A bored doggo is equivalent to a lot of things that you won't be very fond of. Let’s just call that bad behavior. Not their fault though. Boredom can get the best of us and for dogs, it can cause some really ruff situations like piddling in the middle of nowhere or chewing up on your favorite shoe. But did you know that dog training toys work great for such haps?
A hyper hound, a curious canine, or a pupper who is just eager to learn, there is a dog training toy for every doggo to improve certain abilities and actions in one way or another. Fortunately, the market is flooded with dog-training toys. But being a newbie to this, we would want you to make a sensible choice while buying one so that it yields the best results.
Here is our guide on the 14 best dog training toys to bring out the best version of your dog. Be it for dental health, interactive play, or toys for mental stimulation, we have covered it all. Excited to see those neurons firing? Just read until the end.
14 Best Dog Training Toys For Skill Building & Mental Stimulation
It's time to get down to business with your dog and engage their mind and body with the 14 best dog training toys. These toys are about to become your dog's new obsession – and your secret weapon for a mentally agile and happy hound.
1. Chew Toys For Teething & Dental Health
If you have a puppy going through that adorable (and sometimes, not so adorable) teething phase, chew toys are a lifesaver. They give your little pup something safe and satisfying to sink their teeth into which helps soothe their sore gums and also prevents them from turning your favorite shoes into chewed-up slippers.
But it's not just about teething. Regular use of a chew dog toy reduces plaque and tartar buildup to improve your dog's dental health. Chewing helps to clean their teeth naturally which promotes fresh breath and prevents dental issues down the road. Plus, keeping them busy with a chew toy means less time for them to get into mischief.
Go for durable options like rubber or nylon chew toys – those little teeth can be pretty tough! You should definitely consider deer or elk antlers as chews too. They're natural and unlike bones, they won't splinter into sharp pieces. Super safe for your dog.
When it comes to puppies, go for softer chews compared to what you'd give adult dogs. If you notice your little pup breaking off pieces larger than a pea, that's your cue to switch it up to something like a Benebone, antler, or rubber toy.
Make sure the chew toys are the right size for your dog – not too small to swallow and not too big that carrying them around becomes a hassle. Look for toys that are designed for your dog's chewing style and avoid anything that can easily break into small pieces.
Goughnuts chew toys are a great option as they come in different sizes and shapes, plus they're tough enough to handle even the chomps of the most hardcore chewers.
2. Tug Toys For Interactive Play & Bonding
Tug toys are highly effective for interactive play sessions with your dog. When you play a friendly game of tug-of-war with your pooch, it helps burn off some of that canine energy.
Through tug play, your dog learns important obedience commands like drop it and take it. It also encourages impulse control as they wait for your cue to start tugging. You'll be teaching them to pay attention to your cues and, the best part, to let go of their beloved toy when you give the word.
Most of them adore this rewarding game and it's a great way to channel the dog’s natural instincts and energy into a positive outlet.
If you're up for a super fun tug-of-war session with your pup, grab a tough rope or rubber tug toy – they're built to handle some serious chomping. Just make sure you pick the right size that fits your dog's mouth and strength so they can tug comfortably. Keep an eye out for dog toys with sturdy knots that won't come undone during play.
You can check out the Kong Wubba – it's a great pick for a tug toy. It has two balls wrapped up in a cloth material, complete with these "tails" of fabric hanging off them. Here’s the bonus: it's not just for tugging. You can also use it to play a game of fetch with your dog. Double the fun.
3. Automatic Ball Launchers For Fetch Play
Fetch – a timeless classic when it comes to dog games. But sometimes our arms just can't keep up with our dog's endless enthusiasm. That's where automatic ball launchers come to the rescue. These devices can shoot a ball far and wide, giving your dog the joy of chasing without wearing out your throwing arm.
Fetch play is not only a great physical workout for your pup but also an excellent way to keep their minds sharp. The thrill of chasing, the excitement of finding the ball, and the joy of bringing it back stimulate your dog's brain. A tired brain means a well-behaved pup.
