What’s a good time for your dog? Eating fine furniture? Gnawing on Manolos? If your dog’s playtime puts the “fun” in dysfunctional, it’s time to meet Nina Ottosson.

Not a trainer, not a doggie shrink, Ottosson is the best kind of pet-parent hero. She’s a toy maker who knows how to keep dog brains challenged and out of your garbage. The ultimate boredom busters, her Sweden-made dog puzzles sharpen pup problem-solving skills while they play.

Zoom in on a different skill with any of Ottosson’s interactive toys. The Dog Twister challenges pups to a treat by removing pegs and sliding wedges (a tricky task when you don’t have thumbs). Or, check out the Dog Tornado, a series of stacked circles with holes to line up by nose or paw. Master the puzzle and the treat appears. And to really engage your pup’s mind, set him up with the Dog Pyramid. What makes this toy unique from other food-dispensing toys is the weighted bottom. Just stuff it with treats and watch as it rights itself up with every push of the paw or nudge of the nose.

Whole Dog Journal’s panel of seven pup testers named the Dog Pyramid a “favorite,” but really every one of these toys is a winner. This may help justify the considerable price (ranging from $17 for the pyramid toy to $40 and up for the others), but when it comes to our pets, do we really need to justify?

Made from timber that cannot be otherwise used with some recycled plastic parts, and now available in all recycled plastic versions, Nina Ottosson toys are not only good for your dog, but the earth too. Let the games begin!

The Scoop:

Nina Ottosson Toys – Information and store locator.

Dog Pyramid Toy, $16.95 (best price we’ve seen for it)

Wide selection of Nina Ottosson Toys