Exercise your dog’s brain…and body!
Your dog feels alive when he gets the chance to run, jump and chew. Not only is it good exercise for his body, but your dog will be much happier when he gets the chance to exercise.
Dogs who don’t get enough stimulation will be bored and frustrated. They’ll resort to destroying things they know they shouldn’t (shoes…pillows, anyone?) making both you and them very unhappy.
Enter, the puzzle toy.
If you’ve never seen one of these toys, the idea is simple. You create a puzzle “box” that is filled with dog treats that requires your pet to exercise his mind to open the box and get to his treat.
While there are treat puzzle toys you can buy for your furry family member, there is a potential that the materials used aren’t the best. Fortunately, treat puzzle toys are very DIY friendly…here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Stuffed pet puzzle
Treat puzzles don’t have to be made of rigid materials. If your dog has a “lovie” that they enjoy sleeping with this could be a good choice for you.
Using a free pattern from websites such as allcrafts.net, make your dog a stuffed animal all her own. Add a little pouch (make it big enough for your dog’s paw or snout) and you’ve got an instant treat puzzle.
2. Fast and easy treat ball
All you need for this toy is a tennis ball, some dog treats and a sharp knife.
Following the line on the tennis ball, cut an opening that’s big enough to hold the treats and let your dog get to them, yet small enough to prevent the treats from falling out.
Check out the video below from Erin’s Animals.
3. PVC Magic
Durable, and widely available, PVC piping is a good option for dogs that are really strong chewers.
The great thing about this toy is that you can adjust the size of the PVC piping, to fit the size of your dog. Larger dogs may be able to break smaller diameter piping, but it would be very difficult if not impossible, for them to destroy larger diameter piping.
All you need are different lengths of PVC piping (about 6 to 8 inches is a good choice), a cap for one end, and a clean-out cap for the other (where you can add the treats).
Here’s a video that details the process.
4. Baking up some fun
Simple and easy, yet offers your dog a challenge.
Put some treats in a muffin tin. Cover each cup with a tennis ball and let your dog find them.
Watch this clever pup quickly learn how to get to her treats.