All dog owners know how to meet their dogs' basic needs. Food and water, safety, shelter – we take care of all of these needs on a daily basis. But, did you know that mental stimulation is also needed everyday in order for your dog to live a healthy lifestyle? These DIY dog puzzles will provide hours of fun and stimulation for any bored pup.
Although physical exercise is important, it's not all that our dogs need. Mental stimulation is important too. A bored dog can become quite a nuisance.
Studies have shown that playing with a toy that makes a dog think and use abilities he already has in a new way will tire him as much as a walk around the block! Think about what your dog would say if he were asking you for a new toy. He'd probably tell you that he wanted something fun that would peak his interest and keep him entertained while you were away, right?
Most dog toys are great for a game of fetch or tug, but when you're not around they aren't very much fun for your Fido to play with on his own. Not all of us think very much about the specific needs of our dog when it comes to purchasing toys. We buy cute toys or toys that we think fit our dogs personality and style.
Some dogs have more energy than others and some dogs are more clever than others. Dogs need mental and physical exercise to be healthy. Your dog plays in the same yard everyday. You probably take the same route on your daily walks everyday. This type of activity isn't very stimulating on a mental level.
DIY dog puzzles are the perfect way to exercise your pet's mind and his body. These types of dog toys encourage your companion to get up and get active, while also challenging him to figure out the puzzle to earn his reward.
These types of toys are far more entertaining for your pet than a simple plush or chew toy. Plus, if you make them yourself there will be little to no expense.
DIY Dog Puzzles: 6 Different Ideas
A muffin tin may be the only thing you'll need to buy to keep your pup mentally stimulated with some great DIY ideas. It seems like a simple thing, but there are may different things you can do with a muffin tin to keep your pooch entertained.
As you'll see in my video guide above, playing a game of hide-and-seek with some tennis balls, dog treats and a muffin tin is a favorite with my pack. Place a treat or two in each cup of the muffin tin, and then place a tennis ball (or other appropriately sized ball) over the treats. Your dog will have to paw and nose at the balls to remove them in order to get hid reward.
You can also flip the muffin tin upside down and place a training treat or two under a few of the cups. Your dog will have to paw and nose at the tin to lift it enough to remove his snacks.
When your dog tires of the muffin tin games, you can use the tennis balls to create different DIY dog puzzles. Cut an ‘X' in a tennis, like I have done in the photo above. This is a really cheap way to make your own treat dispensing dog toy.
Squeeze the ball to open the ‘X' and put a few teats inside. As your dog chews on the ball, treats will occasionally fall out. This puzzle is a little bit more challenging than the muffin tin games, which means it will occupy your dog for a longer period of time.
Perhaps the easiest of the DIY dog puzzles that I share in my video guide is the kibble under a towel puzzle. As the name suggests, you simply spread some kibble or treats on the floor and cover with a towel. Your dog will have to root around and search through the towel to find his reward.
If you don't mind a mess, nesting boxes are another way to make a homemade dog puzzle. Place a few treats in a large box, a few treats in a medium box and a few more treats in a small box. Put the boxes inside of each other and let your dog have some fun doing mentally stimulating nose work to find his prize!
Finally, you can use an old plastic milk jug to create a simple DIY dog toy. Wash out an old milk jug and cut a few small holes in it. You want the holes to be just a bit bigger than your dog's kibble. Now put a handful of kibble in the jug, secure the cover, and place it on the floor for your dog.
As your dog rolls the bottle around on the floor, kibble will occasionally pop out. You can start with 6-8 holes to make the game a little easier, but as your dog catches on, make a new jug with 2-3 holes to increase the level of difficulty. Also, the smaller the holes, the harder the challenge will be.
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