Best Dog Puzzle Toys
When you think of exercising your dog, one of the first things that probably comes to your mind is physical exercise, like taking them on walks, running, swimming, and much more. But, equally just important as physical exercise is a mental exercise. Dogs are a highly intelligent species and require a lot of mental stimulation to stop their brain from going into cognitive decline. One of the best ways to keep your dog's mind active is by giving them dog puzzle toys.
Dog puzzle toys contribute to a range of benefits. First of all, they stop your dog from getting bored when they're on their own. If they have a puzzle in front of them, they won't have time to think about other things like chewing on your furniture and crying for attention. Alongside boredom, stimulating dog toys can lower anxiety levels and help you if you need to leave your dog at home on its own. In particular, food puzzles can serve as a challenge to keep your dog busy while you're out. If you have an older dog, dog puzzles can also help fight off dementia. These dog puzzle games can be a bit complex at first for them to figure out, therefore keeping their brain active at all times. To know more about the best dog puzzle toys, check out our table of top picks.
What are dog puzzle toys?
Dog puzzle toys are a form of toy which requires tasks to be completed by your dog to achieve a prize. Usually, the prize is in the form of food such as a tasty treat. Most of the toys involve you putting kibble or treats inside and sealing the toy. When you show your dog the toy, they will usually try to access the treat and take their time to learn how to solve the puzzle doing so.
- Rubber rounded dog toy: This toy is a unique type of dog puzzle which looks like a snowman that contains three balls combined. This toy is made out of rubber and comes in many variations for different aged dogs. The typical structure of a rubber rounded dog toy is round on the outside with a hollow middle. Usually, treats or food is stuffed inside the toy and then sealed at the end with peanut butter. These toys serve as a puzzle for your dog to get the food out, but they also help their chewing instincts. Depending on your dog's chewing style, you can choose a range of different strengths. Also, these toys can be an easy way to feed your dog, especially if they have a habit of overeating. The reason it's classed as a toy is because the shape and rubber make it bounce when your dog is using it, making it more of a challenge for them to use.
- Treat ball: If you're worried about your dog's weight, one good way of helping them is by giving them a treat ball. This dog puzzle toy is a large plastic ball that has a latch, and if correctly opened, it will dispense treats. You can get different types of treat balls to cater to your dog's intelligence.
- Brick puzzle game: A brick puzzle game is a rectangular toy that has plastic bricks in them. Behind the plastic bricks, you place food and kibble. Then leave it up to your dog to navigate the bricks and figure out how to get to the food behind them. The brick puzzle game is a highly popular toy amongst many dog owners and is more of a functional puzzle.
- Hide and seek toy: Hide and seek toys are often plush toys where you have cuddle animals hidden in an object. One common toy is a squirrel hide and seek toy, where the squirrels are hidden in a plush tree. Then it's up to your dog to remove them one at a time and remove them. Unlike other dog puzzle toys, these types don't require food and can help your dog's weight.
- Ball launcher: Sometimes it can get tiring playing fetch with your dog, the energy it takes to throw a ball. There are ball launcher toys that allow balls to be fired until your dog can't run anymore. All you do is place the balls inside, and they automatically fire. Dogs can even learn how to drop the ball into the launcher and chase after them.
- Tug of war type toy: These toys are where you play with your dog holding a rope or piece of fabric designed to help your dog tug. They are also good for dogs that have a strong jaw and like to hold their ground.
How to choose toys
There are a lot of dog puzzle toys that exist in the marketplace today. To help you, here are things to think about when choosing:
- Size - All dog puzzle toys should be the right size for your dog. For example, you don't want to give your toy breed a giant ball that they can't carry in their mouth. Similarly, you don't want to give them something too small that they could easily swallow and choke on.
- Age - Age is an important factor in choosing the right dog puzzle toy, especially if the toy requires a lot of chewing. Dogs at different ages have different strength jawlines, and therefore you might want to buy toys appropriate for their age. The same can also be said for energy levels; you will want to get a low energy or effort toy if they're older and get tired more easily. To know further, always read the label where it can have age recommendations.
- Texture - Choosing the right type of texture is essential for any dog toy. You might want a rough texture that can be tolerable for dogs with a clenched jaw, whereas if you have a puppy in the teething stage, you may want a slightly softer texture that does not cause them pain or trouble.
What to consider when buying dog puzzle toys?
When looking to buy dog puzzle toys, you should always consider the following:
- Intelligence: Dogs are a smart breed, but you may find some are more intelligent than others depending on the breed you own. Dog puzzle toys serve as an excellent source of mental stimulation, and therefore you will want a toy that does exactly just that. Some of the best toys for intelligent breeds are treat-based ones, which require a lot of persistence and pleasure before accessing the reward. If your dog isn't that intelligent, you might want to give them more of a quicker rewards-based puzzle toy so they don't give up and get bored easily.
- Temperament: Puzzle toys come in a range of materials and based on your dog's temperament, you should pick them wisely. If your dog is particularly rough and aggressive, then a plush toy might not be the best for them as they could easily tear it apart. Likewise, if the toy has a squeaker inside, your dog might try their best to pull the squeaker out. At the same time, rubber or hard-based toys might not be ideal if your dog has a gentle nature.
Dog puzzle toys help your dog keep their mind active no matter what age they are. These toys also prevent boredom and anxiety from occurring. You can get many different types of dog puzzle toys, some of which involve you putting food or treats inside them for your dog to get. When buying dog puzzle toys, you should consider their age, intelligence level, temperament and review the texture of the toys. Not all dog toys are suitable for each dog; take your time looking at them and read customer reviews if possible. The last thing you will want is your dog to get bored of them or not be able to use them properly.
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