Many dog parents know that mental stimulation is important for their dog’s well-being. Consequently, they are looking for toys that can help them to fulfil their dog’s mental stimulation needs. There are many great options on the market, so here are some toys which will give your dog’s brain a good workout.
Food toys like Kong or Toppl are an all-time favourite of dogs and dog parents. You can fill kibble or treats into the toy and let your dog roll it around on the floor to get them out. To make the fun last longer, you can fill the food toy with wet food or liver paste and put it in the freezer for some hours before giving it to your dog. This will prolong the fun as your dog has to work longer to get the food out of the toy. Always keep an eye on your dog when you give them a food toy. While they can withstand some chewing, you don’t want your dog to eat the toy itself.
Treat dispensing toys
There are many options on the market, but they all have in common that your dog has to push the toy around to get to the treats inside. You can find balls or other shapes like the Kong Wobbler or the Gnawt-a-Rock from Ruffwear which bounce, rather than roll. Some dispense treats easily, others make it harder for your dog to get to the treats. Start out with an easy version, so your dog understands the concept. And be aware that you might have to help your dog many times with recovering his treat ball from under the couch in the future.
Puzzle toys, like the one from Nina Ottosson have become popular as you can take your dog’s brain workout to the next level. Simply pushing the toy won’t do the trick here. Instead, your dog has to come up with a strategy to get to the treats. You can get puzzles of different difficulty levels. The easy ones get your dog to the treats by pushing a part of the puzzle or pulling out a brick. The more advanced the level, the more difficult it will be for your dog to get to the treat. So, your dog might have to push a brick, then turn a little plate and then push yet another brick to unlock the reward.
Puzzle toys are a great mental workout for your dog. Just make sure to find the right puzzle for your dog to start with to keep motivation and success experiences high. Once your dog can easily master the puzzle, it’s time to move on to a more difficult one.
Interactive pet tech toys
Recently, a new category of dog toys, pet tech, has entered the market which uses technology to give your dog mental stimulation.
PupPod has launched an interactive treat dispensing toy, while Wickedbone created a bone-shaped activity toy which your dog can chase around the house. Go Dogo is using your home TV to give your dog mental stimulation. As it is touch-free, this is a great option for dogs who tend to chew their toys. Go Dogo lets your dog earn treats by solving different challenges in the game. It consists of two physical units and connects to your home TV. The main unit includes a computer, a treat dispenser, and a camera. A small side camera provides a side view of your dog.
The dog learns to stay in the “playzone” (the area the cameras can see) - and positive feedback is given whenever a task is performed correctly. The game has eight levels and new levels are released through the Go Dogo app, so the game will stay challenging for your dog in the long run.
As your dog is not touching the game itself, you don’t have to worry about any chewed up items. And, if your dog needs to be home alone for some time, you can just schedule a game for later, so your dog is entertained while you’re gone.
DIY mental workout solutions
Even if you’re on a budget, you can make sure that your dog gets a great mental workout. By simply using things you have at home anyways. Cardboard boxes, toilet paper rolls, an empty egg carton or some towels will get you a long way.
We regularly release new DIY mental workout ideas on our Go Dogo YouTube channel. We’re sure that you’ll find a workout that your dog will love.
Go Dogo is a pet tech startup that is on a mission to improve dogs’ lives by getting them the mental stimulation they need to be happy and healthy. Go Dogo offers a mental exercise in the form of stimulating games which are adjusted to the dog’s individual training level and needs. Find more information on the Go Dogo game here.