Hello, Emily and Kokoro here! You may recognize us from some of our writing here for BarkPost, or maybe you even follow our photo adventures on Instagram.
If you haven’t met us, well, nice to meet you! Let me introduce this fluffy white lady to you all: Kokoro is a one year old American Eskimo dog livin’ the sweet life with me here in Michigan.
She’s extremely smart (yay!) but that can be a frustration sometimes when she hasn’t exerted all of her energy and brain juices for the day. Trust me, if she’s been left bored for too long, I come home to a dog bouncier than the Easter Bunny on a sugar high.
We’re always on the lookout for toys and puzzles that will keep her occupied and nourish her doggy IQ. This turned out to be no easy feat! We’ve gone through tons of “puzzle games” that she’s figured out in a second and been fed treats so fast they might as well have rolled out of a broken gum ball machine. Lucky for you guys, we’ve compiled a list of Kokoro approved doggy toys and activities that will prevent your pups from taking out their energy on your favorite pair of plush slippers!
This mentally stimulating activity mat is bound to keep your pup busy and engaged. The mat comes with three Tasks (Cone Cloth, Water Lily and Envelope) that can be played together or individually. Simply show your dog where the treats are hidden and see just how quickly they put their nose to work to solve the puzzle.
2. Odin Puzzle Toy, $23
The Odin Puzzle Toy was designed with both pup and pup parent’s needs in mind. Its sleek design makes for a stimulating toy you won’t mind leaving out on the coffee table. Simply fill the inner chambers with treats and watch your dog figure out how to make treats magically appear. 😉
3. Treat Maze, $14-24
This UFO-shaped puzzle for dogs will awaken your pup’s natural foraging skills, and provides a mental and physical workout as he tries to figure out how to spin the maze so his yummy noms will come rolling out. For extra savvy puppers, turn up the difficulty by blocking one of the openings! It’s available in small and large for genius dogs of all sizes.
4. IQ Treat Ball, $10
The IQ Treat Ball is different than other treat dispensing toys in that it lets you select a difficulty level for you dog. Simply place few treats in the ball, select a level, and watch your pup chase the ball around before receiving a tasty reward.
Not only is keeping her smartypants brain occupied a problem, but now that Kokoro is older and stronger, she has started tearing apart some of her beloved stuffed animals. A worry that I’m sure most doggy parents have that comes with playtime is the risk of ingesting stuffing or small parts. Pridebites makes durable and unique toys that are great both as plush-like and rubber-like toys!
The toy are made of two layers of soft Durabite fleece with a rip stop technology sewn between the layers. The Durabite foam inside is light weight, interactive, floats and retains its shape, and the toys have squeakers encased in pouches and sewn onto the toy for safety. These intelligently engineered dog toys have our pups’ wellbeing in mind and are adorably creative in design! You can also create custom disc toys with a photo of your pup digitally embroidered on…how impressive is that?!
6. Tornado Treat Puzzle Dog Toy, $44
Let your pup play with his food with the DogTornado! It’s an interactive clever bowl made of four twisting chambers your pup can move aside with his paw and snout to reveal the noms caught between each layer. Why not reward your pup’s ingenuity and persistence while encouraging him to use his noggin’?
It’s called a Wishbone, and boy does Kokoro wish this were a neverending dispenser of treats! We love these toys (we have two, both the large and small size) because they’re brightly colored and made of that trusty Kong rubber. You can stuff the toys with your pup’s favorite treat and watch them chew for hours. We like to use especially crunchy and extremely smelly treats that Kokoro just can’t resist. She’ll often prance around with the small toy in her mouth waiting for us to fill it back up!
Another Kyjen toy made of shatterproof plastic made to train your dog’s brain! This toy disassembles and is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning between treat-hunting sessions. The star-shaped puzzler has two layers of treat containers with a third top cover layer. You can adjust the difficulty of the game at the bottom by changing the resistance in the spin, making it easier or more difficult for your pup to sniff out the treats.
9. StickBall, $16
At first when we saw this toy we thought it was just an ordinary stick to play fetch and catch with. However, this treat-dispensing toy is made with a small hole and arms you can fill with treats that will roll out during playtime. The ball in the middle fits in a Chuck-it and other tennis ball launchers so you can help your smartypants pup let off some steam while giving him a mental exercise as he tries to predict where the yummy treats will bounce to next!
You may have noticed that many of these toys are treat dispensers, and that is because Kokoro is a real food fiend! We’ll still be on the lookout for more tricky dog puzzles so let us know if you have had success with any 🙂 Until then, keep your pups happy and satisfied with plenty of belly rubs and challenging games.