What a mouth full! Just headlining this article was a tongue twisting puzzle for me! Speaking of tongue twisting, that seems to be what makes a good interactive dog toy. If you can find dog or puppy toys that have containers to hold special treats which have to be dug – or licked – out through interactions of your dog or puppy’s various muscles, tongue, nose, and brain muscles and maybe paws too then you’ve got a lot of working parts to end one goal – getting the treat into his stomach (muscle)! - That just taxed my brain to write that run-on sentence!
Including the puzzle part to this sort of interactive dog toy can lend itself to occupying your dog or puppy’s time away from destructive things and help keep them calm too. And, if you have to leave your dog or puppy home alone while you are away then you’ve got a little bit of a distraction with these toys for a happier fun time for him or her instead of a crying, whining pup.
Some top tips for creating your own interactive dog toy treat puzzles:
1) Frozen Toy Treats – We prefer not to use small ice cube trays unless you have a very small dog or puppy because they are so easily swallowed without much ado. Get a plastic bowl and scatter in a few treats put a layer of water, about ½ full and freeze, and a few more treats, add more water and freeze completely. Take the frozen treat out of the container and leave outside with your dog or puppy! You can put other dog toys in the ice if treats aren’t your desire.
2) Treats in a Bag - Place treats in a paper bag and tie closed. Keep your dog toys safe and DO NOT use plastic or non-digestible bags if eaten. This works for inside and outside but beware the possible torn paper mess and the possibility that the dog will eat the bag too. We suggest brown paper bags as they can be digested. Note that allowing your dog to destroy a bag to get a treat might suggest he or she will go for any bag!! And a special side note – do NOT put the cat in the bag!
3) Hide-and-Seek Treats - Inside the house you can hide little treats in a variety of places just consider dangerous or breakable places that might not be good. Stay away from electrical outlets, wiring and plugs. Don’t place treats around breakable items. We stick to ground-level hiding places so no one is climbing to get their treats. Outside, mainly watch around plants that you care for and things that could be knocked down or hurt your dog. Digging can come from your dog looking for more so watch that. Hide the treats when your dog or puppy isn’t around and let them in or out when you need them entertained.
4) Digging for Treats – This one can be done if you have a place, dirt box or sand box where you are ok having a mess. We’ve created dig boxes using a children’s low hard plastic wading pool, filled it with sand and hide treats. Yes, there can be a mess no matter how well contained it is but it works nicely if you have a digger. It can make a digger out of a dog who isn’t naturally one – so watch that too!
5) Sometimes non-homemade is the way to go, it can be safer for your dogs, puppies and your household. Lately we’ve been noticing a lot of special attention going towards the Nina Ottosson’s Interactive Puzzle Toys for Dogs. They really are kind of special, originally designed as wooden dog toys, they can also be found in plastic form. These toys are interactive, hold dog treats, and the puzzle part is very cleaver. You don’t need to put in a lot of treats, just small potions, in the special slots if doggy weight is of concern. We have three of these Nina Ottoson interactive dog toy treat puzzles but she has others to choose from as well. We featured some of these dog and puppy interactive toys in our article on Interactive Dog Toy Puzzles with Treat Reward.