dog entertainment ideas

Entertain your Dog while Working from Home

Working from home means you can wake up whenever you want, work in your jogging suit, and sounds like a dream if you currently commute to work each morning. Unfortunately, working from home is not always that simple.

Working from home comes with multiple challenges, and no matter how much you love them, your dog can be one of those challenges sometimes.

Is your role as a pet parent interfering with your ability to work from home? Keep your sanity and your paycheck intact while entertaining your dog by following these suggestions.

Create a separate, dog-free workspace

The most effective strategy to ensure that your dog does not interfere with the flow of your workday is to keep them in a different area of the home. It may be comforting to pet your dog while listening in on a conference call but doing so sends the message to your dog that they can expect your attention whenever they want.

Helping your dog acclimate to not always being in the room with can also be good for your dog. Always being with your dog can increase the likelihood of separation anxiety. If separation anxiety has already set in, you may need to start with short 15-minute (or 5 minute) periods and slowly increase the time.

If you struggle to stay away from your dog, try working outside the home at your favorite coffee shop or park. This forces your dog to get used to not always having your attention and entertainment.

Not only is it beneficial for you and your dog to have a dedicated workplace, but it can also help your overall work-life balance. It contributes to the illusion that you are not actually working from your home.

Dog while you work from home

Entertain By Designating Specific Playing Times

One of the most challenging aspects of working from home is managing one’s time effectively. Getting sidetracked from work while you’re alone at home is easy enough, let alone when there’s an adorable dog yearning for a play session with you.

To prevent your dog from randomly interfering with your workday, schedule designated break periods for you and your canine companion. Allowing your pup to have some scheduled playtime will help you get more work done and help him learn to obey you when you are not around.

Don’t give in to the begging and whining

If your dog is accustomed to getting your attention whenever he or she wants, you may notice signs of anxiousness in him or her.

If your canine companions begin to whine, cry, or bat at the door after you have warned them to stay outside, do not give in and let them in. This will simply serve to remind your dog that they are in command and that they can be reached by crying.

Be aware, your dog’s begging may increase right as your dog is about to give up. Be strong and hold out. If you’re struggling and have a camera in your home, use it to check on your pup. If necessary, relocate the camera for a brief time to be on your work area door. The camera can allow you the peace of mind to know your dog is okay.

Cameras are now affordable, and you can access the live feed from your phone. This home camera is a great options at $25 and doesn’t require a subscription to access the footage.

When you work from home, your puppy/dog is not the boss, you are the boss. Make sure that your dog behaves as you want.

Instead of aiming for perfection, strive for progress

No such thing as a flawless dog parent exists. So, if you find yourself spending 20 minutes with your dog when you really should be reconciling this month’s budget, don’t be too hard on yourself. It happens to the best of us.

In an office context, time theft manifests itself in the form of hovering by the water cooler and scrolling through social media. You are also permitted to indulge in a “work vice,” which can be your canine companion.

Activities for your dog at home. Dog Yoga

3 Exercises to keep your dog entertained while working from home

For those who work from home, are socially isolated, or whose dogs don’t enjoy going outside, here are three simple exercises to keep both you and your canine companion fit and entertained while you’re both at home. Take a look at the following suggestions, ranging from playing ‘Find it’ to practicing yoga with your dog.

1.     Use the stairs

Stairs are an excellent tool for getting your dog moving and their heart rate up and running. Sit one person at the top of the stairs and another at the bottom of the stairs to prevent accidents. Share the responsibility of calling your pet and rewarding them for making the journey. When you have mastered this procedure, you will have no trouble training your dog to go up and down the steps in order to receive its treat.

2.     ‘Find it’

‘Find it’ is a simple game where you show your dog a treat, throw or conceal it, and then tell them to ‘Find it!’ Starting with a treat right in front of your dog’s face will help him understand that he is searching outside the food bowl. With each repetition, move the object further away from you. You can make the game more complicated by instructing your dog to remain in one place while you hide the treat in another area behind him.

Increase the time of entertaining your dog by hiding a long-term chew such as a bully stick or Whimzee.

3.     Doga (Dog Yoga)

Although it may seem absurd, doing yoga with your dog may be a pleasant way to bond with and train your canine companion. Not only that, but because dogs are so perceptive, any tension you are carrying will invariably rub off on them, making it beneficial for both of you to practice a little mindfulness with them now and then.

Be Flexible

Working from home or as a freelancer means that every day is different. On some days, you may be lucky to get a quickly assembled sandwich down for lunch; on other days, you may find yourself reorganizing your bookshelf as you await the arrival of your next task.

Because of the erratic nature of your schedule, it may be challenging to keep all the “rules” for working from home with a dog as rigid and predictable as you would prefer. Working from home — and owning a dog — necessitates learning to be adaptable and to roll with the punches when situations arise.

Bully Sticks Dog Chews

Are Bully Sticks Safe For Dogs?

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Bully sticks are a popular treat for dogs because they’re long-lasting, easy to carry around and delicious (according to your pup). But are bully sticks truly safe for dogs?

These chews can be a great source of protein for your dog. They’re also higher in quality than other treats because they normally don’t contain any artificial flavors or preservatives. But, like all treats, they do need to be given in moderation.

It is essential to consider the size of your dog as well when introducing bully sticks as a treat. If you have an aggressive chewer who tends to swallow anything whole without chewing, then you may need a bully stick holder. Bully stick holders help prevent your dog from gulping down the last large piece of a bully stick.

Our top 10 recommendations for bully stick holders

Let’s discuss in further detail bully sticks and what to look for before buying them for your dog.

A bully stick in one of the top bully stick holders, the Bully Buddy

What are bully sticks?

We’ll start by answering the question on everyone’s mind – yes, bully sticks are bull penis. According to a survey from the Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University, about half of dog owners don’t know this fact.

This dried muscle is a tasty teat for your pup and can be a great chew. Bully sticks are made through a thorough process of dehydration. Sometimes, these treats are made using additional procedures like smoking or baking to treat the bacteria, while all the nutrients remain intact.

Are bully sticks safe for dogs?

You may have heard conflicting opinions about the safety of bully sticks for dogs, so the answer to this question can feel a bit gray. Most reputable sources (such as the American Kennel Club) say that pizzles are one of the best chew options for a dog and provide readily digestible protein and fats. These same sources say that these chews contain low-fat and taurine (an amino acid that aids with heart muscle health).

While bully sticks are considered safe, you still need to purchase high quality products from reputable companies to ensure their process properly removes the bacteria. Also, as with any treat, supervise your dog’s chew time.

Nutritional benefits of bully sticky

Mental health benefits

A bully stick is an excellent treat for dogs of all ages. Humans often do different things in the name of hobbies to keep our minds occupied and the same is the case with our furry friends. Mental stimulation is incredibly important for your dog. Not properly working your dogs mind can make your pup bored. As often discussed on, boredom is when a dog gets into trouble.

Chewing different things is an activity that dogs enjoy and will help occupy their time. Bully sticks offer one of the best and safest ways for dogs to chew on while also keeping their mind occupied!

The natural act of chewing and licking can be a calming relief for anxious pets. Not to mention the endorphins released provide mental stimulation as well! If you have any dog that suffers from phobias or anxiety, bully sticks can be great help.

Dental benefits

One of the primary and most crucial benefits that makes the bully stick great is its benefits for oral health. Bully sticks have a hard texture, and even if your dog is an aggressive chewer, he will have to spend time chewing on them. If you have a small breed dog, they can spend a whole day chewing on a bully stick. The mechanical abrasion that occurs due to chewing will help remove tartar.

Full of nutrition

Bully sticks are perfect for your pup because they’re all natural and made from that single ingredient discussed prior (bull penis if you forgot). They contain no artificial additives, flavors, or chemicals – just pure protein full of amino acids that are great for their muscles, coat, and skin!

Available in different sizes

Bully sticks for dogs are great chew toys. They come in different shapes and sizes, so there’s plenty to choose from! Puppies can start using bully sticks as soon as they have teeth that will allow them to chew on hard food. The dental benefits of these treats make them an excellent choice for any dog lover with an aging pup or young newbie alike – the chewing action is sure to please all age groups!

A bully stick with another one of our recommended bully stick holders, the Bully Grip

Problems associated with feeding bully sticks

Caloric Content

The first and the most critical problem in using bully sticks is that they contain a higher number of calories. From the prior referenced, University of Tuft study, pizzles contain about 9-22 calories per inch. The number of calories increases as the thickness of the stick increases. This means the standard 6” bully stick contains about 90 calories.

The problem of the high caloric content can be addressed by awareness – knowing how many calories a bully stick contains and the amount your dog can have per day.

90 calories from treats in a day is the recommendation for a dog over 60lbs. The general rule of thumb is treats should be about 10% of your dogs daily calories.

That rule of thumb is not helpful if you don’t know much your dog should be eating. For a quick solution, you can use a the Calorie Calculator for Dogs from the Pet Nutrition Alliance. This calculator is designed as a tool for vets and states it “is only a guideline.”

For the long term, we recommend you speak with your vet about your dog’s specific needs.


