• carson presley

7 Mentally Stimulating Indoor Dog Toys for Every Dog

Hi there!! For anyone who is new to my blog, let me introduce the whole crew here. I’m Carson Presley, and I write the content behind Girls & Dogs, Oh My. I’m graduating college this May (err--sort-of, just not traditionally because of the Coronavirus).

The luckiest person in the world, I have two adorable Labradoodles! Scout, who is two-years-old, and Ryder, who is just 14-weeks-old. My better half, Spencer, is the most amazing dog mom who helps me keep a handle on our two wild fur babies.

Together, we love traveling. We love packing up our Jeep and exploring new places. We’re also (until recently) first-time dog owners. In other words, we’re young and make a lot of mistakes--which is where the inspiration for this blog came from!

I want to be able to share all of our journeys and dog mom lessons with you all--especially our mistakes--so that you all can have the best possible experiences.

Every Monday I post new content with our latest adventure, traveling advice, and dog mom tips and tricks. Sometimes I post more than just Mondays, so make sure to look out for the bonus content ;)

My feed is always live on Pinterest, so feel free to follow along there and never miss another Monday with Carson again!

Mental stimulation is critical for your pup’s development. Dogs are like humans--they get bored during the day while you’re at work. Even when you’re home, they still get bored because, let’s face it, you’re still working and not playing with baby Fido non-stop.

Your pup needs to stay busy, even if you have an elderly pup. Giving them interactive toys to play with allows them to stay busy, which is super helpful for them in a bunch of ways!

The most significant benefit for keeping your pup busy is that it lowers separation anxiety & increases happiness.

Because baby Fido is busy, he’s less focused on being sad and anxious while you’re gone. It is inevitable that your pup is going to miss you when you’re at work or the store, but having interactive toys for him to play with will keep him distracted and happy.

If you have a working breed (German Shepherds, Huskies, Border Collies, etc.), you really need to focus on keeping your pup mentally stimulated, whether it’s with homemade/DIY toys or any other indestructible toy you can find.

Keeping him busy also means he’s less busy tearing up your home! As much as we all love our baby angels, they can still be...less than angelic sometimes. There are a ton of toys that are perfect for all of our baby angels to keep their activity needs satisfied.

Let’s first take a look at what we can give to our baby angels to keep them happy and busy while indoors or while we’re at work.

1. Giant Squeaker Ball ~ $6

Besides the fact that this model pup is adorable, these toys are awesome! They are durable, come in a bunch of colors, and are 4.5 inches in diameter.

Dogs love these because the spikes on the ball massage their gums and the squeaker keeps them entertained. An awesome bonus with this toy is that all dog sizes can use it!

Your baby Fido is a Chihuahua? They get a giant squeaker ball!

You have a Great Dane? They get a giant squeaker ball!

You have a ...

Okay, you get the point: They make great toys for all dogs!

2. Wobble Wag Giggle Ball ~ $9

A couple of months ago, I was decor shopping and stumbled across this absolutely ridiculous toy in Bed, Bath, and Beyond. We bought it as a sort of joke, simply because everything about it seemed funny.

But, to our surprise, Scout fell in love with it. Here's a quick review of the toy:

~Skip to around 1:00 if you want to hear the noise it makes ~

As the video explains, there are 6 different holes for your pup to bite and carry the toy around with. When they roll the toy around, it "giggles" and makes noises, which is a reward and keeps them entertained!

3. Classic Kong Toy ~ Prices vary

Kong has really outdone themselves.

They produce these classic toys for literally every dog.

There are puppy options, extreme options (which are somehow even more durable), the classic toys, and even toys for the senior pups out there.

The one I linked is the large, classic toy, which is $13.

Kong is so successful and practical, not only because they produce toys that are indestructible, but because they satisfy many of your pup's needs at once. Yes, I said it, Kong makes the ultimate all-in-one toy.

You will only need to buy one because they are seriously indestructible. You can stuff them full of goodies, which gives your pup extra nutrients while also keeping them busy.

