There are several types of "puzzles" for dogs out on the market. They are found in pet focused stores and even specialty boutique shops. These "brain games" are created by industry experts like Nina Ottosson, as well as creators that come up with one-time designs.
Many well-meaning owners seek these "puzzles" out because they know that they have limited time to spend with their pups but they still would love to have them "thinking" when they cannot be with them. The catch is that these are activities that you need to do with your canine companion, i.e. get comfy on the floor and guide your dog through the puzzle.
Actually, this is a great way to bond, encourage, and create trust between you and your four-legged friend so make some time to sit on the floor with your dog and help him solve some puzzles :-)
We had puzzle day at our enrichment facility one day this week and because the class was small, lots of folks take their dogs out of the heat to cooler climates this time of year, we just pulled out puzzle after puzzle for each dog to try and solve. None of the dogs gave up, they did great! Here are some of the comments that they shared with us, they are such good dogs :-)
Nelson: Golden Retriever
I love finding treats in these puzzles, but I am a little nervous about the puzzle moving around the room as I try to get things opened up. I really appreciate that my teacher put a towel under the puzzle to help it stay in place. I also can get a little nervous with the puzzle noises as I am pawing and licking at the various hiding places. My teachers really do care about me and never make me feel bad or feel like I am "failing" somehow! I get nervous a lot and they know that I would do most anything for a treat, so they let me go at my own pace and make sure that I have fun while I am using my creative thinking.
I love the plush puzzle SO MUCH! This thing is great because I really love little squeaky toys and this puzzle is stuffed full of them, WOW! I just take it in my mouth and shake, shake, shake and the little squeakers come flying out-is that cool, or what?!
Fitz: Labrador Retriever
Hey , how am I suppose to get these treats out of these twirling tubes? If I only had thumbs, I could get these treats rolling out of here in no time. This is fun, what's next? Oh, I want to try that plush puzzle but not sure what is inside-so exciting. Get out of my way, this is serious. Oh great, this puzzle is hard, but I can use my teeth, nose, and paws to move the pieces around and hopefully get a treat to pop out.
Boy, I did not have anything this fun planned for my day at home today. Maybe a little swimming, which I love, but finding treats in these plastic toys is super fun. The teachers don't let me chew on them or push them around too roughly, they say they want me to focus and "think" things through. As long as I keep finding a treat, it is worth all the hard work...and it is FUN!
Cooper: Mini Aussie
Hey, I am ready, put down the puzzle, hurry, put it down!! Do I use my feet to get these hidey places to open up or what? my mouth? OK, I will just use both. What do you mean, "sit" and "wait", I can barely wait to start pushing these things around. Every time we have puzzle activity time, I get so excited and even forget where I am. My teachers say that I am smart but I have a hard time going slow and staying focused, thinking things through. All I know is that I really don't care about how I find the treats, just that I can find a way to uncover anything hidden in these puzzles.