Shetland Sheepdogs, or Shelties, are super intelligent, active, and playful dogs who love to spend quality time with their family members. As a member of the herding dog group, they were bred to stay super active.
Shelties need lots of daily mental and physical stimulation to be happy and healthy. When they can’t herd livestock, Shelties love a wide variety of activities including toys and puzzles that exercise their bodies and minds.
Read on for the top 10 puzzles to keep your Sheltie busy!
How can I mentally stimulate my Shetland Sheepdog?
In addition to staying physically active, Shelties love to use their intelligence to solve problems and exercise their mental capacity. Shelties love running, chasing, learning tricks, catching frisbees, and participating in agility exercises.
Puzzle toys can help fulfill your Sheltie’s mental stimulation needs, even when you’re busy with your other daily activities. This article will highlight ten innovative puzzle toys that will keep your Sheltie actively engaged.
Keep these helpful tips in mind as you get started with puzzle toys for your Sheltie:
- Fill puzzle toys with kibble for your dog’s meals instead of feeding from a bowl. Puzzles take longer and use up more physical and mental energy.
- Use puzzle toys with treats to help your Sheltie exercise their brain at any time of day!
- Supervise your dog when introducing new puzzles and toys to keep them safe.
- When introducing a new toy, engage with your Sheltie and help them immediately succeed with the puzzle to build their interest.
- As your dog gains experience, you can adjust the difficulty level on the puzzle toys to keep them entertained.
- Rotate your use of different toys so your dog doesn’t get bored with an often-used puzzle toy.
- Keep your dog’s age in mind when choosing puzzle toys. An energetic adolescent dog may benefit from more active toys, while puppies and seniors will enjoy toys that don’t require much movement.
10 Best Puzzles for Shelties
Pet Zone IQ Treat Dispenser Ball
The Pet Zone IQ Treat Dispenser Ball engages your Sheltie’s brain while keeping them active. Your dog will use their paws and nose to move the ball to release treats. Once your dog learns how to use the toy, you can set the difficulty level to make it more challenging to get the food out.
Want even more fun for your dog? Allow them to use this on your lawn, where they’ll need to sniff out the kibble in the grass!
ZippyPaws Burrow & Seek Flying Saucer Puzzle
Shelties are known to love soft, plush toys, and this game combines small squeaky toys with a puzzle element. The object of the game is to pull out the squeaky aliens from the holes in the flying saucer.
To increase your dog’s interest in this toy, engage with them while they play. You can keep putting the small aliens back into the flying saucer, so your dog always has a new one to find, or toss the tiny aliens for your dog to grab and bring back to the saucer.
Trixie Flower Tower Activity Strategy Game
Step back and watch your dog’s mental gears turn as they figure out all the ways to get food out of the Trixie Flower Tower! The cones, sliding doors, and rotating flower petals on the toy work together to challenge your dog. The puzzle comes with a booklet with tips and tricks for changing the puzzle configuration, promising plenty of entertainment for your dog over time.
Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Snoop Toy
Your Sheltie will get a fun challenge “snooping” around to get food from the Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Snoop Toy! To fill with treats, unfold the neck of the toy and pour kibble and treats into the belly of the toy, then snap the neck back down. The first few treats come out quickly, which encourages your dog to keep working on getting the rest of the food out.
Better yet, you can fill the belly of the toy with kibble, then add wet food to plug up the opening. Refrigerate or freeze the toy, and then your dog will need to lick through the top before getting access to the hidden treats.
Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug
The Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug makes tugging pay for your dog! Fill the jug with kibble, and let your dog manipulate the rope and small opening to get treats. Some dogs will use the rope to toss the jug around to release food. This puzzle toy has a wide lid, making it easy to fill and wash.
Okegztoa Hide and Seek Dog Puzzle ToyFrisco Retro Microwave Dinner Hide and Seek Toy
This Hide and Seek Toy satisfies Sheltie’s herding instincts, and it’s fun! You can hide kibble or small treats and let your dog sniff out which sections of the dinner tray holds the good stuff. Combined with plush, squeaky toys, your dog can have tons of fun with this puzzle toy.
Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Link Toy
The Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Link Toy is an interactive puzzle toy for dogs and people! Dogs can see and smell their treats in the rectangular links and nudge, paw, and toss the toy to figure out how to get the food. You can create different shapes by connecting the links in various configurations, making this toy one of the most versatile on our list.
Ethical Pet Seek-A-Treat Flip N Slide Puzzle
Your dog will have fun finding their food in the sliders and flipping domes on the Ethical Pet Seek-A-Treat Puzzle! This food puzzle is a good starter puzzle for new learners or senior dogs who prefer to play without moving around too much. Keep the fun going by refilling portions of the puzzle during playtime.
JW Pet Treat Tower
The JW Pet Treat Tower wobbles back and forth, releasing treats from the bottom section as your dog paws and nudges it. Since it doesn’t roll like a ball, the Treat Tower works well in a small area. The Treat Tower holds plenty of kibble, making it an excellent choice for mealtime fun. You can control the difficulty level by adjusting the rings as your Sheltie gets the hang of this fun toy.
Outward Hound Challenge Slider
One of the most challenging puzzles for your Sheltie is the Outward Hound Challenge Slider. Your dog will need to slide multiple puzzle pieces to reach all the food in the tray below. This one is a real brain bender, so make sure you help your dog learn how to be successful quickly, sit back and watch their brains work, and figure out how to find all the treats!
Shelties love a variety of puzzle toys to keep them engaged and entertained. You can try out different puzzles to see which ones your dog likes the most. To make the best use of all the toys, organize a toy swap with friends and neighbors to pass along your unwanted toys and get new ones to try.
If you’re concerned about your dog’s nutritional needs and weight management, use a mix of healthy treats in their puzzle toys, and adjust their mealtime portions to avoid overfeeding.
Shelties are intelligent problem-solvers and may quickly learn to solve new puzzles. Even as your dog gains proficiency and mastery over the puzzles, they will still enjoy interacting with the puzzle toys to get treats out. You can rotate different toys to maximize the novelty of your puzzle supply.
With such a wide selection, you will find some excellent dog puzzles for your Sheltie to enjoy. Whatever toys you prefer, you can count on having a great time playing with your dog and enjoying quality time together.