Dog Enrichment & Toy Resources
Dog Enrichment & Toy Resources
By Beth MacLeod, CPDT-KA, Baypath Behavior & Training Coordinator
What is enrichment?
Enrichment is a vital tool that enhances the happiness, health and vitality of your dog. Dogs need enrichment because their brains need to work as much as, if not more than, their legs! Enrichment for dogs has been known to lower stress (theirs and yours!), encourage them to learn more efficiently, and increases problem solving skills which leads to a more emotionally balanced dog. In this post, our trainer Beth MacLeod, CPDT-KA lists out some of her favorite enrichment tools.
These are perfect for providing your dog with an opportunity to be engaged while eating, rather than just gulping their meals down.
- Toppl Treat Toy – This is my all-time, #1 favorite! Easy to stuff with a mixture of kibble, sweet potato or pumpkin, fruits, veggies, bits of chicken, etc. Once stuffed, wrap in plastic wrap, throw them in the freezer and they’re ready to pop out for the next meal.
- Treat Ball Interactive Dog Toy – This is a treat dispensing ball that can be used either as a play time toy, or can be used as part of your dog’s meal time.
- Slow feeder bowl for kibble
- Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble
Lick mats are another great option for freezing yogurt, pumpkin, chicken, etc.
- Lickimats – Lickimats are another great option for freezing yogurt, pumpkin, chicken, etc.
- Lick mat with suctions – This lick mat has suction cups so can be spread with peanut butter or soft cheese and stuck to any smooth surface, such as a bath tub.
A snuffle mat allows dogs to forage for their food.
There are several Nina Ottosson puzzles to choose from. Just be sure to supervise with these.
Interactive Chew Toy
Although this West Paw Puzzle is actually a treat dispenser, I use this as a bully stick dispenser, as I can insert the bully stick either long-wise or cross-wise.
Miscellaneous Balls, Tugs, etc.
One of my go-to places for toys for active dogs is Clean Run. They have an incredible array of toys, including some awesome fleece tugs! …here’s a link to their website:
I also love anything made by West Paw (that’s who makes the Toppl feeder):
Some other great toys:
- Giggle Ball – All my dogs love this crazy thing!
- Jolly Ball – Dogs love chasing this ball around – it’s huge!
- Flirt Poles – Flirt poles are tons of fun, but read the instructions so you are using safely!
- Multipet Pig Toy – One of my dogs’ favorites, these grunt instead of squeak.
- Multipet Duckworth Duck Toy – One of our favorite soft toys.
A note about fleece tug toys and other DIY ideas:
I admit it, I’m thrifty. If you know how to braid, your best bet is to head to JoAnn Fabrics, buy a few yards of fleece, cut into strips and braid whatever length you want. If you remember working with gimp, you can do the 4-strand method, and if you don’t, there are a million tutorials on YouTube that will teach you how!
Save your old toilet paper cardboard rolls, put some treats inside, fold over the ends and voila! a treat dispenser. Yes, they might eat the roll, but as long as it’s not an every day thing, it won’t kill them. As always, supervise!
Here’s a link to some additional DIY toy ideas:
Also, in the “I am thrifty” category, just as an FYI, my favorite place to check for dog toys is TJ Maxx/Home Goods/Marshalls…they often have Outward Hound, Holee Rollers, and Multipet dog toys that are the least expensive around!
Click here for a printable/downloadable version.