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  • Writer's pictureAnne-Marie Cheung

Puzzle games

To stimulate your dog's mind





I have a border collie, she is very intelligent and her walks don't satisfy all her needs. Over the years I have collected puzzle games to stimulate her mind. These puzzle games

come in handy when you need to leave your dog for a couple of hours or if the weather is so toasty it's impossible to give your dog a walk. Most dog owners know how important it is to walk their dog at least twice a day but don't realise they need to feed their minds. All these games above take less than 10 seconds to set up. I have over 8 puzzles to choose from but find setting them all up at once entertains my dog for longer. I recommended getting small treats and fish for dogs do these dog sample packs for £8 which contain lots of kibble and treats. Natural fish treats are kind to your dog's stomaches and are rich in omega-three. These games can be pricey so I recommend looking on eBay as well as amazon. These games have various difficulty levels, the higher the difficulty the more training you need to put into making your dog understand the game. However the higher the level the more time the dog spends doing the game.



puzzle game, kong

One of the most popular puzzle games out there. On their site, they have various types of kong to suit any breed. The site is very educational and helps you decide what kong is right for your pet. Numerous sites sell them including amazon and for as little as £10 they are one of the cheapest options. You can fill them with kibble which is one of the easiest ways for your dog to get the treats out. When introducing it to your dog make sure you show them the treat and how it comes out of the kong. You can also use kong treat spray by filling the rim of the kong for your dog to lick it off. If you want the kong to last longer you can fill it with numerous layers, kibble, yoghurt, oats, eggs and meat. There are various recipes on the net on how to fill a kong and if you want it to last longer pop it in the freezer. This puzzle game is a level one in difficulty but freezing the contents will mean it lasts longer and will keep your dog entertained.



buster dog maze, dog game, dog puzzle

This is a tad pricey at £23 but this puzzle game is a step up from the kong. Your dog has to push the treats around the maze. My dog found a way to lick up the treats instead of pushing them. If your dog does this I advise using bigger treats like marrow bone dog biscuits. I got my maze from Crufts years ago and it is still my go-to game when I'm in a rush to get out of the house. Unlike the kong this game takes more work, this is a level two in difficulty.







snuffle mat, dog puzzle,

These are ideal for those who are in a rush to get out of the house. Just place it on the floor and scatter some treats over it and dig them into the ruffles. This puzzle works the dog's sense of smell, a natural instinct they use daily.

They cost as little as £12 and much as £25 depending on what size you get. The bigger the snuffle mat the longer it will take your dog to finish it. The other option is to make your own snuffle mat. All you need is fabric, a fleecy throw or felt, a pair of scissors and a rubber shower or door mat with holes. This is a level one because the dog is using their nose so will be easy for any dog to grasp.



dog tornado puzzle, dog game, dog puzzle

These puzzle games are made by a company called Nina Ottosson. You can buy it on amazon for £15 but it is worth going on Nina Ottosson's site to see what level of difficulty you want to get, there are four levels. This puzzle is a level two but you can make it easier by removing the white bones. The dog has to swivel the bones around to get the treats. You can break this down by showing your dog the treat in the bone hole then half covering it with the swivel bone and go from there. I found this very entertaining for my dog who got frustrated with it and tried to break it. This shows me that it is challenging her mind and with a bit of training she will understand how to get the treats.



dog puzzle game, trixie dog activity flip board

This one is reasonably priced at £11.20, it's a level two difficulty and will take some practice training your dog to do the puzzle. The Trixie site will explain the puzzles in more detail. There are three difficulty levels to choose from. I like the different parts of this game and how it challenges my dog's mind more than some of the other games.





dog casino, dog puzzle.


This game is a bit pricey at £18 but is a level three advance. I have a collie and even she gets frustrated with one. The key is to break the puzzle down into bite-size bits so your dog can understand. The idea behind the game is to put the treats in the orange trays shut them then twist the bones on top to lock the trays in place. It sounds complicated but if you break the gamer down the dog will learn. I love how it takes my dog longer to do this game. To break down the game you need to put a treat in the tray and show the dog with it open. Next, close the tray and open it to let them see the treat is inside. Once they grasp the concept of opening the tray to get the treat you move on to stage two. Next, you close the drawer and lock the bone in place, repeat this over and over until your dog understands that if they paw the bone it will unlock the drawer. The game is designed for the dog to paw the bones to open the trays. This is one of the hardest games I have for my dog. Being consistent with her training allows her to understand the game.


There are lots of games out there and I recommend reading the reviews to see how effective they are. I am always looking for the next new game to challenge my dog. A combination of all the above games keeps her entertained when I'm out. Unwanted behaviour like your dog chewing your possessions, barking or excessive licking is a sign of boredom. Puzzle games can offer your dog some relief. If cost is a problem there are other ways you can fend off boredom. If you love shopping with amazon you can use the boxes to hide treats in tissue. You can hide treats around the house and play find the treat. There are also various websites that offer homemade ideas. Whatever you decide to do remember to have fun and watch how clever your dog can be.








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