By definition, interactive dog toys are toys that require participation.
So, unlike for example plush toys, these toys will respond to your dog in an engaging way, which contributes to positive mental stimulation for your dog.
Mental stimulation is different from physical exercise but equally important for the well-being of our pets.
Also, mental stimulating games with interactive dog toys are a great alternative to walks on cold or rainy days, when you’re injured, or simply when you’re not in the mood to leave the house.
There’s a growing number of different types of interactive dog toys available these days, including:
- Puzzle dog toys
- Kong toys
- Hide & Seek toys, and
- Robot toys
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at different types of interactive dog toys and learn more about why mental stimulation is just as important for dogs as physical exercise.
Table of Contents
- What is the best interactive dog toy?
- Interactive dog toys that move
- How do you mentally stimulate a dog?
- What are the best dog puzzle toys?
- What toys will keep a dog busy?
- DIY interactive dog toys
What is the best interactive dog toy?
All dogs are different and will have their individual preferences when it comes to interactive dog toys.
Kong Goodie Bone
That said, the most popular interactive dog toys to start with are often different types of Kong toys.
For example, puppies with a strong urge to chew may enjoy a Goodie Bone. They can be filled with treats on both ends, and are relatively soft which encourages chewing and pleases their natural instinctual need to play and investigate.
Another favourite Kong toy is the Wobbler. This one has a strong focus on play and investigation rather than chewing. The toy can be screwed open and filled with treats, and then your dog can figure out how to get the treats back out through interactive play with the toy.
Is a Kong mentally stimulating?
Yes, most Kong toys are considered mentally stimulating. They’re designed to help encourage healthy play and to satisfy the instinctual needs of our dogs.
Interactive dog toys that move
Interactive dog toys that move on their own are also known as robot toys.
Dog owners seem to have mixed experiences with these type of toys. Some dogs are intrigued by them, others outright scared and not interested to interact with robotic dog toys that move on their own.
How do you mentally stimulate a dog?
Dogs are intelligent creatures, and to keep them mentally stimulated is just as important as physical exercise.
Luckily, there are many ways to add mental stimulation to your dog’s daily life.
Activities for mental stimulation include, but are not limited to, tracking scents, extracting food from containers and toys, finding edible items among non-edible items, and problem-solving.
What are the best dog puzzle toys?
A dog’s natural instinct is to hunt and forage for food, and puzzle toys tap into that instinct.
They come in many different variations and difficulty levels that will encourage your dog to work and investigate their food in the same way they would do in the wild.
It’s best to start with a puzzle toy designed for beginners, and then slowly work your way up to more advanced puzzle toys for dogs.
A popular brand for puzzle toys is Nina Ottoson. Click here to see all their puzzle games for different difficulty levels.
Are dog puzzles worth it?
Some dogs like them, some dogs don’t care for them, and a few dogs will be too smart for even the most challenging puzzle toys.
We found that many dog & owner duos who didn’t warm up to puzzle games enjoy playing hide & seek games instead.
Hide & seek games can be as simple as hiding treats in your living room while your dog waits somewhere else, and then letting your dog explore & sniff out the treats.
What toys will keep a dog busy?
Dogs are a social and curious species and many dogs won’t care for any type of toy if their favourite humans aren’t participating in the play session.
That said, your best bet in keeping a dog busy with a toy is if there’s food involved. Bear in mind that leaving your dog alone with toys always carries an element of risk though, as they’re all choking hazards.
Ultimately, it’s best to have a dog who’s happy to chill out on their own and take a bunch of naps when left alone. This may require lots of training, but is not impossible to achieve.
If you’re worried because you need to leave your dog alone for long periods of time, consider having a dog walker pop into your home around lunch time to break up your dogs day.
DIY interactive dog toys
Check out our article on mental stimulation for dogs, to learn more about DIY options for interactive dog play sessions.