Many people are concerned about the bacteria due to bully sticks being an all-natural, raw animal muscle. Thankfully, dog’s stomachs and bodies handle infections differently than humans. Their stomachs are far stronger and can deal with bacteria better than ours. But, there is still potential for vomiting or diarrhea if not purchasing high quality pizzles.

A large mitigation to this concern is to be aware of the contamination risk and to ensure you properly handle treats – mainly washing your hands after contact.


Negativity around bully sticks often comes because of the belief that chemicals are used in processing these treats like chlorine. Reputable companies do not use chemicals in their process of making bully sticks. Improperly processed bully sticks have been linked to cancer.

While not a guarantee, purchasing from a reputable company can prevent encountering chemical or bacteria contaminated bully sticks. These companies make sure their process is as hygienic as possible.

A pup with a bully stick holder from West Paw, the Toppl

How to choose a bully stick for your dog?

Bully sticks are available in various sizes, shapes, and textures to suit all dogs’ needs. There are thinner bully sticks for small-breed puppies who need a more delicate chew that will help them get their teeth used to chewing without crushing too much of the stick at once. Heavy chewers should go for braided or knotty bully sticks, which have greater resilience and texture than other types of dog chews.

What you should look for when purchasing your pup’s pizzles:

  • Made up of 100% natural beef
  • From free-range
  • Contain no artificial preservatives
  • Free of hormones and additives
  • No chemicals


Bully sticks are extremely popular among dog owners because of their taste and nourishing qualities. With a few precautions in mind, they are safe to use as well.

So, remember:

  • High Quality
  • No Chemicals
  • Awareness of the calories
dog entertainment ideas dog entertainment toys Toys

30 of the Best Dog Puzzle Toys to Entertain your Bored Dog

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A bored dog will find their own entertainment and that entertainment may not be something you like from destructive behaviors to getting into things they shouldn’t. Dog puzzle toys are great ways to stimulate your dog’s mind. Entertain and exhaust your pup by making them work for their treats. Keeping your dog occupied is a great way to keep your dog out of trouble.

As my previous post all about interactive puzzle toys discusses, dog puzzles can be broken into 3 types of toys which are all covered in this post:

Dog Puzzles

Puzzle toys are meant to be done fully supervised. They are great bonding activities with your dog but are not meant as chew toys.

Depending on your dog’s experience with puzzles and intelligence, there are varying levels for your pup to try and ways to increase the difficulty of the toy.


The introduction level. This is where you can begin to show your dog what puzzles are with only one step required.

Nina Ottosson Dog Smart (plastic)

Nina smart dog puzzle

Level: Beginner
Material: Plastic

The Dog Smart is the perfect introduction to dog puzzles. It is also likely the dog puzzle you have seen before. You put your dog’s treats or kibble under the bone compartments. If too hard, you can add strings to the holes on the bones to help your dog. If too easy, you can freeze peanut butter or wet food with water to the base. Plastic puzzles can typically go in the dishwasher.

Nina Ottosson Dog Smart (wood composite)

Nina Ottosson Dog Smart Puzzle wood composite

Level: Beginner
Material: Composite wood (plastic and wood blend)

The Dog Smart comes in a wood deposit as well from Nina Ottosson. The wood games are heavier and good for dogs who may be rougher on their toys. The shape of the top puzzle makes this a bit easier to remove the covers. You can wipe them down.

Poached Egg Slider Puzzle

Dog puzzle easy

Level: Beginner
Material: Plastic

For the Poached Egg puzzle, Your dog needs to move the yellow compartments to get their treats. The center blocks have a different movement than the blocks on the edges for added difficulty. This could be considered a hard beginner puzzle.

Dog Sudoku

Dog sudoku puzzle

Level: Beginner
Material: Wood and plastic

Place treats in the cups under the plastic pieces. The first few slots are easy but the last one or two are more of a challenge for your dog to reach. My Intelligent Pets considers this intermediate but based on the size and activity, it is a great beginner option.

Game Bone

Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Material: Rubber

The Game Bone is double sided for double the fun. The first side is cups with bone pegs for an easy level. The other side has sliders. You can also use the bone pegs as blockers for an extra challenge.


Similar to the beginner level but adds an additional block or obstacle to increase the difficulty.

Nina Ottosson Puppy Hide n’ Slide

Nina Ottosson Puppy Hide n' Slide dog puzzle puppy puzzle

Level: Intermediate
Material: Composite wood (plastic and wood blend)

The Hide n’ Slide is a level 2 puzzle purposely made for puppies. The parts are also nonremovable so your pup can’t eat them. You put the treat in the cups in each area. Then swivel the flipper to cover the cup. From there, slide the teal block to prevent the flipper from spinning.

Nina Ottosson Dog Tornado

dog tornado dog puzzle

Level: Intermediate
Material: Plastic

The Tornado is an upgrade to the Dog Smart. You put the treats in the holes and cover with the bones. From there, you twist the large compartments closed. A great option with the Tornado is putting broth or soft food and freezing it. This leads to extra time while your pup licks the holders clean.

2 Towers

My intelligent Dogs 2 towers puzzle

Level: Intermediate
Material: Wood and rope

The My Intelligent Dogs 2 Tower, has multiple mechanisms for you to hide their treats. Pull open the drawers or move the wooden cylinders. You can change the difficulty depending on the number of cylinder pieces on the game. Start easy and work your dogs way up to advanced.

Nina Ottosson Dog Brick

Nina Ottosson Dog Brick Intermediate puzzle

Level: Intermediate
Material: Plastic

The Dog Brick Puzzle has three different ways for your dog to find treats. The red compartments have lids to put treats inside and slide to reveal hidden treat cups. You can also put the white bone in between the red compartments to make it harder.

Trixie Flip Board Strategy Game

Trixie Dog Activity Flip Board Strategy Game Dog Puzzle

Level: Intermediate
Material: Plastic and rubber

The Flip and Fun has 3 different ways to get the treats cups for your dog to figure out. You have the rubber cones, sliders and levers. Each is a different challenge for your dog to find their treats. These levers are a great way to test if your dog is ready to go up to the advanced level with more sophisticated mechanisms.

Trixie Poker Box 1

trixie poxer box dog puzzle

Level: Intermediate
Material: Plastic, rubber, rope

The Trixie Poker Box 1 has four different large compartments. Each compartment has a different way to open – a string to lift, a hinge lid, a string drawer pull, and a lid that slides with a knob. The cool part of the Trixie Poker Box is the additional attachments available as well as a more advanced version (below).

Trixie poker puzzle box attachment

Poker Box Attachment

You can attach these additional puzzles toy our poker box or play with them alone.


Advanced puzzles require multiple steps for your dog to reap the reward of a treat. It also may have more difficult mechanisms like locks.

Trixie Poker Box 2

trixe poker play dog puzzle

Level: Advanced
Material: Plastic and rope

The Poker Box 2 can be used alone or added to the Poker Box 1 above. The four different sections of the puzzle each have a different way to get the treat. The four different compartments are a switch to lift a lid, a pawprint lever to push down, a tower with a piece blocking the treat and a compartment with a sliding lid. Trixie considers this game to be intermediate but based on our criteria of difficult mechanisms, Poker Box 2 comes out as advanced.

Nina Ottosson Dog Twister

Nina Ottosson Dog Twister puzzle

Level: Advanced
Material: Plastic

The Dog Twister is a level 3 Nina Ottosson puzzle. Level 3 is the advanced level which requires your dog to do sequential steps to earn their treat. You put your dogs food under the pawprint triangle. Your dog then needs to unlock the white “switches” to make the blocks movable. If too hard, you can add strings to the white switches to make them easier to pull.

Advanced Dog Sudoku

advanced dog sudoku puzzle

Level: Advanced
Material: Wood

While this advanced puzzle may appear simpler than some of the others in this section, it takes a lot to move the pieces and reveal all 15 different slots. This puzzle is made of wood so, if your dog is a drooler, it may not be the best option (see below for plastic).

Nina Ottosson Challenge Slider

Challenge slider dog puzzle

Level: Advanced
Material: Plastic

Like Dog Sudoku above, you put treats in the cups below the blue sliders for the Challenge Slider. The bottom tray can be pulled out for easy filling. At 5×5, your dog needs to move 24 pieces around to find all their kibble or treats.

Trixie Mini Mover

Trixie mini mover dog puzzle

Level: Advanced
Material: Plastic and rubber

The Mini Mover from Trixie is as fun for your dog as it looks. There are four different ways for your pooch to find treats. The lever on the left reveals not one but two cups of treats. This makes your dog focus and not get distracted by the first cup of treats. You also have sliders, rubber blockers and a pull drawer.

Nina Ottosson Dog Worker

dog worker puzzle

Level: Advanced
Material: Composite Wood (plastic and wood blend)

The Dog Worker is a level 3 Nina Ottosson puzzle made of composite wood for extra durability. The Dog Worker is the more advanced version of the Hide n’ Slide. This toy has a variety of ways to access the cups with the treats. Spin the center top to uncover the cups and load up with treats. Cover with flippers then put the blocks to stop the flippers from moving.

Nina Ottosson Dog Casino

dog casino puzzle

Level: Advanced
Material: Plastic

The Dog Casino is a level 3 Nina Ottosson puzzle made of plastic. The bones on the top act as locks to the drawers. You can start with all of the bones unlocked so your dog just needs to open the orange pulls. Then increase the difficulty by locking the drawers.


