DIY Puzzle Toys and Brain Games for Dogs

Madelene Hissom · Sep 26, 2023 · All


Author: Natalie Szymiczek

In the world of pet ownership, it's widely understood that a happy and healthy dog is a mentally stimulated dog. Dogs are not just pets; they are members of our families, and they require mental stimulation just like we do. This stimulation helps keep their minds sharp, reduces anxiety, and prevents boredom-related behavioral issues.

One fantastic way to achieve this is through the use of DIY puzzle toys and brain games. In this article, we'll explore the benefits of mental stimulation for dogs and how you can create engaging puzzles and games at home.

The Importance of Mental Stimulation for Dogs

Dogs are intelligent creatures, and their mental well-being is just as crucial as their physical health. Providing your furry friend with mental stimulation has numerous benefits:

Preventing Boredom : Boredom in dogs can lead to destructive behaviors like chewing furniture or excessive barking. Mental stimulation keeps them engaged and less prone to mischief.

Reducing Anxiety : Dogs can suffer from anxiety, especially when left alone for extended periods. Mental stimulation can help alleviate their stress and provide a sense of purpose.

Enhancing Cognitive Abilities : Engaging your dog's brain helps improve their problem-solving skills, memory, and overall cognitive abilities.

Strengthening the Bond : Interactive games and puzzles can be a bonding experience for you and your dog, promoting trust and companionship.

Physical Exercise : Many mental stimulation activities also involve physical movement, ensuring your dog gets the exercise they need.

Incorporating Natural Farm's Whole Anchovies

Natural Farm's all-natural whole anchovies are a perfect addition to your dog's mental stimulation routine. These fishy delights are not only delicious but also packed with nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids, which are excellent for your dog's overall health, including their cognitive function. Most importantly, dogs love them!
Now, let's dive into some creative ways to keep your dog mentally stimulated at home.

DIY Puzzle Toys and Brain Games for Dogs

You don’t have to be a master crafter or a Pinterest expert to make some simple DIY toys for your dog. Here are a few examples:

Food Puzzles : These are a fantastic way to engage your dog's brain and satisfy their taste buds. You can easily create your own by repurposing items like an empty muffin tin or ice cube tray. Simply turn them upside down and fill them with Natural Farm's all-natural whole anchovies or other healthy treats. Let your dog figure out how to get them out. Another option is to place the treat inside an empty toilet paper or wrapping paper roll, then fold the ends in. To make this extra tricky, seal the ends with peanut butter - just watch out for the mess!
Another variation is to spread some peanut butter or cream cheese along the inside of the roll - they will have a ball trying to get to it! With puzzle feeders, start with an easier design and gradually move to more challenging options as your dog becomes a puzzle-solving pro.

Frozen Treats : Elevate mealtime excitement for your furry friends by stuffing cow hooves or beef trachea with cottage cheese, blueberries, carrots, or raw food. Simply freeze before serving. Watch as they eagerly embrace the challenge of extracting the hidden treasures within before indulging in some satisfying chewing action. Your pets will adore this enriching culinary experience.

Hide and Seek : Start with a simple version by hiding a treat under a cup and encouraging your dog to find it. Gradually make it more challenging by hiding treats in different rooms. Another variation of this game is to place a group of empty containers together, like shoeboxes, cereal boxes, etc. Place a treat inside one of them, and watch your dog sniff out which box is the winner!

Snuffle Mat : This is a textured mat with pockets or grooves where you can hide treats. You can make one yourself - you’ll need a rubber mat with holes in it, and strips of fleece or fabric. Tie the fabric into knots through the holes of the mat, then sprinkle treats like Natural Farm's Fish Anchovies throughout. Your dog will have a blast snuffling around to find the hidden treasures!

Obstacle Course : Set up a mini agility course in your backyard using everyday items like hula hoops, cones, and tunnels. Incorporate small treats as rewards at various stations to motivate your dog to complete the course.

Scent Games : Dogs have an incredible sense of smell. In fact - the olfactory region of a dog's brain is 40 times larger than that of humans! You can create a scent trail by scattering anchovy bits in your yard or around your house. Encourage your dog to follow the trail, using their nose to find the hidden treasures. Start with one or two obviously placed treats that your dog can see until they catch on to the game. Then hide them in trickier places and watch your dog sniff them out!


Incorporating mental stimulation into your dog's daily routine is essential for their well-being and happiness. DIY puzzle toys and brain games not only keep your dog mentally sharp, but also strengthen your bond with them. By adding Natural Farm's whole anchovies to these activities, you're not only providing delicious rewards but also promoting their overall health.