9 Best German Shepherd Puzzle Toys That Will Blow Your Dog’s Mind

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You need to know this list of the best German Shepherd Puzzle toys to keep your intelligent breed stimulated and out of trouble.

Because a bored German Shepherd will make up their own puzzle games to keep busy and…

I can guarantee you won’t like the games your GSD makes for themselves (think barking like crazy while running back and forth at the front window or chewing your kitchen table).

So, what’s a great way to keep your smarty-pants dog engaged?

These stimulating puzzle toys for German Shepherds!

What are puzzle toys for German Shepherds?

what are puzzle toys for german shepherds
Puzzle toys come in a variety of styles and difficulty levels, like these pictured.

While many owners think of keeping their high-energy breed active physically, they tend to forget about their German Shepherd’s brain.

Your breed was bred with intelligence AND physical activity as essential to their daily lives. And puzzle games for German Shepherd’s provide a daily dose of mental stimulation to support your dog’s mind.

These German Shepherd dog puzzles are an ideal toy for owners who want to help their breed prevent boredom and problem behaviors.

After all, your German Shepherd was bred for a specific job (like herding, guarding, scenting), but in his modern life he’s probably got nothing more challenging to do than lying on your sofa, going for your regular same-old walk, or barking at the mail delivery (akc.org).

Do you want that type of mundane life for your dog?

You can entertain, energize, and stimulate your GSD by offering interactive and stimulating dog toys such as these puzzle games.

My favorite dog puzzles are interactive and reward my German Shepherd for her brain work with a tasty bit of treat. I like to vary what treats I put into the puzzles so this keeps her guessing and having fun!

If your GSD enjoys treats and is the resident furry Brainiac, then these puzzle toys for German Shepherds will blow their minds!

Are puzzle toys good for German Shepherds?

are puzzle toys good for german shepherds
Bored dog? No problem — teach him to play with stimulating games!

German Shepherds love a great challenge that makes them solve a problem.

And, that’s exactly what dog puzzles for German Shepherds do

So, what are the benefits of puzzle games for your dog?

  • mental stimulation
  • decrease problem behaviors
  • prevent boredom
  • reward your dog for their hard work and participation
  • increases your GSD’s please in life and bonding with you
  • keep them motivated because the games are fun
  • are great entertainment when the weather outside is too rainy, too cold, or too hot
  • slow down a fast meal-eater

Think of these puzzle toys like playing a board game with your pet — it’s not solitaire.

It’s a time to bond over fun!

I bet you didn’t know that puzzles for German Shepherds could do so much for your dog! And these toys aren’t just good puzzle toys for your German Shepherd…

they’re some of the most stimulating games!

Best Puzzle Toys for German Shepherds Overview

There are so many puzzle toys to choose from for your German Shepherd in the stores and online. But, I’ve used my own German Shepherd to test these toys out so your options are right in front of you — easy, peasy shopping!

Puzzle ToyLevelMaterialSizeBenefitActionsGood for Chewing?Dishwasher Safe?
Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Smart Composite Puzzle Game Dog ToyBeginnerPolypropylene, Wood

9 x 2.33 x 9 inchesTrainingLiftNoNo
Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Smart Puzzle Game Dog ToyBeginnerPolypropylene11 x 1.6 x 11 inchesTrainingLiftNoNo
KONG Wobbler Dog ToyBeginnerNylon7.5 x 5 x 5 inches

Training, ChewingRoll, WobbleYesYes
Trixie Activity Flip Board Activity Strategy Game Dog ToyIntermediateBPA-free and Non-toxic Plastic9 x 9 x 2 inchesTrainingLift, Flip, SlideNoYes
Trixie Activity Poker Box Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy, Level 2IntermediateBPA-free and Non-toxic Plastic12 x 12 x 3 inchesTrainingLift, Pull, Slide, Ropes, DrawersNoYes
Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Tornado Puzzle Game Dog ToyIntermediatePolypropylene9.75 x 3.07 x 7.25 inchesTrainingSpin, LiftNoNo
Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Casino Puzzle Game Dog ToyDifficultPolypropylene14 x 2 x 12 inchesTrainingPull, SlideNoNo
Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Worker Composite Puzzle Game Dog ToyDifficultPolypropylene, Wood14 x 1.25 x 14 inchesTrainingSlide, PushNoNo
Trixie Move2Win Activity Strategy Game Dog ToyDifficultBPA-free and Non-toxic Plastic13.25 x 5 x 2 inchesLift, Pull, Push, Ropes, DrawersNoYes
Best German Shepherd Puzzle Toys Overview

