One important thing to know about Cockapoos is how clever they are. You can walk your Cockapoo all day, and when you get home, they will still be looking at you for their next activity. Cockapoos love to interact with us, but you can’t play with them all day which is where enrichment comes in. Enrichment makes their lives a little more exciting, and puzzles are great.
You can use puzzled to feed your dog treats or even put their regular meals into various activities. Doing this buys you extra time where they’re not expecting you to keep them occupied, and feeding their meals through activities often leads to a little nap afterwards!
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Kong is a company that has been making dog toys and interactive feeders since the 70s. They’re one of the more recognisable brands and for an excellent reason. Their most well-known product is the classic Kong toy. It’s a rubber toy with a hole in the middle to fill it with food. Dogs love to lick out the filling or even throw it around to loosen the food inside to get it out.
You can buy a kong filler, it looks a lot like a liquid cheese in a can, but you can also fill it with your Cockapoo’s usual meal. If they eat dry biscuits, soak them in water or gravy to make them softer, and you can pack them as tightly as you need. Dogs willing to work for their food can have it packed tightly and frozen if you want to make it last much longer. You can put the food loose enough for Kong newbies to fall out with a gentle roll. They’re great for every dog.
Try it out: Kong Classic Dog Toy
Snuffle mats are enjoyable creations, especially for Cockapoos. The spaniel genetics means they love to sniff around and investigate things, and a snuffle mat harnesses that skill to feed them their dinner.
Snuffle mats are made by tying fabric to a rubber mat, making a textured surface great for hiding food and treats. It works best with dry food like biscuits to make less mess but is excellent if your pup is on a dry diet for their meals. Using their nose tires dogs out, so similar to a Kong, you can feed a meal that lasts much longer.
Snuffle mats come in the basic mat design, but some can be huge activity areas with different textures and puzzles for your pup to explore and find food.
Basic: YAKOO Snuffle Mat
Advance: AWOOF Snuffle Mat
Wobble toys are puzzles made for dogs who love to cause chaos! They’re great for Cockapoos who are inquisitive and enjoy exploring new things with their paws. The idea of a wobble toy is you fill the interior with treats, and your pup either hit it with their paws or bops it with their nose, and a few treats might fall out.
This can keep dogs occupied for quite some time; they must be watched the first time using it. If they get carried away, you might spot a wobble toy flying through the air and crashing into something!
Try it out: Bob-a-Lot Interactive Toy
Sliding puzzles are a little more advanced again. They require your pooch to work out that they need to slide a little door across to little access pockets of feed. These puzzles are great for slowing down dogs who barely take a breath between mouthfuls of food.
Sometimes dogs can smell the food but not see it and can become confused or frustrated, but if you initially slide a door over yourself to show them there is food, they will start to explore it and figure it out for themselves.
Try it out: Elezenioc Dog Puzzle Feeder
If you’ve got a clever little pup working things out rapidly, finding toys with different mechanics will give them something else to work out. Spinning puzzles are usually containers suspended on a pole that dogs have to work out how to flip around and cause the food to fall out.
These toys are fantastic for Cockapoos with patience; they can also teach some frustration tolerance, so they don’t give up if they struggle to get it right the first time. Not only do they have to work out how to get the food out, but when it falls out and bounces across the floor, they have to track it down.
Try it out: Trixie Turn Around
If you have a pup who loves to work out new things and tends to crack puzzles within minutes, repeatedly giving them the same puzzles can get boring. Constantly buying new puzzles can also be expensive, and you can make many similar things at home at a much lower cost.
One example is the muffin tin puzzle. You take a muffin tin and fill the little holes with treats. Over the treats, you place balls that your Cockapoo has to remove to get to the little treasure trove of food below.
Destruction boxes are a great way to keep your pup occupied too. If you’ve recently had a delivery, fill the empty box with packing paper or newspaper. Hide toys, treats and their dinner throughout and let them pull it apart and have some fun!
Many of the toys you can buy also have budget-friendly options. You can make your snuffle mats at home, or if you have a lawn, you have a ready-made and often much bigger snuffle mat. When the weather is warm, you can throw dried biscuits across the grass and let your pooch use its nose to sniff them out. Once you start looking, it’s amazing when you use household objects you can find to make meal times a little more interactive for your Cockapoo.
Mike is the proud owner of a 7-year-old Cockapoo named Luna. He loves to share stories, tips and information about owning a Cockapoo. With over7 years of experience as an owner, Mike is passionate about helping others own and care for their dog.