Expert level requires multiple steps in a row to get the treats. While the first one or two may be easy, it often requires many steps in the right order to reveal all the treats. Expert is a new level for dog puzzles and we will be adding more puzzles as they are released.

Nina Ottosson MultiPuzzle

Nina Ottosson MultiPuzzle expert

Level: Expert
Material: Plastic

The MultiPuzzle is currently the only puzzle from Nina Ottosson at the expert level. You put the treats under under the lime green sliders on the outside track as well as under the orange circles in the middle. While the first outside track treats may be easy for your pup, moving them to reveal the farther treats will continuously up the difficulty. For the center treats, your dog needs to rotate the green center to the open spot and slide in the orange blocker to get the treat beneath it. Nina Ottosson has a great explanation as shown below:

Example of how to use the expert dog puzzle

Treat Dispensers

Like the above puzzles, treat dispensers are great options for food motivated pups. They have to work hard to get out their treats.

Starmark Bob-A-Lot

Starmark Bob-A-Lot treat dispenser dog

Material: Plastic

The Bob-A-Lot is a treat dispenser style puzzle. You fill the base and your dog bats it around to get the food or treats out. This puzzle is great for meal times. It allows you to make eating a challenge instead of your dog easily scarfing their food from a bowl. An awesome option for dogs who eat too quickly.

Treat Tumbler

Treat tumbler dog

Material: Plastic

Mostly solid with a few holes, the tumbler is a great ball to keep your dog happy. Fill it with treats and your dog will love chasing it around the room to get the treats.


Sniffiz smellyufo dog  treat dispenser

Material: Thermoplastic rubber and plastic

The UFO is has two sides with a different maze inside each to get the treats out. The opening is adjustable for treat size and difficulty. Many people vote for this over a typical treat dispenser ball because of the added layer of difficulty. Your dog may need to rotate or flip it to reveal all the yumminess inside. All pieces can be separated and put in the dishwasher.

Planet Dog Snoop

planet dog snoop treat dispenser

Material: Thermoplastic rubber

The Snoop is different than other treat dispensers in that it uses the deep crevice and fold to keep the treats confined. The soft TPE material allows for quiet play. You can put a pull piece of sliced cheese inside for your dog to try and get. You can also add a ball to the center for an extra challenge.

Treat Tumbler Dispenser

treat tumbler dispenser dog puzzle

Material: Plastic

The treat tumbler releases treats when your dog rolls the dispenser. For added time, there’s a maze at the bottom to slow your dog eating their treats or kibble. A great part of this puzzle is the knobs which allow for adjusting the height.

Trixie Turn Around

trixie dog turnaround puzzle

Material: Plastic

Like the treat tumbler, your dog bumps the tubes around to get treats out. This one has 3 different tubes instead of the one roller. There’s two different lids to adjust difficulty. When your dog is just leaning, you can leave the lids off for the easier fun.

Plush Hide and Seek

Plush hide and seek games all have the same concept but different looks. You hide the smaller plush objects inside of the larger soft container. Your dog then “hunts” them out of the toy. Below are a few of the fun varieties available.

While beloved by many dogs and owners, plush games are not great for super chewers who destroy their toys.

Chipmunk Log

chipmunk log dog plush

Beach and Shark

shark beach dog plush hide n seek


hide-a-squirrel dog toy


Rainbow hide and seek dog toy


racoon dog toy
dog entertainment ideas dog entertainment toys Toys

42 Dog Entertainment Activities Not Involving Food or Treat Dispensers

Anytime I’m on dog forums, people ask for ideas for dog activities without food. Following you will find simple and creative ideas to entertain your dog not including food or treat dispensers. While some activities listed may be enhanced with treats or food, all can be done without. Many activities on this list are free and almost all are low cost dog entertainment.

Entertainmydog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. We never endorse items we would not use ourselves.

