To make it easier for you to pick out a new game for your dog, we’ve created a difficulty rating system that highlights the differences between our various pup puzzles. Of course, every dog is different. What’s easy for a Labradoodle might be positively puzzling for the smartest pug. Some play patterns come more naturally than others depending on the breed and temperament of the dog. However, the following guide should help you understand what makes some of our games harder than others.
Nina Ottosson recommends learning your dog’s puzzle-solving style in order to find which game suits your dog. Puzzle-solving pups typically land into two different buckets: paw dogs and nose dogs. A paw dog may find it easier to move the puzzle parts around using their paws versus nudging with their snout, while a nose dog relies on their snout to move it around more than their paws.
No matter your dog’s puzzle-solving style, you’ll find that these games satisfy their needs for mental stimulation and enrichment. Read on to learn more about each difficulty level along with videos of some of our treat puzzles in action.
LEVEL 1 DIFFICULTY: EASY
Our Level 1 dog games are the “easiest” of the pack. They’re best suited to dogs that are naturally curious and love sniffing for treats, as well as dogs that are new to playing dog games. Think of these games as having “one-step” solutions.
For example, your pup might have to simply nudge a ball or remove an obstacle to retrieve the hidden treats. These games also feature play patterns that are natural or intuitive for dogs to engage in, meaning they’re likely to figure out the game without much additional guidance. Level 1 dog toys are perfect for pups that are new to nosework.
LEVEL 2 DIFFICULTY: INTERMEDIATE
If you think you’re pup is ready for a new play pattern, step up to our Level 2 dog games! These puzzles are perfect for dogs that are ready to rack their brains with a new play pattern. Level 2 games typically require slightly more skill to solve. They can involve picking up covers, lifting flaps, paw pressing on levers, and tipping or sliding actions. These games may also require some demonstration from you for your dog to understand the play pattern.
LEVEL 3 DIFFICULTY: ADVANCED
Is your dog genius-level smart? Has your pup mastered our Level 1 and Level 2 games? Then our Level 3 games will be perfect for your little Arfistotle. Think of these games as having “two-step” solutions. This means your pup will have to complete two distinct play actions to fully solve the puzzle. For example, in the Challenge Slider, your dog will have to perform multiple sliding actions in order to reveal the treat beneath each tile.
LEVEL 4 DIFFICULTY: EXPERT
Our level 4 dog puzzle, the MultiPuzzle, is for dog geniuses who have already mastered levels 1-3. The level of difficulty of the MultiPuzzle can be adjusted as your dog learns! Between the moveable green tiles, spinning wheel, orange locks, and center sliders, your pup will stay busy working for those treats for a good while!
Put your dog’s problem-solving skills to the test
Whatever your pup’s skill level, these toys are great for providing mental stimulation indoors while also offering a healthy, slow-feeding solution. So go ahead and get your game on!
Do you already have one of our puzzles? Check out Nina Ottosson’s Tips & Tricks in the Puzzle section of our blog. Nina breaks down how to make each game easier for pups still learning the ropes, and how to make them more difficult for dogs who are quick to solve them.
Shop levels 1-4 below.
Level 1 Dog Puzzles
The Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Treat Maze is a level 2 game perfect for pet owners needing an enticing solo game to reduce destructive behavior and boredom for their pups. Great for pups who have mastered level 1 games and are ready for an added challenge! This brightly colored dog puzzle game is easy to fill with treats and can be shaken to release the scent in case you pup hasn’t already noticed! The…
The Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Treat Tumble is a perfect puzzle ball for any pup! A level 1 treat-dispensing dog puzzle, the Treat Tumbler will keep your dog intrigued as they roll the ball and sniff around to find ways to release the reward. Easy to fill with two treat-dispensing holes. Made with food safe BPA-free plastic that is easy to wipe clean for outdoor and indoor fun!BEGINNER’S PUZZLE…
The Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog 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 he…
The Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Smart Composite interactive dog puzzle is a fun way to get your dog excited about problem solving games! This mind-stimulating level 1 dog toy features nine treat hiding compartments that can be filled with your pup’s favorite treats and covered with nine pegs that release the tasty scent of treats through the top hole. Place on the ground and watch your dog use his…
Level 2 Dog Puzzles
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…
The Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Interactive Puppy Hide N’ Slide puzzle game is a fun way to engage your pup’s mind and activate their problem solving-skills. This level 2 intermediate puzzle dog toy comes with two types of hiding spots for snacks or kibble for a total of 14 treat compartments: under the swivelling flippers and in the hollow sliding blocks. You can vary the difficulty level by placing…
The Dog Tornado level 2 interactive dog puzzle from Nina Ottosson is the ideal toy for bored dogs and will keep them occupied for hours! This intermediate level toy features three tiers with twelve compartments for dog snacks or kibble. This mentally stimulating and entertaining dog game encourages your pup to spin the interactive puzzle tiers to reveal the rewards – three bone shaped covers can be used…
Level 3 Dog Puzzles
The Challenge Slider dog puzzle from Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound is an advanced level 3 game designed for pups who have mastered levels 1-2. This dog toy will promote the mental wellbeing of your dog by keeping them active and engaged while sniffing, nudging, and pawing for hidden treats! A sliding tray pulls out from underneath with 24 compartments that can hold up to 1 cup of food total…
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,…
When you’re looking for a toy for bored dogs who have mastered the simpler dog treat puzzles, this engaging level 3 advanced interactive treat puzzle from Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound is the perfect next step! The Dog Twister interactive dog puzzle toy features nine treat drawers for dog treats which are secured in place with nine white tabs. Just simply place the treats in the drawers, slide them in,…
The Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Worker puzzle dog toy is a challenging level 3 puzzle game that will keep your dog busy for hours as they use their instincts to hunt for hidden treats. This advanced interactive dog puzzle game has 3 steps that your dog will need to learn in order to get to the tasty rewards: swivel the flippers, scoot the blocks, and spin the center wheel. Hidden compartments are…
Level 4 Dog Puzzle
The Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound MultiPuzzle level 4 interactive dog puzzle toy will keep your dog entertained for hours as they use their natural hunting skills to seek out the hidden treats! Your pups’ favorite dog treats or kibble can be hidden in the outer and central compartments by sliding the puzzle pieces and let the games begin! This puzzle is ideal for dogs who have already mastered levels 1-3…