The 11 Best Interactive Dog Toys, According To Trainers
Keep her busy for hours 🐶
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Dogs can easily get bored with their toys, so you’re probably looking for a few that will keep your pup interested for as long as possible.
While you could go for the usual plush toy or dog bone, you might want a trainer favorite: interactive dog toys.
Interactive dog toys are designed to keep your pup engaged for longer periods of time compared to your standard dog toy, which can come with a ton of mental benefits for her.
“Dogs need to be fulfilled daily (just as you and I); interactive toys and food games help fulfill a dog and meet their needs,” Russell Hartstein, a certified dog behaviorist, trainer and founder of Fun Paw Care in Los Angeles, told The Dodo.
The Dodo broke down the different types of interactive dog toys, and reached out to certified trainers for their top recommendations, so you can find your dog her next favorite toy.
What are interactive dog toys?
Interactive dog toys reward your dog when she plays with the toy, usually in the form of a treat, sound or movement, which keeps her coming back for more.
There are several types of interactive dog toys, including:
- Treat dispensers: When your dog plays with these toys, the toys will slowly release treats for her — which is definitely a reason for her to keep playing.
- Puzzle toys: These toys require your little Einstein to solve a puzzle in order for her to get to her treats or food.
- Hide-and-seek toys: These toys typically come with several smaller toys that fit into the larger toy, so once your dog finds a way to get them out, she’ll have some new toys to play with.
- Slow feeders: Slow feeders have some sort of obstacle that prevents your dog from inhaling her food.
- Snuffle mats: A type of slow feeder, these mats have strips of fabric that mimic grass in the wild, and you put your dog’s kibble or treats in between the fabric so your dog has to sniff them out. “Snuffle mats are a great way to enrich a dog throughout the day in addition to training with them,” Hartstein said.
- Responsive toys: These dog toys respond with a movement or sound whenever your dog plays with them, which helps keep your dog engaged.
Best treat dispenser interactive dog toys
Best puzzle interactive dog toys
Best hide and seek interactive dog toy
Best responsive interactive dog toy
Best slow feeder interactive dog toy
Best snuffle mat interactive dog toys
No matter what you choose, make sure you give your dog time to warm up to it, and try to show her how to use it if possible. “The most important part is to TEACH a dog how to play with their toys,” Hartstein said.
And even though interactive dog toys will allow your dog to play independently, she still needs her human to engage with her often throughout the day. “Always remember that your social interaction will always trump a toy,” Hartstein added. “It’s you, the parent, who makes the toy fun, not the toy itself.”