Here’s everything you need to know about easy DIY dog puzzles you and your dog will love, from start to finish.
It’s no secret that dogs are among the most intelligent animals in the world. While providing your dog with lots of physical exercise is important, it’s just as important to provide mental stimulation. Without it, your dog may become bored or destructive.
Easy DIY puzzles can provide your dog with much-needed mental stimulation. And usually, you can make them with things you have lying around! They can be a great way to use what you already have in your home. Additionally, they provide a great chance to bond with your dog.
What is a DIY Dog Puzzle?
What exactly is a DIY dog puzzle? Simply put, a do-it-yourself dog puzzle is a type of enrichment puzzle that focuses on mental stimulation and often uses products or things you already have lying around.
These puzzles can be made from a variety of fabrics and items. There are a million different ways to make DIY dog puzzles that can be fun and enriching for dogs at any age!
You can be sure that your dog will be over the moon indulging in a DIY puzzle
Why DIY Dog Puzzles Are Great for You and Your Dog
DIY dog puzzles are great for you and your dog because they allow the chance for you to bond while providing them with mental stimulation. Without DIY dog puzzles, there aren’t many ways to ensure your dog fully exercises its brain.
While going outside can be great for mental stimulation, it isn’t always feasible, given weather extremes, vaccination status, or dog-to-dog reactivity.
DIY dog puzzles allow your dog to feel safe and have fun in the comfort of your own home or backyard. Much like we play games on our smartphones, our dogs need to have their brains challenged regularly. DIY dog puzzles provide a healthy and cost-effective outlet to do so.
How to Make a DIY Dog Puzzle
There are no rules when it comes to making a DIY dog puzzle, only best practices. It’s pretty easy to make a DIY dog puzzle with items you have around your house, like old socks, paper towel tubes, tape, and treats.
Generally, it’s recommended to use a medium (like a shoe box) to hide the treats in. Then, you make the shoe box hard to get into. Your dog will use their brains to get into the box and receive the treats.
A DIY dog puzzle shouldn’t be a problem if your dog is food-motivated. If your dog is more people-motivated, you might have better luck playing a game of fetch outside.
However, DIY dog puzzles are one of the most cost-effective and enriching tools to give your dog while you’re away at work or running errands.
Types of Easy DIY Dog Puzzles You and Your Dog Will Love
Empty Water Bottles in a Baby Pool
If your dog is particularly active, then empty water bottles in a baby pool are a wonderful option for DIY. Most of us have empty plastic water bottles and old baby pools lying around. Simply take an empty baby pool and fill it up with plastic water bottles. Your dog will love crushing them and tossing them around!
If your dog tends to be destructive, this is a great way for them to dig through, chew, and crush the water bottles for maximum enrichment.
This is a wonderful activity for high-energy, larger breeds that are six months to a year old. For added fun, add a little water to the baby pool on a hot summer day! As always, be sure to monitor your dog.
Newspaper Enrichment Box
Enrichment boxes continue to grow increasingly popular year by year in the dog behavior world. Take an old bin (one that your dog can sift through), cardboard box, or shoe box and fill it with old shredded newspaper. Then, place some of your dog’s favorite treats or toys and watch their eyes light up with joy!
This works by allowing your dog to search for their favorite items. Dogs love to dig and sniff, as we all know. This provides them with a creative outlet that’s easy to clean. Keep the treats and toys small, though. It should be like finding a needle in a haystack!
Outside Dig Box
If your dog loves to dig, then providing them with a controlled outlet for their digging can make all the difference. It encourages their natural behavior without putting your vegetable garden or your neighbor’s roses at risk.
Begin by taking an old baby pool and filling it with dirt or sand. Then, fill it with their favorite toys. Allow them to dig in the pool and find their reward!
While digging can quickly become bothersome, it is a wonderful way for your dog to relieve stress. It’s a great form of exercise and provides tons of mental stimulation. As long as it’s within a controlled environment, digging can provide numerous benefits.
