We’re pretty sure you already know what you’re doing and your pups are receiving daily enrichment.
However, we can always up our game, so we’ve compiled this handy guide on the different types of enrichment, to give you even more of that good knowledge to keep your pups feeling happy and fulfilled.
When thinking of enrichment it’s also good to consider your dog’s age and physical abilities as well as their possible breed appropriate interests; these are good places to start when you are deciding on what activities to try together next. There are a lot of way to enrich your pups life, but we highlight the most important 3 kinds.
What is enrichment?
‘Enrichment’ is the term given to improving an animal’s quality of life by making the environment more complex and dynamic, and providing mental and physical stimulation. Often, enrichment mimics an animal’s natural ‘wild’ existence, including hunting for food, stimulating the senses, and providing variety.
Enrichment allows an animal the most often forgotten of the ‘five freedoms’ – the freedom to express natural behaviour.
Provides opportunities for thinking and problem-solving and even helps with recall training. Examples include:
- 🟡 Puzzle toys. These are super-popular in my house and there are many types to choose from. Fantastic for dogs that are constantly busy and need a job between meals.
- 🟡 K9 Nosework. Another sport we’re big fans of. All dogs can excel at this odour game. You can use toys and garments which the dog has been chewing. Dogs can sense the saliva smell. Or you can use the easiest and best motivating – food. For this, we recommend trying to use ROCKETO Treats. Or follow these buttons to find out the wider selection of our suitable products for the Nosework.
- 🟡 Hide and seek. Ask your dog to stay, and then run and hide from your pet before calling them. This also builds a strong recall! Treat generously when your dog finds you.
Physical EnrichmentEnhances the animal’s living space by changing or adding complexity to the environment. You can enhance your dog’s living space with simple additions like a pop-up tent or fort. An indoor obstacle course is also fun, especially on rainy day!
- 🟡 Provide a bury/dig pit. This is simple. Buy a dog or kiddie pool and fill it up with sand. You can even hide toys for your dogs to dig up.
- 🟡 Blanket forts and tents. Children enjoy this as well!
- 🟡 Pop-up tunnel. Similar to what’s used in agility, these can be purchased online, and our doxies love tearing through them in the backyard.
Provides opportunities for a pet to spend time with other animals and people in new, different environments. It is a great way for them to socialise with other humans and dogs too. Here are examples:
- 🟡 Trips to the beach. My three dogs enjoy a romp on the beach perhaps more than any other activity.
- 🟡 Going shopping. We work on leash reactivity at Home Depot, as it’s a great environment that’s safe and pet-friendly.
- 🟡 Going to the office. Once or twice a week if you can go to work with your pooch – it will be fun for your pooch and colleagues as well!
Social enrichment is easy to provide even if you’re a working pet parent. Occasional drop-in visits from a pet sitter say, give your dog the opportunity for an extra play session midday. For bored or restless dogs, daycare can be a good option, too. Even if it’s not every day, it gives your dog something to look forward to during the week.
Enrichment does more than just alleviate boredom. Shelters have discovered that enrichment can make dogs more adoptable. It can also help your dog live a longer, happier life, and improve your bond. In other words, it’s a no-brainer!
Enrichment doesn’t take a lot of time or money. Many of these tips are low maintenance and take just a few minutes, but will go a long way with your dogs. Try a few, see which sticks, and then weave it into your dog’s routine.