Enriching your dog’s environment is an extremely important part of being a dog owner. Various toys and activities can be used to help stimulate your dog physically and mentally in order to help curb boredom, anxiety, and other unwanted behaviors.
It is important to remember to choose toys, puzzles, and activities that are age, breed, and size appropriate for your dog.
When considering things to help enrich your dog’s environment, remember the five senses: taste, touch, hearing, sight, and smell.
Food and puzzle toys can be a great way to stimulate your dog’s sense of smell and taste. Choose toys made with different materials and textures to stimulate your dog’s sense of touch. And don’t forget those squeaky and crinkle toys to stimulate your dog’s sense of hearing!
Here is a brief list of some popular enrichment toys:
Classic Kong: Kongs are great for freezing soft food to provide an extended period of entertainment, especially when your dog is in their crate or left home alone. Read The Daily Dog’s full Kong review here.
Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel: A great squeaky, plush puzzle toy. This toy is great for those dogs who are not super food motivated but love interactive play.
Bob-a-Lot Interactive Dog Toy: Great for food-motivated pups! This toy is also an ideal way to feed your dog meals if he or she needs help slowing down when gobbling up food.
Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball: For those food-motivated, ball-loving dogs! These toys are made of durable plastic for batting and chasing around.
PetSafe Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug Meal dispensing toy: Use this for tug-of-war games with treats or put your dog’s entire meal inside! They are great for slowing dogs down while eating and providing entertainment at mealtimes.
Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball: Perfect for those dogs who love to chew. They are made of durable rubber for chewing and dispense treats to keep the fun going.
Spot Seek-A-Treat Flip ‘N Slide: An awesome interactive toy to get your dog to use his or her nose to find the treats. This toy provides wonderful mental stimulation while your dog figures out how to get the treats out.
Snuffle Mats: Work on your dog’s foraging skills with this great toy!
Our Pets Waffle Puzzle Toy: A beginner’s puzzle toy.
Outward Hound Dog Brick Toy: A puzzle toy you can customize to keep your dog entertained at all levels.
*It is helpful to rotate your dog’s toys often to keep toys new and exciting. For even more ideas, check out The Daily Dog’s Guides to chew toys and rope toys.
Enrichment does not stop at toys alone! Enriching your dog’s life can include daily walks, doggy daycare, or fun training classes such as trick training or agility.