Barkthink has a huge list of fillers that you can put in the Kong toys. They even made a great graphic which explains their 4-layer method for filling Kong toys.

This is genius and I will definitely be trying it, but also realize it isn't necessary to whip up an entire meal to put in the Kong toy! Super simple yet effective fillers you can use include:

~peanut butter

~yogurt (bonus if you fill it the night before and freeze it)

~lunch meat with cheese

Again, there are a ton of different fillers that you can use for these Kong toys specifically with what your pup loves! If you buy any toy for your pup, I recommend buying at least one of these!

4. Activity Flip Board ~ $11

With attempts to keep Scout occupied and mentally sharp, I had Chewy toss one of these into our auto-ship order.

This toy is awesome because it has a bunch of different places to hide snacks. Fido then has to dig around and move pieces of the toy in order to uncover the snack, at which point they are rewarded!

It's brilliant! My honest review is that it is a 7/10 toy. It is worth the $12 because of its high quality, but there are also better toys that you can find for $12.

Scout figured out how to get the snacks in about 10 minutes, so she became really bored really quickly. That being said, the product is durable and can withstand tough chewers.

5. Hide a Squirrel ~ $14

I love this toy and contemplated buying it for months. When I finally did, I didn't regret it one bit. I mean, look at it:

As you can tell in this adorable photo, there are a handful of sizes to match however big your baby angel is! Scout is a large dog and has a jumbo size.

The concept of the toy is for your pup to have to work to dig the squirrel out of the tree trunk. Your pup will stay occupied because they want to get the little toy out but have to work to pull it out!

There are countless variations of this toy as well, if you do not prefer the squirrels! I've seen a space-themed, Minions, a volcano with dinosaurs, bee-themed, and a bunch of others. You have so many options to choose from for your pup.

6. Roller Ball ~ $8

Full disclaimer: These balls are not for the destructive chewer.


If you copy what Beagles and Bargains did, then they just might be.

They wrapped snacks in shredded up cloth. You can use old t-shirts, socks, or other material, then cut it into strips.

Take a snack, wrap it up in the cloth, then put that into the toy.

This is a great DIY toy that only takes a couple of minutes to put together! The purpose of this toy is to encourage your pup to use their sense of smell to find the snack, then work in order to actually get the snack.

If you are familiar with a snuffle mat, it is a similar concept.

We got one of these roller balls for Scout, but she shredded the plastic rubber almost instantly. We tried putting snacks without the t-shirt shredded up and she just ate through the toy to get the snacks...

Using the method from Beagles and Bargains might really help in preventing your pup from chewing straight through this toy! There are a handful of sizes, so these make a great interactive toy for any pup.

7. Mad Scientist ~ $18

Currently over 30% off, so only $18!..and worth it!

This interactive toy will keep Fido busy for around 30 minutes--and even longer before they figure out how to get the snack!

There are two different tops for the vials: one of them has three holes on the top (as seen in the picture) and the other has one large hole.

Generally, you want to start with the top with the singular hole because it allows Fido to figure out how the toy works.

This also allows them to feel rewarded, which only encourages them to continue to play with this interactive toy.

You rip up or cut up some snacks and distribute them between the three containers. Fido then has to use either his paw or nose to flip the vial upside-down, which lets the snack fall out!

If you have a bigger dog, you might need to hold or fasten the toy to the ground, otherwise they may flip the entire toy over.

We have 7 interactive and DIY toys that will keep Fido busy and mentally stimulated whether you're inside all day or you have to leave to go to work or run other errands!

Once you have a bunch of toys, you’ll need somewhere to put them! I made my list of favorite storage containers for the living room, and quite a few of them were from the company Bone Dry.

Here's this one, which comes in navy, aqua, and gray and you can choose between a small and medium size! It's normally $28 but is currently on sale for $14! What a steal.

Bone Dry also makes another super cute storage bin for your living room! It has stripes and comes in navy, brown, and gray! Unlike the previous basket, this one comes in 3 sizes: small, medium, and large. This bad boy normally rings in at $20, but is currently a whopping 50% off.

