If you're a dog owner, you'll know that your dog needs something to provide them some entertainment and stimulation when you're not available to play. This is where puzzle toys enter the picture. Interactive dog toys can be a great way to keep your dog preoccupied and from getting into things they shouldn't.
What exactly are dog puzzle toys? Dog puzzle toys, sometimes called interactive puzzle toys, are toys that are designed to keep your pet entertained and mentally challenged with a "puzzle" challenge that rewards them with treats. They can help your dog work on problem-solving skills as he or she tries to solve the puzzle to get the reward. These types of goal-oriented toys keep dogs busy for a good amount of time, making them the perfect toy for when you have to leave the house are unable to play.
3 BENEFITS OF PUZZLE TOYS
1. They Provide Mental Stimulation: As mentioned earlier, dog puzzle toys provide your pet with plenty of mental stimulation. But did you know that mental stimulation is an essential part of keeping your dog happy and healthy? In fact, it's recommended to provide dogs with some sort of mental stimulation every day. According to dogfit.com, just 15 minutes of mental stimulation for your dog can be equal to the stimulation your dog would experience on a 3-mile walk! Giving your dog a puzzle toy for mental stimulation can help prevent boredom as well as keep them from developing behavioral problems, as it gives them an outlet for pent-up energy.
Puzzle toys can also be used to help relieve a dog's anxiety. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, giving them a puzzle toy right before you leave can help distract your pup while you're gone and keep them entertained instead of worrying about when you'll be back home.
2. Help With Exercise: Besides mental stimulation, interactive dog puzzle toys can help your dog get a little bit of physical exercise, as the toys keep your dog moving as they try to get to their treats. Plus, some puzzle toys work great for games of fetch!
3. They Can Help Slow Down Feeding: Last but not least, another great benefit to puzzle-treat toys is that you can use them with dog food instead of treats and turn them into a slow feeder. Many dogs eat too fast, especially when they are excited or extra hungry. Eating too fast can lead to problems such as weight gain, indigestion, bloating, or vomiting. In severe cases, bloating or a twisted stomach can be fatal. If your dog is a fast eater, next mealtime, try inserting your dog's kibble into the puzzle toy to slow your dog's eating down. If your dog starts losing interest in their meal, consider purchasing a slow-feed dog bowl instead.
3 POPULAR PUZZLE TOYS FOR DOGS
1. JW Hol-ee Roller
The Hol-ee Roller by JW Pet lets pet-parents get creative when it comes to turning this dog toy into a puzzle toy. For mental stimulation, pet parents can cut an old shirt or rag into thin strips, then wrap kibble or treats up into each strip. Next, stuff the wrapped up kibble or treat into the Hol-ee Roller until it's stuffed full. Then give it to your dog for a challenging puzzle experience. You can also stuff the Hol-ee Roller with smaller dog toys like a bone or ball. The Hol-ee Roller is made in a wide range of sizes for all dog breeds.
2. JW Twist-In Treats
Twist-In Treats by JW Pet is another popular puzzle toy for dogs. Available in three sizes, this toy comes with treats made specifically for the toy. Simply insert the treat and twist it down into the KCup. The further you twist the treat into the KCup, the harder of a challenge it is for your dog to get out. The design of the KCup lets dogs hold onto the toy while they work for their tasty treat and is very durable for strong chewers.
3. Tumble Teez
The Tumble Teez by JW Pet is a great interactive puzzle toy that dogs have to nudge in order to get their treat to dispense. All pet parents have to do is insert a small treat or kibble into the hole on top of the toy, then give it to your dog. As your dog nudges and plays with the toy, the treats go through an internal maze and dispense at the bottom of the toy, giving your dog a reward for their hard work.
TEACHING YOUR DOG TO USE A PUZZLE TOY
Many dogs will instinctively learn how to play with a puzzle toy on their own, but if needed, there are some ways that you can help them out. One thing you can do is start them off with a toy that doesn't require much work or thought for getting treats out. This could be something that they need to bat at or nudge. From there, up the difficulty a little by using a toy that is a little less intuitive and go from there. You may even have to show your dog how to solve the puzzle to help them show interest. Find what motivates your dog and have patience.
Puzzle toys or treat toys provide dogs with the mental stimulation needed for a happy and healthy life. When dogs are bored or seeking attention and they don't get it, they may start displaying destructive behaviors. If you're unable to play with your dog every time they demand, try out some puzzle toys to keep your dog occupied until you're able to play.