Buy one with adjustable distance settings so you can match it to your pup's energy level. Look for a fetch toy that uses standard-sized tennis balls for easy replacements. Safety's key so choose a launcher with motion sensors to prevent it from firing when your dog's too close.
4. Frisbee/Flying Discs For Long-Distance Exercise & Fun Retrieval
You know that feeling when you take your dog to the park, and they just can't get enough of running and fetching? Well, a frisbee or flying disc takes that excitement to a whole new level. Running and leaping to catch the frisbee gets their heart pumping and muscles working, keeping them in tip-top shape.
Playing frisbee with your dog can have some positive behavioral impacts too. It helps productively channel their energy to reduce destructive behaviors. The training involved in teaching them to catch the frisbee and bring it back also enhances their obedience skills and responsiveness to commands.
Choose a frisbee or flying disc that is specifically designed for dogs. These are usually made from durable materials that can withstand rough play and sharp teeth. Look for a size that suits your dog's mouth comfortably, not too small that it becomes a choking hazard, and not too big that it becomes difficult for them to carry. Go for a brightly colored option so it's easily visible during playtime.
5. Kongs For Mental Enrichment & Chewing
These little marvels are not just your ordinary chew toys. They're designed to keep your dog mentally stimulated and provide hours of enjoyment. You can stuff them with tasty treats or a bit of peanut butter and then watch as your dog goes to town trying to figure out how to get to the goodies.
Kongs keep them engaged, alleviate boredom, and can be a real lifesaver on those rainy days when going outside for play isn't an option. They're also great for dental health as the chewing action helps clean their teeth and gums. The mental stimulation they get from trying to extract the treats inside also helps reduce anxiety and separation issues.
For heavy chewers or larger dogs, go for the toughest option available. Make sure it's the right size for your dog so it can't accidentally swallow or get stuck with it. If you have a puppy, look for a softer version to be gentle on their growing teeth. Of course, always make sure the Kong is made of non-toxic, pet-safe materials.
6. Puzzle Toys For Cognitive Development & Problem-Solving
If you ever notice your dog seems bored or restless, puzzle toys are here to the rescue. They provide mental enrichment and give your dog a challenge to conquer. Also, it helps keep their cognitive abilities sharp as they age.
Puzzle toys are also handy for those moments when you need some peace and quiet. They can keep your dog busy and entertained, giving you a little breathing space to recharge. If you've got a hyperactive pup who can't seem to sit still, get a puzzle toy. The mental challenge helps to burn off some of that excess energy and leaves your doggo feeling more relaxed and content.
Here's a neat trick: if you're dealing with a picky eater, hide their meal inside a puzzle toy. Suddenly, mealtime becomes a fun and rewarding experience and your dog is eager to chow down.
If you're looking to help your dog eat a bit slower and keep their brain buzzing, you should definitely consider a Kong Wobbler. They resemble the Kong Classic toys but they're bigger and built from tougher plastic. And they can hold a whole meal for most dogs.
Puzzle toys come in various complexities so choose one that matches your dog's skill level. Start with simpler toys that have easily accessible treats. As your dog becomes a puzzle master, you can level up to more challenging ones. Look for sturdy construction to withstand the enthusiastic problem-solving sessions and ensure it's free from small parts that can be swallowed accidentally.
7. Lure Course Toy Sets For Endurance Building
A lure course toy set will help you create a mini canine Olympics right in your backyard where your dog gets to channel their inner athlete. It typically consists of a long line with a lure (like a toy or fluffy tail) attached to the end. You control the lure's movement, making it dart and dash around like a nimble critter. Your dog's mission? To chase and catch that elusive prize.
This high-octane activity builds endurance in your dog. It gets their heart pumping and leg muscles working hard. It's a blast to watch as they go full speed, fueled by the thrill of the hunt.
For those adult dogs with energy to spare, lure course toys are a godsend. It allows them to release pent-up energy constructively for a calmer and more content dog. Not to mention, it's a fantastic way to work on their focus and obedience skills.