Stuffed Toilet Paper or Paper Towel Tubes
One of the quickest and easiest DIY dog puzzles is a food puzzle using toilet paper or paper towel rolls. If it seems like those cardboard rolls never stop piling up, let your dog play with them! Those tubes are not useless once your dog gets their paws on them.
Take some of your dog’s favorite treats and stuff them into the toilet paper or paper towel roll. Then, twist the ends on each side and seal them with tape.
Your dog will have a harder time getting to the treats, which prompts them to use their wits. Cost-effective and accessible, these are great to give your dog while you watch TV or work from home.
The bigger, the better with a sniff bin. Dogs are creatures of scent. In fact, a dog can smell 1,000 to 100,000 times better than we can. Their noses provide them with a lot of enjoyment and happiness. Sniff bins are a wonderful way to keep your pup, and their nose, engaged while you’re at work.
Begin by taking a cardboard box, bin, or basket, and filling it with cut-up pieces of fabric. You can use old towels or t-shirts. Then, fill the box with tiny scented pieces of fabric. You can marinate pieces of fabric in chicken broth and bury them. The scent will become addictive!
Hidden Treat Puzzle
Hidden treat puzzles are another incredible DIY puzzle for you and your dog to enjoy. Treats keep our pets entertained and happy while we’re away. This is a great option if you’re on the go and want your puppy to be entertained for hours. Food is instinctual for dogs and is a core part of their biology. They’re hard-wired to hunt and scavenge.
Take an old bin, basket, or box, and several old toilet paper or paper towel rolls. Much like we mentioned with the stuffed rolls, take a roll, fill it with treats, and close it off at either end.
Then, fill the shoe box with several empty rolls and a few filled rolls. They’ll go crazy trying to figure out which roll contains the treats!
Muffin Tin Treat Game
Another easy game that’s quick to have on hand is the muffin tin treat game. This requires little to no prep and is quick and easy for them to play. It’s also a great way to practice portion control with treats. All you need is a muffin tin, some high-value treats, meat, or cheese, and some tennis balls.
Begin by taking a muffin tin and smearing some cheese, meat, or another high-value treat around each muffin tin to thoroughly coat each tin in the scent. Then, stuff each tin with the treat and cover it with tennis balls. Watch your dog go crazy trying to figure out which tennis ball is covering the treats.
Indoor Scent and Treat Game
One of the most interactive games you can play in your home only requires high-value treats, like specific dog treats, meat, or cheese.
Since dogs rely heavily on their scent, hiding treats around your house and letting your dog find them can be some of the most fun you two have together! They get to use their noses while you get to watch in awe as they try to find the treats.
Take some high-value treats and hide them around the house while you keep your dog in a separate room or outside for a moment. Then, when you’re ready to let them in, let them smell the scent on your hands. Give them a command, like “find it,” and watch them go crazy trying to find the treats.
Another activity that’s incredibly fun for your dog and you but does require a little more money is a ball pit. Fill up a ball pit with balls and stick treats down at the bottom. Watch your dog go crazy trying to get to the bottom of the ball pit!
This also provides a sensory experience for your dog with the balls. They may also like playing with the balls too! Though it can be a little bit more of an investment upfront, it’s a great long-term DIY toy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Depending on how much your dog enjoys certain foods, try kibble, treats, meat, cheese, or peanut butter.
Ideally, your dog should play for 15 to 30 minutes per day with a puzzle.
In addition to physical exercise, mental stimulation can help wear out a dog.
Conclusion for “Easy DIY Dog Puzzles You and Your Dog Will Love”
All in all, having fun with your puppy and providing them with mental stimulation doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. It’s all about having fun and making memories. DIY has never been cuter or easier. Happy DIYing!
If you enjoyed this guide, “Easy DIY Dog Puzzles You and Your Dog Will Love,” you might like:
- 20 Reasons Why My Dog is My Best Friend! (2023)
- 6 Fun Games to Play With Your Poodle! (2023)
- The 6 Best Funny Dog Movies! (2023)
If you want to learn more about DIY puzzles for dogs, you can by watching “Brain Games for Dogs – DIY Puzzle Toys” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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