Best Beginner German Shepherd Puzzle Toy Games

If you’ve got a puppy or a dog that’s new to puzzle games, then start with an easy-to-understand beginner or Level 1 game.

This helps to avoid doggie frustration and keeps your dog interested in playing. Here are the best easy, beginner puzzles.

1. Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Smart Composite Puzzle Game Dog Toy

nina ottosson smart composite puzzle game for german shepherd level 1 beginner easy
This was my German Shepherd’s first puzzle game, and then we were hooked on them!

Who says simple games are boring?

This Nina Ottosson inspired puzzle game by Outward Hound creates multiple ways to enjoy the simplicity of the game, all while giving your dog a quick reward for their encouragement.

This Level 1 toy is designed to entice your pup’s brain and allow him to learn coordination, multiple steps, and higher-level thinking all at the same time! Simply hide some flavorful treats under each cup and enjoy your German Shepherd’s game face as he uses his nose and paws to discover his reward.

my german shepherd playing with her first puzzle toy
If you look closely, you can see all the drool that happens when she plays. Don’t worry, it’s easily washable.

What You’ll Like

  • Exercises your puppy’s brain while encouraging motor skills through play!
  • With 9 removable cups there’s plenty of unique ways to hide treats… or leave the cups off to encourage your puppy to investigate and earn simple rewards.
  • Helps introduce your dog to puzzle games at a simple-to-understand level.

2. Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Smart Puzzle Game Dog Toy

Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Smart Puzzle Game Dog Toy
This is a great beginner game to transition your German Shepherd to harder puzzles.

Although this is an entry-level challenge your puppy also learns to develop new brain techniques due to the adjustable bones in the puzzle toy.

It’s easy to switch up the difficulty by adjusting the bones in this game toy to either be flush with the board or elevated. Plus, it’s also a perfect feeder toy for feeding dry kibble!

What You’ll Like

  • A great bridge game between an easy and medium level for dogs who are puzzle toy beginners
  • Can be arranged in different difficulty levels or bones left off altogether for an easier puzzle
  • Great for fast eaters as you can use this puzzle for feeding your puppy his dry kibble

3. KONG Wobbler Dog Toy

kong wobbler toy for german shepherds
An easy toy for puppies or dogs new to puzzles is this Kong Wobbler toy.

Some of you may already recognize the Kong name brand for it’s durability, especially with strong chewers.

And this Kong Wobbler puzzle dog toy is no different — the rugged construction withstands even the sharp teeth of your puppy! It’s also a great introduction to puzzle games because it’s a simple strategy to get the treats out.

This means less stress for new players to puzzles and that your dog is more likely to enjoy the game!

Oh, and did I mention this toy is dishwasher safe so you don’t have to worry about annoying hand washing?

What You’ll Like

  • An easy twist-to-open refill mechanism for a quick playtime
  • Long-lasting Kong rubber frame
  • Easy enough for puppies to understand and safe for senior dogs with limited mobility
  • Spins, rolls, and wobbles for long-lasting enjoyment

Best Intermediate Puzzle Toys for German Shepherds

If your dog is already experienced with beginner puzzle toys or you want to take the time to teach them a more challenging game, then these intermediate or Level 2 games are for you.

They are a great addition to your game library!

And, they help keep your curious puppy from becoming bored of their easier games while preparing them for their next challenge.

4. Trixie Activity Flip Board Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy

This intermediate game rewards your GSD for correctly opening the various challenging compartments.

The Trixie Dog Activity Flip Board has been a real favorite of my German Shepherd.

