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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?
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?
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?
decrease problem behaviors
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!
Good for Chewing?
Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Smart Composite Puzzle Game Dog Toy
9 x 2.33 x 9 inches
Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Smart Puzzle Game Dog Toy
11 x 1.6 x 11 inches
KONG Wobbler Dog Toy
7.5 x 5 x 5 inches
Trixie Activity Flip Board Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy
BPA-free and Non-toxic Plastic
9 x 9 x 2 inches
Lift, Flip, Slide
Trixie Activity Poker Box Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy, Level 2
BPA-free and Non-toxic Plastic
12 x 12 x 3 inches
Lift, Pull, Slide, Ropes, Drawers
Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Tornado Puzzle Game Dog Toy
9.75 x 3.07 x 7.25 inches
Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Casino Puzzle Game Dog Toy
14 x 2 x 12 inches
Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Worker Composite Puzzle Game Dog Toy
14 x 1.25 x 14 inches
Trixie Move2Win Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy
BPA-free and Non-toxic Plastic
13.25 x 5 x 2 inches
Lift, Pull, Push, Ropes, Drawers
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
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.
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.
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
5. Trixie Activity Poker Box Activity Strategy Game Dog Toy, Level 2
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.
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
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
8. Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Worker Composite Puzzle Game Dog Toy
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
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!
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.
Catherine Krasavin owns Shepherd Sense, a dog website aimed at German Shepherd owners and lovers. She has a Bachelor of Science degree, with Honors, and has been training dogs for over a decade. Catherine’s currently attending continuing education courses to keep up with the latest in animal science, as well as earning her diploma in dog training. She owns a plush coat German Shepherd who was awarded Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Gold Award - the highest level of achievement.
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