white dog looking at you expectantly for nonfood dog entertainment
  • Visiting family and friends – We forget our home is often our dog’s world. Taking them to new environments like family and friend’s home allows them to experience a whole new universe. A new home with different people and smells allows for a great adventure.
  • Car Rides – It sounds simple but just a change of environment can be great enrichment for your dog. Just like humans, dogs need to get out of the house sometimes too. If your dog enjoys the car, take a ride on back roads (especially with the windows down) to give them new experiences.
  • Fetch – An oldie but good. Some dogs are natural at fetch who get the game intuitively but others take training. It my take something different than a classic tennis ball. Some dogs do better with a ball that squeaks like the KONG Sueezz or their favorite toy. It also can help to have multiple balls or toys to follow your dog if they won’t bring the ball back.
  • Hiking – Go on a hike with your dog. Make sure the trail is dog friendly and safe for your dog. Also, make sure to bring a bowl with plenty of water to keep your dog hydrated. Chewy has a great list of dog friendly hiking trails including difficulty level.
Adorable dog in owners backpack on hike
Photo by Spencer Gurley 
  • Visiting pet friendly stores – As long as your dog is well behaved and on a leash or in a carrier, many stores welcome your dog. Stores like Lowe’s and Tractor Supply even have treats at checkout for your good pup. A few stores that allow dogs are Home Goods, Bass Pro Shop, Home Improvement Stores, Garden Centers, Nordstrom and Apple Stores
  • Flirt Poles – A great toy or training tools, flirt poles are poles with a rope and toy attached to the end. They’re meant to mimic the movement of an animal. Squishy face makes a great product as linked or you can make your own with a lunge whip. With the flirt pole, you keep it moving and your dog will love the chase. A tip for the flirt pole is to train “all done.” That way when the game is over, you’re not battling your dog to get it away.
  • Dog Bath Pools -If your dog is a fan of water, using a pool for them to wade and play in is a great warm weather activity. The water can cool them down and be a great place to splash about.
  • Ball Pits – Use the same same pool as above filled with plastic balls instead of water. This is great filled with only balls or for added fun you can sprinkle in treats and/or toys. Discounted plastic balls can be found in the most unlikely places from thrift stores to home goods.
  • Water play – If you don’t want to invest in a doggy pool, using your hose or sprinkler can bring just as much excitement for your dog. Attach a spray nozzle to the hose and watch your dog have a blast. One warning, your pup may decide to go after the sprinkler.
dog playing with water hose
Photo by Jack Geoghegan
  • Group walks – A well known fact about dogs is they are pack animals. Exploring in a group setting is an instinctual activity dogs love. Walks are great low impact exercise for your dog and walking with others is a great way to fulfil their pack nature. Use social media or a platform like Meetup to find group dog walks in your area.
  • Trick Training – From teaching a new trick to reinforcing old ones, training is a great way to make your dog use their brain. A fun trick to teach your pup is how to clean up their toys. Impressive and useful. Check out Training Positives lesson on Youtube for how to teach this trick.
  • Toys wrapped in a towel or pillowcase – Wrap a ball or favorite toy in a blanket, towel or pillowcase and let your dog work to find the item.
  • Exploring a new trail – A dog’s nose is their most important tool. Taking your dog to new places introduces new scents and experiences. This also increases the mental stimulation for your dog. A great analogy for smells to dogs is like reading to us. All that sniffing is them taking in a new book.
Man with a beanie and woman in striped sweater with a large tan dog sitting by the water in nature
  • Scent work – This can be done with treats and toys or you can also use essential oils, cinnamon or mint. If using oils, make sure they are safe for dogs. Scent work can be done by putting the scent on a towel and having your dog search and find with their nose. You can do scent work around the house or outside.
    An example scent work game is putting a piece of fabric with oil in a ball with a hole (like the chuckit ball). Have your dog wait while you throw the ball into high grass. Once the ball is stopped, let you dog go and find the ball.
  • Snow – Not always viable but when there’s snow, it is great entertainment for a dog to play in the snow. Make a giant ball of snow with hidden treats, toys or kibble for added excitement and fun. You can also simply scatter treats in the snow for them to find.
  • The beach – The sand. The ocean. The waves. The smells. The people. There are so many things for a dog to enjoy at the beach. Even if your dog doesn’t like the water, there are many things for dogs to enjoy at the beach. Bringing an extra long lead allows for extra dog joy.
    Long leash walks – Following the beach, there are many great places to let your dog run “free” on a long leash. They’ll love the extra sniffs. Long leads (20′-50′) allow your dog freedom even if they don’t have a perfect recall. Great places for long lead walks are baseball fields, cemeteries, or forests.
  • Outdoor dining restaurants – Before taking your dog, check with the restaurant to confirm you are able to bring them. This option may depend on the area you are located and the restaurant itself. Make sure your dog can also sit/lay calmly while at the restaurant. It may be too much to ask an excitable puppy to wait while you’re eating.
  • Bubbles – There are now bubbles specially made for dogs with fun scents and non-toxic. There’s even bacon scented ones. A great part of bubbles is because they pop, you don’t have to worry about resource guarding or dogs being possessive
dog loving bubbles
Photo by Sam Lion
  • Doggy Daycare – Dog daycare has become far more popular over the past few years and your town likely has one, if not a multiple. Dog daycare is great because it allows your dog to socialize in a controlled environment. Daycares require vaccination and supervise dog play time. (Make sure to read the reviews and speak with the staff to confirm the daycare meets your standards)
  • Hide and seek – Play the classic kids game with your dog. Wag has a great step by step lesson on how to train your dog to play. Dogs utilize their nose to find you which is great mental stimulation. You may need a second person to hold your dog while you hide.
  • Swimming – If your dog likes water, take them to splash around in a local lake or pool. You can play fetch in the water or just allow them to swim. Make sure your dog is comfortable in the water and will listen to you.
brown dog swimming with stick in mouth
Photo by Jozef Fehér
  • Visiting hospitals and senior centers – This is not an option for all dogs but if your dog has good manner, is well socialized, and listens to you it could be a great way to brighten peoples days and bring enrichment to your dogs world. Some locations require certification like the American Kennel Clubs Good Citizen Program.
  • Kayaking/Canoeing/Paddle Boarding – Grab a life vest and bring your dog out on the water with you. Let them enjoy the fresh air and all the different smells. Before taking your dog on the water, let them get acclimated to the water vessel. It is also important they know their spot and will listen to you. Rover has a great post on how to kayak safely with your dog.
black dog in life vest for boating
  • Sandbox – Make a sandbox for your dog. This is a great solution for a dog that loves to dig. If your dog tears up your yard, give them their own spot for them to dig in the sand. Bury toys to entice your dog even more.
  • Ice on hard floors – give your dog an ice cube and let them have at it. For extra fun, use a mold to make a large sphere or square and watch them chase the ice with glee. Ice is great to help your dog cool down on a hot day or rehydrate. Do not give larger pieces of ice to puppies or smaller breeds due to the choking hazard and potential for damaging their teeth.
  • Puddles – For a dog that loves water, take your dog out after the rain and let them splash around in the water. Go to a park or in your backyard and watch them enjoy. This is another great option to combine with the long leash.
  • Toys on swing ropes – It may sound silly but hang a rope from a tree or stable beam in your back yard and tie a toy or ball to the end. Your dog will get endless delight from trying to catch the toy. If you’re uncertain how to build this contraption yourself, Tumbo sells a highly rated hanging bungee rope.
  • Bike rides – If you’re a bike rider, this is a great activity to engage in with your dog. Some dogs may run beside you on your bike ride or you may need to invest in a dog trailer (picture a trailer for kids but enclosed). Going on a bike ride allows your dog to encounter new smells and environments.
  • Agility training – Whether for fun or sport, agility training is a great way to get your dog active in a controlled environment. From hoops to jump through to tunnels to run in to poles to weave around, your dog will love working with you and learning new tricks. It is also a great way for you and your dog to bond.
  • Holee Roller – This rubber ball with an open exterior allows for creativity. You can fill it with old toys, socks, or shreds of fabric. You often can also add a treat or two for extra enticement. It’s also a great ball to play a typical game of fetch. Look at the size when purchasing this toy. They range from mini (1.75 inch) to jumbo (7.5 inch).
  • Freeze toys in a bowl of water or broth – Fill a bowl with water and add in a few of your dogs favorites. Allow the bowl to freeze and give the puzzle to your dog. Dogs love to lick and this is a great way to cool down on a warm day. If you want to add food this can also be a way to extend a meal for your dog. You can add to the difficulty by doing this in a slow feeder bowl.
  • Remote control toys – If you’re looking for a fun way to get your dog running around, lead them with a remote control car. Use a large clear area with no trees. Don’t let your dog catch or chew on the toy. If your dog does catch the toy, they may destroy the car. This is why you may not want to use a fancy (aka pricey) RC car for them to chase.
  • Dog Playdates – Playdates aren’t just for kids anymore. Invite your friend and their dog over to your house. Let the pups play while you connect with your friends. If the dogs don’t know each other, the first meeting may be best on neutral ground at a park. Then when your friend arrives at your house, take the dogs on a walk together to get them familiar again.
two german shepherds in the woods one has a large stick in his mouth the other is running behind with his tongue out
Photo by Jozef Fehér
  • Playing in long grass – Long grass has amazing options for games or just frolicking. If your dog isn’t strong in voice commands, you can take your dog on a long leash and practice recall. You can also play fetch, through a ball and let them find it. Another option is to play scent games. Hide fabric covered in a scent and have them find it.
  • Parkour – Parkour for dogs is just like parkour for humans where you move quickly through a space jumping and running over obstacles like rocks, tree stumps, and benches. Dog parkour is also referred to as urban agility, a less disciplined version of the sport. Whether for fun or competitions, it’s a great way to build your pups confidence and your relationship.
  • Dog TV – This is not an option for all dogs – feel your dog out on their enjoyment of the tv. Some dogs like to relax and watch squirrels or other dogs. Others bark at the tv and get revved up. You can also put on relaxing music and touring outside.
squirrel leaping from tree branch
credit: BBCearth
  • Give your dog jobs – Dogs were originally domesticated for jobs like hunting and herding. Now we love their companionship but they often don’t get the mental and physical stimulation which comes from having a job. Jobs can be as simple as going to get you their ball then work up to their leash to putting away their toys. There are many great guides you can work through to teach your dog tasks which can help you and them.
  • Playgrounds – Lead your dog around and teach them the fun of climbing and playing free. It can have great smells and many are gated. Follow the rules of the park whether they allow dogs and be respectful- if kids want to play on the playground, go elsewhere.
  • Going to the office – If your dog is well trained and will stay calm with you while out, taking your dog to work is a great option. It brings them to a new environment and can have a calming presence for you. It is dependent on if your offices allows dog but many today are far more open to the option. While it may not be an everyday affair, allowing your dog to tag along at work can be a great change of pace.
Fynn in his office spot under the desk
(he chooses to lay there)
  • Tug of War – Like with fetch, this is a tried and true classic. Tug of war is Fynn’s go to game so we play it often in our house. He hits us with a toy so when we know it’s time to play. You don’t only need to play tug of war with a rope. Our favorite for tug of war is an XL snake with squeakers. The squeak keeps the dog’s attention and the length protects your fingers. We have one at the office and one at home.
  • Old clothing with fun smells inside – As much of these ideas have mention, dogs love smells. Fill an old piece of clothing like a sock with mint, cinnamon, grass clippings or anything (non-toxic) you can imagine. Give them the piece to go wild.

dog entertainment ideas dog entertainment toys Food

10 Best Bully Stick Holders – Safer and Longer Lasting Pizzles

Bully sticks are one of the best chew treats for your dog. They are long-lasting and all-natural, made up of only one ingredient – high-protein beef muscle. There is a major downside to bully sticks, the choking hazard. When dogs get down to the last few inches of their pizzle stick, they can try to swallow the remaining piece whole. When this happens, your dog can choke, or the piece can cause a blockage.

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Where Bully Sticks Come From - shaggy bull with tongue sticking out
Where bully sticks come from

To prevent dogs from swallowing the stick whole, you can use a bully stick holder. But bully stick holders are not all made the same. Some holders focus on making sure your dog doesn’t eat the last small piece while others focus on making the stick last longer.

All of the holders are meant for bully sticks of a range of thicknesses. For the stick to fit properly, make sure you have the right size.

Note: throughout this article, we also refer to bully sticks by their other fun name, a pizzle.

Holders to prevent choking

Bow Wow Labs Bully Buddy

Blue buddy buddy safety device

The inventor of the Bully Buddy, Scott Woolwine, created Bow Wow Labs after a scary incident with his pup, Finn. Finn choked on the small piece of his bully stick but, thankfully, was able to successfully cough it up. After this event, Scott created the Bully Buddy to hold that last piece and prevent your dog from choking. The Bully Buddy company, Bow Wow Labs, also has its own brand of bully sticks to ensure a proper, tight fit.

In the image above, the green piece on the end allows you to tighten the screw into the bully stick for a tight fit. The screw can be tightened with your fingers.

Bully buddy from the side showing the screw

Bully Grip

Purple Bully Grip Bully Stick Holder

With a similar story to the above Bully Buddy, the creator’s dog, Tesla, swallowed a 3″ piece of the bully stick. After going to the vet and getting fluids, Tesla was able to pass the stick (intact). Using the Bully Grip is very intuitive, and you just need to twist your dog’s bully stick into the thickest part, and it will hold the stick in place allowing for safe and fun chewing. A positive and negative of the bully grip is how hard the bully stick is to remove. While it’s hard for the dog, it can also be a challenge to take it out when your dog is done.

Due to reviews from customers struggling to remove the last bit, Bully Grip released the instructional video below. Wet the Bully Grip then use a hex head screw to push out the remaining nub.

BullyLok by Bully Grip

Newly released from the Bully Grip company, the Bully Lok is a similar concept to their original style but allows for easier insertion and removal of the bully stick. This style uses a screw to hold the stick in place. Thanks for the design, this holder can also lock Yak Cheese Chews, Collagen Sticks, Dental Chews, and Antlers in place!

This product is slightly more expensive at $24.95 but has strong reviews and is made in the USA. The material is solid natural rubber and the screw is food-grade nylon.

You will need to watch your dog with this holder as they may try to chew the screw once they no longer can get to their pizzle.

