Enrichment Part Two: Puzzles!

Puzzle feeders and toys provide excellent enrichment for your dog by engaging his problem solving skills. Puzzles come in many styles and offer different levels of difficulty. You can even make your own versions with common household items.


Treat dispensing toys can entertain your dog while you work from home or even feed her her meals. These puzzles challenge your dog by requiring her to move the toy around in order to release the treats or kibble inside. If at first your dog has trouble figuring out how to get the treats, you can show her how the puzzle works.


Toys with multiple moving parts can provide an even bigger challenge for your dog. Like the treat dispensers, these puzzles come in many different configurations and levels of difficulty. You could start with an easier toy that has fewer moving parts and gradually increase the level of difficulty.


Homemade puzzle toys work just as well. You can use empty toilet paper tubes or paper towel rolls or empty water bottles. For example, load an empty paper towel roll with treats, pinch off the ends, and give it to your dog. Be sure to supervise your dog while he tries to get to the good stuff so that he doesn’t eat any of the cardboard. You can also turn a muffin tin and some tennis balls into a puzzle for your dog to solve.


My dog Ralphie loves his puzzle toys! Have you tried any with your dog?

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