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10 Puzzle Toys For Dogs Who Get Bored Easily

10 Puzzle Toys For Dogs Who Get Bored Easily

“I want to adopt a really smart dog.” Yeah, I’ve heard that a few times. Prospective pup parents revel in the thought of teaching their family member cool tricks to show their friends at dinner parties, but not everyone really thinks about what it means to have a dog with an active mind. Sure, you can teach them to play dead looking down the barrel of your finger-gun, but smart dogs require lots of mental stimulation to avoid growing bored.

With boredom comes… less fun things. An occupied mind makes a happy dog, and there’s nothing more we want for our best friends. Here are 7 of the best toys to exercise those mental muscles.

DOG SMART PUZZLE

Enticed by the smell of their favorite snacks, dogs have to nudge and lift the bones to free their treats from the compartments beneath. They’ll have to use their noses for some serious detective work, and with 9 separate sections the task should keep them busy for at least a little while. “12/10 would recommend,” that’s what this one dog said to me. I’m just the messenger.

WHY WE LOVE IT:

– Difficulty level: EASY
– Endlessly entertaining with your dog’s favorite treats
– Easy to take apart and clean

BUY HERE, $15

DOG TORNADO PUZZLE

This toy ups the ante by creating levels your dog must move through to get every reward. After lifting the bones and devouring the treats underneath, the larger bone-shaped platforms need to spin and reveal the next set of hidden compartments. Thus, “tornado.” It’s a little harder to solve, and that much more satisfying.

WHY WE LOVE IT:

– Difficulty level: INTERMEDIATE
– More than one challenge involved to solve puzzle
– Great way to feed a meal!

BUY HERE, $20

DOG CASINO PUZZLE

In this casino game, everyone wins. Assuming they master the puzzle, that is. The small bones on top twist to lock and unlock the red drawers along the edges. You lock them in place (filled with some delicious delicacies) and encourage your dog to twist them back and then paw or pull the drawers open.

WHY WE LOVE IT:

– Difficulty level: ADVANCED
– Best for dogs who need a real challenge
– Perfect for treats of any size

BUY HERE, $20

DOG BRICK PUZZLE

Does your dog even lift? I hope so, because there’s no other way to get the reward from this stimulating puzzle. Pups have to lift the bones off the board and flip open the lids on the bordering compartments, and viola!: TREATS!

WHY WE LOVE IT:

– Difficulty level: INTERMEDIATE
– Different puzzle components keep pups interested
– Perfect for any size/type of treat

BUY HERE, $20

TREAT MAZE

The treat maze has been a staple in my home for years, and it’s because my too-smart terrier never gets bored of the challenge. The best part is that no matter how many times they play with it, dogs can’t learn to solve it more quickly—it requires patience and determination every time. Just drop small treats into the center opening and watch as your pup rolls, nudges, & pushes the disc-shaped toy to jostle them free.

WHY WE LOVE IT:

– More challenging than an ordinary treat-dispensing ball
– Great for dogs who may not be interested in traditional puzzles
– Best filled with small treats or dog food pieces

BUY HERE, $14

BE GOOD BROWN BAG LUNCH

This adorable packed lunch doesn’t need to book it all the way to the cafeteria. If you stuff the crinkly bag with a few treats and pop the PB & J sandwich and cookie inside (and seal with the velcro closure), it gives your dog a chance to work his mental muscles and figure out how to get the goods. Plus, it’s ridiculously adorable.

WHY WE LOVE IT:

– Perfect for plush-lovers
– Multi-part toy
– Incorporate treats into playtime

BUY HERE, $12-14

BUSTER ACTIVITY MAT WITH 3 ACTIVITIES

The Buster Activity Mat is more of an experience than a toy. The starter kit comes with the mat itself—it’s covered in button snaps to attach different “activities.” This one includes three: The Envelope, The Water Lily, and The Cone Cloth. Your dog must unwrap, unravel, or otherwise solve these puzzles using those big brains of theirs (and, of course, reach the treats you’ve hidden inside).

WHY WE LOVE IT:

– Comes with 3 activities (and you can purchase many more!)
– Your dog won’t get bored with the same toy
– Packs up easily for clean-up or travel

BUY HERE, $54.99

STARMARK BOB-A-LOT

I can always appreciate versatility with a puzzle toy. The Bob-A-Lot’s treat-dispensing openings are adjustable to make it a little harder or a little easier to get them out. This toy gets bonus points for being big enough to fit an entire meal inside. Especially if your dog tends to inhale his food without chewing, feeding him this way slows him down AND keeps him busy for a while.

BUY HERE, $11.52-23.52

PETSAFE BUSY BUDDY TUG-A-JUG

Swinging, pulling, thrashing, chewing… this toy takes it all in stride. Fill the bottle portion with food or a few treats and watch your genius doge shake loose the goods. Even without the added reward, the Tug-A-Jug is just plain fun to play with. Plus, it can help keep teeth clean and provide a nice gum massage with the knotted rope and nubby rubber ball.

BUY HERE, $6.95-14.95

PLANET DOG ORBEE-TUFF SNOOP TOY

Very much a treat toy AND a traditional toy, you can either stuff the Snoop with treats or insert one of Planet Dog’s rubber balls for a different sort of fun. The unique concave design means dogs need to push, roll, and drop their way to yummy goodness.

BUY HERE, $20.95

I’m a strong believer that variety is the spice of life, especially when it comes to my dogs. A little fun goes a long way for minds that never stop working, and your rugs and fine home furnishings will thank you for occupying a chronically bored canine.

Interested in more content like this? Sniff this related article: 16 Beautiful Dog Toys You’ll Want To Keep For Yourself

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