For your dog to live a happy and healthy life, he needs constant mental and cognitive stimulation. If you are away all day working, it is even more essential for your dog to have entertainment while he is on his own.
Your classic dog toys such as ropes and bones will only keep your dog busy for short periods, as they aren’t designed to stimulate his brain, and they usually don’t last long.
Supplies to Prepare before Picking Up a Puppy
- House or Crate
- Food & Nutrition
- Dry Food
- Wet Food
- Canned Food
Cuddly toys may offer comfort, but interactive dog toys are the most enjoyable when you’re not around. These toys respond to your friend, so your dog will spend more time with them to get the reward of responses.
You’ll also get the added benefit of less chewing on the furniture that often comes from boredom or anxiety.
There are several interactive dog toys available now to help you keep your friend entertained, so let’s look at the most popular options.
Responsive or talking toys
These toys will react when your dog plays with them, so your dog can feel like he’s having an interaction. Perfect for separation anxiety, there are many different kinds of responsive or talking toys. While you wouldn’t want to use them when you’re at home (the noises could drive you crazy), they are perfect for helping your dog feel less alone.
These types of toys are excellent for older dogs or for those dogs who are blind.
These toys can be stuffed with your dog’s favorite food or treats to offer a powerful incentive for your dog to keep on playing. Your dog will have to use his natural animal instincts plus his curiosity to get the goodies.
As well as being mentally stimulating, food delivery toys are an excellent option to get your dog to eat more slowly. If you’ve got a greedy Labrador, for instance, a food-dispensing toy could be just the thing.
These toys dispense treats, too, but your dog has to work out the puzzle first, providing an additional level of mental stimulation. Rather than focusing on pushing around a ball or nosing treats out from the center of a toy, your dog has to solve the puzzle.
These puzzles come in varying levels of difficulty, so be sure to choose the right level for your dog so that he doesn’t get frustrated. If he doesn’t get results after a while, he may become disinterested and even break the toy in frustration… leading to an expensive habit if you have to keep buying replacements.
In addition to the benefits of mental stimulation and slower eating, puzzle toys encourage a sense of achievement, and some puzzles also encourage exercise.
For those of us who love technology (and don’t mind the higher price tag), high-tech toys can provide stimulation for your dog while being nifty gadgets that work whether you’re at home or not.
There are smart bones, fitness robots, and even remote trainers… something for everyone!
Toys to hide and find
Hide-and-seek toys can help you build your relationship with your dog, as they’re fun for both of you. If your dog enjoys finding things, a toy like this can be perfect, as he will feel like he’s earned his rewards.
There are many sizes and shapes of hide-and-seek toys, but they all allow you to stuff something inside of them. You can then either get your dog to pry out the toy pieces from their base or hide the pieces in your home for your dog to find. You can encourage your dog when he gets closer to finding his prize, as in a hot and cold game.
You don’t have to use food as an incentive with these toys, as your dog’s reward comes when he finds the pieces and earns your praise. Of course, you can include treats as part of the reward if you wish, but if your dog isn’t motivated by food, these types of toys are ideal.
The best part of this game is that you can play it from your couch or bed, and when your dog is worn out at the end, you can encourage him up your dog ramp for bed for a well-earned nap!
Toys on rotation
You could create an activity schedule for your dog to alleviate boredom while providing structure to his week.
This means giving your dog something different to enjoy each day. For example, one day he gets a responsive toy, another day, he gets a toy with treats inside.