Enrichment Toys & Games Your Dog Will Love

posted in: Dog Product Reviews, Dog Toys | 19

Our Favourite Dog Enrichment Toys

Toys, Toys, Toys!

Dog Enrichment Toys {Dog Enrichment Toys & Games} #DogToys #DogEnrichment #DogChews #DogGames #Reviews www.scruffylittleterrier.comWe are always looking for new toys for Barney and Sandy. Ones that don’t just get chewed to pieces, ripped open and destuffed! I have started to look for more dog enrichment toys and games, for those days when the weather is awful or when I don’t have a lot of energy.

Whilst they do just love to chew soft toys to pieces and, this will keep them consumed for some time, it is also good to intersperse soft toys with ones that make them think a bit more and keep them active for longer.

Are Toys A Waste of Money?

I don’t think so, yes they might not last long and dogs seem to lose interest quickly but I still buy our two new toys every so often.

Isn’t it just throwing money down the drain? Think of toys as an investment in your dog, because;

  • Playing with toys helps to get rid of pent-up energy by playing fetch games with them, it not only tires them out but you are also bonding with your dog.
  • Playing with toys can tire your dog mentally and help promote their problem solving skills.
  • Playing with toys, keeps your dog busy and out of mischief.
  • Playing with toys can fulfil their prey instinct; if they are ripping their toys, finding their toys or fetching their toys, they aren’t destroying your favourite pair of shoes!
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Our New Dog Enrichment Toy

Snuffle Mat

I recently bought a snuffle mat to try out on Barney and Sandy. I’ve been thinking of getting one for a while, I knew Barney would love it, as he is a real sniffer, but wasn’t sure what Sandy would make of it.

Dog Enrichment Toys {Dog Enrichment Toys & Games} #DogToys #DogEnrichment #DogChews #DogGames #Reviews www.scruffylittleterrier.comThey both really enjoy the snuffle mat, I bought this one (snuffle mat) particularly because of the size but also the bright colours. One thing I try to do when buying toys is find ones that are blue or yellow in colour. Dogs only see blue and yellow colours, every other colour they see as shades of grey. Surprisingly, there aren’t that many bright blue/yellow toys for dogs.

The snuffle mat is not something they get to use everyday, instead I will randomly put their favourite treats in it and ask them to find them (whilst one is using the snuffle mat, the other has a ball with treats in). The snuffle mat helps to train your dog’s sense of smell by using their nose and brain to find treats.

Dog enrichment toys are also a great way to tire dogs mentally rather than physically.

Chews

Good, natural chews will help keep them occupied for a while, unless you are like Barney, who chews them for about 10-15 minutes and then wants to go in the garden to bury the brand new chew!

I recently got rid of some old chews that are now too small and replaced them with a couple of Antler Chews, Yaker Chews and Whimzee toothbrush chews.

Dog Enrichment Toys {Dog Enrichment Toys & Games} #DogToys #DogEnrichment #DogChews #DogGames #Reviews www.scruffylittleterrier.comThe Antler chew will last a long time and dogs just seem to love chewing on them. Chewing helps to relieve stress and any anxiety, giving that ‘feel good factor’ whilst keeping them busy. However, I would never leave them alone with an antler chew and always ensure you get the appropriate size for your dog, I buy our two small/medium ones.

The Yaker chew is a new one for us, it looks as if it won’t last as long as an antler chew but it is something different for them, it’s a natural chew made from Himalayan yak milk. Sandy definitely is the better chewer (she is the more anxious of our two dogs) so her’s is nearly gone!

I give the dogs a Whimzee chew once a week, to help with cleaning their teeth. Although our dogs are raw fed, I don’t feed them bones. Chews can also help with keeping their teeth clean.

Easy Dog Enrichment Toys & Games

You don’t need lots of money to create enrichment experiences for your dogs. We have two that don’t cost anything and the dogs love them.

Toilet Roll Box

So easy to do and great for mental stimulation, gets dogs using their sense of smell and they really enjoy it. Sandy was a bit nervous at first (she generally is with anything new) but she watched Barney for a while and then tentatively joined in. With lots of encouragement and the smell of treats, she now loves this game.

Don’t throw away your toilet roll tubes or paper towel tubes, save them up, find a box (or use a plastic washing up bowl). Once you have a few tubes, get out some treats, or cheese, or anything your dog really goes crazy for (with our two it’s pretty much anything!). Put the treats in the tubes, you can either turn over the ends to make it harder for them, or stand the tubes in the box and put the treats in the bottom. I do a mixture of both, they love sniffing and finding the treats, but the also love to rip open the tubes to get the treats.

Find It Game

Another great indoor game! Can be done in any room in the house, with some treats.

Start of slowly if you’ve never played it before by asking your dog to sit and stay, then let them watch you placing 2/3 treats around the room. Then ask them to ‘find’ the treats, it is likely that, because they have watched you ‘hide’ the treats, they will find them straight away.

Increase the challenge by hiding treats under cushions, under rugs, in their toy box, whilst they are watching you.

Next I ask them to sit and wait, whilst I shut the door. I then hide the treats and then let the dogs in, they just love it! Searching, sniffing around the room for the treats.

