Fun Enrichment Toy & Activity Ideas For Dogs, As Told By BARK Office Pups

Written by: Lauren Diener

March 10, 2023

I know what you’re thinking, “Oh brother, another listicle about enrichment toys written by a human FOR humans.” Well, I have good news for you—this article was merely transcribed by a human. The real details come to us straight from the source: our office dogs.

I sat down with a select panel of experts at BARK HQ and got their thoughts on their favorite enrichment activities at home and at work. No detail has been spared, nor has any treat.

1. Pivot (ft. Ben)

I was shocked to see Ben in the office, as he works from home 99% of the time. Naturally, I goaded him into telling me his enrichment activity of choice (he would only do so in exchange for a morsel of cheese, which I obliged). 

Ben: “Don’t get me wrong, I love working from home. I have a sweet office setup AND I don’t have to wear pants! But… sometimes it can get a little bleh staring out the same window all day. I mentioned this to my therapist, and she suggested incorporating the Pivot into my life. She said whenever I’m feeling ennui, to fill that sucker up with treats and go to town for fifteen minutes or so. It definitely refocuses me, and afterwards I feel like I have renewed energy. I should probably take some of that renewed energy and google what ‘ennui’ means.”

Key Toy & Enrichment Features:

  • Rubber wheel design makes for fun and challenging movements
  • Treat-dispensing core is great for small treats or kibble
  • As dogs play, they reduce energy and anxiety

WHERE TO GET IT: BARK Shop, $13–20 or bundle it with treats HERE for $15.

2. Snarlfish (ft. Billie the Corgi)

The first expert I spoke to is often referred to as a prodigy. This sweet corgi is just shy of one year old, but approaches the art of enrichment with the wisdom of a much older pooch. She was gracious enough to show me her enrichment toy of choice, the Snarlfish.

Billie: “I have a very important job here at BARK, no I will not elaborate on my position, and sometimes I feel a bit stressed out. The act of licking releases endorphins, which helps to soothe me if I am having a particularly rough day. I look forward to the break that I take to indulge in that sweet, sweet peanut butter and calm my mind. I feel much better after, and I am able to get back to work. Again, I will not disclose what I do here so please don’t ask.”

Key Toy & Enrichment Features:

  • Lick mat-style helps reduce stress and keep pups busy
  • Textured surface perfect for spreadable treats
  • Solid nylon is freezer-friendly
  • Recreate at home: spread a thin layer of peanut butter on a cookie sheet, press in any treats your dog loves (treats like blueberries, banana slices, and strawberries work too!), freeze, and serve

WHERE TO GET IT: In your pup’s monthly Super Chewer Box

3. Tank (ft. Dr. Scrabbles)

I won’t lie, I was a bit intimidated to speak with Dr. Scrabbles. His doctoral dissertation, The Positive Effect of an After-Dinner Treat on the Canine Mind, was groundbreaking. Despite my fears, he was an absolute delight to interview, and only made me feel intellectually inferior a time or two. He had very strong opinions about his enrichment toy of choice, the Tank, and he let me know them. 

Dr. Scrabbles: “When I was working on obtaining my PhD, I went through every type of enrichment toy I could get my paws on: puzzles, snuffle mats, you name it. They all have their positive attributes, but I really connected with the Tank. You know us academics can be a sedentary crew, which is why I prefer this toy. It forces me to move around and engages my brain. It’s the perfect pick-me-up after a long morning of conducting research. Did I mention I’m a doctor?”

Key Toy & Enrichment Features:

  • Rubber construction makes for unpredictable bounces and rolls
  • Treat-dispensing core keeps things interesting
  • As dogs play, they work their brains and help ease stress

WHERE TO GET IT: PetSmart, $17.99 (Get the Popcorn Chicken treats here!)

4. Cardboard Box (ft. Stella)

Our third expert shocked me with her choice of enrichment. Stella has a reputation around the office as being a bit stuck up (I had to travel to her for this interview), so I was expecting her to tell me about some expensive or pretentious way that she stimulates her brain. I was completely taken aback when she informed me that she prefers to forage through a cardboard box filled with shredded paper.

Stella: “I was doing enrichment before enrichment was cool. Now everyone is doing it, like I went to visit my 13 year old uncle, and he had the same treat dispenser as me; it’s really annoying. I did like a whole soul-searching thing, and decided to get in touch with my primal roots. That’s when I discovered the cardboard box method. I’m able to forage for my food like my wolf ancestors did, and then I get to destroy the box after I find everything—it’s super cathartic. Not to mention I get like the BEST sleep afterwards.”

Key Toy & Enrichment Features:

  • Encourages dogs’ natural foraging instincts
  • Utilizes their noses and brains for mental stimulation
  • Sniffing is a great way to spend energy and reduce stress
  • Recreate at home: cut up paper towel or toilet paper rolls and/or add crumpled paper scraps to fill your chosen box. Add your pup’s favorite treats, mix it up, and let ’em go to town.

WHERE TO GET IT: your house <3

5. Treat Puzzle (ft. Hazy)

Luckily, I was able to squeeze in a quick chat with our next expert, Hazy. She’s the office “It” girl and is always booked and busy. I asked her how she’s able to manage such a busy schedule, and she credits much of her success to her daily puzzle use.

Hazy: “I’m a multi-hyphenated talent, and therefore have to be ready for whatever job I’m called to do. Despite the variety in my daily life, there’s one constant: my puzzle. It keeps my mind sharp, and makes transitioning between jobs a breeze. People think talent like mine comes naturally, which it mostly does, but the puzzle definitely helps.”

Key Toy & Enrichment Features:

  • Moving parts provide mental stimulation
  • Great way to feed meals vs just treats
  • Any puzzle difficulty level helps occupy the mind and ease anxiety
  • Recreate at home: lay an old towel flat, sprinkle food or treats all over, and roll tightly longways until it resembles a big towel snake. Take both ends and tie in one large knot. Your dog will have to figure out how to untie and unroll to get the reward inside!

WHERE TO GET IT: Amazon, $11.99 (*price is accurate as of the day this article was written)

Find more top-rated enrichment toy & treat bundles here!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Written by: Lauren Diener

March 10, 2023

Nutritionist-crafted food for your dog's breed or mix.

Recipes designed for dogs' individuality



A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.


A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.