The best pet toys are toys that not only stimulate their physical activity but that also stimulate their mental acuity. Dog puzzle toys can do both nicely.
Challenging your dog to “solve” a puzzle before getting a treat is a great way to stimulate their intellect. There is a slew of studies that show that the more you stimulate your dog’s curiosity and give them problems that they can solve easily the more your dog will be willing to learn.
Consider when you are raising a child. You do not simply want them to chase a ball around the yard. You want them to develop their intellect and work their brain because it helps them to become well rounded people.
It works the same for your dog. If you develop their intellect they will be more open to learning the things that you want them to learn.
Your dog will greatly appreciate having their own toys to play with and to use for discovery. Dogs love when they are rewarded both verbally and with a treat for accomplishing something.
Of course dogs also like structure and they like to know what is expected of them, providing them with a toy that offers a clear way to be successful gives them a boost of confidence.
The best dog toys provide your dog with stress relief. When your dog is busy trying to figure out how a toy works and how they can be rewarded they are far less likely to feel anxious or feel stress about other problems.
Dogs that suffer from anxiety and stress can develop behavior habits like digging behaviors, aggressive behaviors and other undesirable behaviors. Distracting your dog from stress and anxiety should be part of your training.
Toys like puzzle toys can help you to easily distract your dog and give them something new to focus on.
Dogs have no concept of time (at least we think they don’t) so when you leave the house they are not sure if you are coming back.
They do not understand when you say I will be right back. When they see you leaving it can trigger anxiety which can quickly turn into destructive behaviors like chewing.
You can ease some of the separation anxiety and destructive behaviors by having a few toys on hand that they enjoy and that will keep them busy. It will help the time to pass for them.
Dogs are very simple animals they simply want companionship because they are pack animals, being left alone can send them into a flurry of stressful feelings. Just like a small child having a tantrum they can be prone to “rip” through the house looking for something to do.
Give them something to do. Of course having their own personal toys also gives them a sense of belonging and makes them feel more a part of the “pack”.
Consider when you feel stressed how much having something to do can relieve your worries. It works the same for your dog.
They just need a new point of focus to feel calmer and more relaxed.
Dogs that are often aggressive because they are anxious or feel stressed. They are not being stimulated enough. They are not being challenged enough.
High energy dogs especially benefit from having toys that can stimulate their minds and keep their bodies busy.
Heathy, Happy Dogs
There are three things that every dog needs to be a healthy, happy dog. For a dog to be well adjusted and to fight off depression, stress and anxiety they have to have a balance of:
Every dog needs to be able to focus on something other than their people. They need to be stimulated and have fun. Exercise allows your dog to burn up some energy so that they can better focus on what you require of them to live in harmony with your family.
Companionship is also very important. Your dog needs to be with its family. They are pack animals and need to be able to interact with people. Socialization is very important because it prepares your dog to act well with other people.
Your dog also needs direction. In each of the three criteria for a happy dog, toys play a role. The best puzzle toys are interesting to your dog, can exercise their brain and help you to spend some quality time with them.
Choosing the Perfect Puzzle Toys
Choosing the best dog puzzle for your dog requires a bit of consideration. You want to buy the toys that is going to keep your dog happy and interested. Size is an important factor. The size of your dog should direct your choice.
Choosing a toy based on your dog’s size is important because if it is too big for your dog they will not play with it, if it is too small for your dog it can be a choking hazard.
Be sure to buy from a reputable manufacturer to avoid any harmful paints or chemicals.
We reviewed the options that are readily available and found 5 puzzle toys that can make any dog healthy and happy. Here they are:
Cuteshower Pet Intelligence Toy Interactive
This fun toy for your dog is a great option because you can adjust the difficulty level so that your dog is continuously challenged. It is made of wood which is nontoxic and safe for your dog.
It is a wonderful way to keep your dog busy and “thinking” while you are away which will help reduce separation anxiety. Your dog will love the challenge of “finding” their treats by moving the wooden bones around. It is available in 2 different sizes which means that there is a perfect size for your dog.
This is not a “chew” toy because it is made of wood. PS cats love it too!
KONG Genius Mike Dog Toy, Colors vary
Kong toys are among the most well-known interactive toys. This toy is a hollowed out bone that you can hid treats in. This particular toy is made for large dogs. This is a great toy to play fetch with or to use as a stress distraction.
Kong toys can be attached to each other to make a more challenging experience for your dog. They are great for chewers and for dogs that suffer from anxiety. This toy is made of durable soft rubber material so it can really take some chewing.
Zanies Rubber Dog Puzzle Station Jack and Ball Toy
This puzzle toy offers hours of fun. It comes with a ball and a “jack” shaped component. The ball is hollow as is the jack so you can hide treats in both components. Extra balls can be purchased separately.
This is a fun toy for your dog to pull apart to find his/her treats. It is 100% safe and nontoxic. It is made from durable rubber and can be used as a “fetch” toy as well. This is made for medium to large size dogs.
Outward Hound Kyjen Paw Hide Treat Toy Dog Toys
This paw shaped toy has 6 “sniff and lift” cups that hold treats. It will keep your dog on the hunt for hours of fun. You can hide treats is some or all of the cups. You can challenge your dog by hiding treats in different cups each time.
This toy will develop their ability to sniff things out! This toy is great for dogs of all sizes. Your dog will quickly learn how to use their sense of smell and paws to get the treats out.
PetSafe Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble Meal Dispensing Dog Toy
This toy is designed for dogs over 20 pounds. It randomly offers food and/or treats as your dog plays with it. It is a great way to get your dog up and moving. It is a fun training tool that you can use to teach your dog to retrieve because they get an instant reward.
It is 100% safe for dogs and contains no toxic material in its construction. This ball shaped toy will entertain your pet for hours whether you are there to play or they are playing alone.
It is a great toy to fill up before you leave the house so that they have something to do while you are gone which will keep the separation anxiety (and the destruction) down to a minimum.
We also loved this one:
Nina Ottosson DogTwister Interactive game
This fun toy is made of durable rubber. It is a great training tool that can be used to teach commands like “stay” “wait” “seek” and it is generally a great way to stimulate your dog’s mind.
This is a versatile toy that can be used for different challenge levels which means that as your dog gets better at solving problems you can still continue to challenge them.
It is also a great toy for cats as well which only makes it more attractive to the multi pet household.