Dog Puzzle




Introduction: Dog Puzzle

About: I'm a social-worker, working with 12 - 23 year-olds. I used to be a printer. In 2018 I opened a small makerspace ( in my house, where I have lasercutters, 3d-printers, Arduino's, Mindstorms and ot…

Dog puzzles are really great to keep the mind of your dog sharp. There are loads of puzzles on the market, but it is not really hard to make your own. A dog trainer told me that a few minutes playing with a puzzle takes more energy than running around for a much longer time.

It is still a good idea to also go for long walks with your dog, but this puzzle is also really fun to do together.

I've made this puzzle with stuff that was leftover from other projects. I used aluminum pipes, but it would work just as fine with plastic pipes or even cardboard. I just think the aluminium looks a little nicer.

The dog has to turn over the tumblers to get to the treats.

My dog really likes the puzzle.

Step 1: You Will Need


  • Some pipes
  • Some material for a base (I used some scrap oak)
  • Threaded rod
  • Two nuts
  • Cork
  • Dog treat


  • File
  • Drill press
  • Drill bits
  • Hole cutter
  • Metal saw
  • Knife

Step 2: The Base

Drill two holes in your base material. The holes must be just the right size for the tubes that you want to use for the risers.

Keep a little more than one foot between the two holes, so you can put a heavy tile or a package of printer paper on the base later on to heavy it down and make it more stable.

Sand or file off the sharp edges.

Step 3: The Risers

Cut off two pieces of tube to the height you want the risers to be. Mine are just over a foot (40 cm).

Make sure to sand or file all the edges and remove all metal splinters. You don't want something sharp in the mouth of your dog.

Drill a hole in the top of both risers. (1 cm / 1/2 inch from the top) The holes must be the size of the rod you want to use. (mine is 6 mm / 1/4 inch)

Cut your rod just longer than the distance between your two risers.

Step 4: The Tumblers

To create the tumblers, you just cut off some lengths of tubing. My lengths are between 12 - 25 cm (5 - 10 inch)

You drill a holes close to the middle. The further your hole is from the middle, the harder it will be for your dog to get to the treat.

Put a cork in the smaller half of the tube. If your tube has a different size, you might need to find something else to put in, like a plastic bottle top or something. I didn't have enough corks, so I cut them in pieces.

Step 5: Put It All Together

Now it is easy to put it all together.

Push the risers in het holes in the base.

Put the rod though the holes in the risers and the tumblers.

I only used nuts on one riser, so it is easy to change the tumblers for more difficult ones, when my dog has this one figured out. (the tumblers are harder to tumble when the hole is further from the middle of the tumbler)

Step 6: Start Playing

Put a dog treat in the tops of the tumblers. The cork makes sure that they don't fall through.

I weighted down the base to make sure that my dog didn't tip the puzzle over.

Now ask your dog to find the treats.

At first she managed to get the treats out with her tongue, so I pushed the corks deeper in the tumblers.

You always have to supervise your dog when she is playing with puzzles. Sometimes you might need to help your dog.

Have fun.

Animal Innovations Contest

Runner Up in the
Animal Innovations Contest

Leftovers Challenge

Participated in the
Leftovers Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • Big and Small Contest

      Big and Small Contest
    • For the Home Contest

      For the Home Contest
    • Game Design: Student Design Challenge

      Game Design: Student Design Challenge



    6 years ago

    While I like the idea of making a set with bottles (bigger capacity, I find another way to reuse/recycle), I have two German Shepherds... a plastic bottle with a treat in it doesn't last long against such large foes. But PVC or aluminum pipe sounds sturdy enough to force to dogs to actually solve the puzzle. Thank you for posting this!


    7 years ago

    I made one a while ago.
    used 3 little plastic bottles.
    so I van put more treats in them.
    the top of the bottle acts like a funnel.
    the going round motion prevent the treats to come out all at once.
    I just fill it up when I need to do something out of the house, and I can't take him with me.
    my dog just entertains himself with the puzzle toy.

    great thing to keep your dog from going bored.

    very nice instructible!


    Reply 7 years ago

    Hi T-ke,
    I thought I was original, but I also heard from a friend that he had seen a similar contraption with bottles, when I showed her mine.
    It is a good idea to use bottles or something so she can play longer with it. Luckily I made mine so I can change the tumblers very easy so I will for sure try the bottles.
    Thank you for your reply.
    Can you post a picture of your puzzle? to inspire others.


    Reply 7 years ago

    I'm in my cabin in the woods now, so I'm not able to post pictures of the one I made.
    here are some Internet pictures that inspired me to make one.


    Reply 7 years ago



    7 years ago

    Great. Now I have to go bust my hang glider.

    This is very clever, and it looks good, too! I never thought of making a puzzle for my dog, and here you are, still in time for Christmas!!


    Reply 7 years ago

    Just go to your local hang gliding school. They probably have some bend pipes somewhere. :)