Many people don’t realize dogs need mental stimulation as much as physical activity. This is especially true for puppies and active dog breeds.
They also don’t realize that you need a mix of thinking and physical work. It turns out that even 15 minutes of mental stimulation can tire your pup out as much as a 30-minute active game or exercise.
If you’ve ever seen an agility trial where the border collies herd sheep, it’s clear the dog is thinking and responding to the trainer’s signals. After a few hours of that, everyone will be tired!
But if you’re like me, you don’t have hours a day to spend training Trixie to stalk sheep, nor do you have any sheep handy. Even if you did, you’d still want active dog toys for the downtime.
Here are some of our favorite active dog toys for your doggie’s enrichment.
Active Dog Toys for Mental Stimulation: Puzzle Toys
The Nina Ottosson line of problem-solving interactive dog toys wins two paws up from dogs everywhere. These treat puzzle toys come in four difficulty levels, so you can start your active dog out with a Level 1 puzzle toy and work up to a Level 4.
Small and big dogs love the problem-solving combination of nose work and pawing to get to the hidden treats or kibble.
Puppy Smart Level 1 Interactive Dog Puzzle Toy
Hide a little kibble under these dog bones and let your dog loose to sniff out the goodies. You can vary where (and what) you hide under the bones to keep your pup guessing. This puzzle toy also works as a way to slow down your dog’s eating if your pup is prone to gulping his meals.
Puppy Smart Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy, Blue
The Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Puppy Smart interactive dog puzzle is a fun way to get your dog excited about problem solving games! This level 1 dog puzzle toy features nine treat hiding compartments that can be filled with your pup’s favorite treats and covered with nine dog bones that release the tasty scent of treats through the top hole. Place on the ground and watch your dog use his noggin as…
Level 2 Dog Brick Interactive Dog Puzzle
They’re ready to upgrade when your doggo’s mastered the level 1 puzzle game. Many dogs do well with a next-level up interactive puzzle toy like this one. It’s more challenging to open the hiding spots and uncover the dog treats, which keeps boredom at bay.
Dog Brick Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy, Blue
The Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Brick level 2 puzzle dog game will keep your dog entertained for hours as they use their natural hunting skills to seek out the hidden treats! This toy comes with 3 easy-to-fill compartments to hide your dog’s favorite treats and snacks in. Flip lid compartments open up to reveal the first compartment and can also slides to reveal a hidden second compartment…
Level 3 Dog Casino Puzzle
You’ll need to upgrade the puzzle toy to keep your dog engaged as your dog improves those problem-solving skills. This interactive dog toy has treat drawers where you can hide kibble or treats, and as your dog figures it out, you can add a difficulty level by twisting the bone-shaped handles.
Dog Casino Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy, Turquoise
The Dog Casino interactive treat puzzle is a level 3 advanced dog game from Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound that’s ideal for bored dogs! This interactive dog puzzle features six treat drawers for dog treats which can be accessed by twisting the bone locks. Just simply place the treats in the drawers, slide them in, and twist the bones for an added sequential step challenge. Your pup will enjoy pawing,…
Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Activity Matz Puzzle Mat
Another fun puzzle toy suitable for beginners or puppies is a snuffle mat. You can hide dog food or treats in the pockets and let your pup snuffle around until they find them. This is also a good way to slow your dog’s eating down if your pup inhales rather than chews food.
Activity Matz Fast Food Fun Dog Puzzle Mat, Multi
Outward Hound Activity Matz are fun to use, easy to clean, and perfect for both mental and physical exercise. The Fast Food Fun activity mat comes with optional closures to level up the challenge! Once your dog has sniffed out the treats or kibble from the plush material, increase the challenge by placing food in the pockets and hiding them under an extra layer by stuffing in the hot dog. For an even…
These puzzle games are some of the best interactive dog toys any active dog could hope for.
Chew toys are doggie playtime staples. Depending on your dog’s age and temperament, they’ll need an array of chew toys. Puppies benefit from teething toys, while aggressive chewers need a tough chew toy that stands up to their strong jaws.
Petstages Mini Orka Chew Pair
These vivid chew toys relieve teething pain. There are various textures to massage sore gums, and the canvas streamers clean your puppy’s teeth of plaque and tartar. If your puppy is already an aggressive chewer, this is not a good chew toy for them.
Mini Orka Chew Pair Dog Toys – 2 Pack, Royal Blue, Small
The Mini Orka Chew Pair from Petstages is a brightly colored chew toy duo your pup is sure to love! Made from durable Orka TPE rubber with multiple textures that massage gums, while canvas streamers remove soft tartar and plaque. These cute dog chew toys are a fun way to keep your pup occupied while you’re busy or for interactive playtime. Please note, that these mini chew toys are designed specifically…
Petstages Liver Branch Dog Chew Toy
Trade the risk of splintering wood for these tasty (and pet safe) beef-flavored dog chews. They’re tastier than a nylabone and available in three sizes for small dogs up to large.
