How Do I Get My Dog Interested in Puzzle Toys? From Boredom to Brilliance

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Author: Jeanette Hampton

We, humans, like to play puzzles whenever we are feeling bored or particularly playful. It helps us to engage our attention and develops us in many ways.

Just like us dogs can also enjoy puzzles and spend their time actively. But the question is how do you get your dog interested in puzzles?

How Do I Get My Dog Interested in Puzzle Toys

Well in this article we will explore the tips to get your dog interested in puzzles and what are the benefits of doing that.

How Do I Get My Dog Interested in Puzzle Toys?

No matter how much love and affection you provide to your dogs, there is always a limit to the amount of stimulation you can provide to your dogs. This is where puzzles come and help you to in fulfilling this task. Here are some tips to get your dog interested in puzzle toys:

1. Choose the Right Toys

It is very crucial to make sure you choose the right toy in size, breed, and according to the chewing ability of your dog. Consider your dog’s unique qualities this way as pet parents you can ensure your dog gets the correct toy for them.

  • Size: Chihuahuas will need a different size toy than Saint Bernards will, So be careful size-wise while choosing the puzzle toys.
  • Breed: Some breeds like a standard poodle, Irish setter, and German shepherd are prone to bloating in such breeds use food puzzles to encourage your dog to slow down while eating[1].
  • Chewing Abilities: Toys that can withstand heavy chewing are necessary for dogs who like to munch a lot. Those who chew less can have less sturdy toys. Dog owners should avoid toys that their dogs can break and swallow.
  • Food Motivation: Some dogs are less interactive and sometimes picky eaters too. Food puzzles help them to eat more actively in a fun way.
dog solving puzzle

2. Start Slow

There are many kinds of puzzles available for dogs. You should always start with simple puzzles to first get your dog interested in them. Starting slow will not make your dog frustrated or stressed at any point.

If it is easy at the beginning then your dog will get motivated for further challenges, If the toy contains treats, make sure they can get to them easily at first.

3. Lots of Love

Remember, when you got that star on your score card your parents were so proud of you and how happy that made you.

Dogs are just like that, They care about praise—and food or toys. Positive reinforcement training uses rewards like treats, praise, toys, and anything the dog finds rewarding for desired behaviors”, says the data from The Humane Society.

Because the reward makes them more likely to repeat the behavior, positive reinforcement is one of your most powerful tools for shaping or changing your dog’s behavior. However, some dogs resort to destructive behaviors like destroying toys when bored or frustrated. This leads us to ask: why do dogs destroy toys?

4. Their Favorite Treats

You can use their favorite food treats to motivate them to solve puzzles. You can also use them if your dog isn’t interested in the puzzle. This way they will feel encouraged.

How Do I Get My Dog Interested in Puzzle Toys

If your dog still does not show any interest you can also use non-food treats as well. “Rewarding your dog with a creative alternative can help to keep your dog motivated during puzzle sessions. Such as Praise, Toys, Petting, Games, and Permission to sniff you”, says Dr. Victoria Schade at PetMD.

5. Challenging Puzzles

Never give challenging puzzles to your dog at the beginning, this may discourage them if they fail to solve them. Always level up slowly.

However, when dogs reach more complex puzzles, they will likely already have enough favorable links with interactive puzzles to feel motivated on their own.

How to teach dog not to destroy toys can help make challenging puzzles last longer.

What Are the Benefits of Puzzle Toys?

Walking and running around in the park helps your dog in keeping its physical health in check, in the same way, puzzles and games help them in keeping them stable and engaged in activities. Here are some benefits in detail:

How Do I Get My Dog Interested in Puzzle Toys

Brain Stimulation

Dogs are working animals, they need things in order to stay active. Puzzles will help with brain stimulation, which does not let your dog get bored easily.

They don’t get to use their natural hunting instincts then they may resort to destructive behavior. Interactive puzzles may relieve boredom and help with behavior issues.

Puzzle toys for dogs uk are a great way to provide brain stimulation and relieve boredom for dogs.


Running and jumping for puzzles or with you helps your dog in exercise. If your dog is hyperactive then this is a great solution. This also helps in muscle mass, no weight gain, and No destructive behaviors.

Exercise needs depend on a dog’s age, breed, size, and overall health. However, it is normally suggested that your dog spends between 30 minutes to two hours being active every day—and not just on the weekends[2]

Your veterinarian can help you decide exactly how much exercise your dog actually needs.


Your dogs get affected by your energy and emotion. Regularly spending time with them, playing and solving the puzzles will keep your dog happy and the bond between both of you strong and full of affection.

How Do I Get My Dog Interested in Puzzle Toys


How to Teach a Dog to Use Puzzles?

Many puzzles have ways to set them for teaching your dog, such as using larger openings to let the food come out more easily. You can also help by leaving the treat covers off harder puzzles initially and by showing your dog how they work. Choose the Right Types of Toys For Mental Stimulation. Start Slowly With a Simple Puzzle. Provide Lots of Encouragement and Positive Behavior Reinforcement. Engage Your Dog’s Scent By Using Their Favorite Treats. Move On to More Challenging Puzzles Over Time.

Homemade Food Puzzles for Dogs?

Pop a treat inside an empty roll, then fold the ends in on each other. Boom, you’ve got a dog puzzle. Toss it to your dog and watch her work her way to the treat inside.

How Do You Attract a Dog to a Toy?

Drag the toy around and see if they want to chase it. Play keep-away for a little bit, giving them little “tastes” of the toy before running away with it again. Let them catch the toy a couple of times and praise them when they do! Toss it small distances.

How Do I Encourage My Dog to Play With Toys?

Encourage your dog with gentle praising, building to excited physical and verbal praise when your dog is more enthusiastic. Dogs can also be encouraged to play with toys by using a toy designed to have food pushed into them. Show your dog the toy, let your dog sniff the food, and then roll the toy along the floor.

Are Dogs Bored at Home?

Constantly bugging you to interact while you’re trying to get some work done? In many cases, there is a simple explanation: your dog is bored! Dogs get bored just like we do, so it’s important to provide them with exercise, training, interactive toys, and brain games to keep them busy and entertained.


So, in general, puzzles are a great way to make your dog happy and keep them happy. It also increases their confidence and intelligence.

Quality time with you during puzzle sessions is beneficial for both of you, rewards in the end are like sweet surprises.

While you provide the basic necessities of life for your dog, it’s good to let them work on some things on their own. A bit of difficulty makes your dog stronger!


  1. Hospital, A. E. (2020). Dog breeds with a high risk of bloat- Animal Emergency Hospital.
  2. PetMD Editorial. (2022). Exercising with your dog 101- PetMD.
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Jeanette Hampton
Jeanette Hampton is a content writer at WWD and an expert on all things pets. She’s been writing pet blogs for over 5 years and knows everything there is to know about dogs. Jeanette enjoys writing about pet-related topics because she enjoys helping people learn more about their furry friends.

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