So, how can you use these toys with your dog?
The first step is learning how to properly fill such a toy and knowing when to use it. Behaviors like chewing, continued barking, and destruction of household items can mean your dog is not mentally stimulated enough or experiencing anxiety. For dogs, the act of chewing can be a stress reliever, so we need to make sure we provide our dog with appropriate toys to chew on. Your puzzle toy can be used in this situation, as well as many other situations.
When filling your puzzle toy with treats, you should consider the situation you are using the toy in. If your dog has anxiety in their crate and you want to use the puzzle toy to help them enjoy their crate, you would fill it with the best, high value treats you could find, place it in the crate, and let your dog go in by themselves and enjoy their treats. Once they are done, you let them out and repeat this process a few times until your dog is checking the crate themselves for yummy treats.
I prefer to layer my bigger puzzle toys with a variety of treats by putting the best treats at the very end of the toy, so my dog has to work all the way to the end to get their favorites. However, there are situations that you could get away with using your dog kibble or lower value treats, like just general mental stimulation upkeep or when you are surfing the internet and just want some alone time.
Using the puzzle toys before the unwanted behavior starts can help prevent many troublesome incidents and misunderstandings between you and your dog. So, get out the puzzle toys and treat your little Einstein to mental challenge!