Bonehead Holder

Bonehead blue and pink bully stick holder

With a similar design to the BullyLok, the bonehead holders are more reasonably priced at less than $6.50 each. Unfortunately, they’re made for Himalayan Yak Chews so they only work with larger bully sticks. With a large or extra thick pizzle, these work by tightening the screw into the bully stick. Unlike the Bully Buddy or the BullyLok, the Bonehead’s screw is tightened with a screwdriver, so you do need to have the tool on hand.


Bully sticks with holes drilled in the end and the green safety chew

The SafetyChew is different than the others in functionality. You drill a hole through your bully stick and put the SafetyChew’s pin through the hole. You can also purchase predrilled bully sticks from the company.

green safety chew with pin in the center

While the pin method may take some extra work, it is almost guaranteed your dog cannot get the bully stick out. Also, if you have a drill and a small bit, it’s not hard to prep multiple sticks in advance.

BoniVet Bully Stick Holder

Bonivet’s bully stick holder is a similar design to the Bully Buddy. The difference is how it closes. Instead of a small screw, it has the user hold the balls at both ends of the product and twist to close. The larger area to grip is easier for people to tighten – even seniors and people with limited strength.

Note, previous versions of this product had challenges with a broken screw. Bonivet released a new version in 2/2023 that reinforced the product at the connection joint to address the concerns

Extend Chew Time

These toys will extend the fun of your dog’s bully stick but will not hold the stick tightly. Make sure to supervise your dog and their stick when playing with these toys.


blue west paw qwizl to hold your pups bully stick

Many swear by the West Paw company and their Qwizl sticks are no different. You stick the bully stick in, and it extends the life as your dog tries to navigate the twists and holes. It is recommended for high chewers but is soft, so your dog won’t break a tooth. It is possible for your dog to pull the pizzle out, so this is not for gulpers.

One negative of the Qwizl is due to how much of the bully stick is covered. It extends the life of the chew, but your dog may not be able to access the whole stick so there could be a lot left over.

Benebone PawPlexer

Benebone pawplexer bully stick holder

Another beloved brand, the Benebone Pawplexer is a highly-rated bully bone holder. While it does not hold the stick tight enough for a gulper, the Pawplexer makes bully stick time a lot more fun. The holder itself is also a bacon-flavored tough chew. Benebones are excellent quality, US-made toys. If you want a tighter hold with the Pawplexer, the white centerpiece is about 1/2″.

Black dog chewing on a bully stick in the benebone pawplexer bully holder

WestPaw Toppl

Green topple treat dispenser and bully stick holder

The Toppl is a unique design than the other holders we’ve previously discussed. It comes from a highly respected company, West Paw, like the Qwizl. The Toppl is a treat dispensing puzzle, but the hole allows you to stuff pizzle sticks through the toy to extend chewing time. You can also buy the two sizes of the Toppl and combine them together as shown in the picture below.

Topple with two pieces and a dog chewing
Two sizes of the Toppl combined for double the fun

Because of the distinctive design, you can get more creative with this treat dispenser. Put a bully stick through the hole, add yogurt and blueberries then freeze. This makes a long-lasting, fun treat for your dog.

LaRoo Yummy Ball

la roo orange yummy ball fill with treats and bully stick

This ball has a hole in the end which you can stick the bully stick inside as shown below. Because it is a round ball, this turns the bully stick into an exciting toy for your dog. You can also add treats, peanut butter, or cream cheese to the outer ridges for more fun.

space inside laroo yummy ball

LaRoo Bone Puzzle

laroo yellow bone puzzle double sided bully stick holder

The best part of the LaRoo Bone is you can fill both ends with the bully stick or treats. While not easy, you can cut the bully stick in half to put one side in each end of the bone. You can also add the ridges on the end with cream cheese, soft food, or peanut butter. Freeze the bone for longer play.

chewy bone inside bully stick

Bully sticks are not all made the same. With any dog treats, some are made of more high-quality ingredients. Others take shortcuts and are not safe for your dog. Cheaper bully sticks also may not last as long.

Natural Farm Bully Stick

Natural Farm Bully stick 6 inch

All-natural, single-ingredient bully stick. Low odor and heavily cleaned before being slow-cooked. Because these are natural, the thickness may vary. But the packages all contain the same amount of meat. The sticks are about an inch thick.

Bow Wow Labs Bully Stick

Bow wow labs safe bully stick

These bully sticks are made by the same company as the Bully Buddy. The pizzles are from grass-fed, free-range bulls and contain no chemicals. Because they are made specifically for the Bully Buddy, you can match the size of the stick to your Bully Buddy size to ensure a tight fit. It also shows the dog’s weight for the right size.

Bully buddy stick size

Pawstruck Braided 12″ Bully Stick

braided 12" Pawstruck bully stick

The braided bully stick from Pawstruck is 3 standard bully sticks intertwined. Due to it being three sticks in one, the braided bully sticks are a touch more expensive than a standard stick but these last far longer. Owned and operated in the US, these are made in a South American plant that adheres to the highest quality standards.

10 best bully stick holders. Increase bully stick safety and chew length.
dog entertainment toys kong Toys

Why Should I Buy Puzzle Dog Toys? – All about Interactive Puzzle Toys to Entertain Your Bored Dog

Short answer for why you should buy puzzle dog toys: a bored dog is more likely to get into trouble. Puzzle toys are entertaining and help keep them occupied.

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Black dog doing dog toy puzzle

Let’s go a bit more in depth as to why you should consider puzzle toys for your dog. 10 years ago you likely had never heard of a puzzle for your dog. Heck, 5 years ago you may not have heard of puzzle dog toys. But, there’s a good reason interactive puzzle toys are growing in popularity among dog owners.

Why Dog Puzzle Toys

If you’re not entertaining your dog, they will look for their own entertainment. While this could be a chew toy or rolling around a ball, your dog may also find your furniture, toilet paper or worse. Utilizing tools like puzzles and interactive toys stimulate your dogs mind and keep them busy.

Dog’s originally helped and worked with their human companions. From hunting like when Pointer dogs showed their masters prey to herding dogs like Collies corralling animals. Now though, most dogs hang out in our homes, sleep through much of the day and get their food with no work from a bowl. Because they are leading easier lives, dogs now have leftover energy and, unfortunately, can become bored. These two factors, boredom and excess energy, are common causes of behavior problems in dogs according to Fetch by Webmd.

Try to watch this without yawning. PC: Nowness

Typical enrichment such as walks, fetch and tug a war can be enough for some dogs but others may need additional entertainment to stay out of trouble. Most people think about their dog’s physical needs but many forget about mental stimulation. Exercising your dog’s brain is just as important as exercising your dogs body. Best of all, mental stimulation can completely exhaust your dog.

Types of Puzzle Toys

Treat Dispensers

Dog enjoying treat dispensing puzzle
The extreme classic KONG

One of the classic and most well known interactive dog toys is the KONG. As many of you know, we are passionate about KONGs here. There’s a reason these toys have been around since 1976, they are simple but highly durable and interactive. Joe Markham, the inventor of the KONG, was actually inspired by a Volkwagen Bus suspension part. The inventor was working on his bus when his dog, Fritz, got a hold of the part and fell in love.

Suspension Part the KONG is based on
The suspension part which inspired KONGs

According to Roxanne Hawn’s article “Playthings, Then and Now” publish in AKC Family Dog, KONG paved the way for the industry of treat dispensing toys we know today. KONG continues to innovate and has tens if not hundreds of different types now in their toy line while other companies like Busy Buddy (now PetSafe) and Starmark invent other creative ways for your dog to dispense treat.

If you are looking for a budget friendly treat dispenser, grab an empty toilet paper roll or paper towel roll. Stick treats in the tube and seal the ends. Let your dog go to town getting the treats out. Because the cardboard will be destroyed, supervise your dog to ensure they don’t eat the paper.

If you want it to last longer, you can put peanut butter or cream cheese in there as well. You can go here for other treat dispenser food ideas.

Plush Hide and Seek

different hide and seektoys with happy dog
ZippyPaws has released many versions of the hide and seek toys

Hide and Seek Toys are great because there is not a food element to them which is many people’s complaints about most puzzle toys. The reward of this puzzle is the toy itself (and their secret squeakers) Hide and seek toys began with the Hide-a-Squirrel toy you’ve likely seen and have since expanded to many adorable different styles.

You can also now buy replacement hiding pieces is ones get too worn from play or get lost. The negative is hide and seek puzzles do not work for toy destroying dogs. Even if your dog is not typically a toy destroyer, you should still supervise at least the first time playing with this toy.

Puzzle Toys

Fynn figuring out his beginner Puzzle

This is the most sophisticated of the puzzle toys and what is considered a true “puzzle toy,” Nina Ottoson is who opened the door for puzzle toys in the 1990s and has since expanded her line to more intricate and fun puzzles. Her philosophy is “the dog has four legs and one head, and all five need activity in different ways – both physical and mental.”

These toys are designed with mechanisms to hide and reveal food. They can be more challenging for dogs so there are different levels and styles. Once your dog has figured their puzzle out, you can use different tricks to make it more difficult like filling it with peanut butter or soft dog food and freezing the puzzle.

These games often come in plastic and wood. While wood is more eco friendly and durable, plastic is good for dogs who drool heavily or if you want to use wet dog food.