Look for one that's easy to set up and control. The lure should be enticing but also safe and durable. You want your pup to have a fantastic time without any safety concerns.
8. Flirt Poles For High-Energy Exercise & Coordination
A flirt pole is the ultimate exercise tool for dogs who need to burn off some steam and perfect their coordination skills. It is a long pole with a rope or string attached to one end and a toy or plushie at the other. You move the pole around, swinging and twirling the toy and your dog eagerly tries to catch the moving target.
Flirt poles provide a mix of agility training and chase. They are a great way to work on their coordination and reflexes as they leap and pounce to catch the elusive toy. For older dogs who still have a spring in their step, flirt poles are an excellent outlet for their energy, reducing undesirable behaviors that come from boredom or excess energy.
Look for one with a sturdy pole and a durable toy or plushie that can withstand some serious tugging and chasing. Make sure it's long enough to give your dog plenty of room to run and jump but not too heavy to handle.
9. Hide & Seek Plush Toys For Interactive Enrichment
The hide-and-seek plush toy comes with a soft plush container that holds a few small squeaky toys or treats inside. You place the plush toy on the floor and your pup's natural curiosity kicks in. They'll sniff, nudge, and paw at the plush to reveal the hidden treasures inside.
This toy keeps your dog entertained and mentally stimulated. It can also help prevent boredom and reduce destructive behaviors around the house. When you engage their minds and encourage problem-solving, it improves their cognitive abilities.
If you have a beginner pup or a dog that's new to interactive toys, go for one with larger compartments or easier-to-find treats. Make sure to pick a toy that's well-made and can withstand some rough play. Be careful about the size. Check for non-toxic materials and avoid toys with small parts that can be easily chewed off or swallowed.
10. Activity Boards For Brain Games & Skill Enhancement
Activity boards help boost your dog's smarts. They are built tough with all sorts of movable parts, drawers, and compartments. Each section hides a treat or a puzzle that your dog needs to figure out.
As your dog sniffs and manipulates the various elements, they're sharpening their cognitive abilities and problem-solving skills. You also get to capture and hold your dog's attention and promote positive behavior. For dogs who struggle with boredom-related behaviors, the mental stimulation they get from solving puzzles also helps reduce anxiety and restlessness.
Start with simpler ones with fewer compartments and straightforward puzzles. As your dog becomes an ace puzzle-solver, you can challenge them with more complex boards. Look for a board made of durable, pet-safe materials, and ensure that the moving parts are smooth and safe for your dog to interact with. Choose one that suits your dog's size and abilities so they don't get frustrated or overwhelmed.
11. Snuffle Mats For Sensory Stimulation & Nose Work
A Snuffle Mat is a shaggy, colorful playmat with lots of hiding spots. You scatter dry treats or kibble into the mat and your dog's mission is to use their keen sense of smell to find the hidden treasures.
Snuffle Mats tap into your dog's natural foraging instincts to turn mealtime into a thrilling nose work adventure. It gives them sensory stimulation and keeps their mind busy which helps bring down their stress and anxiety levels. These mats are perfect for fast eaters as they slow down their eating pace.
For dogs who need to lose a few pounds, the slow feeding aspect can be really helpful. It prevents overeating and keeps them mentally satisfied even with smaller portions.
Look for one that's easy to clean and made of pet-safe materials. For dogs new to snuffle mats, start with one that has shorter fabric strands to make it easier for them to find the treats. Livekey Snuffle Mat is a great choice that will keep your dog entertained. It is built with high-quality, super-strong fabric that's practically indestructible. When it gets a little dirty, giving it a good wash is a breeze.
12. Interactive Ball With Treat Holes For Reward-Based Play
An interactive ball is a puzzle in the form of a ball. It has treat holes or compartments that you can fill with your dog's favorite goodies. As your dog rolls, nudges, and paws at the ball, the treats inside are released as a reward for their playful efforts.
