Tough Toys and Brain Games for Dogs – Saturday 23rd January 2021

Tough Toys and Brain Games for Dogs

I said I would write some information for you on tough toys and brain games for dogs and here it is. This came out of talking with my friends about the things we enjoy. As a breed we seem too strong and too bright for your average dog toy and they either break or we work them out and get bored with them within about five minutes. As a result it is very common for our humans to try to find alternatives. If you know about others, then please let us know. If you are doing searches on the internet for these things, humans sometimes use overcomplicated terms like ‘Canine Enrichment’. Can you imagine how many human children would try to drag their parents into shops for ‘Human Enrichment’? What’s wrong with plain and simple ‘Toys and Games’?

Snuffle Mat

A Snuffle mat can be good to hide treats or dry food in. It then takes us much longer to find it and eat. You can buy them from a number of places. You can also find information on line to make your own, or to get your human to do that.

Nina Ottosson

Nina Ottosson are a Swedish range of brain games for both dogs and cats. You can buy them through pet shops and Amazon if you can’t buy them direct from the company. They come in different levels of difficulty according to how bright you are. I’m not going to comment on the relative intelligence of dogs and cats, but it’s tempting. Mum says I’m biased. Our breed tends to need some of the more complex puzzles. Some dogs I know do get impatient and try to go for the throw the toy around approach, but I don’t recommend that. Most of these involve having to move pieces across a board or remove them altogether to reveal where your human has hidden the treats.

Trixie Memory Trainer


Trixie is a German make of dog strategy games. These come in different levels and I can personally recommend the level three Memory Trainer as being great fun. You have to press a button to get the machine to fire a treat. The complication is that your human can move the button to a different location away from the treat dispenser so that you have to find it first.


These are a cross between regular toys that you can throw, chew, chase and a treat dispenser. You can fill them with treats or a yoghurt and vegetable mix, or almost anything you like really. They can be put in the freezer so are especially good for dogs who are teething to soothe their gums and in hot weather. They are very simple and very satisfying at the same time.

K9 Connectables

These are ones we haven’t tried but they do come highly recommended by a number of our friends. There are three types, soft play and fetch (Gentle), active feeding (Nutri) and high energy chewers (Pro). I have put some on my wish list for Mum to look at. They are not cheap, but to be quite honest, cheap toys don’t last. If these can withstand one of our breed then they are probably up to coping with most dogs. You can have ones that are just for fun and ones to give a whole meal in. It means it takes time and effort for us to get our food which keeps us occupied for a while.

Canine Enrichment Group

There are some groups of Facebook which you can join for ideas too. They sometimes have homemade ideas as well. That’s really handy if you can get your human to put in a little bit of effort on your behalf.

We also have a weighted base treat dispenser that is great as well as using other ideas like carrying extra weight in a rucksack when walking to make it harder work.
Mum has agreed that over the next few weeks I can make Saturday Brain Game Day and show you how many of these work. We have a wide range so I’m hoping she will help me do a video of each one in action so you can see what we think.

15 Year Blogaversary

I think that covers all the main ones I need to tell you about. I hope you have lots of fun. Oh, and today is our diary’s fifteenth birthday. In all that time, we’ve only missed one day of posting information and that was when Mum was not available and Alfie couldn’t get the password from her. When Alfie started writing, he only planned to keep it for a year or so when he was a puppy. Who would have thought we’d still be here fifteen years later.



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