By Certified CPDT-KA Dog Trainer, National Dog Agility Finalist, and Purdue University Animal Science Graduate, Stacie Bianco (Bowers), CPDT-KA
Looking for a way to meet your dog's needs physically and mentally at times when you are unable to interact with them one on one? Or are you always on the lookout for your dog's next "favorite toy"? Welcome to our Top 5 Interactive Toy Recommendations list 🙌
Enrichment in your dog's life, environmentally, physically, mentally, and nutritionally has vast benefits to your dog's well-being. Check out this Purdue University Extension article to learn more about those benefits and how to implement them. Or read more about enrichment from Dr. Julia Albright in this dvm360 article. Various types of environmental enrichment can stimulate dogs mentally and physically, reducing undesirable behaviors that may result from boredom and frustration. Additionally, enrichment can increase normal, desirable behaviors, such as problem solving and positive social interactions with other dogs and people.
Make enrichment a part of your daily routine with your dog with the following 5 interactive toy ideas
#1 Treat or Food Dispensing Toys
Puzzle or food toys are a great way to allow your dog to use their nose, paws, and mouth in a way that you want! Place your dog's kibble and/or treats in the puzzle toy and allow them to figure it out.
Find one of the below treat/toy dispensing toys at your local pet store or online. A complete list on Amazon can be found HERE.
Our Pets Food Cube (pictured)
#2 Stuffable Rubber Toys (Kongs)
Allow your dog's meal to last longer in an enriching way by using stuffable toys like Kongs.
What we have found work well is to freeze the Kong after stuffing it with your dogs food that has been slightly watered down and/or peanut butter.
Learn how we stuff our Kong toys and other ideas of how to tire out your dog (mentally & physically) in our YouTube video HERE
#3 Stuffable Bones
The same idea of stuffing with dampened kibble, peanut butter, yogurt and/or other dog-friendly treats, then freeze the stuffed bone!
Learn how we stuff our enrichment toys and other ideas of how to tire out your dog (mentally & physically) in our YouTube video HERE
#4 DIY Enrichment Toys
Reuse items around your home (remember to supervise your dog to avoid any consumption of items) to create an interactive enrichment toy for your dog. Place treats or kibble in, around, and under the DIY activity and let them use those noses of theirs!
Paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, boxes, paper bags, and brown paper pieces all work well!
Learn how we create our enrichment toys and other ideas of how to tire out your dog (mentally & physically) in our YouTube video HERE
Variety in your dog's toys can be a source of enrichment for them as well! Enrichment in the form of variation of activities, smells, and stimulation as well as the benefits is covered in this Best Friends Animal Society article.
There are many ways to offer variety, including some of the ideas we have outlined in this article and making DIY interactive activities. Another option is to subscribe to BarkBox or another enrichment toy subscription service to have a variety of toys delivered to your home.
Check out BarkBox's list of the 31 Best Dog Toys of 2019 HERE
Thank you for learning with us! To continue your education about dog training and enjoying more with your dog, head over to our home page to preview our online courses and behavior consulting services.
Happy adventuring with your dog!
Stacie Bianco (Bowers), CPDT-KA
Founder and Owner
Curious Canines, LLC