A Guide To Dog Puzzle Toys: Where To Start

Hazel the Cavalier and the Trixie Flip Bone

So you’re looking for something to entertain and engage your beloved furry companion but not sure where to start? Our range of Trixie dog activity toys includes 15 different games and choosing your first can be a bit overwhelming, so here’s a quick guide to get you going…

Trixie puzzle toys have three difficulty levels, 1 being the easiest and 3 the hardest. You want to set your pooch up for success, particularly in the beginning. If you shoot straight for the top and grab the most complex amazing looking toy you may find your dog becomes frustrated with the game quickly and loses interest altogether, so it’s important to make the right choice.

Your Dog’s First Puzzle Toy

Flip Bone

A great starting point is the Flip Bone – a level 1 puzzle. This game consists of 8 treat compartments, with 4 sliders and 2 cones. Hide treats under the sliding discs and lift-up cones and watch your dog use their scent skills to uncover them.

The cones fit the same holes as the sliders, so you can vary things a bit by placing cones in-between or alongside the sliders, so your dog has to remove the cone before being able to slide the discs. Cones from other games can also be added to increase the difficulty once your pup has worked out how to play.

The Flip & Fun is a similar game with the same kinds of sliding discs and cones, and although technically a level 2 game, is also a great starting point for puzzle game beginners.

Trixie Flip Bone
Trixie Flip Bone

Gambling Tower

Another excellent beginners game is the Gambling Tower. Another level 1 puzzle but with some different actions needed to retrieve the treats.

Again we have the lift-off cones like the Flip Board, but also a tower with 3 slide out plates. Your dog needs to pull each plate out of the tower using the attached rope to let the treats drop down to the bottom.

This one is a little less intuitive for the dog as although they’ll be able to see and smell the treats inside, their instinctual response to nose around or paw at it won’t get them very far, unlike with the flip bone above. They’ll probably need a little help from Mum or Dad to get the hang of it and if your dog is a little rough you may need to steady the toy as well so they don’t just knock the whole thing over.

Gabling Tower Dog Puzzle Game
Trixie Gambling Tower

Turn Around

If you’re looking for something where you can be a little less involved and sit back and enjoy watching your dog have fun, the Turn Around is the toy for you. You may need to give your pup a little guidance in the beginning, but it shouldn’t take too long for them to get the hang of it.

Fill the three canisters with treats and let your dog work out how to spin them around with their nose or paws to release the food. There are different size lids for the canisters to make it easier or harder to get the food out, and if you fill them right up this should keep both you and your furry friend entertained for a while.

For more information on the Turn Around game, check out an in-depth customer review including video here. The Turn Around is 33cm high so may not be suitable for miniature breeds who could have trouble reaching the canisters.

Trixie Turn Around Dog Toy
Trixie Turn Around


Where To Next?

Once your dog has mastered some of the easier puzzles, there are a number of options for progressing further.

Flip Board

The Flip Board is a great next step and rated best puzzle toy of 2020 by TechGearLab!

If you’ve tried the Flip Bone or Flip & Fun, your dog will already be familar with some of the actions required to unearth the treats in this puzzle game.

Consisting again of sliding discs and lift-up cones, we now add some flip-lids to the mix, controlled by bone-shaped handles. Your dog will likely go straight for the sliders and cones, knowing exactly what treasures lie beneath after having mastered these in the beginner puzzles. The flip-lids add a different challenge where they must push the handle to open the compartment and reveal the treats.

Watch the video below to see exactly how this game works – remember the dog in the video has had a lot of practice so they do make it look very easy!

Push Away

The Push Away game features two sliding covers, blocked by a cone on each side. The dog has to work out that they must remove the cones before being able to slide open the covers using the knobs. Great for getting your pooch’s brain working!

Push Away Dog Puzzle Toy
Trixie Push Away

My Dog Is A Puzzle Genius!

Alright, so your dog has mastered everything so far, don’t worry there’s still plenty of puzzle fun to be had yet!

Poker Box Games

The Trixie Poker Box series includes 10 different mini-puzzles for your dog that can be interchanged on the game boards supplied to mix things up.

Each mini-puzzle can be removed from the board for the learning phase and once your dog has mastered each one individually they can be combined on the 2 or 4 capacity game boards for a complete puzzle playtime.

  • Poker Box 1 and Poker Box 2 consist of 4 different mini-puzzles each.
  • Poker Box Vario 1 is made up two elements from Poker Box 2 and can be played by itself or mix ‘n’ match with your Poker Box 1 set.
  • Poker Box Vario 2 adds two fun new mini-puzzles to the mix and is a very popular option both on its own as well as interchanging with the other Poker Box games.

Trixie Poker Box Games

Other great higher difficulty puzzles include Move2Win, Chess and Mini Mover (a particularly excellent game for smaller dogs).

No matter where you and your dog are at in terms of puzzle game experience, there is an option for everyone. If you’re having trouble choosing, feel free to get in touch and we’ll try our best to guide you through it.

Although these games are quite robust, some of them do have small removable parts so please supervise your dog at all times whilst they are enjoying their puzzle time.

Click here to browse the full range of Trixie dog puzzle toys.

Header photo credit: Hazel the Cavalier – Follow @hazel_thecavalier on Instagram to keep up with her adventures!