She uses her nose and teeth so softly to open the flip doors and to slide the covers for her treat. I’m always surprised by her delicate nature given she weighs over 80 pounds!

I’ve started using fewer treats in the compartments while closing all the doors to help keep my German Shepherd using her brain to sniff out the hidden treats.

Another great Trixie GSD puzzle game that’s also dishwasher safe for dogs that drool (yep — that’s my German Shepherd, too!)

I love that there are three different puzzles, so she has to figure out how to open each. It’s a great bit of enrichment and it’s both fun for her and fun for me to watch her mind work.

my german shepherd playing with her puzzle
She figured it out in three tries so now I don’t hide treats in every compartment.

What You’ll Like

  • Watch your dog use their nose and paws to open the compartments to keep their senses sharp
  • Good for German Shepherds who have aced their beginner toys
  • Enriching ways for your dog to flip and lift for their pay-out treats
  • Non-slip rubber feet to keep the game from sliding over your floor

5. Trixie Activity Poker Box Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy, Level 2

trixie activity poker board for GSD interactive toys
The Trixie Activity Poker Box Interactive Dog Toy, Level 2 game has really channelled my GSD’s intelligence!

Honestly, I don’t know who’s having more fun with the puzzles, me or my German Shepherd! She loves discovering the hidden treats and I love watching her learn how to pull out the drawers and lift up the lids.

While this is considered an intermediate Level 2 toy, you can increase or decrease the difficulty by keeping some of the drawers partially opened or taking the boxes from the base to introduce them to your puppy individually for an easy start.

Many of the dog puzzles are designed to work with only dry kibble, but the Trixie Poker Box works great with wet food, too.

And…

it’s easy to clean!

What You’ll Like

  • Interactive GSD toy that can be adjusted to your dog’s learning style and preference
  • 4 separate drawers you can use altogether or separately for a change in challenge
  • Lids, flaps, knobs drawers and ropes encourage your curious pup to try different motions to retrieve their reward
  • Designed for both wet food or dry kibble to use as a slow feeder
  • Use this puzzle for breakfast or dinner to give your dog a fun meal

Try this German Shepherd Puzzle Feeder Tip:

For your dog’s breakfast or dinner, use this puzzle feeder and hide it in your yard. Then, let your dog search and find the puzzle to earn their food. My German Shepherd loves this!

Best. Game. Ever.

And, if you own a variety of puzzle toy feeders you can change up the game from breakfast to dinner!

Every meal is an opportunity for enrichment (aspca.org).

6. Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Tornado Puzzle Game Dog Toy

nina ottosson puzzle game for a german shepherd
The spin and lift motions will help keep your dog curious.

This Level 2 game shows that you can teach an old dog new tricks!

Just place your dog’s favorite treats inside the moving puzzle and they’ll have a blast rotating the 4 layers of moving discs.

In 3 of the layers you can place cute white bone covers to make the puzzle toy even more intriguing and challenging! For dogs that are used to flipping and lifting type puzzles the spinning tornado will offer them a new motion to explore and understand.

What You’ll Love

  • The tornado action keeps your pet happy and healthy by offering them a new movement to try out with their nose or paw
  • You can hide the treats in various sections of the puzzle or use the bone blocks to cover them for increased difficulty
  • Good for senior dogs who would prefer to use their noses to move the pieces, instead of their paws

Best Difficult Puzzles for German Shepherds

Do you own a real Einstein German Shepherd?

Is your GSD smarter than a 2-year-old?

Then you will love these hard puzzles for German Shepherds that give your dog the ultimate brain stimulation.

Challenge accepted!

7. Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Casino Puzzle Game Dog Toy

Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Casino Puzzle Game Dog Toy
Let you GSD show you his super brain power for this game.

Don’t worry, your dog doesn’t need any money to play this casino game.

But, they do need their game face on because this puzzle is for more advanced players!

All you need to do is to hide yummy treats and watch your dog pull out the flaps in a variety of directions. Using their nose or paw they must pull correctly to find the payoff.