Sleeping Tired Dog
Photo by Lisa Fotios on

At the end of this, puzzle toys are all about mental stimulation for your dog. Remember: A tired dog is a happy dog.

Featured image by Lisa Fotios on

dog entertainment toys Toys

HELP! My dog is destroying their toys

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How do I stop my dog from destroying their toys? From the photos on this post, you will see this question is a personal frustration I have experienced with Fynn. He has always been a super chewer/destroyer. We have worked with him to prevent a constant mess in the house and fluff everywhere (although, we’re not always successful).

If you’re here, you know the scene. You scour Chewy or Amazon for the perfect toy for your *angel* (or go to the sale section to buy the most affordable). You know your dog is a super chewer, but this review swears it held up for the reviewers crazy pup. With fingers crossed (and a bit of skepticism), you buy the toy. Delivery day comes and here it is, the new toy(s). Maybe you give the box to your dog to destroy first (our dog, Fynn, prefers the paper inside). You painstakingly take all the tags off and pray this is the one your dog will treat with loving care (ha!).

You make your dog sit and tell them “be gentle” passing them the toy with a wince. Off they go, shredding and destroying this minutes seconds ago perfect toy. Now it’s up to you to pick up the massacred pieces from the floor. If you’re lucky, a part is in tact enough to be saved for the toybox of corpses.

Black dog laying with the fluff and remains of destroyed toys
One of the first times we saw Fynn’s true destroying ways. You can see the remains of the thumbs up toy in the corner of the picture.

There are a few different reasons your dog may be destroying their toys as well as many opinions on whether to allow the destruction to happen. This post will explore:

Why your dog destroys their toys

Prey drive

One of the theories on why your dog loves the squeaky toys – it pulls at their ancestral instinct. While your pup lives a life of luxury with their food delivered in a silver bowl, their ancestors were predators and hunters.

Wolve licking his snout
Photo by Adriaan Greyling on

Potential TMI but, the squeak is reminiscent of the sounds the prey made and how they knew the hunt was not yet over. This would explain why your dog “goes for the heart” and is driven to make sure the squeaker is no longer making a peep.

Learned behavior

puppy laying on a minion toy with their tongue out
Photo by Pixabay on

People don’t do it purposefully but we can be teaching our dogs to destroy their toys. When dogs first start playing with toys, we find it humorous or cute to see them bound and shake their the toy, especially as a puppy. We all know how sharp a baby pups teeth are but their jaw strength isn’t there to do much damage to the toy. Our claps and support make the puppy think their playing correctly and doing the right thing.

As the puppy grows into a full dog, these encouraged adorable actions now turn into full on toy annihilation. Dogs want attention. Just like learning to sit and shake, they’ve received attention from destroying their toys and it will lead to more destruction.


If your dog is destroying out of boredom, the scene I set in the beginning is not likely what you’re experiencing. Your dog may be loving with their toys but then randomly one day you find the toy destroyed on your floor. This could be out of frustration or boredom.

dog looking bored on a cat pillow
Photo by Dina Nasyrova on

If you’re experiencing this, make sure your dog is getting enough mental stimulation and physical activity. When they’re home alone, you may want to leave them with a KONG or have a dog walker come by to give them a break during the day.

They love the interaction

A soft squeaky toy is interactive. Unlike their bone, which just sits there or their ball which maybe gives a bit while they’re chewing, a squeaky toy makes noise and changes while they’re going at it. Not only does it make noises, the seams rip and the stuffing comes out – it changes as they play. It’s entertaining and even mentally stimulating with a cause (the dogs bite) and effect (the squeak).

black and white dog with destroyed owl toy and stuff around
Fynn with his owl that lasted… minutes. It had ten squeakers and he was done within the day. Photo Credit: Entertainmydog

The dog has to work to figure out the toys weaknesses and how to get to it’s “heart.” This interaction makes the toy extra fun to some dogs.

You’re buying the wrong toys

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes and these days, dog toys do as well. A toy for a 5lb Chihuahua is not the right choice for a 50lb lab. 26lb Fynn has two 4lb aunties and we know we need to pick up all their toys when we arrive. Fynn does not need to try to destroy but their toys are so small he rips through them with just a quick chew.

Chihuahua with her tongue sticking out and a blue donut toy
Luna and her beloved donut – she will play fetch for hours on hours with this donut – every single night. Photo Credit: Entertainmydog

Make sure you’re following the manufacturers recommendation for toy size. If you have a super chewer, you may want to go a size up. Also, you often get what you pay for. So a cheap toy may be made cheaply. Even expensive soft toys may not be made well so it is often through experimentation to figure out the toys that work for your dog.

Should you stop your dog from destroying their toys?

There are a few school of though about whether to stop your dog from destroying. Whether you stop them or not, soft squeaker toys should always be given under supervision.

A big reason to end the killings is a selfish one: the pain to your purse. Continuously buying toy is expensive – even if you are getting them from the deals section of Chewy or at a discount store like Marshalls/HomeGoods. For this reason alone, you may want to prevent your destroyer from going after their toys.

The biggest problem with letting your dog destroy their toys is the health risk. There’s a chance your furry friend could eat the stuffing/squeaker/remains. If eaten, your dog could choke or the piece could cause a bowel blockage which could be deadly if not handled properly. Blockages may require surgery to fix.

But, people do believe in letting their dog destroy their toys because it’s stimulating and their dog gets enjoyment from the act. It also can let you teach them to destroy their toys rather than your cushions. If this is your decision, make sure to highly supervise while your pup is destroying.

black dog looking at camera with toy in mouth
Fynn with his beloved Fluff & Tuff Gator. The gator has survived months. You can see pieces have come off but the full body’s still intact. Photo Credit: Entertainmydog

How to teach your dog to stop destroying their toys

First, refer to the section on buying the wrong toys above. Now that you have the right tough toy for your dog, let the training begin. Our goal here is for your dog to “play nice” with their toys. Playing nice looks like rolling, tossing or mouthing.

  1. Ask you dog to do a simple command like sit and reward them with the toy.
  2. If playing nicely, reinforce the good behavior with treats, attention and pets
  3. If your dog starts trying to destroy or rip the toy apart, break their attention from the toy with an “eh-eh.” If this does not work, try a clap to get their attention. You’re not punishing your pup – he’s just doing what their instinct tell them to – but rather looking to distract them and stop the unwanted behavior
  4. Once your dog goes back to the toy and plays appropriately, reward again

This will not be a one time, one session teaching. You will have to work with your pup on how to play nice. This is not the type of training where you need to be zoned in with your dog so you can be watching tv or something else but make sure you’re paying attention to what your pup is doing.

Tough Toy Recommendation

While no toy is indestructible, here are a few curated, high quality options for your toy destroyer from many recommendations, reviews and personal experience. The brands here are all quality and have multiple toy options through each.

Fluff & Tuff Toys

Boxer brown and white looking up lovingly at his georgia gator
Photocredit: Fluff & Tuff

Fynn can chew through a toy within seconds, except for Fluff and Tuff toys. You can see his still alive gator in the photo of Fynn earlier in the article – which was taken while I wrote this post.

Don’t take my word for it though, read the reviews and see how long these toys last. While not indestructible (Fynn’s gator is missing a few legs and his back scales while his stingray is missing the tail), these toys are the closest thing we have found that last. They also wash up great in a washing machine.

MIGHTY Microfiber Ball

blue monster dog toy with microfiber fabric
Credit: Mighty

Mighty’s material on this toy moves with your dogs teeth instead of trying to withstand them. Instead of being stuffed, these toys have multiple squeaker balls to hold their shape. Pay attention to the size on this one. The junior size is meant for junior sized dogs. As discussed previously in the article, you may want to go up a size for your superchewer.

Tuffy Dog Ring

red soft ring with tuffy ultgear on the bottom
Credit: Tuffy

Made of 4 layers, these are a classic recommendation for tough chewers. Because they don’t have the small details like arms and ears, it’s harder for your dog to find the toys weak spots to rip off. A great part of Tuffy toys is that the squeakers are in material pockets of their own. This allows you extra time to get to your dog if they do get the squeaker out.

Bonus hard chew recommendation: Benebone Chew Toy

black and white dog with red color laying on his side giving the side eye with a benebone wishbone in his mouth
Just one of the many positions I’ve found Fynn in with his Benebone Credit: Entertainmydog

Fynn has many of the Benebone’s because it entertains him and they’re almost impossible to destroy. All of my dog parent friends know my love for the “Bene” and that it is my go to recommendation. There has never been a negative review from them or their pup.

The wish bone shape is perfect for your pup to grab with their paws and get a great chew. We also love the dental chew because it’s good for the teeth and the shape makes for a comfortable grip. They also come in 4 sizes to make sure it’s the right size for your pups mouth. Even 4lb Luna has an extra-small Benebone for her chewing pleasure.

Pinterest pin for the post saying: Help! My dog destroys all their toys! Why? What to do? And Tough Toy Recommendations

Dupe Food

Dog Ice Cream. Homemade Frosty Paws Recipe (Copycat)

Spoiling your dog is half the fun of having your furry family member. I love giving our dog, Fynn different treats and fun snacks. Living in Florida, the summers are long, hot, and humid. Fynn can get pretty hot even just laying in the yard — especially with his black coat.

