Dogs need physical and mental exercise just like we do. Training is important, and is its own form of enrichment, but there are tons of other things you can do to exercise the mind of your canine friend. Make them work for their food like they do in nature with food-stuffed toys and puzzles. Games that involve nose work like “find it”, and games like Tug (with rules), Hide & Seek and organized Dog Sports are all great ways to work with your dog.
Some of our favorite toys:
Classic Kong Toy: Found at Target and most pet stores. Can be stuffed with treats, peanut butter, canned food, cheese, etc. Google “kong recipes” for good suggestions! If your dog gets the food out too fast, try freezing it overnight. Very strong chewers should buy the black colored Kong, it is made from stronger rubber.
Tug-A-Jug: Found at Target or some pet stores. The dog has to kick and push it around for the food to come out. Fill it with kibble or small treats to keep your dog working for his food. Not for very strong chewers as the rubber top could be chewed off.
Buster Cube: Found at many pet stores. Similar to the Tug-a-Jug but without the chewable parts. Fill with kibble or small treats and make your dog work for his dinner. Has a few different difficulty settings. The dog has to roll it around for the food to come out. Works best on carpet.
Hide-A-Squirrel: Found at many pet stores. For dogs that don’t eat stuffed toys. Hide the squirrels in the tree, and the dog has to figure out how to get to them. Many similar toys made by the same company (Kyjen).