Liver Branch Dog Chew Toy
Petstages chew toys satisfy your dog’s natural instinct to chew with a wide variety of innovative and durable toys that enhance their dental health and keep dogs occupied with appropriate chewing solutions. The ergonomic design and shape make it easy for dogs to hold between their paws as they gnaw away on the chew toy. Great for dogs that love to chew, the Liver Branch occupies dogs as much as it…
Orka Bone Treat-Dispensing Dog Chew Toy
Some dogs are more aggressive chewers. Think of those with solid jaws like Boxers or large dogs; these chew toys are great for those heavy chewers. They also help reduce plaque and tartar for cleaner teeth.
Orka Alternative Dog Chew Toy, Bone
The Petstages Orka Mini Bone dog chew toy provides your pup with an appropriate option for instinctual satisfaction, while helping to reduce boredom and destructive behavior. The unique Orka TPE rubber material keeps these toys lasting through tough chewing while keeping dogs interested. The flat shape of the Orka Mini Bone helps exercise jaw muscles while rope pieces support good dental hygiene by…
You can use your dog’s chew toys for hide-and-seek toys. Just hide the toy and watch your dog seek it out!
Every good dog needs a fun plush toy for cuddly fun. Fortunately, Outward Hound has many favorite plush dog toys for your pup’s enjoyment.
Hedgehogz Hedgehog Dog Toy
Dogs love this plush toy’s grunter and squeaky sounds. Some customers report buying two in different sizes so their furry friend can curl up with one and chomp on the other. With soft faux fur and minimal seams, these are durable toys.
Hedgehogz Dog Toy
Outward Hound’s plush Hedgehogz are a favorite amongst dogs. Made with minimal seams to reduce tearing, and soft faux-fur to mimic a natural feel, your pet will adore snuggling up and playing games with this cuddly companion. Available in a range of sizes. Small Hedgehogz feature the classic squeaker while medium, large, and XL Hedgehogz feature both squeaking and grunting noisemakers. If your dog likes to…
Hide a Squirrel
Dogs and their parents love this plush tree trunk filled with stuffed squirrels. You can toss the squirrels for a game of fetch and teach your dog to pick up the squirrels and return them back to their trunk. Plus, each squirrel is its own squeaky toy for extra fun.
Hide A Toy Plush Puzzle Toy
Outward Hound’s Hide A line of hide and seek plush dog puzzles was designed specifically to eliminate boredom, encourage positive play, and feed your dog’s natural hunting instincts. 2-in-1 interactive play means double the fun with options to play fetch or hide and seek to keep your dog mentally-stimulated. For dogs who can’t get enough of these plushy animals, check out our replacement 3-packs! Bound to…
Outward Hound Longidudes Unicorn Plush Dog Tug Toy
If you want a one-of-a-kind durable plush toy, choose the long unicorn. Made with K9 Tuff Guard technology ™, this is a long-lasting plush toy with three squeakers and crinkle stuffing for fun noises to keep your pup entertained for hours. At 29 inches long, you can even use it as a tug toy for a little interactive play.
Longidudes Unicorn Plush Dog Tug Toy, Blue
Longidudes from Outward Hound are an ultra-long plush dog tug toy that’s as cuddly as it is durable. Soft on the outside for comfortable cuddle sessions but tough on the inside thanks to the unique K9 Tuff Guard technology featuring reinforced non-rip seams, ultra-durable fused backing-fused backing, and double stitched seams. Designed to take tug-of-war games to the next level with 3 large squeakers and…
Ropes-A-Go-Go Cow Interactive Plush Dog Tug Toy
Ropes-A-Go-Go dog tug toys feature textures like corduroy and twisted rope that help clean your dog’s teeth. Inside are squeakers and crumpled paper to keep your dog entertained with the different sounds. Reinforced stitching improves the durability of this rope toy.
Ropes-A-Go-Go Interactive Plush Dog Tug Toy
Outward Hound’s Ropes-A-Go-Go characters are adorable, multi-sensory interactive dog toys that your pup is bound to befriend! Constructed with soft plush, corduroy, and twisted rope material for a cozy yet tough dog toy that can last through multiple play sessions. Stuffed with crinkle paper and three squeakers that will keep your pup engaged for hours! Grab the rope loops for a fun game of tug-of-war or…
Dog Ball Toys & Fetch Toys
Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Fetch Ball With Rope
This 2-in-1 toy features a heavy-duty rubber ball on one end and a looped rope on the other. You can play tug-of-war with your pooch or toss it for him to fetch. This bouncing ball even has a minty flavor that freshens dog breath.
