Are Dog Puzzles Worth The Money? We Find Out

puzzle toys are they worth it

There are plenty of times where dogs and puppies need something more tailored to play and engage with. While stores are laden with plenty of toys and gadgets, they often fall short when it comes to developing various skills. But, are dog puzzles really worth the money?

Dog puzzle toys are worth investing in as they aid in the development of various skills regardless of age or breed. Some puzzles focus on hunting and problem solving with different levels of difficulty demanding more activity than others. Puzzles valuable enrichment and stimulation.

Although dog puzzles are definitely worth the money, there are certain aspects that could result in one getting less value for money. It’s crucial to weigh up your choice of dog puzzles against certain features as well as what your dog will benefit most from.

Stick around to find out how dog puzzles benefit a man’s best friend, as well as how to go about selecting the right puzzles for budget and your individual dog’s preferences.

Puzzle toys are good for dogs 

Puzzle toys are incredibly beneficial for all dogs, as they stimulate and encourage a wide range of skills that are often left unengaged otherwise. For these reasons, it’s always more suitable to ensure that your dog has had experiences with these toys from when they are young, as the development of these skills will be far more evident throughout the course of their lives. 

Amazing indoor nose work games to p...
Amazing indoor nose work games to play with your dog from Ruffle Snuffle

What are the benefits of puzzle toys for dogs?

There is a wide range of skills targeted by puzzle toys, which is primarily dictated by the unique design of the toy. Many toys aim to stimulate multiple developmental aspects in unison, and the use of these toys may hopefully result in your dog being able to transfer these skills and knowledge into everyday life situations. 

Skills and developmental aspects which are targeted by puzzle toys extend from cognitive to physical qualities and often focus on various problem-solving skills, fine motor skills, ‘hand’-eye coordination, aspects of hunting, and much more. Other than the enriched level of entertainment and engagement that it provides dogs with, this educational aspect is the most beneficial aspect of puzzle toys.

Why do dogs need puzzle toys?

When it comes to analysing skills and traits, the ancestors of our now domesticated dogs usually practiced skills within the real world, making it a part of their holistic development and natural behaviors. However, as the modern world has progressed, dogs now live indoors with human caregivers, and lack the capacity for practicing these skills in everyday life. 

Toy puzzles serve as a modernised and opportunistic stimulus for these skills, enabling your dog to still follow their natural behaviours and reach their full potential. Without the opportunity to engage these skills, your dog may end up having underdeveloped areas of aptitude, which is not serious, but may still lower their quality of life when compared to a dog that has had all of these developmental areas encouraged from puppyhood.

Why do some dogs like puzzles more than others?

There are some dog breeds with traits and characteristics that absolutely demand engagement and interaction, over and above what the standard chew toy can provide. Although some breeds may not enjoy puzzle toys as much, this often comes down to standard traits of the breed and natural personality as some dogs are far more docile or uninterested compared to others.

Dogs such as herding dogs, hunting dogs, sheepdogs, and other active and lively breeds need to be entertained. Other dog breeds requiring more engagement socially may become lonely or anxious very easily, which also dictates a sufficient level of interaction and focused engagement. Without healthy activities and outlets, these breeds may use other means to release their abundance of energy including damaging items, pacing around, or barking excessively. 

dolly squirrel plush toy 2

Can dogs of all ages use puzzle toys?

Puzzle toys are beneficial regardless of age. Young dogs will benefit from developing skills while they are puppies, enabling them to live a fuller life. Senior dogs benefit from puzzles as it assists the brain and body in remaining functional, especially when coupled with Omega 3 based treats which also aids brain function.

How to choose a puzzle toy for your dog

Dog puzzle toys are absolutely worth investing in, as they can boost your dog’s confidence, aptitude, happiness, and quality of life. But, it is certainly possible to spend far more than necessary when choosing the right puzzle for your dog.

It’s important to assess certain aspects of the puzzle in relation to their benefits, as well as which skills the puzzle will target and the way in which it does so. Good quality puzzle toys generally cost around £15-£25 ($20-$30) at most, unless there is something quite special which demands an increased price.

Finding a suitable puzzle toy requires the assessment of three areas – what your will dog enjoy most, what level of difficulty will be suitable for them based on various aspects and age, as well as what the quality of the puzzle toy is like in terms of materials, construction, and longevity. Many dogs enjoy having a variety of activities as well, so one may choose to have a combination of toys that target various skills simultaneously as well.  You can check out our puzzle toy top picks to see what we love.

Materials to look for when choosing puzzle toys

The puzzle toy should always be made of high quality materials with sturdy construction that will combat potentially vigorous engagement from your dog. They should be mostly bite-proof, non-toxic, and should be rigid as they will need to last quite a long time. In addition, the overall design of the puzzle toy should be fairly simple to maintain and keep clean, as puzzles will likely become dirty over time which poses health risks for your precious pooch. 

Choose the right level of challenge for your dog

Every puzzle is made with the purpose of encouraging development in certain areas, and this should always be assessed in relation to your individual dog. You know your dog best, and should consider what areas need more attention than others depending on their breed and unique traits as well. Toys that have multiple difficulties will keep your dog engaged for a longer amount of time when compared to puzzles which may be too easy, which often become obsolete once your dog has solved them.  We have a few in the cupboard that are gathering dust.

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In summary

Having toy puzzles to ‘play’ with serves as therapeutic outlets for dogs, and when suited to the natural inclinations of the breed, it’s more likely that they will enjoy the activity, to begin with, which generally leads to higher engagement and more visible learning outcomes. Intended outcomes and choice of puzzles should always be considered in relation to the breed’s necessities, as this will make it more entertaining for them.

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