Dog Enrichment Toys For Instincts And Senses

Dog Enrichment Toys For Instincts And Senses

All dogs have natural instincts which need to be stimulated so that your dog doesn’t become bored. Enrichment toys bring out these instincts, get the dog to use his brain and fill time if they are home alone. They bring out natural foraging instincts using their sense of smell, encourage dogs to chase and retrieve, and entice play with noises that dogs respond to.

Dog Enrichment Toys


Dogs Natural Instincts

The instinct of a dog depends on the group that they belong to.

Here is a concise summary of the different groups and what they are known for.


dog toys for hounds Instincts And Senses


This category is split into Sighthounds and Scenthounds. Sight hounds use their amazing eyesight to track prey. Scenthounds use their incredible powers of smell.

Examples of Sighthounds

Greyhound, Whippet, Saluki

Examples of Scenthounds

Bloodhound, Beagle, Dachshund

Working Dogs

Enrichment Toys For Dog Instincts And Senses
German Shepherd

This breed  of dogs work alongside humans They pull sledges and protect humans.

Example  Labrador, German Shepherd, Newfoundland

Herding or Pastoral

This group were bred to move livestock. They work closely with humans and their intelligence and energy is renowned.

Example Border Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Corgi

Enrichment Toys For Dog Instincts And Senses
Golden Retriever

Sporting or Gundogs

Bred to catch and retrieve game, both in the field or waterways

Examples are Retriever, Cocker Spaniel , Pointer


Terriers were bred to flush out vermin from underground.

Example Scottish Terrier, Jack Russell, West Highland White

Enrichment Toys For Dog Instincts And Senses
Jack Russell Terrier

Toy Dogs

The job of a toy dog is to be a companion dog. They are affectionate and loyal.

Examples Chihuahua Papillon, Shih Tzu

Utility Group

A mixed group of dogs which were never bred for a particular reason, but still have natural instincts.

Examples are French Bulldog, Dalmation, Chow Chow

Dog Enrichment Toys For Instincts And Senses

Most dogs were initially bred with a job to do. Therefore they all have natural instincts which have been passed down from their ancestors. Dogs still need to keep these sharp senses stimulated or they can become bored and sometimes destructive.

The following Dog Enrichment Toys have been chosen with these natural instincts in mind.

dog enrichment toys

Wobble Wag Giggle Dog Ball

This is a very versatile enrichment toy for dog instincts and senses. Holes are placed so that the dog can easily pick the ball up and a a ‘giggle’ sound emits when the ball is pushed along. It is durable enough to use as a chewing toy and keeps teeth clean.

Enrichment Toy

Dog Puzzle Toy

This dog mental stimulation toy has a unique squeak button in the middle, which makes it easier to attract the attention of dogs and cats. Three different difficulty designs and the 16-hole dog treat dispenser design works as a slower feeder.

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Enrichment Toys

Glow Pups Hide and Seek Squirrel in a Tree Dog Toy for Small and Medium Size Dogs.

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Introducing our Hide N Squeak, a delightful toy that promises endless fun for your pup. Its plush woodland creatures are not only adorable but also emit playful squeaks, making them irresistible for your dog to burrow into the tree. Challenge your furry friend by hiding these creatures inside the tree and watch as they work to retrieve them, providing interactive entertainment.

For fetch enthusiasts, our Play Fetch option is a must-try. The squeaky animals are ideal for a lively game of fetch, whether you have a small or large dog. Even the tree itself can become a part of the fetching fun.

Dogs’ love for squeaky toys is undeniable, tapping into their primal instincts. Depending on your preference, you can choose from three to five squeaky toys with this set—three for Small, four for Medium, and five for Large. These charming woodland animals are just the right size for small to medium-sized dogs.

Our Hide and Seek dog toys are not only cute but also puppy-friendly. They are gentle on the gums while being durable enough for chewing and tugging. The tree itself is crafted from sturdy fabric, making it suitable for a spirited game of tug of war. Tugging, chewing, and biting—these toys cater to all your puppy’s needs.

Dog  Senses

Dogs have five senses just like we do – hearing, vision, touch, smell, taste

However, they rely main on their primary senses of smell, hearing and vision.

Dogs Incredible Sense of Smell

A dog’s  sense of smell is up to 100,000 times greater than ours.

Search and Cadaver Dogs

Dogs are proven to be an asset in helping the police to solve crimes. These highly trained canines or ‘sniffer’ dogs can track drugs or human remains with incredible results.

Cadaver dogs not only help to catch criminals, but give families closure when missing people are found. Their highly tuned sense of smell can alert them to bodies buried, hidden or even under water. They require 1,000 hours of intensive training and are even taught to detect the difference in human remains and wildlife who have died naturally. Cadaver dogs can detect human remains even when a body has been moved to another site. Specialists choose dogs with a high prey drive to train for this purpose.


Dog’s can hear frequencies undetectable to humans.

They can also hear noises much further away than humans can. This means they make excellent guard dogs and hunting dogs.

Hearing Dogs

Dogs can be trained to alert deaf people to certain sounds. They help their owners by alerting them to alarms, visitors at the door, babies crying or the phone ringing.

Guide dogs


Dog’s night vision is much better than humans.

They have a great field of vision and are particularly good at detecting movement. They have poor colour vision and see better at long distance. Dogs are used for hunting or tracking at night when they can see much better than we can.

Guide Dogs or Assistance Dogs

These dogs give invaluable independence to visually impaired people. They keep owners safe when outside the house. by alerting to roads, kerbs and obstacles.

Support or Therapy Dogs

Therapy dogs are proven to help patients with anxiety and depression. Just stroking a dog releases oxytocin and lowers heart rate. Children with mental and physical disabilities benefit greatly when they have a dog as a companion.

Seizure-alerting dogs can alert their owner before a seizure takes place.

Dogs can be trained to detect blood sugar changes in people suffering from diabetes.

Their highly developed sense of smell can detect certain cancers by sniffing bodily fluids, breath or skin.

Snuffle Toys

Enrichment dog toys for instinct and senses

Pet Snuffle Ball


This enrichment toy is designed to bring out the dogs foraging instinct. Food can be hidden randomly in the folded material. It can also be used as a slow feeder if the dog tends to eat too quickly.

Homemade Enrichment Toys

Owners can easily make dog enrichment toys at home with normal household items.

  • Simply hide treats in an egg box, muffin tray or ice cube tray, then put a ball over the treats so they can’t be seen. Don’t put treats in every section, make it a puzzle to work out for themselves.
  • Use a cardboard box to hide treats amongst scrap paper, toilet rolls, paper cups etc.
  • Hide a treat or small piece of fruit in an ice cube in the summer months.
  • Wrap strips of fabric round a ball, tucking treats between the layers randomly.


It’s amazing that dogs have these ‘superpowers’ that have been adapted and refined to help humans in so many ways. Using enrichment toys for dogs really does improve mental health through play.

These boredom busters keep the dog’s brain active and stop destructive behaviour. They give dogs a job to do, which they love, and make playtime fun.

Dog enrichment toys don’t have to be expensive. Buy toys which have extra durability, or make your own from household items.

Additional Reading

Dog Training With Kindness, Consistency And Positivity







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