A Guide to Dog & Puppy Enrichment Toys
How to Choose the Best Dog & Puppy Enrichment Toys
Dog and puppy enrichment toys are a great way to keep restless dogs, curious puppies, and boredom-induced aggressive chewers at bay. By combining playtime with treat time — or even mealtime for speedy eaters! — your pooch will be getting the mental stimulation they need.
With all the dog puzzle toys out there with varying levels of difficulty, what’s a doggo to choose? Read on for an easy guide to choosing the right Outward Hound dog enrichment puzzle for your pup.
Did you know?
- 15 minutes of mental activity with dog treat games is equal to 30 minutes of physical exercise!
- Treat dispensing dog toys and puzzles help to eliminate boredom and prevent destructive behaviours by providing mental enrichment.
- Eating slower via interactive treat toys, food puzzle games, or slow feeders can prevent serious health issues like dog bloat.
- All dogs can benefit from mental enrichment activities and scent games, including puppies, senior dogs, and all breeds and sizes!
A Guide to the Best Interactive Dog Toys for Enrichment
About Level 1 Nina Ottosson Dog Treat Games
On a scale of Easy to Advanced, Level 1 Nina Ottosson treat dispensing dog games and puzzles are considered easy. Level 1 dog games are the perfect way for pets, new to puzzle toys, to prepare for more challenging puzzles to come.
These games are also made with a simple 1-step play action that your dog will use to help uncover treats that you’ve hidden inside the game. Level 1 Nina Ottosson games include:
The Treat Tumble
The Nina Ottosson Treat Tumble is shaped like a ball and is a great treat dispensing toy for your dog. The Nina Ottosson Treat Tumble is a perfect puzzle ball for any pup! A level 1 treat-dispensing dog puzzle, the Treat Tumbler will keep your dog intrigued as they roll the ball and sniff around to find ways to release the reward. Easy to fill with two treat-dispensing holes. Simply fill this treat ball with your dog’s favourite treats or kibble. Give the ball to your dog and watch them play as they figure out how to release the goodies. Made with food safe BPA-free plastic that is easy to wipe clean for outdoor and indoor fun! BEGINNER’S PUZZLE
The Dog Smart
Great for introducing your dog to treat training games, the level 1 Dog Smart gets your pup interested in games and prepares them for more exciting and challenging puzzles to come. The Dog Smart is also ideal for treating or slow feeding your dog because it can hold wet food, dry kibble, or even peanut butter!
We didn’t forget about the youngsters! If you’re looking for puppy toys with a challenge, try the Puppy Smart.
The Nina Ottosson Puppy Smart interactive dog puzzle is a fun way to get your dog excited about problem solving games! This level 1 dog puzzle toy features nine treat hiding compartments that can be filled with your pup’s favourite treats and covered with nine dog bones that release the tasty scent of treats through the top hole. Place on the ground and watch your dog use his noggin as…
The Smart Composite
The Nina Ottosson Dog Smart Composite interactive dog puzzle is a fun way to get your dog excited about problem solving games! This mind-stimulating level 1 dog toy features nine treat hiding compartments that can be filled with your pup’s favourite treats and covered with nine pegs that release the tasty scent of treats through the top hole. Place on the ground and watch your dogs use their noggin as they paw and nudge the pegs over to uncover the hidden rewards!
About Nina Ottosson Level 2 Treat Games
On a scale of Easy to Advanced, Nina Ottosson Level 2 Treat Games are considered ‘Intermediate’. These treat feeding dog games combine 1 and 2-step play actions to help your dog pick up rewards in different ways.
Level 2 treat games include:
The Treat Maze
The Treat Maze dog puzzle toy releases treats from two entry points: one on each side of the saucer. Put treats or dog food in both sides of the top centre hole and watch as your dog makes it wobble to release them.
The Nina Ottosson Treat Maze is a level 2 game perfect for pet owners needing an enticing solo game to reduce destructive behaviour and boredom for their pups. Great for pups who have mastered level 1 games and are ready for an added challenge! This brightly coloured dog puzzle game is easy to fill with treats and can be shaken to release the scent in case you pup hasn’t already noticed! The Treat Maze has no additional parts so it's mess-free and easy to clean with soap and water.
The Dog Hide ‘N Slide
The Hide N’ Slide is a dog treat game with built-in play pieces that don’t come out when your dog plays with it. Durable construction also helps to keep this dog toy intact, making it your new go-to dog game time after time. Unique elevated play pieces in the Hide N’ Slide help dogs access treats and move pieces more easily to keep them entertained and engaged.
The Nina Ottosson Interactive Dog Hide N’ Slide puzzle game is a fun way to engage your dog’s mind and activate their problem solving-skills. This level 2 intermediate puzzle dog toy comes with two types of hiding spots for snacks or kibble for a total of 14 treat compartments: under the swivelling flippers and in the hollow sliding blocks. You can vary the difficulty level by placing treats just under the flipper for newcomers. And once your dog gets the hang of it, you can increase the challenge by placing the treats in the hollow block, and watching your dog try to figure out how to slide it back and forth to release the treat into the flipper compartment. Made from food safe materials that are BPA, PVC and phthalate-free so you can feel safe playing with your dog over and over again! Easy to clean with warm water and soap.
The Dog Tornado
With 12 treat compartments in this interactive dog toy, The Dog Tornado is a smart and fun choice for mealtime as it holds your dog’s favourite kibble or peanut butter. Each level of this treat dispenser spins as your dog searches for treats hiding inside. The spinning movement keeps your dog engaged and presents them with a fun and challenging way to play.
Nina’s Tip: Pour broth or put peanut butter into compartments, freeze overnight, and let your dog enjoy a long-lasting popsicle!
