DIY Dog Puzzle Toy

Need something new (and cheap) with which to surprise your furry friend?

How about this DIY puzzle toy. Take an empty toilet paper roll. Make a 1-inch cut at 90-degree spots at each end (or at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock if that’s easier). You should now have four tabs at each end. Fold them down such that each tab is underneath one neighbor and overlapping the other. This closes the “box” without needing tape or glue.

Dog puzzle toy from a toilet paper tube

Before you close the other end, fill with pieces of food or treats. Watch as your pup devises an interesting strategy to get at the goodies inside.

Nero's strategy

Nero prefers to just take the tube head on, chowing down through the cardboard to crush the treats within. He knows that eventually, they’ll fall out, and, if he’s fast enough, he can enjoy them before Rogue scoops them up.

Rogue's strategy

Rogue is a bit daintier, inspecting the tube for any visible weaknesses, and periodically smelling it just to make sure the treats are still there.

Rogue's strategy, part 2

Occasionally she steps back to see if it will play with her before trying to torture a confession out of it.

Winter has decided it’s not finished with us just yet, forcing us inside today. My dogs love this game, and it’s the perfect thing to keep us entertained while the winter precipitation once again turns our backyard into a swamp. Nero and Rogue have both gotten faster at figuring out how to dismantle the puzzle, but it’s an engaging mental challenge nonetheless. Plus I make them practice lots of tricks before they get this big treat for a reward.

*Please, make sure to watch your dogs while they enjoy this treat. And don’t leave the chewed cardboard bits lying around.

What kinds of mental stimulation do your dogs enjoy? What other DIY puzzle toys can you think of? Do tell.

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5 thoughts on “DIY Dog Puzzle Toy

  1. Stefani says:

    I’ll have to try this with my dog when I get home! I have a feeling he’ll try to chew straight through the cardboard, but we’ll see 🙂

    • Jessalyn says:

      Haha. It’s definitely not a “permanent” toy. Hope he likes it!

      • Stefani says:

        I made it for Roscoe last night, and I was SHOCKED that he actually took the time and opened the flaps! I was one proud puppy-mama. I had broken the treat into 2 pieces, and he struggled a bit getting the second piece out, but ended up not ripping the cardboard at all!

      • Jessalyn says:

        ‘Atta boy, Roscoe!

  2. Alisa says:

    I tried this and it was awesome 🙂 my dog loved it for the 13 seconds that it lasted haha

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