I love the idea of puzzle toys for dogs. Dog toys that exercise the brain and give the dog a challenge to work through can be beneficial in many ways:
- Help dogs learn to focus on a task for extended periods
- Teach targeting to specific objects
- Provide interactive playtime for dog and owner
- Occupy a dog for a while when you are busy
- Build self confidence for succeeding in a task
I’m sure others can add to this list. One of the first puzzle toys I can remember was the Buster Cube… remember that one? It was a hard plastic cube with an adjustable hole that dispensed treats when the dog moved it, dropped it, rolled it. I think we still have it here, somewhere. My dog Seamus loved it. It was a noisy toy, unless used outside on the grass on in a carpeted room. But of course, Seamus loved to carry it into the kitchen and drop it on the hard wood floor to make it bounce and release more treats. It drove me crazy after a while!
Lately, some interesting puzzle toys have hit the market and we are hoping to try out a few of them. Our first puzzle toy is the Kyjen Hide-A-Squirrel, which is a plush toy “tree trunk” with holes and three little squeakered squirrels (that look more like chipmunks to me) that you can “hide” in the trunk. The dog is supposed to figure out how to get the squirrels out of the holes. Read more