Orbee-Tuff Fetch Ball With Rope Dog Toy
The Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Fetch Ball with Rope is a great solution for pet owners who want to play multiple games with one easy-to-throw dog toy! Durable rope and TPE rubber are used to create a longer-lasting fetch toy that can bounce and float. Perfect for interactive games like tossing, tugging, chasing, and fetch! Made in the USA. from BPA, lead, and phthalate-free materials. Available in multiple…
Petstages Orka Flyer Flying Disc
The frisbee is a classic fetch toy, but traditional plastic frisbees crack and can hurt your dog’s teeth. This Orka flyer is made for dogs, so it flies but is gentle on your pup’s mouth when he goes airborne to capture it.
Orka Flyer Flying Disc Dog Toy, Blue
The Petstages Orka Flyer Disc is a tough, ergonomically designed dog toy for interactive play with your pup. This durable fetch toy has a thick rim that doubles as an easy grip for you and a tough chew for your dog. Made from TPE material and reinforced with inner ribs and raised textures that feel satisfying to chew while being gentle on teeth and gums. The Orka Flyer bounces and floats so you can take…
Petstages Nubbiez Treat and Squeak Dog Ball
The Petstages’ Nubbiez Treat & Squeak Ball is a treat ball if you fill it with peanut butter or kibble. Active dogs love a food-dispensing toy, and it also squeaks, bounces, and even makes crunchy sounds if your dog chews it.
Nubbiez Treat and Squeak Dog Ball, Purple, Large
Petstages’ Nubbiez Treat & Squeak Ball is made with interior nubs that provide a unique chewing experience that dogs love! With a squeaking center and big bouncy body, The Nubbiez Squeak ball is big on fun and bounce! Not to mention, the Petstages Nubbiez Treat & Squeak Ball is also a treat dispenser! This treat-dispensing dog toy holds and releases treats to keep your dog interested while they play and…
Outward Hound Squeaker Ballz
Like a frisbee, every active dog needs a classic tennis ball dog toy. This multi-pack comes in various colors, so they’re hard to lose and perfect for a game of fetch. They also squeak and come in multiple sizes so that you can choose the size right for your pup.
Squeaker Ballz Squeaky Tennis Balls, Large
Outward Hound Squeaker Ballz are a new twist on the classic tennis ball! These brightly colored, multi-sized balls are made with premium rubber so that the bounce doesn’t end before the games are done. Your pup will love fetching this squeaky tennis ball whether playing indoors or enjoying the great outdoors. Squeaker Ballz come in multi-packs of 2,4,6,& 8 making them a great addition to families with one…
Launch A Ball Squeak Dog Ball Launcher
Many medium and large dogs love a good game of fetch. But if you’re anything like me, you don’t have much power in your throwing arm. The dog ball launcher fixes that problem. Just plop a dog ball toy into the cup at the end, draw your arm back, and heave-ho, you’re ready for the pitcher’s mound! Or at least good enough for your doggie.
Launch A Ball Squeak Dog Ball Launcher, Turquoise
Outward Hound’s Launch A Ball Squeak isn’t your average dog ball launcher. We added an interactive element to traditional games of fetch with your dog by including a squeaker handle! Simply squeeze the squeaker in the handle to get your dog’s attention during fetch fun. Let your pup go the distance! The Launch A Ball dog ball thrower launches 3x farther for long-distance fetch so you can maximize exercise…
Not technically a dog toy, some dog owners like using slow feeders or puzzle bowls for their pup’s dog food because these bowls slow down pups in a rush at mealtime. These are washable, too! ur fun feeders are top-rack dishwasher safe.
Fun Feeder Slo Bowl, Slow Feeder Dog Bowl
While your furry friend no longer needs to fight for food, those survival instincts can still persist even with the best trained pup. That’s why at Outward Hound we’ve created the Fun Feeder Slo Bowl dog bowls featuring meal-lengthening ridges and multiple challenging mazes. Fun Feeder Slo Bowls keep pups engaged for up to 10x longer during mealtimes, which helps improve overall digestion while helping…
As you can see, there are many types of active dog toys to keep dogs entertained, and your dog training will be easier with plenty of physical and mental stimulation.
The key is to get the dog toys in rotation and make sure to choose ones suitable for your active dog. Some are great for active play like fetch, while others are fun interactive toys like Nina Ottosson’s puzzle games.
Will you choose a mix of rope toys, plush toys, or treat-dispensing dog toys? Which ones will be your dog’s favorite pet toy? You can find these and more at your local pet shop or online at Amazon and Chewy.