Dog puzzles

I’ve seen quite a few suitable for smaller dogs, but has anyone found one that would work for a larger dog? Our GSP I think would love one for something new but if its too small I’m afraid she’ll just try and tear it apart. Thoughts?

It’s not so much a puzzle, but have you seen the kong ‘container’ that you can fill with treats and the dog has to roll it around to get the food out? We put that in the long grass and the dog has to work to move the kong and then work to find the food in the grass. If your dog has a prey drive, check out the Jolly Egg. Not a food toy but they can play with it on their own and chase it all over the place. My aussie shepherd tears all over the yard with that thing and comes back totally cooked.

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I have had very good luck with this puzzle with dogs of all sizes.

https://www.chewy.com/trixie-activity-poker-box-activity/dp/146127

My GSP looooooooooooooooooooooooooooves doing scentwork, and it turns out she’s really good at it. (She ignores toys) Watching them solve the puzzle is really interesting for you too.
https://www.nacsw.net/
Sleeps for hours after a training session!

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I have yet to find a puzzle toy that lasts for more than 5 minutes with my Malinois. All things are crushed by her enthusiasm for destruction.

This is my fear as well, for me with a 10 month old Doberman. The puzzle Trubandloki linked to would be trashed pretty quick. Has to be sturdy and heavy so she can’t toss it around. Kongs are great but looking for more ideas.

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I hadnt heard of the Jolly Egg! Thank you- might have to give that a try when all this damn snow is gone :rofl:

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@trubandloki, that one looks like to would be good, do you think it would be too hard for a first one though?

This isn’t a puzzle toy, but so far my girl hasn’t been able to destroy it. The bumpy texture seems to be fascinating for her. I have been pleasantly surprised with it’s durability. It doesn’t squeak anymore unfortunately. If I could find a similar product with invincible squeakers I’d be ecstatic!

https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/caitec-hero-retriever-series-outer-armor-dog-ring?hvarAID=shopping_googleproductextensions&ds_e=GOOGLE&ds_c=Shop|Generic|AllProducts|High|SSCCatchAll&gclid=Cj0KCQiA962BBhCzARIsAIpWEL3W1kuPeXHREOVtpxy942sAaNCpr-wFd-oTocRWbdasIsJ5udrgwZ0aAk9pEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

I think the Kong that @Weezer suggested is the Kong Wobbler:
https://www.kongcompany.com/wobbler

They are a little different than a regular kong. It’s a hard plastic (not rubbery) container with a weighted bottom that unscrews. You fill the container with food or treats and twist it back together. There’s a small hole in the top half so the dog has to use their nose or paws to push the Wobbler over and roll it around to get the food to come out. The weighted bottom helps return it to upright position as the dog works it. Mine has taken A LOT of abuse from two large dogs (one a Dobie mix) and it’s still good as new.

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You could try the Indestructable Ball, which is what I use for my horse treat balls. You just need to drill a hole in it to dispense the treats. You can stuff some other things inside (like crumpled paper) to make it harder. The ball is large enough that the dog must roll it around… they cannot get their mouth around it to pick it up.

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You just have to be positive with good reinforcement and they will figure it out. It depends on how your dog goes about these things but just pick the one station that fits your dogs technique the best (do they paw it with their foot, do they grab things with their teeth, etc) and start there. All the dogs in my friend group loved this puzzle, dogs of all sizes and types.

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I would concur that scentwork is a great puzzle for both human and dog :slight_smile:

I can also put in a plug it is also a sport you can title in with AKC. https://www.akc.org/sports/akc-scent-work/ . It is a performance sport so neutered dogs may compete as well as AKC registered All American Dogs.

AKC and NACSW (National Association for Canine Scent Work) are similar but do have differences in elements, odors, titling. But the differences are not significant and a dog can compete in both. My older dog has his NW1 title and waiting for another NW2 opportunity close to home :slight_smile:

This last weekend had the opportunity to trial with my Border Terriers, one day with my younger dog and one day with my older dog. Younger dog finished his Scentwork Buried Advanced and my older dog finished his Scentwork Containers Masters titles.

So much fun to watch them solve the scent puzzles and yes, when a dog is actively search (usually when you can hear them inhaling rather than just breathing) they are really using their brain and usually wears them out.

Another resource if you are interested… Fenzi Dog Sports Academy offers a wide range of online courses including scentwork. You can start by working with your dog at home. https://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.com

Another nice thing with scentwork is not much is required to practice… odor, vessels (containers that hold odor) and you get to pick the place… a bedroom in your house, the kitchen, a park, a school… whatever works for you.

For me, one of the best things… it’s something I get to do with my dog… they’re pretty much in charge but we are a team :smiley:

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It scoots along in the snow beautifully! We’ve only had it since the ground has been covered in snow (haven’t seen the grass in over 3 months) so I don’t know how it will work on grass, but she gets going pretty fast chasing it across the snow!

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I can fully support the “playability” of the Jolly Egg in ALL weather conditions - my big guy (Cattle Dog X something) adores his and plays with it every day - rain, snow or shine.
It is (for him at least) not a quiet toy - but he does burn off a good bit of energy with it!
(Enough that I do put it away during the hottest part of the day in the summer.)

Are these more sturdy than a regular jolly ball? My guy (GSD/Pit/Hound mix) annihilated a jolly ball in 20 minutes. I thought they were supposed to be pretty indestructible… but not so much! If these are made of a tougher material sounds quite fun for him!

I unfortunately can’t do any “thinker” or “puzzle” toys with food so finding something fun for my guy has been a challenge. My other dog has severe allergies and I don’t want him exposed to cross contamination. For non treat stuff I had a ball within a ball toy (no idea where I got it from, had it for years before I got puppy) that he loved and it took about 8 months for him to get the ball out. He also loved the cats ball in a ring toy when he was a puppy - that one didn’t last more than a few months. For now I just have a big kong (the black one that is for tough chewers) and I’ll stuff his rope in it and he loves trying to get it out of there.

The Jolly Egg is made out of a hard plastic material - not sure if that’s the same as your previous Jolly Ball - it does not bounce, there’s no handle and the egg shape makes it roll in a more erratic fashion than a round ball. My guy has punctured the soft, bounceable Jolly Balls in the past, but he hasn’t been able to get enough of a grip on the egg to make a dent in it. We do have the large size one - my guy is 19" at the wither and weighs 40 pounds. (I know that’s not “big” to most people, but he’s currently the biggest dog in my house.)

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My cat has the identical but smaller sized version of this and it is straight forward for her, but definitely provides her with a good minute or two of amusement (versus milliseconds for five treats without the box).

I have a 90lb who has never chewed through a toy and just likes to fetch and mouth around the rubber balls he has and then I’ve got 50-60lb (he’s 1yr2mo so still growing a bit) who is a toy shredder that loves to see if he can bite pieces off a toy. Big is relative! I’ll have to check out the Jolly eggs, I think he’d like it.