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What are Interactive Dog Toys?

Updated on March 15, 2014
Interactive Dog Toys are FUN!
Interactive Dog Toys are FUN!

They're Toys That Interact WITH Your Dog

Lately, there's been a lot of buzz in the industry about interactive dog toys. Hmm, still wondering what they are and how they differ from plain old dog toys? Well, they either engage your dog in a new and exciting way or toys that reward your dog (typically with treats but could also be interesting sounds or lights) for playing with it. These kinds of dog toys are not only more fun for dogs, they are also more stimulating and engaging, which keeps dogs playing (and exercising) longer. For interactive dog toys that involve the dog owner as well, they promote bonding as the dog owner and dog are playing and having fun together.

Animal X-Tire Ball
Animal X-Tire Ball

There are a TONS of Interactive Dog Toys Just waiting to make your dog's tail wag!

Because these toys are so doggone popular, as dog owners are becoming wise to the fact that they keep doggie boredom far, far away, there are lots of different kinds available. From treat dispensers to bacon bubble machines, to dog puzzles, games and fetch machines. Manufacturers are making better dog toys designed with a dog's mentality in mind and with the aim of keeping a dog engaged for longer periods of time.

Kibble Nibble
Kibble Nibble

Dogs Are Encouraged to Play Because They Can "Win"

These toys are the most popular kind because 1) most dogs love treats or mental stimulation in the form of sounds or lights, 2) these toys are typically easy for dogs to figure out, 3) there are lots of different kinds, shapes and sizes - so something for every dog and 4) they're moderately priced. The treat-dispensing ones all basically work the same way: you fill the it with either small treats or kibble and your dog must move, shake or roll the toy around in order for the treats to come out (or lights or sounds to be activated). Some of them are really genius by even letting the dog see and smell the treats trapped inside. You can just imagine how enticing this is to a treat-obsessed pooch (and, let's face it, that's pretty much all dogs)! As for the toys that give a reward in the form of a noise or light, typically the dog must move it around in order for the sight or sound reward to be activated.

Babble Ball
Babble Ball

Babble Ball - Talking Dog Toy

As one the most popular talking dog toys, you can bet the Babble Ball is lots of fun. As a dog moves the ball around it says all sorts of funny words and phrases. Dogs love the sound of a human voice and the Babble Ball is especially comforting when your pooch is home alone.

Bacon Bubbles!
Bacon Bubbles!

Bubble Toys - Wanna see your pooch go a little crazy? Blow some bacon bubbles!

It's pretty much a fact (in a non scientifical, casual asking around kind of way) that all dogs L-O-V-E bubbles. And this goes double, no quadruple, if those bubbles are bacon, chicken scented or peanut butter scented. Dog bubble toys come in all different forms - bubble machines, blowers or even just a bottle and a wand (nothing wrong with doin' it old school). So, you can choose to be involved by blowing bubbles with the wand or with the bubble gun or you can decide that you'd rather just turn the bubble machine on so you can sit back with a glass of lemonade and watch the incredibly entertaining dog bubble popping show that's about to begin.

Bacon Bubble Machine
Bacon Bubble Machine

Bubbletastic Bacon Bubble Machine

The ultimate bonanza of bacon bubbles! If your dog loves bubbles, I mean LOVES bubbles, then why not give your pooch what he / she wants with a massive windstorm of bacon-scented bubbles. It's pretty much a doggie's dream come true. Just fill the machine up with bubble solution, turn it on and then watch as your dog pounces, jumps, spins and does somersaults (okay maybe not that) trying to frantically pop all those dog bubbles. Not only is it great entertainment for you, it's some serious exercise for your pooch!

Watch the Bubbletastic Bacon Bubble Machine in Action!

Nina Ottosson Dog Magic
Nina Ottosson Dog Magic

Dog Puzzles and Games - Dogs really have to think in order to "win" the game and earn treats

These dog toys are also referred to as "smart" or "intelligent" dog toys because your dog has to put his thinking cap on and use some serious problem-solving skills. The puzzles and games come in varying degrees of difficulty, depending on how motivated your treat-seeking pooch is. They pretty much all work the same way - you hide little treats either underneath the puzzle pieces or inside the toy itself. Then your dog needs to move pieces in order to get to the treat reward. These can be a great opportunity for you to bond with your dog and spend some special alone time playing together.

Nina Ottosson Dog Twister
Nina Ottosson Dog Twister

Dog Twister

For this puzzle, treats are hidden under locked compartments and a dog must complete two tasks before earning the treats: 1) remove the bone-shaped pegs and then 2) slide the blocks, one after the other, in a circle. To make the game easier, you can choose to not put the locking pegs in place.

dog fetch toys
dog fetch toys

Fetch Toys - Now it's time for some serious running!

There's no doubt that these fetch toys will give your dog the most amount of exercise - because fetching balls takes a lot of work! Many dog owners don't want their dog playing with tennis balls because it can wear the enamel down on their teeth, and that's fine because most fetch toys will work with any rubber tennis-ball sized ball.

Hyper ball launcher
Hyper ball launcher

Hyper Ball Launcher

The perfect way for you and your pooch to be together while having some great fun! You'll probably end up having just as much of a good time as your furry pal - launching balls over 220 feet in the air is pretty dang cool. Having a fetch toy like this is great because it really extends the playing time - otherwise throwing balls on your own could result in some serious tennis elbow by the time your dog wants to quit. The Hyper Ball Launcher comes in both a 2-ball and 4-ball model.

So Many Interactive Dog Toys, Where to Start?

What's Your Dog's Favorite Type?

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Give us a Bark! What makes your dog's tail wag?

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    • Ariel-Cal profile image

      Evelia Veronica Rivera 

      4 years ago from Bridgeport, CT

      Great read!


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