“A great way to keep your dog from getting bored”, the Dog Smart Hide and Seek puzzle review

This year, due to the pandemic, we’ve gotten to spend more time with our dogs, which is a great thing for them and for us.

But for a lot of us, we have had to stay indoors a lot more than we are used to.

During the first lockdowns in March, some countries in Europe had restrictions on how long you can walk your dog for.

Unless you have plenty of room in your home, plenty of toys and treats to chew on, and unless you play with them all day (which we wish we could, but many of us have to work) then this leaves your dog bored.

The last thing you want is a bored, and potentially destructive or depressed dog.

Enter dog toys.

Here in Florida, me and Rocky have been bunkered down due to the high number of cases out there and so Rocky has not been going to as many places as he usually does which means he’s at home a little more than usual. I am still fortunate enough to be able to work from home and on some days, work can take up a lot of time.

Over in the UK, where we call home, Rocky has tons of puzzle toys to keep him busy, but here in Florida, where we only visit once or twice a year, he has less toys.

To keep Rocky from getting bored here in Florida, I bought him a puzzle toy from one of the most well-known dog toy designers: Nina Ottosson.

Dog Smart puzzle toy (image: Nina Ottosson)

Rocky previously tried out the Dog Tornado puzzle toy and it’s his favorite puzzle back in the UK. It’s labeled as an intermediate level toy, but Rocky solves it quite quickly.

But to keep things simple I bought him a level one (easy level) toy this time. It’s not that Rocky’s intelligence has fallen or anything, it’s just that I knew he would solve these quite easily and this particular toy had a very good price so I thought it would be enough to keep him busy for now and then if he gets bored of it, I would continue to level up.

The Dog Smart dog puzzle

Dog Smart Hide Seek and Treat toy

The concept of the toy is quite simple, you put some treats inside of each compartment, there are nine in total, and then you cover them with bone-shaped puzzle pieces.

Your dog’s mission is to uncover each compartment and find the hidden treat.

If your dog has never done a puzzle before, then this toy is a great place to start.

There are 9 puzzle pieces in total (image: Nina Ottosson)

As for what kind of treats you can put inside, we tested it with oven baked treats, dollops of peanut butter, which Rocky licked right up, apple slices, carrot pieces and more. So you can fit dry and wet treats inside.

I fill up the puzzle away from Rocky because if I start to cover them right in front of him, he will just butt in and try to eat the treats before I can finish covering the toy.

But if your dog has never done it before then it is a great idea to show your dog where the treats are and even leave a few uncovered so they can get acquainted with the toy and become interested in playing with it.

The Nina Ottosson site describes the toy as an ‘entry level dog game that challenges your dog to discover treats through problem solving and exciting hidden rewards’.

“The bones in this dog puzzle can be arranged to be flush with the board or elevated for different levels of challenges,” Nina Ottosson’s description states. “When the bones (puzzle pieces) on the Dog Smart are flush with the board, your dog will learn to paw and nuzzle at the pieces differently than when the bones are elevated and more easily removeable.”

Rocky solving the puzzle toy


No matter what age, size, or breed your dog is, they will love this toy. It’s a great entry-level puzzle toy and dogs can keep their minds sharp with this toy. It will also help fight boredom. So instead of chewed up shoes, you can find bone-shaped puzzle pieces on your floor as your dog tries to uncover the toy and find the treats.

A word of advice, it can be fun to watch your dog play with this but do be careful to not overfeed them. Also, be sure to keep the toy clean, which is easy to do.

This is Rocky’s current favorite toy. As soon as he hears me filling it up, he will jog on over to me and stick his big nose down to the puzzle and start removing the pieces. In fact, he solves it so quickly now that I smear some peanut butter in the compartments so he can spend more time with the toy.

Rocky gives the toy four paws out of four.


Where to buy

Check out the product on Nina Ottosson’s official site here. You can find many other toys on her site. She even has an Amazon store where you can find other puzzle toys such as this DogTwister interactive puzzle.

See Rocky playing with the toy (filled with carrots) below.




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