DIY Dog Puzzles

diy dog puzzles

DOG-I-Y: Dog Puzzles 

Is your dog starting to recognize Dwight Schrute's voice because you've been binge-watching The Office too much? Turns out, doggos aren't as hyped about Netflix as humans. Lazy winter days at home can make anyone restless, especially your dog. If your pup has been sneaking into the trash or chewing up your shoes lately, then your dog might just be bored and looking for something to do. 

How do you know if your dog is bored? Here are a few signs to look out for:

  • Restless behavior
  • Attention-seeking behavior
  • Destructive behavior (such as chewing furniture or shoes)
  • Pawing for attention
  • Sneaking into the trash
  • Counter-surfing
  • Barking
  • Jumping
  • Digging up the yard

Dogs, like humans, need physical exercise AND mental stimulation to keep them healthy. In fact, research shows that dogs who are kept mentally active are less likely to develop dementia and are healthier in their senior years. 

    Playing enrichment games and practicing nose-work are fun and effective ways to stimulate your dog's brain. Here are some simple Do-It-Yourself puzzles that you can make for your fur friend. Plus, you'll get some mental exercise too! 

    Check out these easy DIY "boredom busters" for your dog:

    Dog Enrichment Toy - PVC Pipe Puzzle

    dog enrichment toy

    This homemade puzzle requires a quick trip to the hardware store and a drill to punch holes (and for cool power tool sound effects). The PVC pipe and caps are an easy puzzle for humans to piece together, but rolling the treatos out of this toy is a time consuming challenge for dogs. Want to make your own dog enrichment toy like this one? Click here for the tutorial. 

    Bottle Spinning Toy 

    bottle spinning puzzle for dogs

    Are you up for this DIY challenge? You may have seen Bottle Spinning dog puzzles before, but if you haven't made your own yet it's worth a try. This is an entertaining brain teaser for pups! It requires a trip to the hardware store for supplies and again- more power tool sound effects. There are several variations to this apparatus -you can make this sturdier, larger or more complex. Learn how to build your own bottle spinning toy here. Your dog will be so impressed.


    Easy Muffin Tin Puzzle 

    tennis ball muffin tin

    Disperse small treats into the cups of a metal muffin-tin. Then place tennis balls on top of each cup to hide the treats. You can make this game more challenging for your pup by keeping some slots empty. 


    Sweet Potato Chew Toy

    sweet potato dog toy

    This DIY chew toy is awesome for small pups who are not notorious toy shredders. To make this sweet potato chew toy- cut and dehydrate sweet potatoes into rings, pull them through a short rope and tie knots in between each piece. It's an inexpensive toy that will keep your dog occupied for a while and you don't have to clean up a "stuffing explosion" afterward. Learn how to make a sweet potato chew toy here.

    DIY Snuffle Mat 

    diy snuffle mat

    The snuffle mat is a colorful activity mat for dogs to sniff out treats. Since this project is a bit time-consuming, you can organize a "crafter-noon" with your friends while your doggos enjoy a playdate- it's a win/win! Create your own snuffle mat using this tutorial. 

    Shell Game 

    shell cup game for dogs

    Looking for a puzzle that doesn't require a craft? Then you and your dog might love this Shell Game. You'll just need to gather some containers or "shells"- such as cups or boxes- and snag your pup's favorite small toy or treats. Begin this game by hiding a reward under one of two shells and encourage your dog to find it. Make the puzzle a little more challenging by adding more shells as your dog progresses.

    Tennis Ball Treat Dispenser

    tennis ball treat dispenser

    Up-cycle old toys and make a treat dispenser for your fur friend. Simply cut open a hallow ball or used water bottle and place treats inside. Keep in mind that this puzzle isn't ideal for every dog, especially pets who have destructive tendencies. 


    Before boredom sucks you into watching more Netflix documentaries this winter, spend time making a few puzzles for your pup. Not only will these crafts keep you busy, but they'll keep your dog's mind busy too!


    diy dog puzzles