Game night, anyone? In my house, if you open up the game closet, you’ll find a stack of my favorite board games on the left and a stack of my dogs’ favorite puzzles on the right. That’s right, we have an entire stack of puzzles that are specifically for our dogs! These interactive toys aren’t only a cute idea, they offer up big benefits. When our dogs play with an interactive puzzle, it:
- Fires up their minds
- Activates and heightens all of their senses
- Improves mood
- Busts boredom (yes, dogs can get bored too)
- Tires them out
- Helps to prevent certain behavior problems
How Dog Puzzles Work
There are a variety of dog puzzles on the market. They each require sightly different problem solving skills and offer various challenge levels. But they all have one thing in common — you hide treats somewhere in the puzzle and your dog has to figure out how to get them out.
If you don’t have any homemade dog biscuits on hand, you can simply use a chopped up carrot, diced up apple, little cheese cubes, or another one of your pup’s favorite snacks. If you feed your dog kibble, you can even use that!
Top 11 Dog Puzzles Your Pooch Will Love
1. Brick Puzzle
I’ve had the Brick Puzzle by Outward Hound, Nina Ottosson for several years and it’s still one of my dogs’ favorites. It features three different types of treat feeding features:
- Open-close flip compartments to hide treats
- Removable bone puzzle pieces that offer another place to hide treats and an interesting challenge for your pooch
- Once your dog removes the center bone, he can slide and move each flip compartment to reveal even more hidden treats!
The Hide n’ Slide by Outward Hound, Nina Ottosson is another one of our favorites and provides interesting ways to problem solve. Your dog will need to swivel flippers and slide blocks to uncover the tasty reward. This one comes in a variety of colors.
Just like you might guess by the name “Tornado”, this interactive dog puzzle features multiple stacks of spinning trays. You simply place your dog’s favorite treats in the 3 levels of spinning compartments and let the dog games begin! The puzzle offers 12 hidden treat compartments.
This is one of Outward Hound, Nina Ottosson’s newest puzzles. It’s a more challenging game that offers up over 24 hidden treat compartments! You simply slide a treat-compartment tray out from underneath the game to fill it with your pup’s favorite tasty reward. Then, your dog has to slide plastic tiles, one-by-one, to reveal the snack. This one will keep your pooch busy for a while!
5. Treat Maze
This treat maze rocks, bobs, and spins as your dog works to get the treats packed inside!
6. Wobble Bowl
This is a similar idea to #5! You fill the Wobble Bowl with your dog’s favorite biscuits by removing the plug on the top of the lid and pouring the food in. Place the plug back in the lid, and let the games begin! For beginners, show your dog how to rock and wobble the bowl to get the snack out.
Idea: If your dog eats kibble and tends to scarf it down too quickly then fill the Wobble Bowl with their meal!
This puzzle is by Trixie – another great company – that features three beakers that you fill with your pup’s favorite treats. As your dog paws at the beakers, they will spin around and turn upside down, allowing the treats to eventually fall onto the ground. This game comes with two different sets of patterned lids that you can mix and match to create an added challenge for your pooch.
8. Windmill Toy
This puzzle is similar to #7 in the sense that it features numerous beakers that you fill with treats, but this time the puzzle is shaped like a windmill! Your pup has to paw at the beakers to make it spin around in a circle, eventually freeing the food you put inside! This is a great intro puzzle for your pup.
This is a great beginner game. Your dog earns treats by gently tugging on rope loops, which releases treats down and out of the bottom of the tube. For an added challenge, the game features extra hidden treat compartments at the base.
10. Snoop Ball
Does your dog love chasing balls around the house or yard? If so, he’s going to LOVE this one that dispenses treats as it rolls. Snoop is translucent and squishy with a deep crevice that holds the tasty treasure. Fill it with treats and watch your dog pounce, nudge, nose, paw at, and nibble to release the snacks!
11. KONG Gyro
The KONG Gyro is another favorite in our house. My dogs have been playing with this toy for years and still get excited when they see me pull it out for them. It features a hard plastic piece that surrounds a spinning treat-filled ball. Once you stuff treats inside, just put it down on the ground and watch your dog bat it around with his paw and snout!
Along with these store-bought dog puzzles, I love to make my own interactive dog toys! Check out THIS article that highlights 8 simple DIY dog puzzles that you can make right now.