6 DIY Dog Puzzles for Enrichment
Updated: Jan 28
Keeping your dog's mind working is extremely important for their mental state and cognitive function. And most times, dogs can figure out one puzzle so many ties to the pint that it's simple and doesn't keep the same benefits. But buying new puzzles all the time can get expensive! What if you could make your own puzzle and easily switch it up and create new ones easily and on the cheap? Here are some easy DIY dog puzzles:
1. Bottle Spinning Treat Dispenser
This DIY puzzle is a popular design and simple to put together. It can also keep your dog busy for hours at a time! The concept is that a treat or multiple treats/kibble pieces are put in the bottle and the dog has to work on spinning the bottle until the treat falls out. Just note that you might have to break out the power tools for this one to build the frame which can be done with either wood or PVC pipe. This video goes into depth on how to build the puzzle, including the frame!
2. Muffin Tin Puzzle
This one is super simple and all you need is tennis balls (we recommend using Metro Balls®), a muffin tin and treats. Place treats in the muffin tin, put a Metro Ball® on top of each and let your dog figure out the rest!
3. Shoebox Hide and Seek
This puzzle definitely works your dog's scent game! Take multiple shoebox, or any empty containers with a lid, put treats in just some of them and carefully place them around the house or backyard. Just make sure those treats are super smelly! To start simple, poke holes in the containers to make them easier to find but as that gets to be too easy, switch those out with solid containers.
4. DIY Snuffle Mat
Snuffle mats have become a really popular puzzle for dogs and some dogs will even eat their full meals from one to help with eating slower. But did you know you can make one yourself instead of buying one? Check how to make your own from The Honest Kitchen using a rubber sink mat!
5. Shell Game for Dogs
You all know the classic gimmick of putting a ball or small object under a cup, switching them around and then having to pick which cup as the object? Well, you can play this with your dogs too! It's the same rules but use treats under the cups and move just a bit slower. At least this way, you don't have to gamble on the street to play!
6. DIY Licking Mat
This one isn't so much a puzzle as it is an activity that can keep your dog busy for quite a while. You just need an everyday object in your home and some peanut butter! Some items you can use include silicone trivets/pot mats, cutting boards or anything similar. One thing that works great are those ice cube trays for itty bitty ice cubes. Just slab some xylitol free free peanut butter on it and stick in the freezer!