What You’ll Love

  • You can adjust the degree of difficulty by locking the flaps by turning the little bones on top or lessen the difficulty by leaving the flaps unlocked
  • Level of difficulty 3, for the more advanced treat hunters
  • Easy to clean, simply rinse under warm water to refresh
  • Even puppies can paw at the bones on top to unlock the drawers, which is a challenging step for new puzzle players
  • Keeps hyper GSDs busy while enjoying using their noses to unlock the drawers

8. Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Worker Composite Puzzle Game Dog Toy

nina ottosson by outward hound composite worker german shepherd puzzle game dog toy
This puzzle is truly difficult enough to keep an active dog engaged long enough for you to get a cup of coffee!

Are you looking for a toy with built in pieces so your dog can’t run away and chew on them?

Then, the Dog Worker Composite Puzzle will become your new favorite puzzle!

This toy provides intellectual stimulation with interactive play and problem solving to give your dog a fun play session. Each piece slides on a track and is designed to stay in place, even with puppies who can’t contain their energy!

You can also set it up for easy solving by keeping some flaps all the way or partially open and then increase the complexity as your dog gets older and wiser. One of the best features is that even though your GSD will learn how it works it still requires enough tactile stimulation to get their treat…

no matter what.

The only problem is that your dog will be so blown away that the whole toy may end up covered in saliva…

because of how much they want the treats!

Definitely good for a German Shepherd’s nose and doggy brain.

What You’ll Love

  • The spinning center is challenging enough for highly intelligent GSD who keeps you on your toes
  • Unique composite material offers puppies a fun and interactive way to find their food while acting as a slow feeder
  • All the little pieces are carefully built into the base to help keep your pup safe as he plays.
  • Challenging, engaging, and took some time to get to the hidden treats!
  • Well-constructed game with connected parts, so the moving pieces don’t get lost…or eaten
  • Excellent bonding activity for German Shepherds 🧡

9. Trixie Move2Win Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy

trixie move2win activity strategy game dog toy
Will you accept this Level 3 puzzle challenge?

Ok all you experienced puzzle gamers… here’s the Trixie Dog Activity Move2Win Toy to keep your dog’s gaming skills levelled up and charged!

The formula for achieving the treat reward is a series of moves in a certain order, which is more than ideal for the advanced canine gamer.

Looking for a game that’s enjoyable to use on those cold rainy days where you can’t get outside?

Then get your pup moving with this stimulating activity game and watch them plan a winning strategy.

What You’ll Love

  • A challenging and stimulating advanced puzzle toy that requires a multi-step process
  • Requires a variety of movements, coordination, and challenges them without being totally “unsolvable “
  • Great complex puzzle with multiple aspects, multi-direction levers, and strings that can only be pulled after the honeycomb is removed
  • Non-slip rubber feet keep the game from moving during play
  • The whole game is dishwasher safe so you can easily wash away all the dog drool you’ll GSD will leave behind

Warning: Listen Up German Shepherd Gamers!!

While puzzle games for German Shepherds are a wonderful addition to your toys, they are never, ever, ever….

meant to be left unsupervised with your dog!

DANGER!!

Your GSD could chew the game up, making it useless for more play, or worse…

eat and swallow the pieces!

Put all the games away after your play session is over in a spot your smart dog can’t reach. And, wipe them down with warm soapy water after each use, or place them in the dishwasher for a short cycle.

In my experience, it’s best to NOT use the heat cycle or you could risk melting or distorting some of the pieces.

Let them air dry thoroughly before offering them to your dog for another round of play.

I know some of you will say, “Duh, you shouldn’t ever leave your dog unsupervised with these toys,” but there’s always a new owner out there who might not know that puzzle games are NOT meant to be played with unsupervised.

Puzzles are for both your dog and you to enjoy TOGETHER!

Looking for more durable toys that will withstand chewing?

While no toy for a German Shepherd is really indestructible there are a few tougher options out there to try.

Want to know what I let my German Shepherd chew?

Then check out this post…

13 Best German Shepherd Toys for Bored Chewers 🦴