The Best DIY Enrichment Toys for the Dog in Your Life

Posted on
May 19, 2022
Dog chewing on a ball
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Every dog needs enrichment in their day-to-day lives since boredom can lead to irritation and anxiety. Since they are intelligent creatures, their minds need to be worked just like ours. By giving them a variety of activities, your dog will be entertained, happy, and healthy. 

But, many puzzle toys can be expensive or not the right fit for your furry friend. That’s why do-it-yourself can be the perfect option. They do not break the bank, and many items can be found in the comfort of your own home. This blog will teach pet owners the best ways to DIY their dog's favorite activities with items typically found in their homes. 

Food Tube Dispenser 

All you need is a toilet paper roll for this game to start. These empty rolls can be stuffed with treats your dog loves to make for trying to retrieve the goodies inside. For example, peanut butter would work perfectly since your canine will need to lick it out while preventing the tube from going anywhere. 

If you want your pet to spend more time on the activity, add more toilet paper rolls and arrange them in any box you can find. Then you’ll want to add many treats of choice into each roll for your dog to search for, making the activity like a perfect puzzle for their noses. 

Like many activities your dog does, ensure you supervise them since these rolls are made of cardboard, and you don’t want them to overeat. There will always be more rolls for you to use anyways, so throw out the toy when you think necessary. 

Lick Mat 

All you need for this lengthy licking activity is a knife, peanut butter or soft dog food, and a silicone baking sheet to make a do-it-yourself lick mat. It will provide canines with the mental stimulation they need and can be used to distract them from tasks they may hate, including:

  • Baths 
  • Vet Visits 
  • Nail Trimming 
  • Grooming

Peanut butter doesn’t have to be the only option for food either. Any snacks or treats that can be mashed into the mat will work excellent for all dogs since they love the taste of any of their favorite foods. Pet owners can use their animal’s dinner on the mat to make meals and enrichment last longer. 

Anxious dogs will also love this activity as licking provides them with a sense of relaxation and calmness since it releases pleasure endorphins in their brains. What can be more stimulating and relaxing than that? 

Ball Pit: Dog Edition 

Dogs love balls, and what’s even better than one ball? Many! This idea brings us to our next DIY activity, a ball pit designated for your canine. What's even better is that you only need two items, a plastic kiddie pool and lots of plastic or tennis balls. 

To make this activity a more enriched experience for your animals, you can add their favorite treats or kibble, so they have to dig for them while playing with the balls. It also allows them to slow down their meal while having physical and mental activity. 

A dog sitting in a ball pit 
Keeping your dog entertained with toys is key to a happy life. 

Muffin Tin Puzzle

A quick, effortless, and stimulating dog puzzle only needs a muffin tin, dog treats, and some tennis balls. To start, owners should put treats and or kibble at the bottom and tennis balls on top to get the tin ready for play. This allows your pet to problem-solve while having fun with their favorite toys. 

If you want your dog to use some more skills, you can put the treats only in some of the tins, so they have to use their nose to dig out their snacks. The game can also be modified for smaller or bigger dog breeds by changing the muffin tin or tennis ball sizes. 

Snuffle Mat 

Although this is a more time-consuming project to do, dogs will love to sniff through fabric loops and flaps for treats. To make it, owners can use a sink mat with holes already in it and cut some six-inch fleece strips to tie through each hole. Then, once the holes are completed, treats should be added for the dog to snuffle through. 

Owners who sew can make their own version of this mat with their craftiness, but an easier version can be made from a towel. All you have to do is take a towel, place the delicious treats, then roll it up. It can’t get any simpler than that! 

A dog playing with a snuffle mat
Dogs love to use their noses to find treats. Photo courtesy of 

Shell Game 

This classic game can be used for dogs as well as humans. To play with your pooch, simply place a snack into one of three cups and let them guess which one it’s inside. All you need are some small and lightweight cups, and you can make it more difficult by adding more. 

When your pet becomes better at the activity, you should start to swap the cups around, allowing them to sniff out the treats instead of guessing from watching the snack being placed. 

A dog playing the shell game 
An activity like the shell game is great for stimulating a dog’s mind. 

T-Shirt Tug

Do you have any old t-shirts you’ll never use again? Now’s the time to put them to good use as a tug toy for your dog. 

To make: 

  1. Start cutting the shirt below the sleeves and straight across.
  2. Then, while not using the neck and sleeves, cut the rest of the fabric into strips. 
  3. Finally, put the strips together and tie a knot at the end for a tug of war t-shirt! 

This is a great environmental way to reuse the items in your home!

Not a lot of time is needed to provide dogs with the mental stimulation they need, and many items that you can use are right under your feet at home. Any pet owners that make these DIY toys will help their precious pooches live a happy, healthy, and enriched life. 

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Posted on
May 19, 2022

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