Self playing dog toys are excellent for those times when your dog is home alone or when you are otherwise occupied or don’t have the time to play with your dog. Read “Leaving a dog home alone” for more tips for when your dog is by themselves.
Some of these suggested self entertaining dog toys are only suitable for outside use. These are great for when your dog is alone in the backyard. Many others are fine for inside or outside use.
Self Entertaining Dog Toys
If your dog is ball mad, then the Wicked Ball is the ultimate moving dog toy for them. The magic ball runs and bounces all by itself and the LED light adds another level of engagement for your dog. No App or remote controller required.
It has several settings such as the Intelligent Companion mode. In this mode, the Wicked ball has 10 minutes of play and 30 minutes of rest. If your dog pushes or hits the ball, it starts the play cycle again. It also has three reaction modes (gentle, normal, active) so you can set it to suit your dog’s mood. Due to its obstacle avoidance system (collision sensor), it doesn’t get stuck in tight spots.
The Wicked ball is durable and dog safe and is also waterproof so can be played with when swimming. It also has a treat hole for dogs that are food motivated.
View the Wicked Ball on Amazon.
A Jolly Ball is a nearly indestructible ball for dogs that they push and chase around. They come in a variety of sizes, styles and are also available with a handle or rope attached for tug of war. These are particularly popular with high energy breeds such as Pitbulls and Staffies. They are also ideal for herding breeds such as Border Collies and Blue Heelers as they cater to their natural herding instinct. It is like sheep herding without the sheep.
View Jolly Balls on Amazon.
Check out the video to see what great exercise and fun they are for dogs.
Tug of war is a much-loved game played by many dogs. It not only helps to burn pent-up energy. It is also an ideal exercise for strengthening and muscle building, in particular in the rear. How often do you see a dog that is thick and strong looking in the chest and shoulders with a skinny rear end?
A spring pole is simply a spring connected to a rope that hangs from a tree branch or beam with a lure or toy attached to the end. This allows your dog to play tug of war with him or herself even if you are not there. Popular with a lot of dogs and particularly terrier type breeds like the Pitbull that love a good game of tug of war.
This pole tug toy is a variation on the Spring Pole with an added twist. You may remember playing tetherball in elementary school. This is similar in that the pole is connected to a base or the ground and your dog can play tug of war with it. When they let the ball go it bounces and swings around in all directions creating a great game of chase thanks to the spring in the pole. It is designed for dogs between 5lbs to 35lbs. The height of the pole can be adjusted to suit the size of the dog playing with it. It is reasonably robust and does come with a lifetime warranty. However, for the really strong and powerful breeds, I would recommend using a spring pole.
The tether tug can be used both indoors and outdoors.
Staying with the tug of war theme, this one is for the small dogs and can be used indoors. This is attached to the ceiling with a strong Elephant hook and can be removed easily when not in use. Comes with a bungee cord and a plush toy that has a squeaker to arouse their interest. You can attach other plush toys also if your dog as a particular favorite.
Dog toys that move on their own
There are many dog toys available that shake, rattle, roll and move about on their own. These are ideal for most dogs as they cater directly to their chase and natural prey instincts. See “Dog toys that move on their own” to learn more.
Puzzle toys are a great way to test your dog’s intelligence and improve their problem-solving skills. These toys usually have treats inside and your dog needs to work out how to get the treats out. Check out “Top 7 puzzle toys for dogs” for my top picks.
Kong toys which you stuff with food and treats work in much the same way. Read “How to use a Kong for dogs“.
The iFetch Frenzy is the only dog puzzle toy that doesn’t use treats. The ball itself is the reward. Your dog drops the ball into the top and scrambles to find it as it randomly rolls from 6-12 feet out of 1 of 3 chutes at the base.
There’s no launching, like our other iFetch ball launchers. This product allows dogs to quickly return to the real challenge: the mental game of guessing where the ball will appear next.
View iFetch Frenzy on Amazon.
The Kong Wobbler holds a good volume of dog kibble or treats to occupy your dog for a reasonable amount of time. Because of its unique shape your dog can bat it with their paws or nose sending it off in all directions dispensing food. It is also ideal for dogs that gobble down their food too fast as it makes them work for their food.
View Kong Wobbler on Amazon
A Snuffe Mat is another great way to provide for your dog’s natural digging instinct and to provide mental stimulation and relieve boredom. A Snuffe mat is a mat that is made of fleece and you can hide dry food or treats into it. If you are someone that is good at crafts you can try to make one yourself or check out the range of Snuffle Mats at Amazon.
Providing your dog with chew toys has many benefits. Chewing is a great way to occupy them and provide mental stimulation. In addition, chewing releases endorphins and helps to relax a dog. Many dogs hold stress in the jaw. Some people say that their dogs are not interested in chew toys. However, it is important to encourage them and chew toy train them.
For more on the benefits of chewing and the best chew toys click here.
Dog Toys for Diggers
Digging is a natural instinctive behavior for dogs and they dig for several reasons. The last thing you want is your dog to be digging up your backyard or garden. By providing toys that cater to this natural digging behavior you can keep them stimulated and prevent unwanted digging. Read “Dog toys for diggers” for more ideas.
Automatic Ball Launchers
Fetch is the favorite game of the majority of dogs. I am sure you have had the experience of your dog wanting you to throw the ball just a few more times. With an Automatic Ball Launcher, they can play fetch by all by themselves. This will require training them to put the ball in the funnel initially, but once they know what to do they are away and fetching. Read “Automatic Ball Launchers for Dogs” to learn more
Lots of dogs love to chase the water from the hose. With this dog water sprinkler, they can play this game without you. This device attaches to your hose and has a paw pedal so they can turn the water on. Ideal for when the weather is hot keeping them cooler and providing access to fresh flowing water to keep them hydrated.
It is important to ensure your dog as activities to keep them stimulated and to prevent boredom, especially those times when they are on their own or you don’t have time to spend with them. See “No time to exercise your dog” for more on this. A bored and frustrated dog is bound to result in a dog looking for ways to entertain themselves, often in the wrong way.
These suggested Self Entertaining Dog Toys will help to prevent these type of problem behaviors occurring.