Meal time isn’t just a routine for your furry friend; it’s an opportunity to provide your puppy with some engaging enrichment. Incorporating mental and physical stimulation during your puppy’s meals not only adds excitement to their day but also contributes significantly to their overall well-being. Let’s dive into the world of canine enrichment, specifically focusing on utilizing puzzle toys and food-dispensing toys during mealtimes.
There are hundreds of toys in these categories, but I will highlight a few of them to give you an idea of what is out there. If you need more ideas, some great groups on FB focus on enrichment. Here is one of my favorites!
There are hundreds of puzzle toys on the market nowadays. When your puppy is just starting, choose the easy or level one puzzle toys. As your dog learns to master those, you can get more difficult ones.
Rise, a golden retriever puppy, was happy to demonstrate the use of some of these puzzle toys for your enjoyment! Rise enjoys eating every meal out of a puzzle or food-dispensing toy.
Food-Dispensing Toys for Meal Time Enrichment
Many food-dispensing toys are designed so the puppy has to roll them around in order to get the food. However, toys like stuffed kongs and snuffle mats can also be found in this category. Once my puppy has mastered the puzzle toys, I use food-dispensing toys for meals.
This is an easier food-dispensing toy. I like to start my puppies on this one, so they can learn that moving it around will cause the food to fall out.
The Buster cube is my all-time favorite food dispensing toy. Because of the little maze inside this plastic cube, the food is more difficult to get out, therefore requiring more movement and energy from the puppy.
Stuffed kongs are another favorite food-dispensing toy. Mix your puppy’s kibble with some canned dog food. You can also add a little yogurt, peanut butter, or baby food for additional enjoyment. Freeze the kong and give it to your puppy for some long-lasting enrichment.
A good alternative to a stuffed kong is a Toppl. Fill it and freeze it, then watch your dog enjoy!
Another great way to feed your pup is with a snuffle mat. These fabric food-dispensing toys encourage a lot of sniffing and searching, which is fantastic for your puppy.
Do you want to come check out some of these toys and learn about more ways to add enrichment to your puppy’s life? Check out our puppy classes! Enrollment is always open, so sign up today!
Remember to supervise your puppy with any new toys and adjust the difficulty level as they become more skilled. Additionally, rotating toys regularly can help maintain their interest. Enrichment helps with mental stimulation, alleviates boredom, and reduces destructive behaviors. It’s a win-win for both you and your furry friend!