Our Favorite Dog Toys | Best Enriching Dog Toys for New Dogs

This post is about the best enriching dog toys that we bought for our new dog. 

We rescued our dog, Ruth, from the local humane society when she was a year and a half old. She was a stray dog from Texas, and was transferred to our local shelter since it had some space. 

When we first met Ruth, she was super shy, wouldn’t stop barking, and actually kept trying to escape the enclosure that we were meeting her in. In other words, it didn’t look amazing. However, she kept bringing us all of these toys that they had at the shelter, and she would be excited when we threw them for her. 

Luckily for us, we took Ruth on a walk with us, and she started to trust us a little bit more. At first, she had some anxiety, but she was excited to be with us and we were able to see how gentle and kind she is. After that, we went out on a limb and decided to adopt her! 

Firstly, our house was as ill-prepared for a brand new dog as possible. We had absolutely nothing for her. Next, we put her in the car right from the shelter, and drove straight to Petco (probably one of my all-time favorite stores.) Ruth’s anxiety aside, however,  I had a field day in that store. We were probably in there for a few hours getting everything we needed for her. Finally, we came home and Ruth got to play with all her new toys!

We haven’t even had our sweet pup for a year, but we have gone through more toys than I could have imagined. I love spoiling my dog, and getting her toys that are mentally engaging and will last her quite a while. In this post, I wrap up what toys have been our all-time favorites. In fact, we immediately replace them if they get lost or ruined. These are truly our holy grail dog toys! 

Here are 10 must-have enriching dog toys for new dogs.



Kongs are a must-have for new dogs. Firstly, we fill our Kongs with about an 8th of a cup of dry food. Then, we pack it up to the top with wet food. Next, we put them in the freezer so it takes Ruth more time to get through them. A frozen Kong takes her over half an hour to finish! Above all, remember that giving your dog Kongs too frequently can result in weight-gain. What we do is make sure to factor in the calories we’re feeding her in the Kongs and subtracting them from her meals. When we were training her for separation anxiety, these were a life saver! 


You might not think it, but antlers are one of the most enriching dog toys available. While researching antlers, I found that some can splinter and be really harmful for your dog. However, Pupford sells super affordable vet-approved antlers. Ruth loves her antler so much that we bring it on any day trips with us since it keeps her so occupied. She goes through bones that she likes pretty quickly, however, the antlers have always held up – especially the high-quality ones from Pupford! 


When researching dog chewing after Ruth chewed up a laundry basket hamper, I learned that it’s important for dogs to have different textures to chew on depending on their mood. We try and keep a hard texture, like her antler, a soft texture, like her duck, and then one that’s in the middle, like this Nylabone. They have lasted a surprisingly long time, and Ruth really enjoys chewing on them. Making sure your dog’s life is filled with enriching dog toys is key to keeping them happy and mentally healthy.


Alongside Ruth’s Kongs, we frequently fill this ball with her food. She runs all over the house chasing this ball and getting all of the food out. This toy is great for lazy days when she doesn’t get as much exercise, since she is being enriched both mentally and physically. Most importantly, this treat ball is super affordable! 


When choosing a frisbee for your new dog, especially if they are young or a puppy, it is important to get one that will stand up to hours of playtime. These Kong frisbees seriously last forever. Ruth shakes hers from side to side while it’s in her mouth and there isn’t even a rip. I couldn’t believe it! While this frisbee doesn’t float, it’s our go-to dog toy for playing fetch. 


Aside from a stick, this is our favorite toy to use in the water with Ruth. Ruth loves swimming, so a high-visibility water toy was important. This frisbee is durable, it floats really well, and she’s able to easily grab it in the water. 


When I’m working in our home office, I love to set up this cool puzzle toy to engage Ruth mentally. I make sure to put very high-value treats in it to keep her interested, and she loves figuring out how to get to them! Whether they are a puppy or a senior, puzzle toys are especially beneficial for enriching your dog.


This Kong bone works great as just a chew toy, and can also be filled with different treats. When I need Ruth to be engaged and I don’t have any frozen Kongs made, I will stick a chicken jerky chew in both ends of this bone and let her work them out. Then, she usually spends time chewing on the bone itself. In addition to being a great enrichment toy, it is also super durable.


This rope is scented to smell like meat to dogs. Alongside Ruth’s duck, she picked this toy out at Petco when we first got her. She actually just grabbed it off the shelf! At first, I thought that the rope might be stinky, but I was surprised – it does have a smell if you stick your face in it, but otherwise leaves no scent in the house. As a result, we have a simple, no-mess toy that keeps her busy for a long time. There is quite a bit of science that went into this rope! 


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