Updated July 16, 2019 by Jeff Newburgh

The 10 Best Educational Dog Toys

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This wiki has been updated 6 times since it was first published in July of 2019. There's nothing wrong with using regular tennis balls to have fun with a dog, but if you want to provide Rex with an even more challenging form of mental stimulation, while also appealing to his natural foraging instincts, consider adding one of these educational playthings to his toy basket. We've included an array of colorful options suited for both adults dogs and puppies. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best educational dog toy on Amazon.

10. Spot Seek-A-Treat

9. Outward Hound Fun Feeder

8. Wickedbone Smart Bone

7. Nina Ottosson Dog Smart

6. IFetch IDig

5. StarMark Bob-A-Lot

4. West Paw Zogoflex Tux

3. OurPets IQ Treat Ball

2. Kyjen HideASquirrel

1. Paw5 Wooly Snuffle Mat

Editor's Notes

July 12, 2019:

Setting this category apart from more traditional dog toys is the specific focus on challenging a dog's mind and helping him develop his doggy IQ and cognition skills. These are attributes that not every dog toy is designed for. Ordinary chew toys are great and it's important to realize that canines also love the classic tennis ball fetching experience. I have a male standard poodle who goes insane for any toy that's round and can fit in his mouth, so I get it. But when you have a naturally-inquisitive dog, an obsessive chewer, a super-fast eater, or one that just loves a challenge, these educational toys can do wonders for keeping a pet busy and allowing the animal to bond with you. Another important thing to realize is that most dogs are behaviorally food-driven, so you'll see that a majority of our items, while mentally-stimulating, will also appeal to a pup's natural instincts for hunting and eating.

Take the Paw5 Wooly Snuffle Mat, for example. Made to resemble a grass or field, this toy is not only forged from sustainable materials, but it also mimics the experience an animal might have outdoors when foraging for food. Fido can use his strong sense of smell to seek out whatever you've dropped inside. The Kyjen HideASquirrel is a versatile (and cute) addition to your pup's toybox, as each one of these squirrels has an independent squeaker and can be stuffed inside the trunk for the pet to seek out. I added the OurPets IQ Treat Ball for its affordable price and use of an integrated disc to increase the level of "difficulty" in yielding a treat when it's rolled around a hard floor. The West Paw Zogoflex Tux is designed specifically for the aggressive chewer, so I can imagine this being a daily companion for that growing German Shepherd or Labrador Retriever in your life. Also included the StarMark Bob-A-Lot, as it can move around erratically on its axis and also has a large capacity for kibble. If you think we forgot about the diggers, the IFetch IDig will prove you wrong. While I included the flexible version, this nifty toy is also available with a hard plastic shell for large dogs. Its removable flaps are also easy to wash. For those of you who love technology, the Wickedbone Smart Bone is right up your alley. This device can be controlled with the included mobile app and it can also be programmed to respond to one of 12 different behaviors and actions your dog elicits. While I wouldn't consider the Outward Hound Fun Feeder as an interactive "toy" in the strictest sense of the term, its fun patterns and flexible design can certainly make mealtimes interesting and it will teach a pup about spatial intelligence, while encouraging more healthy digestion in the process. Finally, I included the Spot Seek-a-Treat because it can double as both a treat dispenser and flip-and-slide toy to improve canine cognition.

Jeff Newburgh
Last updated on July 16, 2019 by Jeff Newburgh

Jeff is a dedicated writer and communications professional from San Francisco with a bachelor of arts in anthropology from UC Berkeley. He began his career in computer consulting and later branched out into customer service. Jeff focuses on making complex topics easy to understand. With over 10 years' experience in research, his relentless curiosity fuels a love of writing and learning how things work, and has helped to build expertise in categories such as heavy-duty power tools and computer equipment. Jeff's passion for animals affords him a strong understanding of pet products, including dog houses, beds, and grain-free foods. When he's not writing, he prefers spending time with his family and three dogs, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.

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