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Mental Stimulation Ideas for Puppies and Dogs



Slow-Feed Dog Bowls – great for those who love to gobble in 30 seconds or less!


These bowls require your puppy to take some extra time to think about how he/she will get to all of those scrumptious pieces of food. Thinking = Mental Stimulation = Work = Happy and Tired Puppy!


Kong Toys – These “stuffable” toys are great for dinner, snacks, or crate toys!


  1. Put a small handful of your puppy’s kibble at the bottom (the kibble will block the small hole at the bottom.)

  2. Mix 1⁄4 cup of kibble with sweet potatoes, unsweetened applesauce, plain yogurt, or any blended baby food (veggies or fruit) so that the Kong is almost filled to the top.

  3. Finally, add a thin layer of peanut butter to cover the large hole.

  4. Place in the freezer for a few hours or overnight and you have a very healthy alternative to feeding from a bowl!

*If you would like to use this as a snack, simply freeze smashed sweet potatoes, pureed pumpkin, or veggie/fruit baby food in the Kong with a thin layer of peanut butter covering the hole!


Mental Stimulation Ideas for Puppies and Dogs!


Smoked Marrow Bones – Nature’s Babysitter!

These yummy bones are all-natural and last forever! I recommend purchasing them from a Farmer’s Market, like Meck’s just outside of Quarryville, PA!

Once your dog has cleaned off the bone, and enjoyed the marrow inside, you can re-use the bone (stuff peanut butter or sweet potatoes inside and freeze!)

*Always supervise your dog/puppy while eating these bones!

*Marrow is very rich and can sometimes cause loose stools!


Deer Antlers and Bully Sticks – Natural Snacks that are perfect for any age!

Dogs will enjoy the rough marrow of a Deer Antler!

*Can be expensive, but are long-lasting! * Please supervise your dog/puppy while chewing these treats! *Always purchase an antler that is large enough for your dog to chew, but not swallow! *May not work well for aggressive chewers due to tooth breakage. Bully Sticks are a favorite treat amongst dogs and puppies alike! *Inexpensive, depending on the size *Very...aromatic! You can purchase odor-free bullies for extra $! *Be sure these treats are natural and made in the USA! *Throw away small remnants, as they could pose a choking hazard! *Always supervise your dog/puppy while chewing on Bully Sticks!


JW Toys – I love this brand of dog toys! These examples are of puzzle/treat- dispensing toys, however the whole product line is fun!


Slow-Feed Dog Bowls – great for those who love to gobble in 30 seconds or less!

These bowls require your puppy to take some extra time to think about how he/she will get to all of those scrumptious pieces of food. Thinking = Mental Stimulation = Work = Happy and Tired Puppy!


Kong Toys – These “stuffable” toys are great for dinner, snacks, or crate toys!


  1. Put a small handful of your puppy’s kibble at the bottom (the kibble will block the small hole at the bottom.)

  2. Mix 1⁄4 cup of kibble with sweet potatoes, unsweetened applesauce, plain yogurt, or any blended baby food (veggies or fruit) so that the Kong is almost filled to the top.

  3. Finally, add a thin layer of peanut butter to cover the large hole.

  4. Place in the freezer for a few hours or overnight and you have a very healthy alternative to feeding from a bowl!

*If you would like to use this as a snack, simply freeze smashed sweet potatoes, pureed pumpkin, or veggie/fruit baby food in the Kong with a thin layer of peanut butter covering the hole!


Empty Containers, Boxes, and Bottles = Simple. Affordable. Recyclable.

  1. Add your puppy’s kibble to any empty container (remove any lids) and watch him/her have lots of fun during feeding time!

  2. Gently move the bottle/container around so that some of the kibble falls onto the floor and your puppy will know what to do Use an empty bottle for snack time as well!

  3. Hide kibble/treats under the flaps in a box and shake it before giving it to your puppy!

These are a wonderful distraction when you need to answer the door, cook dinner, help with homework etc!

If your pup empties the container, box, or bottle, and begins to chew, simply remove it and recycle it (or reuse it if you feel it has not been damaged too much by little teeth!)


Snuffle Mats – an interactive way to for your pup to follow his/her instincts and forage for food!


  1. Hide food or treats in the many compartments of a Snuffle Mat and keep your dog entertained for, well, at least a few minutes!

  2. Check out You Tube for videos on how to make your own Snuffle Mat or check the Oxford Feed & Lumber/Jennersville Pets & Friends sites for DIY workshops! 3. Etsy and Amazon have pre-made Snuffle Mats for sale!


Treat Puzzles – Make your 4-legged friends work for their food/treats!

Treat Puzzles challenge your dog/puppy to think before they eat! Some are very basic, and drop kibble/treats from a small hole in the toy, while others require lots of thought before dispensing treats! Start early and your puppy will love trying new Treat Puzzles as he/she grows!


*Available at most pet stores, on Amazon, or Chewy.com *Most are easy to wash and reuse!


Paper Towel/Toilet Paper Roll Puzzles – Environmentally friendly in every way!


*Stuff kibble/treats inside of a paper-free roll. *Fold in the sides and Voila! You have a DIY pet toy! *Recycle after play!


Muffin Tin Game – This No-Bake game is easy and fun!


*Use an old muffin tin!

*Fill the compartments with kibble/treats (measure out the correct amount of kibble for your dog and this makes for a fun new way to eat meals!)

*Cover the holes with tennis balls or your dog’s toys!

*Rinse and repeat for all meals or during snack time!


Flirt Poles – Be in total control of the “Chase the Toy” Game!


*Attach your dog’s favorite toy to the flirt pole and move it all around! *The object of the game is for your dog to NOT catch the toy, but to expend lots of energy trying! *Many flirt poles are adjustable in length. *Available at many pet stores and online at Amazon.com! *DIY Flirt Poles can be made out of PVC pipe! *Some Flirt Poles can be installed in your yard for outdoor play!

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