5 Unique Mental Stimulation Toys For Dogs

Your pooch could use a bit of mental enrichment in its day. Did you know that 15 minutes of mental stimulation is equal to 30 minutes of physical exercise?

Small dogs and large dogs alike love to work for their food, and there’s even a term for it! It’s called contrafreeloading, and it’s the driving force behind why dogs love food puzzles so much.

Here are five great mental stimulation toys for dogs that help to entertain and provide mental stimulation for your best friend.

The Tail Teaser Flirt Pole

flirt pole for dogs best dog toys for boredom

One of the best interactive dog toys is the Tail Teaser. This flirt pole encourages mental stimulation for dogs by drawing out their natural hunting instincts. If you have ever seen cats jump, pounce, and play with a wand toy, this toy brings out those same play movements for dogs.

We LOVE wand toys for dogs for multiple reasons, but being able to avoid touching slobbery toys might be the biggest perk. Dogs will go crazy chasing after the fuzzy squeaker toy at the end of the wand. Mix up slow and fast movements to keep your pooch guessing!

This wand for interactive play comes with a durable nylon cord that lasts. It also includes a replaceable plush toy that you can attach to the end of the wand in case your pooch finally kills the first one (when you aren’t looking of course).

Note: Do not leave toy lying around aggressive chewers.


The Hide-A-Squirrel is great at providing mental stimulation for dogs

The Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel puzzle plush interactive dog toy makes dogs go nutty! Create a game of hide and seek for your dog by stuffing the durable plush dog toy tree trunk with the included squeaking squirrels! Dogs love the challenge of hunting out each squirrel toy one by one.

This mentally-stimulating toy comes in a variety of sizes that accommodate your dog’s breed. You can buy a refill pack of additional squeaky toy squirrels to keep the toy fresh and fun for your pooch! Or, add some tennis balls or any other of your dog’s favorite toys into the trunk.

Activity Matz

Get your dog’s brain going by hiding a treat or dog food in a snuffle mat at playtime. Your doggy will put its problem-solving skills to work through the three challenges. Increase the challenge by incorporating more hidden treat pouches and closures.

The Snoop Food-Dispensing Dog Toy

The Snoop is great at providing mental stimulation for dogs

The Snoop is one of our favorite treat dispensing toys for mentally stimulating your pup! Its unique design allows you to pop it open, fill it with dog treats or kibble, fold the opening back shut, and just like that — you have created the ultimate challenge for your pooch! Watch your furry friend wobble, bounce, and toss the interactive treat dispenser toy to try to get the goodies out.

Lickin’ Layers Brain Game

lickin layers dog puzzle. quiet dog toys

Lickin’ Layers is a Level 2 dog treat puzzle game from Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound. Dogs have to navigate the three layers of food compartments by spinning each one to reveal the treats in this interactive puzzle.

Enrichment toys like puzzle games help pups use their natural instincts and behaviors to help their brains develop through mental stimulation, and ones like Lickin’ Layers provide the enrichment they crave!

With over 100 treat compartments, this dog puzzle toy will keep dogs busy and engaged. It even has enough space to be used as a slow feeder to lengthen mealtimes and encourage your dog to eat at a slower, healthier pace. Increase the challenge by freezing peanut butter (xylitol-free), wet food, or plain Greek yogurt. Dog owners, it’s washable, too!

For beginners new to puzzle games, check out the Level 1 difficulty level games. These mentally stimulating dog toys, dog chew toys, and more are available on our website, Amazon, Chewy, Pet Supplies Plus, or your local independent pet shop.