When I found Frosty Paws at Target, I loved the idea but not the price tag. A pack of four is $3.99 (almost a dollar each). While not crazy expensive, it’s something I would only want to buy as a special treat.

Unfortunately, the price is not the only downside of Frosty Paws. Since Frosty Paws are frozen, it offers a great opportunity for fresh ingredients but instead whey and soy flour top the ingredient list. While there’s no sweeteners or artificial coloring, there’s nothing to celebrate in the Frosty Paws recipe either.

While delicious and devoured by Fynn, I knew I could make a similar version Fynn would love for a quarter of the price.

Entertainmydog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. We never endorse items we would not use ourselves.

Black dog eating Homemade Frosty Paws Recipe
Homemade Frosty Paws are Fynn Approved ✔

What to make your Homemade Frosty Paws in:

pan filled with liners for the homemade frosty paws recipe dog ice cream
  • Small paper cups: Put the paper cups on a baking tray and fill. To store, after frozen, peel the sides off and you have little treat. Put the treats in a container or Ziploc bag and pop back in the freezer.
  • Ice cube Tray: Use a typical ice cube tray then pop out when you want to give a treat to your dog. If you have a lid for the ice cube tray, you can store the treats directly in your tray in the freezer.
  • Mini muffin pan: Just like the ice cube tray, these are the perfect size for your dupe frosty paws. You may need to pop the treats out with a knife. Take the treats out of the pan and put in a Ziploc or plastic container and store in the freezer.
  • Silicone Mold: A great option due to the flexibility. After frozen, you can fold the mold back to get out your treat. To store, put the treats in container and back in the freezer. If you want to be boujee or get picture perfect treats, these bone and pawprint molds are a fun option for your pups treats.
  • Cupcake Liners: A low cost option and easy to find. If you don’t have plans to make this recipe, then cupcake liners are the most likely item you have laying around available to you. Put them on a baking tray like with the paper cups above. If using paper liners, it’s best to stack 2 or 3 together to give them more support (or you may end up with a flood of batter to clean up like me).

Tips and tricks when making your dupe Frosty Paws

  • When making my Frosty Paws, I used fairly cheap mini muffin papers so they did not hold well. My first few overflowed. Make sure not to over fill your cups. If your cups are still not holding firm, use 2 or 3 cups together
  • If you have extra batter, fill some KONGs or other treat dispensers
  • Let your pup lick the bowl. Not actually a tip, just something to make your dog extra happy
Ingredients for the homemade frosty paws honey peanut butter banana and yogurt with the blender in the background

Ingredients for your Homemade Frosty Paws

  • 1 Banana: low calorie and high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, fiber, and copper. Because of the high sugar, bananas should only be used for treats
  • 2 cups Plain yogurt: no added sugar. Greek yogurt is a great option because there’s less lactose
  • 2 tsp Honey: small amounts are alright for dogs. And bonus points, if local, it can help with allergies. (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Peanut Butter: Filled with healthy fats and protein a great treat NO XYLITOL
Blender on counter with yogurt, honey and peanut butter to make the homemade Frosty Paws recipe dog ice cream

How to store your copycat Frosty Paws

These frozen treats can last for months in the freezer. Keep them in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.

Homemade dupe frosty paws on tray in the freezer

How to make your copycat Frosty Paws

  1. Blend your bananas and yogurt. Once blended, add your peanut butter and honey and blend again until smooth. By adding second, the sticky peanut butter and honey will blend better.
  2. Pour the mixture into your molds, cups or tray.
  3. Put your treats in the freezer until hardened. Generally 6 hours but may need to freeze over night.
  4. Feed to your pup and watch them enjoy.
  5. Store in an air tight container or zip lock bag in the freezer for up to 3 weeks.
Black dog licking lips after eating homemade ice cream
Fynn thinks we should make frosty paws every day
Pinterest pin for Homemade dog ice cream with black dog licking lips
dog entertainment ideas dog entertainment toys Toys

Top Dog Toys of 2022 to Keep your Pup Entertained and Busy

Keep your dog happy and stimulated with the best dog toys listed here. Many are new and some are classics but all are dog approved.

Looking for some fun new toys for your most important family member? Look no further. Check out these top dog toys of 2022 to keep your dog entertained.

Entertainmydog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. We never endorse items we would not use ourselves | Updated for 2022

IDOGMATE Automatic Dog Ball Launcher

If you have a dog who loves to fetch but you get tired of throwing the ball constantly, this toy is for you and your dog. Your dog puts the balls in the top and the machine launches them for your pup. The dog launcher even allows you to adjust the distance.

While previous versions of this launcher were made for small dogs, the 2021 update is more durable and good for almost all sized dogs.

Top Review:

“We have a 1 year old border collie who is go go go 24×7. This was the best investment and totally worth the money. We’ve had it for a month and she has put about 200 hours on it so far. It didn’t take her long to learn how to drop the balls back in and use it all by herself. We have it plugged in and set up to shoot down a long hallway. She plays with it all day and all night”

Hyper pet doggie tail top dog toy of 2020 interactive motion activated dog toy

Hyper Pet Doggie Tail Interactive Plush Dog Toy

A dog toy elevated to the next level with full interactive play. This toy wiggles, vibrates and even barks. It will encourage your pup to play with the toy through different noises and crazy movement. The toy will keep your dogs attention to keep them mentally stimulated and physically moving. There’s even additional cover options so you can keep the toy like new for your dog.

Top Review:

“From the dog’s perspective, a two year old boxer, this is one of the best things since sliced bread and butter. It makes noise, it wiggles, and when he holds it in his mouth it makes the entire thing vibrate so he can’t see straight. He learned within two minutes that he can throw it, or whip it around by the tail to make it activate and drained a full set of batteries in a day. When we take it away and put it up, he sits in front of the cabinet and just stares.”

ReArf Pets Dog Treat Dispenser

A challenging game for your pup to learn how to dispense their treats or food. Your dog pushes the button to release their food. While your dog may quickly get the hang of pushing the button next to the reservoir, you can then move the button further and further away to increase the difficulty level.

Top Review:

“Lots of fun, but it takes some work for our dogs to associate hitting the button with getting a treat. We have three dogs, each with their own learning style. One is learning to get treats by “shaking” with the button in my wife’s hand. The second one is learning better by simply pawing the button on the floor. The third one hasn’t caught on yet. She learns best by observing the other dogs, but we she hasn’t had a chance to watch yet because we are still training 1:1 (with the non-training dogs sequestered elsewhere).”

KONG Wubba dog toy

KONG Wubba Dog Toy

Dogs go crazy for the squeaky ball with fabric for legs. Made by the KONG brand so you know it is high quality. Your pup will love the squeaker and chasing around this fun toy.

Top Review:

“I have two dogs; one is a picky bastard and a stupid one who loves to destroy toys. These have survived with ZERO destruction for over a month. I can’t believe it! Even the grumpy one who hates non-plush toys loves it. The dummy plays with it every day. She chews it, has us throw it, etc. with no wear or tear. I’m going to keep buying these until I die.”

Bob a lot treat dispensing dog entertainment toy

Starmark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy

A fun treat dispenser which allows for excise and mind challenges. You may struggle to wear out your dog with exercise but if you work their brain, you can exhaust them. The large version of the Bob-a-lot can handle 3 cups of dog food so you can feed their entire meal from one filling.

Top Review:

“I bought this for my jack russell so I could fill it with treats when I leave for work and it would keep her busy for a 30 odd minutes. She absolutely loves it, it took her a day or so to get used to how to get the treats out and now when I say “shall we get your bob a lot” she runs to the toy and can’t wait to play and get the treats out. I also imagine this would be great for dogs who are over weight as it means they need to expel energy before they get their treats and also forces them to eat their treats over a longer period of time. I try to get the healthiest treats I can such as 100% dried chicken so that I can put a few treats in there! This is great to keep their mind active.”

dog toy puzzle plush

Outward Hound Hide A Squirrel Plush Dog Toy Puzzle

We love this puzzle because it’s mentally stimulating without involving food. This toy is a hide and seek game which plays to a dogs natural hunting instinct with the squirrels in their tree. Squeaky and interactive, a great toy to encourage play.

Top Review:

“I only bought this because of the high ratings and low price. As soon as I showed my dog the toy he went crazy. I hide the squirrels in the trunk and he loves shoving his snout in the opening and pulling the squirrels out. Maybe he feels like he’s hunting, or perhaps it makes him feel like an apex predator, but he loves it, lol. I bought the small size for my 10lbs dog. The squirrels are just the right size and fit perfectly into his mouth. He has enjoyed countless hours with this toy and its almost time to buy a replacement. These toys will not last forever, it totally depends on your dog and how much of a chewer he/she is. My dog has destroyed the squirrels and I will gladly buy more. The toy lasted about 3-4 months, and I consider this normal since it’s a plus toy, not a plastic bone. The squirrels have squeakers in them and trunk is hollow so you can stuff em inside. Definitely recommend!”

