Does your dog get bored easily? Is your dog tired of staring at squirrels through the window? Do they give you big, sad eyes when you won’t let them run outside to chase a cat?
If you come home to destruction, your dog is probably bored.You can get them to perk up by introducing them to brain-challenging treat puzzles.
Treat puzzles keep your dog’s brain active
Dogs need stimulation just like human children. If they don’t have anything to focus on or think about, they’re going to feel lethargic and bored.
Treat puzzles give dogs something to do, and more challenging puzzles can provide entertainment for a longer period of time. With irresistible treats, you can teach your dog to solve some pretty challenging puzzles.
Different types of interactive puzzle toys
You can find a bunch of dog puzzle toys, but most of them function on just a few different mechanisms. For example, puzzle pieces can be removed, slid back and forth, treats can be pulled from holes by biting the toy, some toys dispense treats through a hole as it rolls along, and panels slide over treat holes.
The most popular dog treat puzzles
Here’s a list of the most popular dog puzzles around.
1. Outward Hound puzzles
Outward Hound makes some of the coolest dog treat puzzles you can find. They come with different level ratings that indicate the difficulty. You should start with level one, but get at least one level two at the same time. Chances are, your dog will get the hang of the level one puzzle very quickly.
Most dogs won’t lose interest in an easy puzzle, but they’ll get all the treats quickly, which defeats the purpose.
Your dog will learn how to use their nose and their paw to move puzzle pieces, and some pieces allow you to tie a string to the top so your dog can pick it up in their mouth.
As the Outward Hound toys become more challenging, you’ll find puzzles with pieces that spin and your dog will have to line up two pieces exactly in order to get the treat underneath. It sounds impossible, but just wait – they’ll get it faster than you think.
2. Kong toys
Kong is a staple among dog owners. It’s hard to find a dog that doesn’t have at least one Kong in the yard.
Kong makes plenty of other toys, but their classic treat toy is a staple for every dog. They come in a variety of sizes for just about any dog. However, the company does have one more toy that is somewhat unique.
It’s called a Kong Jumbler, and it’s basically a ball your dog can carry around in their mouth and inside is a tennis ball that moves around freely. Some dogs find the squeaky noise and the moving ball entertaining all by themselves.
3. West Paw
West Pay makes some cool puzzle toys, including treat dispensers that dogs can toss around to dispense small treats. For some dogs, kibble is enough, but if your dog isn’t convinced that kibble is a treat, you can cut up small pieces of carrot, apple, or standard dog treats.
These treat puzzles are a great way to alleviate boredom and prevent anxiety when you’re away.
This company makes some fun and unique interactive plush toys. For example, they have plush toys where your dog can pull squirrels out of a log, or pull little pigs out of a barn.
Your dog probably won’t realize the toys are modeled after their favorite animals to chase, but that’s okay. Once they figure out there are smaller toys to pull out, they’ll have a blast.
5. Snuffle mats
Snuffle mats were originally designed to force dogs to eat slowly. Once you spread kibble throughout the mat, it gets hidden under a multitude of little flaps and your dog has to hunt and peck for each bite of food.
The interesting thing about these mats is that dogs love them. For example, if you leave a bowl of kibble out 24/7, and you have a snuffle mat, your dog will probably start eating from the snuffle mat instead of their regular bowl.
Keep your dog interested with puzzle toys
Dogs get bored just like you. You can try using nature videos made for dogs, but they might jump at the screen to attack the birds.
Whether you use treat puzzle toys or plush puzzle toys, your dog will have fun entertaining themselves throughout the day. Keep your dog’s brain active and prevent them from moping around the house with puzzle toys.