Keep Your Dog’s Mind Sharp with Fun Dog Puzzles

By Sarah Hinds Friedl on May 14th, 2020

Whether you have a rambunctious puppy or an older doggo with young pup energy, you might be wondering which dog puzzles can keep the boredom at bay. The good news is, now that the research shows how beneficial mental stimulation is for pets, there are even more challenging dog toys and DIY puzzle games to try than ever before. If you’ve been wanting to test out some innovative dog puzzles on your furry friend, we’ve got just the list for you. BreezeGuard has been compiling our favorite dog puzzles to help you find the perfect puzzle games for your unique doggo.

So get ready for hours of puzzling fun with your pup!

The benefits of dog puzzles
Although each dog has a unique personality, all of our canine companions have some of the same basic needs. These include under-the-chin scratches or other social interaction, daily exercise, and mental stimulation. According to WebMD, mental challenges and games can ward off cognitive decline and lower the risk for chronic boredom and depression in dogs. That means that if you can sneak in some fun puzzle games a few times per week, you may just be able to enjoy some short-term and longterm health benefits.

There are other advantages to dog puzzles, too. Just like you may feel satisfied and worn out after finishing a challenging crossword puzzle, you can tire your dog out with mental games. This can be particularly helpful if you have a high energy dog who just never seems to lose steam after a trip to the dog park or a long run in the neighborhood. Try adding a few challenging dog toys and puzzle games to the mix, and you might find that Fido is finally tired enough to cuddle up at the end of the day.

Plus, giving your pet puzzle games is a wonderful bonding opportunity. No matter if you give them their new favorite toy or set up an elaborate puzzle throughout the house, they’ll love you even more than they love the mental challenge. 

Challenging dog toys you can buy online
There are many different kinds of interactive dog toys and puzzles on the market for you and your furry friend to explore. Here are some of the most enticing dog puzzles we’ve found so far:

SniFFiz Smelly Mat Product Line
If your pup has ever nuzzled around the couch cushions or the backyard looking for tasty snacks, they’re going to love this line of dog puzzles. Set up is easy: you unfold the mat, hide some dog treats in the many folds and pockets, and watch as your dog noses their way to success.

Nina Ottoson by Outward Hound Puzzle Games
The Nina Ottoson line offers some of the most innovative dog puzzles out there. You can find three difficulty levels and an array of unique mechanisms so that your pup can slide, tap, and nudge to get to their favorite treat. Plus, these puzzle games are made with durability in mind – even the most excited doggos won’t destroy these challenging dog toys. 

DIY Interactive dog puzzles
So far, we’ve talked about dog puzzles that are great for distracting your dog when you’re doing other things. But if you want in on the fun, A DIY interactive game might be just the thing! Here are a few at-home dog puzzles that require human interaction so that you can enjoy some bonding time with your pup.

Option One: At-home scavenger hunt
With some of the strongest noses of the animal kingdom, dogs adore the chance to put those sniffing skills to work. You can set up this interactive game by hiding their favorite treats or toys around the backyard. For the first round, have your pup sit and watch you hide the items. Then give them a command, such as “find” or “track” when you want them to start searching. Once they understand the premise of the game, you can hide the items when they’re not looking, and up the difficulty level!

Option Two: Muffin tin madness
This is one of the most popular DIY dog puzzles because it’s simple and effective. All you need is a muffin tin, some tasty treats, and about twelve tennis balls. Hide a few treats in the tin and cover them with tennis balls. Then, watch your pup try to figure out which tennis balls are hiding a delicious treat underneath!

Option Three: Indoor treat maze
If you have a dog that loves to run laps around the house, this is going to be a wonderful way to reign in that energy and, hopefully, protect your more valuable items from your furry tornado. The indoor treat maze works similarly to a dog obstacle course, using household items.

Using painter’s tape, water bottles, cardboard boxes or other household items, create a lane for your dog to follow throughout the house. Make sure to sprinkle some treats along the way to keep them engaged and place an end marker, such as an x or a square where they can sit and wait for a special treat when they’ve completed the maze successfully.

A few final tips to make your dog puzzles a success
Whether you purchase a fun dog puzzle or make one yourself, there are a few things that you can do to make sure that your dog is engaged. Keep these tips in mind when introducing your dog to challenging puzzle games:

Think about your dog’s unique skills. If you have a scent hound, they’re sure to excel at the scavenger hunt. Or, if you’re working with a high energy collie or shepherd, the obstacle course might be more their speed. Consider your dog’s personality and skill set to choose the best dog puzzles for them!

Take the time to teach your pup how the puzzle works. You might have seen the videos of dogs walking nonchalantly through the intricate mazes that their owners set up for them. It’s not their fault! Patiently teach your dog how the games work so that they can have a better chance at success.

Start simple and then increase the challenge factor. Unless your dog is already a genius or a trained working dog, throw them a bone by starting out simple.

Always give your dog plenty of verbal encouragement. Sure, the treats are great, but what your dog will really respond to is you! Make sure to cheerlead them, especially when they’re just starting out.

Be mindful about overfeeding. Many of these challenging dog toys and puzzle games are treat-heavy. One solution is to measure out your dog’s daily food and use a portion of that for the dog puzzles. Or, you can do some math to ensure that the treat and food calories don’t exceed their daily recommended intake. If you’re stumped, your vet will be able to help you find the right balance.

You and your furry friend are ready to get started with your fun challenging dog toys and puzzle games! Check back with the BreezeGuard Blog for more dog puzzles and boredom busters! 

Comments are closed.