The Dog Tornado level 2 interactive dog puzzle from Nina Ottosson is the ideal toy for bored dogs and will keep them occupied for hours! This intermediate level toy features three tiers with twelve compartments for dog snacks or kibble. This mentally stimulating and entertaining dog game encourages your pup to spin the interactive puzzle tiers to reveal the rewards – three bone shaped covers can be used to increase the difficulty! Made of BPA, PVC & phthalate-free material that can be hand washed between each use with warm water and soap.
The Dog Brick
Complete with four different treat feeding features, the Nina Ottosson Dog Brick is made with easy open-close flip compartments to hide a treat in. Perfect for what dog trainers call “nose work,” it comes with removable bone puzzle pieces that offer an even more interesting challenge to seeking and eating treats!
About Nina Ottosson Level 3 Treat Games
Level 3 dog puzzle toys would be considered our “Advanced” games. Level 3 dog games challenge your pup by requiring a series of steps to each reward hidden within the puzzle. Most of the play actions required to release the treats are two steps and must be made in sequence in order to release the mouth-watering rewards.
Level 3 treat games include:
The Dog Worker
One of our first level 3 dog games is the Dog Worker. It looks a bit like a mad scientist’s kit, but if your dog has mastered introductory puzzles, level 3 interactive dog games are a smart choice! Simply place treats in circular blocks and compartments in the base. Swivel flippers to cover tracks and lock spinning top. It’s as easy as swivel the flippers, scoot the blocks, and spin the center wheel. Hidden compartments are under the flippers and under the center wheel. Available in multiple colors. Made with no removable pieces from a BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free composite material. Clean with warm water and soap.
Next, the Dog Twister is also great for dogs that are looking for more challenging interactive dog toy. To play with the Dog Twister, pull handles out to unlocked position to slide paw panels. Place treats or kibble in compartments. Line up sliding paw panels and lock them in place by pushing handles in.
When you’re looking for a toy for bored dogs who have mastered the simpler dog treat puzzles, this engaging level 3 advanced interactive treat puzzle from Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound is the perfect next step! The Dog Twister interactive dog puzzle toy features nine treat drawers for dog treats which are secured in place with nine white tabs. Just simply place the treats in the drawers, slide them in, and lock the white drawer tabs for an added sequential step challenge. Your pup will enjoy pawing, sniffing, and nudging around to reveal the hidden tasty rewards! The Dog Twister puzzle dog toy is made of durable BPA, PVC & phthalate-free material that you can feel safe using with your furry friend. Easy to clean with warm water and soap between uses.
The Dog Casino
Unique to the Dog Casino interactive dog game is the locking bone pieces. If your dog excels at solving puzzles, introduce them to a new challenge by simply twisting the bones on top to lock the drawers. The Dog Casino is especially recommended for more challenging play but can be used with dogs of all play levels.
The Dog Casino interactive treat puzzle is a level 3 advanced dog game from Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound that’s ideal for bored dogs! This interactive dog puzzle features six treat drawers for dog treats which can be accessed by twisting the bone locks. Just simply place the treats in the drawers, slide them in, and twist the bones for an added sequential step challenge. Your pup will enjoy pawing, sniffing, and nudging around to reveal the hidden tasty rewards! The Dog Casino interactive puzzle dog toy is made of safe and durable BPA, PVC & phthalate-free material. Easy to clean with warm water and soap between uses.
About Nina Ottosson Level 4 Treat Games
Level 4 dog puzzle toys would be considered our “Advanced to Expert” games. Level dog games challenge your pup by requiring a series of steps to each reward hidden within the puzzle. This level 4 puzzle will require your dog to complete a series of steps in the correct order in order to earn their tasty reward. The Level 4 is ideal for super smart and motivated dogs that need more challenging games.
The Nina Ottosson MultiPuzzle level 4 interactive dog puzzle toy will keep your dog entertained for hours as they use their natural hunting skills to seek out the hidden treats! Your pups' favorite dog treats or kibble can be hidden in the outer and central compartments by sliding the puzzle pieces and let the games begin! This puzzle is ideal for dogs who have already mastered levels 1-3 of the Nina Ottosson puzzle line. Made from tough plastic parts and food safe materials that are BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free. Hand Wash with soap and water to clean.
Plush Interactive Dog Toys
Just because it’s interactive doesn’t mean it has to involve food (though your dog might argue otherwise). If your dog prefers squeaky toys and hide and seek, consider something like the Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel for mental exercise.
This hide and seek plush dog puzzle was designed specifically to eliminate boredom, encourage positive play, and feed your dog’s natural hunting instincts. The squeaker squirrel-filled trunk will challenge your busy buddy to figure out how to extract each toy through the holes. Get creative! The trunk can even double as a tug toy. Some dogs like to use the trunk by itself for an active game of tug-of-war.
The Bottom Line on Choosing the Right Interactive Dog Toy
Always remember to keep your pet safe. There is no such thing as an indestructible dog toy. Dog owners should always supervise their pets during playtime.
Whether you choose to try one of these Outward Hound designs, a classic Kong or your own DIY snuffle mat or doggie treat dispenser, at the end of the day, it’s important to give our pets the daily mental stimulation they need. Our pups need more than just a dog chew toy to keep them occupied. After all, 15 minutes of mental activity using a dog puzzle is equal to 30 minutes of a game of fetch with a ball launcher!
No matter their breed or age, both small dogs and large dogs deserve a quality brain game.
These interactive dog and puppy enrichment toys can be found on our website, www.mcmac.co.za and your local pet store!
Still have questions about our dog games? We’re happy to lend a paw! Please send your questions to email@example.com
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