This type of toy encourages dogs to focus, follow commands, and sharpen their retrieving skills. They stay engaged and content which means fewer chances of them engaging in destructive behaviors. It's excellent for dogs who are prone to separation anxiety as it will keep them occupied and distracted when you are not around.
Make sure it's made of durable materials especially if you have a strong chewer. Look for treat holes that are the right size for your dog's favorite treats. For smaller dogs, go for a ball that is easy for them to carry and roll around. If you have a larger dog, find a more durable option.
West Paw Toppl is a great option when it comes to interactive balls for your furry buddy. It's made from their unique Zogoflex material – super safe, free from BPA, and totally non-toxic. Cleaning it is a breeze, too. This is going to keep your dog having a blast for quite a while.
13. Jump Rings & Hurdles For Agility Training & Exercises
Jump rings and hurdles are designed to mimic the obstacles found in dog agility courses. Set up a mini agility course in your backyard and watch your dog's athleticism shine. As they navigate through the rings or jump over the hurdles, they learn to pay attention to your cues, improve their body awareness, and build those strong leg muscles.
For dogs that have a bit of nervous energy or are naturally hyperactive, these toys channel that energy into something positive and have a calming effect on their overall behavior.
Consider your dog's size and breed when buying one. You don't want the rings or hurdles to be too high or too low for your pup. Avoid anything sharp or rigid that could cause injury. PVC or foam options are excellent choices. If your dog is just starting with agility training, go for adjustable options.
14. Floating Water Toys For Water Play & Fetch In Pools Or Lakes
Floating toys are a blast and can really up the fun factor during water playtime with your furry friend. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from classic floating balls to more unique designs like floating frisbees and water retrieval sticks.
Swimming is a low-impact activity that helps to keep your dog's muscles toned and joints healthy. Playing with these toys in the water provides a full-body workout without putting too much strain on their bodies.
When dogs are engaged in fetching in the water, they release pent-up energy and are less likely to engage in unwanted behaviors. The mental challenge of retrieving floating toys makes them smarter and more alert.
Ensure the floating water toys are made of buoyant materials to keep them afloat easily. Bright colors are helpful for visibility in the water. Choose toys that are easy to clean and don't absorb water as you wouldn't want a soggy, smelly toy.
Suburban K9: Enhance Your Dog's Playtime With Expert Training
We all know how important dog toys are to keep our canine companions entertained and mentally stimulated. But here's the thing – using these toys effectively and getting your dog to follow your commands takes some skill, the kind you get from professional dog training.
At Suburban K9, we've been in the dog training business since 2006. We have 42 skilled trainers who've worked with over 20,000 dogs and they really know their stuff. What makes our board and train boot camp special is that it's all about personalization. Your dog won't be stuck in some impersonal facility; they get to stay at our trainer's home.
Our trainers will take care of your dog and teach them all sorts of necessary skills. They'll learn obedience commands so they know when to sit, stay, and come when called. We'll also cover good manners at the front door because who likes a dog that jumps on every visitor? We’ll also potty train them and give them on and off-leash training so you have the freedom to explore with your pup by your side.
We've discovered that the best way to train your furry friend is to strike a balance between positive reinforcement and gentle correction. Our experienced trainers totally understand that some dogs need a little extra motivation to conquer their challenges. So they step in with their magic touch, using just the right mix of rewards and corrections to help your dog kick those bad habits to the curb.
So when you think that it’s your dog’s body that needs stimulation and exercise, think again. Mental stimulation is equally important for your furry friend’s well-being. These dog training toys will make your pup more engaged while making them learn how to put a halt to their compulsive behavior.
Just make sure that when you go for one of these specific eye-catching, colorful things, it should be safe for your doggo in all terms – no hazardous material used or nothing that could hurt them during friendly play.
A Suburban K9, we have over 17 years of dog training experience. Our team of dog training experts is enthusiastic and passionate individuals who love challenges. We believe that every dog is unique so we create a customized training plan that meets the needs. Discover the power of balanced training from Suburban K9. Request your free quote today!
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