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 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.

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 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

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.

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.

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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.”