I attended a pet blogging conference this spring when my friend and fellow attendee, Eldad Hagar, flagged me down and said, "I need to talk to you!" Eldad has a rescue program called Hope 4 Paws that I've written about a few times. His rescue videos are powerful, have had millions of views, and he is somewhat of a celebrity within the pet community. Needless to say, I was curious to know what he could possibly need from me when he's constantly being mugged by groupies.
Eventually, we had a moment to talk. He wanted to let me know that he had been telling everyone about the puzzle toys we sell because he believes that one of the reasons so many dogs get abandoned or surrendered to shelters is for behavioral issues. He believes that dogs that are underexercised both mentally and physically are prone to anxiety and destructiveness. He said puzzle toys are not just a nice thing to buy for your pet but can actually save pets' lives by discouraging the behaviors that get pets in trouble.
I think a parallel can be made with those bright kids at school who are always in trouble because they're simply bored. Time and time again you hear of famous people who didn't quite fit in the box, but when given the right support, they go on to do great things. Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton and Thomas Edison were considered disruptive and unteachable, yet they wowed the world with their accomplishments. Perhaps your dog is an Einstein, figuring out unusual ways of solving problems. Maybe he's an Edison who invents new ways to amuse himself!
If you check out your local shelter, you will find a high representation of breeds that are considerd to be intelligent: Labs, Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, Terriers and German Shepherds. Many people are aware that these working breeds require a lot of physical activity to be well behaved, but I think Eldad is on to something by suggesting that mental exercise is also very important for bringing out the best in dogs as well!
Check out our new Seamsters line! These versatile toys are chew toys and puzzles in one. The toy is stitched with flexible rawhide strips and some models have a center cavity to place more treats inside. Extra rawhide can be ordered for hours of puzzling fun and chewing to exercise and relax your pooch. Change up the stitching pattern for a greater challenge. Combine a dog’s natural drive to chew with a problem-solving challenge and you have a revolutionary boredom buster. Let your dog burn off frustration and anxiety with a toy that's meant to be "destroyed." Made of natural, non-toxic rubber. They clean teeth and strengthen gums too!
Combine a dog's drive to hunt with this treat and food maze. Ordinary dog bowls may do the job, but you're missing out on an important opportunity to provide mental exercise for your pet. Our Buster Dog Treat and Food Maze also improved digestion by slowing down the eating process, which can be especially important for dogs prone to bloat. Watch this video to see how it works.
The Dog Treat Fighter is a challenging new puzzle from Nina Ottosson which is sure to make your dog think. Treats are placed under the wooden blocks, which he or she must slide through a channel to be able to remove. This puzzle can be made more difficult with the addition of two larger pegs used to block the channels. This is a high-quality puzzle made in Sweden.
We love our Busy Buddy dog toys. The offer a variety of ways to keep dogs entertained through chewing, tugging, and nosing the toy around to dispense treats. This Tug-A-Jug Toy is a staff favorite! These interactive toys are inexpensive, so you can get a variety of styles to keep your pet guessing and engaged.
Cats also appreciate having a healthy outlet for exercise and discovery. My friend Eldad also mentioned that his own cat loves his dog puzzle toys as much as the canines! We've had reports of cats using the Dog Casino, the Dog Spinny, and the Zanies Slide N' Seek. These dog puzzles have finer manipulatives that cats really enjoy! But we also have several options designed specifically for cats as well including our Zanies Leopards Den Kitty Cat Teaser.
We hope these puzzle toy ideas will help you to find creative outlets to keep your pet exercised mentally. If you hear of a friend with concerns about pet behavior, have them give these toys a try. It could save a pet from being given up to a shelter!
Featured photo submitted by Bethany of her dog Carter in Morristown, NJ. Carter loves his Paw Flapper Game from Dog Puzzle Games.