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Puzzles That Are for Dogs



I am not a vet and nothing in this article is veterinary medical advice (see disclaimer).


There are puzzle toys that are not designed for humans at all but rather for their pets in particular dogs. There is a wide variety of them in terms of look and the challenge they offer with these challenges demanding from the pooch different skills and ways of playing with them. They can also range in difficulty with some being quite complex to solve and they will test the senses be it either hearing, sight, touch, taste or smell or a combination of them. The pet is not the only one who benefits from the puzzle toy as it can provide entertainment for the owner as well by watching the dog play with it and trying to solve it or by joining in and helping. The toy part of the puzzle toy is to ensure it is fun and not just a test for the dog and they can just mess about with it if they want. If a dog shows an interest in dog toys in general and they seem to be intelligent then a puzzle toy could be ideal for them and even preferable to a regular dog plaything or an ideal accompaniment to one.


Some of these pet puzzle toys are designed for specific sized dogs and would be difficult if not impossible for one that is not the correct size to operate them. Some, on the other hand, will be suitable for pretty much any sized dog except for young puppies but if thinking about getting one it is worth checking beforehand if it is suitable for the size of pooch you own and if they could operate it easily. Some of them can be used by other animals as well such as cats so if you own both a cat and a dog this may be a way of getting them to play together and can save you from having to potentially get separate toys for the cat and dog which also helps alleviate clutter as well. The size of the doggy puzzle toy, the shape of it, the number of pieces it has and the weight of it will all be factors in determining how easy it is to store away as some are quite big and take up a lot of room which means it might not be so easy to find a place for when not being used. Another possible negative of one being large in size is that it could be an obstacle that gets in the way when it is being used as it takes up so much room and could be dangerous even if it is possible to trip over or slip on it.


Many puzzle toys for dogs incorporate food as an incentive for completing and solving the challenge so if your pooch has tried other ones that didn't incorporate food and shown no interest then one with food most likely will be enough to get them to engage with one. There could be a danger of overfeeding a dog if it plays too much with the puzzle toy when food is part of the challenge and an owner should be wary of this. The puzzle toys that do incorporate food can sometimes leave a mess if your pet doesn't eat everything up because the food can get scattered about whilst the toy is being played with and depending on the type of dog food could be a pain to clean up.


As there are many different types of dog puzzle games they will therefore also be physically operated in different ways but they will usually involve using the snout, mouth, tongue or teeth of the animal in combination with its paws. Some of these types of toys can be a bit fiddly to operate and therefore require more of a deft touch from the dog so will be a physical skill challenge as well as a mental challenge. The puzzle toys may need force to solve them which might be easier for some dogs than others depending on the type and age of the dog that uses it. The pet should be supervised when using one in case an incident occurs such as they get caught in the toy or a piece comes off they could choke on but the puzzle toy should be designed with the safety of the pet in mind.


One of the main purposes of a dog puzzle game is to keep the pet entertained or distracted which hopefully means that the pet will be busy playing with the toy instead of aggravating its owner which it might do when it is bored and has nothing to do. Some of them though can be an annoyance or distraction in themselves for the owner as they make a lot of noise when played with or the pet needs supervising with it. Therefore, if the owner is looking to keep the pooch distracted whilst they need some peace and quiet then a puzzle toy that makes little noise or needs minimal supervision would be what they require. Alternatively, the owner could get somebody else to supervise their pet with the puzzle toy that is distracting and get them to play with it in another room or place so that they are not being disturbed. Puzzle toys for dogs do vary in the length of time they can take to complete and consequently how long they will be able to distract the animal for and additionally some will be more replayable than others as well. They can be a shared experience that entertains both owner and pet at the same time with the owner helping the dog to complete the challenge or the toy itself is designed to include the owner in order to solve or play with it. They might be best used in a place where there are as few as possible distractions for the dog such as other people or animals or noises so it can concentrate solely on the challenge at hand. Also, when they are played with is important as it would be best for the pet to be as awake as possible and alert so it is more likely to want to play with one and be better able to perform to the best of its ability. Some are suitable to be played with outdoors or they need more space to be played with which could be, for example, in the back garden and when the weather is decent it may make the toy more appealing for the pet to play with and add to the experience.


Dog puzzle toys are designed to make a dog think and are a way for the pet to show how intelligent it is and what it shows could surprise the owner either negatively or positively. It may be a good idea to start with a very easy and simple one when the owner doesn't know the ability of their dog and if the pet has no problems then incrementally increase the difficulty level with other puzzle toys. These pet puzzle toys can sometimes be quite physical challenges as well which can make them a form of exercise for the dog both in the physical and mental sense. Puzzle toys are likely to be more suitable and beneficial for younger dogs who learn quicker and therefore will probably find them easier to solve but older dogs can also learn new tricks even if it can be much more of a struggle. Younger dogs also have more energy and as a consequence could be more willing to engage and play with a puzzle toy than older ones who may just want to rest and sleep for most of the time. The breed could be a determining factor in how well it solves one of these challenges as some breeds are better at doing certain tasks than others. Different challenges can also demand different skills and it may be worth trying a number of different puzzle toys to test and improve the all-around ability of the pet and keep those abilities sharp. Dogs can improve at tasks with practice and it can be fun and rewarding to watch and help them get better at a certain skill or task when they have initially struggled and ultimately try to master it so they can do it without mistakes and as fast as possible. The skills learnt from dog puzzle toys could translate to other areas and help the animal with other tasks such as the ability to focus or the ability to find hidden objects.


Some dog puzzle toys will be more durable and robust than others due to the fact they are made from different materials and played with in different ways. One that involves chewing, for example, will obviously be made to withstand being chewed at but even then may only survive intact for so long if it is constantly being played with and the dog has a powerful bite. How durable a dog puzzle game is could be checked by reading as many reviews of the product as possibe to get a common opinion or by seeing it in action via youtube videos and reading the comments underneath. The type and size of the pooch and its personality can also be factors as to how long a puzzle toy remains intact as some dogs want to destroy everything they get their paws on and some are big and powerful enough to destroy even a very robust toy. Durable puzzle toys that hold up with repeated use over many years can save having to get a new one or repeatedly getting a new one and could even be passed on to another canine. They can be damaged if used not as they are intended and if not stored away properly and just left lying around in the way as they could be stood on which depending on what they are made of could do a lot of damage to the toy.


In summary, you don't have to just share your passion for puzzles with humans and this could be an even more rewarding experience that could have significant benefits for the dog by improving its existing skills and adding new ones.

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