Last one from bone Dry--promise! You’d think I’m sponsored, but I’m not. I just love their storage containers! This one comes in gray, navy, and aqua and but only comes in two sizes: small and medium. Normally $20, but it is only $10 at the moment!

All three of these baskets from Bone Dry do feature handles, which is a huge plus.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you know that I love the rustic, farmhouse vibe (check out my wedding board if you're really curious). You can read even more about how much I love this style here!

That being said, I naturally am drawn to rustic dog storage containers as well! We currently use an old laundry hamper to store our toys (sad) because Ryder chews on the corners.

When we move into our townhome, we will be grabbing one of these or something very similar! The wood looks great with a farmhouse interior and is an adorable place for all of your pup's toys.

If you are bored or don't want to outright buy a storage container, then opt-in for a DIY option. I'm not super crafty, but I think these ideas are simple and super cute!

~Metal Bucket

I love how simple this idea is. If you really like it, you can buy this one for $16 in either teal, silver, or red!

If you like it but want to make it, then you can do that as well!

Bucket: $9

Custom Sticker: $7

Happy Dog: Priceless

If you like this product, check out Harry Barker! They design and sell other products such as food storage containers.

~Wicker Basket

If wicker baskets fit into your style, then I have good news for you! Using a wicker basket and adding some personalization to it makes for quick, easy DIY toy storage.

You can add their name or other pet-friendly decorations! Again, I'm not super crafty, but DuckInYellow is:

You can copy this idea entirely or just the instructions for the cloth decoration.

~Wooden Basket

This is very similar to the one I linked from Etsy, except it is a DIY version. This is probably the most popular DIY dog toy storage bin, and for good reason. This is her adorable pup and final product:

If you want the DIY look but are not artistic (yes, that’s me), then Etsy is your best friend!

Here are the top 5 handmade containers:

1. I love this one! It is made by From CollegeViewCrafts and costs $45. It is a little pricey, but their products are handmade and customizable!

2. If you want the toys picked up off the floor,

then this option is amazing!

There are 3 sizes: a 2-, 3-, and 4-foot options!

The largest size is only $36. I don't think this was actually made to be used for dog toys, but rather for kids' toys and stuffed animals.

The seller offers different colors through her Etsy shop, so check those out if you're interested!

3. Another handmade wooden basket, but with a little more flare.

With almost 4,000 sales, DesignsbyDomandMel is killing the game.

You simply enter what name you want on the box and they will customize and handmake it for you!

It is $48, but rated an average of 5-stars from 12 reviews!

4. I love this storage bin for a bunch of reasons:

~First and foremost, it's metal so baby Fido can't chew it and destroy it! According to the seller, it is indestructible.

~Secondly, it is customizable.

~Third, it is easy to clean!

~Last, but still important, it is so precious! JUST LOOK AT IT!

You can find it and customize it here for $54.

The seller offers a discount if you purchase this and a matching product (food or treat bin) from her shop!

5. This is one of the most customizable options, in my opinion.

You can choose the size, color of the basket, the color of the text, and whether or not you want handles on the bin!

I think you could also use this for kids, if you want your two- and four-legged kids to have matching bins!

Yes, that's right. Don't believe me? Look for yourself!

Keepchummy sells their cheapest option for $24 and offers the following colors: lavender, gray, beige, and pink!

Let me know in the comments below how you feel about your dogs and pets matching! Is that weird? cute? Let me know your thoughts below!

Remember to keep your baby angel active both physically and mentally. There are a ton of mentally stimulating games, such as the snuffle mat or mad scientist game. Once you get some new toys, make sure to sort through and declutter the old toys.

Store all of your pup's new toys in an adorable basket that is customized, DIY, or just looks like you made it yourself (again, me)! There are countless options for any and all pups, whether they are big or small, and have toys that match!

What indoor toys does your pup love that I missed? Share with all the other angels below!

xoxo, carson

About Carson Presley

I'm a dog mom of two and travel enthusiast! I graduated from college this year and am running this blog part-time while I start my new career.

Read More or shoot me an email!

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