Man’s best friend can occasionally feel bored, stressed, and just downright unmotivated. When your dog is feeling this way, providing activities will help with your dog’s overall well-being. If tossing the ball isn’t an option, and chew toys are no longer interesting, puzzles are a great alternative.
Below we’ll look at puzzles you can purchase that will help your dog feel calm, engaged, focused, and maybe even learn a new trick or two. Keep reading to see which ones are best for your large best friend.
Tornado Interactive Dog Puzzle
Develop your dog’s mental agility and keep it occupied with the Tornado. Designed by Nina Ottosson, the Tornado is an intermediate-level puzzle that encourages your dog to retrieve treats hidden within the spinning layers. If your dog has mastered basic food motivated puzzles, the Tornado is the next logical step in developing mental agility.
Puzzles by Nina Ottosson are not only great in developing mental agility; these toys are:
- Easy to clean
- Made with food-safe materials
- One-piece with no removable parts
This puzzle line is designed with varying degrees of difficulty, challenging your pet and fostering mental growth.
Once your dog has beginner and intermediate puzzles figured out, try more advanced versions. The Challenge Slider, also a Nina Ottosson product, is a more complicated version of hide and seek with treats. Bigger challenges mean bigger rewards—this game is not only more complex but there are also more compartments!
The Challenge Slider promotes:
- Mental Stimulation
- Non-destructive behaviors
The Kong Classic Dog Toy
This amazingly simple toy keeps your dog occupied and deters destructive chewing behaviors. Kong is a hollow rubber tube that you can fill with treats; getting at the goodies is fun and rewarding for your pooch.
The Kong Toy can help with:
- Reducing and alleviating stress
- Keeping your dog engaged
- Keeping your dog from destructive behaviors
There are many Kong products to choose from, so you can pick the perfect size for your large dog like this one – the Kong Classic. We love stuffable toys like these and you can find a whole range of recipes to put in the toy for a long-lasting enrichment experience for your dog.
Ruffle Snuffle® Mat
The original Ruffle Snuffle® mat is a great hands-off source of enrichment that promotes a dog’s instincts to hunt and forage. Hide dog kibbles and treats within the mat and let your dog have at it. A dog’s sense of smell is highly refined; this activity rewards a dog’s sniffer instincts and keeps your dog busy and engaged.
The snuffle mat can help in the following ways:
- It slows down quick eaters
- Encourages eating for dogs with no appetite
- Foraging behavior can have a calming effect
The snuffle mat not only is a challenge for your dog, but it can also assist with some eating issues such as gorging on food or not having an interest in food. Here’s my article with ideas on how to use your snuffle mat.
Hide a Squirrel Squeaky Puzzle
The Hide a Squirrel Squeaky Puzzle is a fun way to keep your dog entertained and has to be one of Dolly’s favourite toys. Promote your dog’s hunting and burrowing instincts; your dog will enjoy trying to get inside the plush tree trunk to find the squirrels. As a bonus, the squirrels also make squeaky noises dogs find hard to resist. This puzzle comes in different sizes, so it’s an option for larger dogs too.
This puzzle encourages:
- Burrowing instincts
- Hunting instincts
- Problem solving
Dogs love squeaky toys for two reasons; they may be getting instant feedback each time they make a toy squeak, or the squeaks might be triggering their hunting instincts. It’s a good idea to have puzzles available that aren’t food motivated, so your dog doesn’t expect treats all the time. Puzzles that make noise round out your collection.
Bob-A-Lot is the high-tech version of interactive food motivated puzzles. It holds three cups of food and has adjustable top and bottom openings to accommodate kibble size and regulate flow. It feeds and creates activity for your dog at the same time.
The benefits of Bob-A-Lot are:
- Long-lasting engagement time
- The weighted bottom that wobbles and encourages play
- Highly engaging
Dogs love Bob-A-Lot. It engages their sense of smell, their foraging instincts and keeps them active and mentally stimulated trying to get the treats out; it keeps dogs entertained for hours. Bob-A-Lot also comes in two sizes; choose the larger for your big dog.
Fun Feeder Slo Bowls
The Fun Feeder Slo Bowl is designed with ridges and patterns and helps dogs that have the habit of eating too fast slow down. Eating too quickly can be detrimental to your dog’s health, so this type of puzzle bowl has real-time benefits for your pup.
The Fun Feeder Slo Bowl and can help alleviate these eating issues:
- Weight gain and obesity
- Regurgitation issues
Not only do these bowls slow down quick eaters, figuring out how to get the food out of the bowls is mentally stimulating and requires effort on your dog’s part; this mental work-out will also tire them out! Slo Bowls come in various colors and fun patterns to switch it up for your dog to keep things interesting.
Lickimat Treat Mat
The Lickimat Treat Mat is a flat treat or meal mat that encourages licking. Licking is an activity that increases endorphins in dogs that have a calming, centering effect. In this Animal Planet article, world-renowned dog trainer Victoria Stilwell explains the behaviour and how licking relieves stress.
The Lickimat Treat Mat has other benefits too:
- Encourages eating meals slowly
- Engaging and interactive
- The textured surface helps clean their tongue
Items to put on the mat are peanut butter (Xylitol-free), wet dog food, soft fruits and vegetables, any spreadable treat works, as do kibbles and small treats.
Wobble, Wag, Giggle Ball
The Wobble, Wag, Giggle Ball has a soft exterior with indentations that make it easy for your dog to grab ahold of while being delighted by the internal noisemaker. Fun and entertaining, dogs love the sounds this ball makes.
Things to know about the Wobble, Wag, Giggle Ball:
- It does not require batteries
- It has an easy to clean surface
- Keeps your dog active and engaged
The Wobble Ball is an excellent choice for a puzzle or enrichment activity that relies on sound and movement rather than treats to entice your dog to play. An excellent alternative to throw in the mix of interactive activities.
Furbo Dog Camera Treat Dispenser
The Furbo Dog Camera Treat Dispenser helps you keep your dog entertained and engaged from anywhere. Surprise and enrich your dog by being at home when you aren’t at home! Live-stream your dog’s activities, so you can see what they do while you aren’t home and teach them to catch a treat as they respond to your voice commands.
The Furbo Camera Treat Dispenser can help you:
- Engage and entertain your dog remotely
- See what your dog is doing and make behavioral adjustments
- Train your dog to come and sit for treats
The Furbo Camera Treat Dispenser keeps you connected with your dog and leads the way as a breakthrough technological enrichment device for you and your furry friend.
In summary, keeping your dog engaged and developing its mental agility is vital for its overall health and well-being. Puzzles are a great solution to help with that. Our list of the top ten best puzzle games for larger dogs is a great resource to help you decide how to help with enriching your dog’s life.Best Puzzles for Large Dogs: Our Top 10 Picks Click To Tweet