7 Smart Toys You Can Make For Your Dog

Pique your dog's curiosity and encourage mental and physical activity by surrounding him with stimulating puzzles and gadgets, like these entertaining toys that you can make at home.

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Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Plumb a Pipe Puzzle

This durable PVC puzzle is so fun for pets that you might find that your dog demands it at every meal. Use a PVC ratchet cutter or a hacksaw to trim a 12-inch length of PVC pipe, then drill holes through the exterior of the plastic. (Make sure the holes are wide enough for your pet's kibbles.) Cap both ends of the pipe with a female adapter and a cleanout plug. The kibbles will release through the holes – as soon as your dog learns to roll it along the ground.

Chill Out With an Ice Block

Perplex your furry friend on a hot day by freezing his favorite toys in a big block of ice. He'll have to chip away at the ice and melt it off in order to retrieve the toys as they peek through, promising to keep him busy for hours and super hydrated, too.

Make an A-maze-ing Food Dish

Promote slow consumption and make your dog work a little more thoughtfully to earn his breakfast/lunch/dinner with this creative food dish. You can easily make your own puzzle dish by stacking a dinner plate, salad plate and bowl together and securing them layer-by-layer with a food-grade silicone sealant. Pro tip? Opt for children's plasticware. Children's plates are more apt to sit flat but have a defined and raised outer edge, which makes it more suitable for Fido to nudge and navigate around the floor without food sliding off.

Explore Easy Treat Obstacles

Many dogs will thrive with a variety of obstacles put between them and their food, and finding new ways to challenge your dog will keep you entertained. For example, if you cut pieces of PVC pipe then put them upright in a container filled with snacks, your pup is going to have to figure out how to remove each individual piece of piping to get to the treats. Easier said than done? This girl was perplexed at first, but once she got the hang of it, there was no stopping her curiosity.

Serve Up Tennis Ball Treats

When you cut a 3-inch slice into a tennis ball you'll (render it completely unbouncy and also) make the perfect toy to contain your pet's treats. Your dog will be able to smell what's inside but will have to learn how to squeeze and shake the ball in order to release the snacks.

Tennis Ball Treats on a Rope

Take the tennis treat ball concept a step further if Sherlock Bones needs a real challenge. String three cut tennis balls together on a piece of rope to form a tug-of-war accessory, then load treats into each of the tennis balls. Not only does the dog have to work to retrieve the snacks, but he'll have to recall which ball is full and which is empty as he plays.

Design a Dog Agility Course

Dog training and agility training can be honed with plenty of DIY contraptions like weave bars and pedestal jumps. PVC pipe is ideal for these systems since it's inexpensive, durable and lightweight. Bond with your pet while helping him train, and let him have some fun while he's mentally and physically stimulated.