Have you ever thought, “If only my dog were a little smarter?” There are toys on the market that can boost dog intelligence and help your pup live a happier, healthier, and more engaged life. These toys, often called puzzle toys, stimulate the problem-solving portions of the dog’s brain, encouraging the formation of new connections and higher levels of brain activity. Consider the following toys to help boost your dog’s IQ:
Just as humans enjoy playing with puzzles, dogs do too. Puzzle toys for dogs, however, are less focused on the assembly of small pieces and are more focused on reward. These toys offer a brain-stimulating activity will require him to twist, nudge, or put pressure on a specific part of the toy in order to emit sounds or produce movements. In addition to providing the dog with an engaging activity, these toys also offer instant rewards when the correct behavior is executed.
Food Dispensing Toys
Much like puzzle toys, food-dispensing toys like Kongs are specially designed to hold a small amount of food, such as a treat or dollop of peanut butter. These toys are sturdy enough to withstand rough chewing and are designed to reward the dog for preforming specific behaviors. Although every toy is different, many dispense food when turned on their side or when a certain portion of the toy is twisted or pushed. Food dispensing toys come in varying levels of difficulty, so you can start easy and progress to more challenging toys as your dog gets the hang of things.
Hide-and-seek toys are designed to encourage your dog to find a small toy embedded within a larger one. These are typically soft-bodied toys that engage a dog’s digging and hunting instincts, and provide an instant reward when the hidden toy is found. Some of these toys might include a built-in treat pocket, but this is relatively uncommon.
Although dogs are intelligent, there is plenty of room for pet parents to help boost their pup’s IQ. In addition to providing an engaging activity, puzzle toys also offer an opportunity for dogs to use their natural hunting, digging, and scavenging instincts in a fun and productive manner.