Enrichment

When I hear the word ‘enrichment’ in relation to dogs, I think about how all of my dogs have most definitely enhanced and improved my life. I also often think about how I can best enrich theirs, especially during lockdown.  I thought today I’d talk about enrichment and what it means when it comes to enriching our dogs’ lives.

Food enrichment

The premise of food enrichment, is to use food to provide some mental stimulation and a challenge. It can provide an opportunity for your dog to work for their food. In turn, this can keep them entertained, feel comfortable in their bed/crate when you’re busy, and (eventually) when we have visitors at home.

There are lots of ideas offered online. I particularly like 7 DIY canine enrichment ideas with NAWT  I’ve covered many of these before as things I do with Jake and Truly.  Although, personally I’d avoid number 4 on this list as I’m not sure about cardboard or plastic bottles for dogs (and especially not puppies). I tend to stick with robust dog proofed toys, as this also avoids any potential confusion with what’s suitable play material, and what isn’t (such as my books and the post!).

One activity that Leo loved (as he was tennis ball mad) involved a muffin tin, some tennis balls, and treats hidden under the balls. He would snuffle and nudge the balls out of the way to get to the treats. Once completed he would sit patiently waiting for me to reload the tin. We also played a similar game with three (upside down) cups, and a treat under one of them, he would play that game for hours! Nowadays, as well as Kong’s, Lickimats and snuffle mats, you can buy dog puzzles. Any activity you can do with your dog is obviously great for bonding and building trust.

Enriching outside

In the garden, sandpits and paddling pools are great to hide search toys. I haven’t used a sand pit as none of mine have been diggers, but Leo loved his paddling pool in the summer and would happily splash in and out of it for ages.

I talked previously about my mindfulness walks with Jake and Truly, and how I follow their lead in terms of direction and interest. Not only relaxing for me, it’s lovely to see how happy it makes them when they realise we’re off on an adventure of their making.

Do you have activities your dog loves to do?

Until next time

Jen

 

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