It’s a great way to tire them out, I usually start the game with them watching me hide the treats and increase it to hiding them without them watching me. All the time I am encouraging them to ‘find it’ and when they are close to a treat, I start to say ‘Good boy or girl’ so they know they are close to a treat.

Toys & Games

All toys and games are enriching in some way for your dog, so it is worth considering them as good for your dog’s well-being rather than a waste of money.

Ways to help make toys last longer are;

  • Have a mixture of toys, soft toys, tougher chewing toys, balls and interactive toys. Find out which toys your dogs love best.
  • Swap toys each week, dogs love the novelty of toys, so keep it fresh for them.
  • Throw away toys that can no longer be repaired or could cause some sort of damage if a piece is swallowed.
  • Keep one or two interactive toys out of reach and use them for reward training or as special time spent with you.
  • Have a selection of chews, dogs love to chew, and better it’s a chew than your favourite shoe!

What’s your dog’s favourite toy or chew? Do you have any other dog enrichment toys and games that they love to play? We’d love to hear about them, let us know in the comments below.

Dog Enrichment Toys {Dog Enrichment Toys & Games} #DogToys #DogEnrichment #DogChews #DogGames #Reviews www.scruffylittleterrier.com

 

19 Responses

  1. Sonja Lishchynski

    I have been trying to think of a good birthday gift for the wee one in June for his 8th … I think that Snuffle Mat might JUST be the thing! thank you!!

  2. Stephanie Seger

    This is a terrific post filled with some great ideas for stimulation and fun activities for dogs. I have seen the snuffle mat before, but I wonder how hard it would be to clean slobber out of? If the idea is that you hide a treat in there, which is as you say great for early nosework, I’m pretty sure my boys will produce quite a bit of drool looking for the treat. I loved your video with the toilet paper rolls too! Sulley and Junior love to chew up toilet paper rolls, so I will have to find some particularly yummy treats for this to work for us I think. Haha!

  3. Monika

    I also don’t think toys are a waste of money, even if they don’t last long. This is especially important for cats who are indoors only. Toys are the perfect entertainment that keeps them from getting bored.

  4. Amy Hempe

    Rufus loves repurposed paper towel tubes. I try to make toys stimulating for him because he’s ridiculously smart. But he also likes destroying them too, so cost effective games are best!

  5. Paroma Chakravarty

    I agree with getting good chews. We dog sit our neighbor’s pup and he loves a nice big chew that keeps him engaged!

  6. Beth

    I usually buy a new plush toy for Theo every 6 weeks or so. It doesn’t take him long to destuff them, except for a few brands. But he loves it so much! He continues to play with it after the stuffing is out, so it lasts indefinitely. I recently bought him a Kong dinosaur and he loves it! He hasn’t taken it apart yet.

  7. raisingyourpetsnaturally

    Great ideas and roundup. Dexter’s favorite is find it, toys, treats, me. Loads of fun. That and a good chew.

  8. Denise's Dog Dish

    I first heard of a snuffle mat when I was volunteering at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary last year. Shasta learned and went through interactive toys SO quickly. Little smarty pants. When he stayed home alone, we fed him breakfast in an IQ ball

  9. Happy-Go-Doodle

    I was really interested to learn more about the snuggle mat! Thanks so much for sharing. I love giving Happy-Go-Doodle Chloe enrichment activities. This one looks like something she would really enjoy!

  10. Kamira

    I like the snuffle mat idea and also the toilet paper/find the treat idea. That’s very clever and economical way to keep pups entertained and easy on the purse strings!

  11. Delightful Dapple

    I think toys are always a good investment! Bonnie still has the toy she came with when I got her! We also have a snuffle mat which she absolutely loves! Great list of ideas! 🙂

  12. Jana Rade

    Dogs have to have toys. At least something to chew on. Cookie loves her bones. And she loves new toys. Though her favorite thing to do has nothing to do with toys – mice hunting.

  13. JoeHx

    I love playing find it with my dog! Sometimes I’ll play hide-n-go-seek (where I hide, I doubt I could get her to hide) but she’s quickly learned all my hiding spots!

  14. Gel mares

    I’ve been looking for more enrichment toys/games for my baby because boredom causes chaos and he is way too smart for his own good! Definitely have to try these. Thank you!

  15. fashionbeyondforty

    I am very interested in the snuffle mat! My Link LOVES toys but I would like some for him that are more enriching like that one!
    Yes, BOL, Link can decimate a new tuggy toy within a day or two but it’s worth it.
    It IS an investment in the life and love of our pets.
    I look at having pets that I am to be a joy to them as much as they are to be a joy to me!
    If toys brings a pet joy they should have all the toys!

  16. hbethp

    Great list!! Mental stimulation is so important for dogs of all ages, and you have some great ideas. We have the Nina Ottosson dog tornado toy for Jack but unfortunately it’s too easy for him. He’d probably enjoy the snuffle mat, I might give that one a try.

  17. Dakota/Caren/Cody

    We have the gray snuffle and admittedly we don’t use it much. You should check out the Nina Ottosson line of dog toys if you haven’t already.

    • Michelle

      We will take a look at the Nina Ottosson line of toys too, thanks for the suggestion. :o)

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