The Quest for the Perfect Puzzle Toy

To Gus and Pippi’s delight, we perhaps spend a bit frivolously when it comes to food puzzle toys. We eagerly purchase new ones, even if they aren’t terribly different than what we’ve already got in our stash. Of course, we’ve developed some favorites over the years, sometimes because a toy is easier to clean or takes longer for the dogs to finish. With so many options, what’s the best puzzle toy out there?

So, what is the perfect puzzle toy?

Almost all of them!*

Different puzzle toys work in different ways. Dogs develop a variety of strategies to solve the problem. Techniques include licking, pawing, nosing, pushing, pulling, chewing, picking up, tossing or dropping a toy. I find it fascinating and think the dogs are brilliant as they discover ways to crack the code. Dogs can learn to persevere, instead of getting so frustrated that they give up. (Help your dog with this. Make it easy to solve the problem at first, then gradually ramp up the difficulty.) The novelty of a new puzzle adds to the mental stimulation. It’s a bit like the variety humans crave in reading books, solving puzzles or watching movies.

Enrichment activities are beneficial to our dog’s mental well-being. They can double as projects to prevent boredom and keep dogs occupied, and they help to tire dogs out mentally. (Hint: load up a bunch of puzzle toys at once to give your dog a bigger project.) Maybe it’s not so frivolous after all!

* We or the dogs haven’t loved every single puzzle toy. That’s okay. It was still fun to try them out!

Check out our previous blog posts on mental enrichment here, hereherehere, and here.

Toys featured in video:

  • Tricky Ball
  • West Paw Toppl
  • Nina Ottosson Twister
  • Nina Ottosson Finder
  • West Paw Tux
  • Nina Ottosson Treat Maze
  • Hyper Pet LickiMat
  • Planet Dog Orbee Tuff Snoop with Nook
  • Kong Wobbler
  • Nina Ottosson Tornado
  • Nina Ottosson Dog Brick
  • JW Hol-ee Treat Ball
  • Buster Cube
  • JW Pet Treat Tower
  • Bob-a-Lot
  • Nina Ottosson Casino
  • Nina Ottosson Spinny
  • Trixie Dog Chess
  • Puppies R Us Snake
  • Nina Ottosson MixMax
  • Outward Hound Doggy Blocks
  • Unknown — Green and Purple Oval Ball (anyone know?)
  • Pipolino
  • Buster Ball
  • Kong RePlay
  • Kong Rewards Ball
  • Tricky Treat Ball
  • Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble
  • Busy Buddy Magic Mushroom
  • Planet Dog Orbee Tuff GuRu
  • Kong Rewards Shell

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