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7 Engaging Puzzle Toys for German Shepherds

Is your German Shepherd a smarty pants?  Yup, mine too. It’s important to keep your German Shepherd’s brain active and engaged – it’ll keep them happy and healthy, while also preventing your GSD from looking for more devious ways to fill their time (i.e. eating your shoes).

So, what’s a good way to engage your little Brainiac? The answer – puzzle toys for German Shepherds.

*This article may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of the links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you 🙂 .

What are puzzle toys for dogs?

Your dog doesn’t just need physical activity – they also need mental stimulation. Puzzle toys are designed to keep your pooch’s brain active.

They’re the ideal toy for dog parents who struggle to keep their pup entertained and challenged.

My favorite doggy puzzles are interactive and reward your pup’s hard work with a treat, making them multi-functional as well. Allie loves all toys – but she is food motivated so toys that reward her with a tasty snack are definitely favorites in our house.

Why are puzzle toys good for German Shepherds?

As I mentioned at the start, German Shepherds are very intelligent dogs.  Plus, they’re working dogs, so they need jobs or tasks that challenge them – otherwise, they can become destructive.

Here are a few reasons why puzzle toys are the bee’s knees when it comes to entertaining your active and intelligent German Shepherd.

  • German Shepherds like a challenge and puzzle toys provide great mental stimulation for those super-intelligent minds.
  • Puzzle toys are also a great source of entertainment. They help fight boredom and prevent the destructive behavior that comes from boredom.
  • Sniffing out hidden treats is not only fun, but it also activates your dog’s pleasure center. So, use a puzzle toy to get your dog’s “happy hormones” flowing.
  • German Shepherds have a lot of energy. Puzzle toys for German Shepherds are a great way to use up some of that physical and mental energy.
  • Looking for a way to entertain your furry pal when the weather is cold or rainy? Puzzle toys are a great option for indoor playtime when the weather is bad.

Best Puzzle Toys for German Shepherds

There are lots of exciting and engaging dog puzzle toys on the market. But to keep your shopping simple, I’ve created one awesome list of all my favorites!

The KONG Goodie Bone

The KONG Goodie Bone is as tough as the rest of the toys from this brand and has holes at each end for treats. Allie likes this toy filled with peanut butter – yum!

This particular puzzle toy isn’t as mentally challenging as some of the other toys on my list – it’s more of a glorified treat holder. But it definitely extends playtime, especially if you fill it with peanut butter and freeze it.

The KONG Goodie Bone is made from specially formulated, ultra-durable rubber that’s designed for extreme chewers. It’s tough enough for your dog to enjoy when unsupervised or even when crated.

What I love:

  • Durable
  • Doubles as a fetch toy
  • Different size options
  • Great for crate training or unsupervised play
  • Great frozen with peanut butter

Possible downsides: 

  • It’s not the most challenging puzzle toy out there.

And the verdict is…

The KONG Goodie Bone is a fun way to treat your German Shepherd. It’ll help you keep your GSD entertained (and not eating your couch) while you’re out running errands.

The KONG Wobbler

If you love the KONG brand but want something a bit more exciting than the Goodie Bone, then check out the KONG Wobbler.

This puzzle toy has a super fun wobbling action that your dog will love, and it dispenses food and treats when your dog interacts with it.

The KONG Wobbler is also versatile – you can use it for those fast eaters that gobble down all their food (Allie is guilty of this!).   Instead of feeding your dog in their bowl, fill the Wobbler with food and it’ll slowly dispense your pup’s food as your dog plays with it.

As a bonus, this toy is also easy to fill and easy to clean.

What I love:

  • Entertaining!
  • Slows down eating to extend mealtime
  • Different size options
  • Dishwasher safe

Possible downsides: 

  • Even though this is made by the ultra-tough KONG company, the Wobbler should only be used with supervision.

And the verdict is…

The KONG Wobbler is an action-packed treat dispenser that wobbles, spins, and rolls. It’s multi-functional and loads of fun!

The Nina Ottoson Brick Treat Puzzle Toy

This is a true puzzle toy for your dog! It requires problem-solving skills and will engage your pup with its interactive features.

The Nina Ottoson Brick Treat Puzzle Toy for dogs gives your dog’s mind the exercise it needs. It has easy flip compartments (or bricks) where you can hide tasty treats or kibble for your dog to find.

But there’s more than just flipping open bricks – dogs can also slide blocks to discover the delicious treats inside.

You can also remove or add bricks to vary the challenge level. With 20 total compartments, this toy will definitely keep your German Shepherd engaged.


What I love:

  • Engaging
  • Varying degrees of difficulty
  • Easy to clean
  • Slows down eating to extend mealtime

Possible downsides: 

  • Supervision is an absolute must with this game! The tops of the bricks can snap off, which could be a choking hazard for your pooch.

And the verdict is…

This Nina Ottoson puzzle toy is like an extreme game of hide and seek with treats as a prize – what’s not to love!?

The Nina Ottoson Outward Hound Puzzle Toy

Here is another phenomenal dog puzzle toy from Nina Ottoson! Once again, your German Shepherd will be able to put their problem-solving skills to the test with this toy.

