Enrolling one’s pet in basic obedience classes or dog sports is a good way to exercise both their body and mind, but owners can’t be home all day, every day simply trying to keep their pup stimulated.
After all, dog owners have their own lives and demands, but doggie daycares and pet sitters can be expensive. Therefore, some dogs wind up sitting at home all day while their owners are out doing their own thing.
As any good force-free trainer worth their salt will tell pet owners: a tired dog is a good dog. Sure, that means that our furry friends need plenty of physical exercise, but they also need tons of mental stimulation too.
If dogs don’t get the opportunity to work their brains, oftentimes they will create their own fun—such as chewing up the pillows on the couch or ripping up clothes that were left out on the floor.
In an attempt to counteract any potential for mischief, the pet industry has exploded with food puzzle toys such as the ones noted in the list below that owners can buy and give to their furry friend when they leave for work or before they go out to dinner with friends. That way, they know their poor dog isn’t tearing their fur out from boredom and they’ll be able to meet their daily enrichment needs.
10 Work The Mind With The Kong Gyro
The Kong Gyro is a great choice for pet owners with inquisitive dogs because the center orb spins around and forces canines to either roll it with their nose or bat it around with their front paws in order to get the treats out.
The spinning orb and the outer ring are also made from hard plastic, so this toy is perfect for pooches that like to chew as well as those that like to pick up items and carry them around in their mouths.
9 Shuffle Bone Treat Dispenser Is Easy-Peasy
The Shuffle Bone toy puzzle made by Ethical Products, Inc. is a good beginner puzzle for dogs due to the fact that it’s fairly easy to figure out. The sliding disks on the toy make it easy for novices to either lick them until they move to the side or use a paw to bat at it until it moves and reveals the treat underneath.
This toy is also made of sturdy wood, which means it can hold up to hours of play and won’t break easily.
8 Challenge Canine Minds With The Brick
Nina Ottoson’s line of toys are designed to have different levels of complexity, and her Brick puzzle toy was created to be a bit more challenging but not too difficult for our canine friends to figure out.
There are three ways for dogs to find the treats: they can either flip the blocks, slide them off using their nose or their paw or they can simply pull the blocks off of the dispenser using their teeth. This allows owners to make the game more challenging as their pet learns to navigate the treat dispensing toy.
7 Chase Some Chow With The Bob-A-Lot
For dogs that love a good game of chase or like to use their nose to investigate, the StarMark Bob-A-Lot is a great choice because dogs have to either bat it around or use their nose to move it around the room in order to get the treats out.
Owners can also move the opening of the dispenser once dogs get used to the game and figure out how to properly use the toy so that way it’s a little more challenging and they won’t get bored.
6 Wobble, Wobble, Gobble, Gobble
The Kong Wobbler is a good choice for dogs that enjoy a bit of a challenge and like to use their brains. This toy is similar to the StarMark Bob-A-Lot, but the only difference is that the Wobbler stays still until the dog hits it with their paw or their nose.
The Wobbler’s also a good alternative to a slow feeder bowl for owners of pooches that like to gobble down their food like they are a four-legged vacuum cleaner.
5 It's Like Wheel Of Fortune, But For Dogs
Despite the fact that Outward Hound’s Star Spinner treat dispensing toy looks like it would leave Fido scratching his head and wondering how the heck he was supposed to get any kibble out of there, the company reassures owners that it’s a level one toy and therefore easier for our canine buddies to figure out.
If your dog is the kind that gets bored easily and is over the fact that they have to spin the toy in order to get food, you can kick the difficulty levels up a notch in order to make your pet work their brain a bit more.
4 Chewers, Unite
Belife’s interactive treat dispensing toy is perfect for dogs that are moderate chewers and love to gnaw on things. You can easily get some xylitol-free peanut butter, kibble, or Kong spray cheese and put them in the grooves of this ball so that your pooch will have to chew or lick it to get them free.
In order to really work your dog’s brain, you can even prepare this toy the night before and put it in the freezer so that they will have to gnaw a bit harder in order to get the food out.
3 Give It Your Best Right Hook
The Pupper Pamper is a great puzzle toy for dogs that enjoy a good challenge and get bored easily because it requires some intelligence and a bit of coordination from them.
After all, the way the toy is designed means that they can’t just knock it over and have easy access to the food; they have to think carefully about how to use their paws in order to spin the bottles. This is also a really good way to teach your pooch some impulse control too.
2 Chill Out With The Qwizl
Let’s face it, some dogs are totally lazy and don’t want to exert a ton of energy in order to play with a treat dispensing toy. For pooches that would much rather kick back and relax, West Paw’s Qwizl is designed to allow Fido to hold it between his paws while he licks the treats out of the compartments.
Unlike other food puzzle toys, the Qwizl can also be used to play a rousing game of fetch for dogs that live for the chase or as a chew toy.
1 Twist And Chow Down
The PetSafe’s Twist and Treat is designed to be sturdy enough for pooches that are a bit rough on their toys but is intriguing enough to keep them entertained for an hour or two. Owners can also change the opening size when their dogs get the hang of it so that the next time they won’t get bored after playing with it for five minutes.
Another plus of the Twist and Treat is that unlike some other food puzzle toys that are out there on the market, you can use wet food instead of constantly using treats or having to make the switch to dry food.