral issues. For instance, working dog breeds or pooches prone to separation anxiety will benefit most from mind engaging puzzle toys. They need a task to stay content and interactive and puzzle toys for dogs give them exactly that. Similarly, dogs in their golden years could keep their mind nimble and young if they have fun challenges to occupy them. Not all pets will find the same interactive toys fun, though- but here are 10 puzzle toys for dogs that will match any canine’s preferences.
This challenging toy will provide hours and hours of fun for your furry bestie! How, you might wonder? Well, with yummy motivation, everything is possible. The Trixie Activity Flip Board Interactive Dog Toy rewards your pooch with a treat whenever they open a compartment. The compartments vary in shape and size to make sure even a smart cookie is challenged by the toy- it’s ideal for the intermediate canine gamer.
The cones can’t be knocked over and your dog will have to lift them to get to a snack, the red compartments need to be pushed to slide in order to reveal the goodies and the orange ones flip open with a lever. Luckily, the non-slip rubber feet will keep the toy in place while your pet tries to figure out how to overcome all those obstacles. It’s a lot of fun and it will definitely give your dog some much-needed engaging playtime!
OK, not all dogs are super brainiacs that will love figuring out complex puzzles. Sometimes, your pet will have to start slow before advancing to more challenging stuff- and this plush hippo can be there for them through all of the stages. This interactive plush toy offers varying levels of difficulty to accommodate all levels of cognitive skills. Both puzzle newbies and clever pros will find this toy fun! You can squish the entire hippo inside the ball to up the challenge, or let its limbs hang out to entice your pooch to try and take it out. The built-in squeaker and crinkle material ensure that your dog will find the hippo interesting to maul, that’s for sure! And once the fun is done, this adorable interactive toy can be a cuddle buddy for your pet- it’s soft and perfect to nap with.
However, a word of caution: if your canine companion is an aggressive chewer, this puzzle toy might not be the best match. Sure, it’s sturdy and durable, but it’s no match to a tenacious pooch with strong teeth!
If your dog is one of those ‘will work for treats’ types (and which pooch isn’t, really?), he’ll adore this puzzle toy. The Kibble Nibble might not pose a challenge to a smart, advanced dog, but it will definitely motivate them and occupy their attention regardless- which is really the goal for all puzzle toys for dogs. They might not have to go through hoops or solve equations to get to the kibble, but, hey, the promise of gratification is more than enough to keep the ball rolling. And, as a result, your pet entertained enough to forget all about destructive behaviors!
To boot, in case your dog eats their meal too fast and has digestive issues because of it, you can use this food dispensing toy to feed them. Put their dose of kibble inside and watch them work for their grub. No gobbling down and barfing it all out in minutes!
In most normal situations, the last thing you’d want in your life is for your dog to find a skunk. But there’s a first for everything! This plush puzzle toy features 3 ‘stinking cute skunks’ hidden inside the flower pot, just waiting to be plucked by a mighty and powerful hunter. Yes, you guessed it right- your pampered pet will be doing all the hunting. Owing to the concept of the hidden prize, this interactive toy is especially interesting to terriers or other breeds that had a past as hunting companions. The size of the toy makes it suitable for all pooches- from Yorkies to Labs.
You can modify the difficulty level by stuffing all the skunks inside and watch your dog try to pry out his prize out, or leave some of them sticking out if you want to give them a little nudge.
The SPOT Seek-a-Treat Flip ‘N Slide Treat Dispenser for Dogs does exactly what it says it does. For it to dispense a treat, your pooch will have to flip and slide the various compartments that hold them. Luckily, your pooch won’t know that so he’ll get to enjoy the puzzle before figuring it all out. And trust us, there will be a lot of figuring it out, even if your pet is a smart cookie. Of course, no challenge is too great for a pooch when there is food involved: the tantalizing scent of his favorite treats will motivate your canine companion to nudge and explore the hidden compartments and pockets, which sharpens their cognitive skills in the process. The fact that there’s a delicious reward at the end of this intellectually stimulating journey is all for the better! Your pet will know that being smart and driven pays off, and that’s what every pawrent wants. Also, it doesn’t hurt for your pooch to realize that treats don’t come for free- you have to earn them, which will come in handy for your training sessions. Sturdy and fun, this toy is suited for pooches of all ages and sizes.
Nosework is important for dogs- using their sense of smell to explore the world around them is one of their most basic instincts. Snuffle mats encourage their innate foraging skills, give them a rewarding outlet for their curiosity and help sharpen their mind. What more could you ask for?
While most snuffle mats are simple enough, this particular one is intended to pose more of a puzzle than usual. Instead of just offering a mat with plush “tentacles” for your pooch to sniff through for treats, this nosework blanket ups the stakes by adding various hidden pockets, compartments, and fabric tubes where rewards could be hidden. The variety of hiding places and different levels of difficulty for the four-legged treat seeker will make this puzzle toy interesting to a wide variety of doggos.
The concept of Brain Ball seems simple enough. Stuff the ball with your dog’s fave kibble or crunchy treats and watch them roll it over until they all drop out of the ball on the other side. Well… It’s not as straightforward as it seems. Between the two openings, there are multiple levels of tiers that prevent the treat from shooting straight through the ball and give your pooch something to think about.
To get the treat out, your four-legged companion will have to put in some effort and try to figure out the best way to shake it out of the ball. And don’t worry- the durable rubber will withstand all kinds of ‘figuring it out’, from chewing to pawing. Just don’t let your pooch be too aggressive with it- the rubber does have its limits.
This one is for the more experienced treat hunters out there- the game’s designer labels it as a difficulty level 3 which is considered an advanced level (number 4 is the highest it gets). Your four-legged Einstein will have to slide the compartment lids in specific sequential steps to pry out the treats you’ve hidden inside- and for most dogs, this will occupy them for hours and hours. Even the more intelligent pooches will view this toy as a challenge!
Some dogs will use paws, other their nose to move around the compartments but it’s all the same as this high-quality toy can withstand a bit of robust play: made from premium BPA, PVA, & phthalate free plastic, it has no movable parts for your pet’s safety and can take that enthusiastic clawing without breaking. The compartments hold up to a cup of kibble or small treats, so they can be used to slow-feed your pet or to reward their good behavior and intelligence.
What’s a better toy for a dog than a ball, you might ask? A ball… Within a ball. Yup, the unique design of this puzzle toy for dogs will have your pooch obsessed with it. The inner ball will roll around when your pet plays with it, prompting them to try and get to it- which is a challenge they’ll never rise up to. You see, this is a teaser ball- and an insanely durable one at that. No matter what your pooch tried to do to it, they won’t be able to reach the ball inside. But here’s a secret: that’s the whole fun of it.
This puzzle will delight clever canines looking for a challenge and their owners, too, as it really give them a bang for their buck. Within a one puzzle, there are actually 3 different challenging toys: Hide-And-Seek, Spin-A-Whirl, and Sliding Puzzle. The goal of this smart toy for smart dogs is to hone their problem-solving skills and keep them entertained for hours. Owing to the size and the materials, this toy is a good fit for small and medium dog breed only- bigger pooches might inadvertently realize that the easiest way to snag the snack is by destroying the puzzle.
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