The Nina Ottoson Outward Hound Puzzle Toy combines 7 compartments, 7 sliding cups, and 7 flaps to keep your dog challenged.

This puzzle toy provides plenty of mental stimulation, along with delicious treats for a job well-done. Plus, your dog will need to follow its nose to uncover those treats (happy hormones, remember?).

And this toy is another one that’s easy to wash!

What I love:

  • Engaging and challenging
  • Easy to clean
  • Slows down eating to extend mealtime
  • Great starter puzzle toy option

Possible downsides: 

  • Aside from supervised play (which I recommend for the majority of these puzzle toys), this toy is also not quite as challenging as the Nina Ottoson Brick Treat Puzzle Toy.

And the verdict is…

Overall, this dog puzzle toy is a great starter puzzle toy option to add to your dog’s toybox to vary mental stimulation during playtime.

The West Paw Zogoflex Tux Interactive Treat Toy

If you like the idea of a super tough puzzle toy (like the KONG bone), then this is another ideal option for ultra-durability and mental stimulation, all in one!

The West Paw Zogoflex Tux is an extremely tough rubber toy that dispenses treats as your dog noses and nudges it around. It holds all different sized treats, so mix it up – try frozen banana chunks or greek yogurt.

Even once all the treats are gobbled up, this toy is packed with fun! It floats and bounces, making a great toy for fetch and all-around play.

Plus, it’s super tough for those aggressive chewers! You can even use it for crate training.


What I love:

  • Durable
  • Versatile play
  • Easy to clean
  • Slows down eating to extend mealtime

Possible downsides: 

  • This isn’t a super challenging puzzle toy – but I think the toughness makes up for it.

And the verdict is…

I love the durability of this toy, and with so many different treat options to hide inside, it really keeps Allie engaged and entertained.

The OurPets IQ Treat Ball

Allie loves playing with balls, so I had to include at least one on my list. This ball keeps high-energy dogs occupied by spilling out goodies!

Treat dispensing puzzle toys are a great way to reward your pup for being active. And this ball is a rolling good time!

Use the OurPets IQ Treat Ball to slow down eaters that gobble up all their food. Put a portion of your dog’s meal in this ball instead, and it slowly dispenses food as it rolls around.

You can even adjust the difficulty levels (dispensing food faster or slower) to keep your dog challenged.

What I love:

  • Entertaining exercise
  • Slows down eating to extend mealtime
  • Varying difficulty levels
  • Easy to clean

Possible downsides: 

  • The biggest size may be too small if you have an extra large German Shepherd.

And the verdict is…

Every dog loves a ball! And this OurPets IQ Treat Pall is action-packed, tons of fun, and perfect for keeping your dog active.

The StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy

I’ve found that no dog can resist an exciting wobbly toy, so here’s one more wobbling option to entice your dog to play for hours on end.

The StarMark Bob-A-Lot dog toy wobbles erratically – and your dog won’t be able to resist it!  The bottom is weighted to give it that extra fun wobble.

This toy also has a big chamber that can hold up to 3 cups of food, making it perfect for mealtime. And you can adjust the openings to change up the difficulty level for your dog.

The adjustable openings also ensure that any size of kibble bites can still make it through.


What I love:

  • Entertaining!
  • Slows down eating to extend mealtime
  • Different size options
  • Holds a lot of food

Possible downsides: 

  • It’s hard plastic, so it can be a bit noisy on wood or tile floors (but in my opinion, it’s well worth it!).

And the verdict is…

Get this toy for your pup’s entertainment pleasure. It’s a great way to make feeding time the most fun ever!

Tips on Using Puzzle Toys for German Shepherds

Here are a few other things to keep in mind when using a puzzle toy to spice up your German Shepherd’s playtime.

  • While there are some exceptions, the general rule is to let your dog play with these toys only under supervision. Keep a close eye on your dog while they work to solve the puzzle and help them as needed. Remember, these are puzzle toys, not chew toys!  If you are looking for indestructible dog toys click here.
  • The Kong Bone and West Paw are the only toys on my list that are tough enough to be left with your dog when you’re away. Personally, I only leave Allie alone with the Kong Goodie Bone. I’ll stuff it full of peanut butter and freeze it – she’ll be occupied for a while!
  • Also, be careful of overfeeding with too many tasty treats. If I know I’m going to let Allie work on a puzzle toy that involves treats, I give her a little less food at her regular mealtime.
  • If using a food dispensing toy, put about half of your dog’s regular meal in the toy instead of in their bowl.
  • Remember, your dog still needs exercise and plenty of love! Puzzle toys aren’t a substitute for time and attention. Socialize your dog with plenty of two-legged and four-legged interaction, and make sure to play fetch and let your dog romp around and exercise.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it – puzzle toys for German Shepherds are the best way to combine exercise and brain games, all in one playful package.

Choose a few puzzle toys from my recommendations and watch your German Shepherd actively engage in an exciting new activity.  All that mental stimulation will make your dog happier and healthier than ever!

What are your favorite interactive puzzle toys for German Shepherds? Any awesome toys I missed? Let me know in the comments!


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