An upgrade on the classic dog ball. These come in a wide range of sizes from small (4.5 inch) to X-Large (10 inch) to work for any pup. The handle allows to hours of fun tug-a-war and tossing play. There’s endless ways to play with the Jolly Ball for kicking to launching.

Top Review:

“So initially my boy Jager (120# of chewing muscle) was leery of the ball, but with some fun and play time including the ball it has quickly become his favorite pounce and proud carry toy. He enjoys prancing around and showing it off as if he was in the show ring. He absolutely loves this thing! He chews on the handle none stop and constantly pounces on it. The air hole is big enough to let the right amount of air our, and then suck air back I to refill itself.”

Wobble wag giggle glow in the dark interactive dog toy

Wobble Wag Giggle Ball Interactive Dog

Made for interactive play, the Wobble Wag Giggle toy giggles when it moves to entertain your pup and keep them engaged. There’s tubes inside the ball which make the sounds so no need for batteries. The glow in the dark version is perfect for outdoor or indoor play.

Top Review:

“Best little active toy ever. This is perfect for my little 80 lb 8 month old rottweiller. He is so captivated by this ball. Kept him busy and wore him out. I’m seeing the reviews regarding the stability of this toy not being up to standards. Some people have to realize if they have a super aggressive dog, the issue may not be the product but the dog. I would recommend to all my pet owner friends. If this product only last 10 days, it will be well worth the cost and I will purchase again. Love it.”

Interactive seek a treat dog toy

SPOT Interactive Seek-A-Treat Shuffle Bone Toy Puzzle

Made of wood rather than plastic, this puzzle toy will allow for mental stimulation with your pup and not fall apart. The feeder makes your dog work for their treats. Mental stimulation helps eliminate your dogs boredom which can help with negative behaviors. There’s six different sliding challenges on this board with 10 different treat compartments.

Top Review:

“Our dog LOVES this toy. She’s a hound and it was recommended and she can’t wait to play with it. She’d rather eat her kibble out of this than her bowl. Some reviewers noted that dogs can chew on it which is true, ours nibbled a little on the edges. But it’s a dog toy and they get chewed up. Took her a few tries but she figured it out easy enough and really enjoys flipping the sliders to get her food. I wish there was an even bigger size to use as her normal feeding method!”

Fluff and tuff Tico Sloth Plush Top dog toy

Fluff and Tuff Plush Dog Toys

Fluff and Tuff dog plush toys are the only soft toys which stand up to Fynn’s aggressive chewing. Even holding the toy down and ripping at the pieces, he’s only gotten small bits off after months. Fynn is not the only super chewer who struggles to destroy these well-made soft toys. All the seams are hidden, folded and double stitched. Even the eyes are embroidered on as an extra safety measure.

Top Review:

“Our dog LOVES all her Fluff and Tuff toys! These are the only soft toys that have lasted longer than 5 minutes. Remi’s unicorn has been around for almost 5 months with no major holes! They’re her babies. She likes to carry them around and would prefer to play with them over some of her harder toys. We recommend these to all our dog parent friends and have had so much fun watching Remi enjoy playing with them!”

Magic Mushroom dog toy slow feeder toy dispenser

PetSafe Busy Buddy Magic Mushroom Dog Toy – Slow Feeder – Treat Dispenser

Another toy meant to replace the boring traditional dog bowl. This toy is touted specifically for slow feeding meals to help with stomach aches and to increase stimulation at mealtime.

Best parts of this toy: dishwasher safe, adjustable difficulty levels, and made for heavy chewers

Top Review:

“Tiring and stimulating (even incrementally) my female Pitty has always been a challenge, particularly as a puppy, so food toys were one way we discovered to achieve that without tiring ourselves out.

We went through multiple tumble-type toys (including others by this manufacturer) and this one was by far the best combination of capacity, adjustability, durability and price we found. Specifically we wanted to put most of her breakfast/dinner in the toy, and this one allows us to do that.

She finally wore the original out after 2-years-ish of twice-daily use, so we promptly bought another one. As far as I’m concerned that’s perfectly acceptable under the circumstances and I will buy a third when the time comes.”

Dog chasing swift paws

Swift Paws Remote Control Capture the Flag

300 feet. 30mph. The best game of chase your dog has ever played. The Swift Paws is an automated game of capture the flag for your dog. If you have a dog with endless energy, this toy will be an invaluable asset for your collection.

Warning: this is the most expensive item on the list.

Top Review:

“I was looking for a way to further tire out my 18 month old Labrador retriever with seemingly endless amounts of energy. She would always look at me longingly, wanting to play or go out and run, even after multiple trips out to play fetch, having had a hike around our 7 acres, and a wrestle with my 6 year old lab. Enter Swift Paws; quick and easy setup to play in minutes. She races after the flag tirelessly for the 10 minute duration of the battery. The built in stops and short battery duration are a blessing in disguise, you and your pooch may overdo it without them because of how much fun this is. Everything needed to begin play is included. The line can get nasty pretty quickly but is easily and affordably available from many retailers. 10 of 10 would buy again; totally worth it for the pooped pup.”

dog entertainment ideas dog entertainment toys

What to get my Dog for Christmas? 10 Holiday Present Ideas for Your Dog

These days, our dogs are a part of the family. For many, they are our kids. You want your furry family member to have a great Christmas and open presents just like everyone else in the family. Whether your dog likes to tear paper like ours or you’ll be ripping the paper off for your pup, it’s the gift inside that counts. Here’s some top Christmas present ideas for your dog.

Entertainmydog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. We never endorse items we would not use ourselves.

Christmas Dog Gift Ideas

Christmas gift for my dog
Christmas Bark Box

Bark Box

The gift that keeps on giving. Get your pup a subscription box of toys and teats. A box is shipped every month with fun themes to make you laugh and entertain your dog. Each box comes with 2 toys, 2 treats and a chew. You and your pup will be counting down the days to your next box.

brown and white dog eating from red kong classic christmas kong gift

Treat Dispensing Toys

Treat dispensing toys are a go to for enrichment. Anytime you want to entertain your pup for a bit, stuff some food and treats to satisfy and mentally stimulate your dog. The classic toy for stuffing treats is a red wobble KONG but there are many other options to keep your dog entertained and enjoying. Another great treat dispensing toy option is the Bob-a-Lot from Starmark. If you’re looking for a variety of KONG options, check out our list of the different KONG toy styles.

Chuckit! launcher christmas present

Chuckit! Ball Launcher

If your dog loves a game of fetch, the Chuckit! Ball Launcher is the perfect Christmas gift for your pup. The launcher lets you throw farther and not have to bend over to pick up the soaked ball. The Chuckit! balls are heavy duty and withstand your dog’s teeth better than a classic tennis ball.

Fluff and Tuff dog running with tough gator dog toy

Fluff and Tuff Toys

Our dog can chew through a toy within seconds, except for Fluff and Tuff toys. Don’t take my word for it though, read the reviews and see how long these toys last. While not indestructible (Fynn’s gator is missing a few legs and his back scales while his stingray is missing the tail), these toys are the closest thing we have found that last. They also wash great in a washing machine.

Bully Sticks

Bully sticks are a classic treat for your dog for a reason – long lasting and all-natural. They are one of the healthiest treats you can give your dog and full of protein. While there are always precautions with treats, read our analysis of bully sticks to decide for yourself. If you are concerned about the last small piece of bully stick, you may want to add a bully stick holder to your dog’s stocking.

9.5″ Oversized Tennis Ball

Just like a tennis ball, these are made of felt and rubber. The huge size is great run for a dog to run around and chase for massive fun in the yard. Go through the reviews and you’ll see how much dogs obsess over this toy. While they may pop it, the pups have spoken, and they love it.

Benebone wishbone chew toy christmas present ofr the heavy chewer

Benebone Chew Toy

Looking for a longer lasting all-natural chew for your dog? Look no further than Benebone. The wish bone shape is perfect for your pup to grab with their paws and get a great chew. If you have a heavy chewer, benebones are for them. The Benebones are flavored with real bacon, chicken, and peanuts. They also come in four sizes to make sure it’s the right size for your pup’s mouth.

Personalized Dog Bowls and Food Labels

Putmynameonit on Etsy offers incredibly affordable custom products to spoil your dog. The store offers dog bowls with your pup’s name on them – large or small. They also offer decals with your dogs name on them for your food containers.

yak cheese himalyan dog chew for super chewer christmas

Yak Cheese Himalayan Chews

Long lasting, extremely hard chews for your super chewer dog. The Himalayan Chews come just from yaks and cow’s milk with no preservatives. They are high in protein and due to the curing process, should not bother your dog’s stomach – even if they are lactose intolerant or sensitive. Compared to bully sticks and rawhides, yak chews last longer and are healthier for your pup. Make sure you purchase the right size for your dog.

Fire Hose Tug Dog Toy

Confuse your dog for a Tasmanian devil some days? The Bull Fit toy is your solution. Made of firehose material these toys make sure your dog cannot rip through it. This toy is perfect for bonding with your dog over tug of war or fetch. It’s tough enough to be recommended for K9 and military dog training.

Please note: all these links support EntertainMyDog and help us to keep this blog free for you. All of the opinions are still our own and did not influence the choosing of the items.

What to get your dog for Christmas. The best chirstmas gifts for your dog 2020