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What is Enrichment?
Enrichment is making something “fuller, more meaningful or more rewarding”. From our pet’s perspective, this can mean in their environment, their social interactions and in training. By putting in place an enrichment program in your pet’s life, you can help to prevent unwanted behaviours such as escaping and excessive barking and channel your pet’s energy into more appropriate behaviours, along with keeping their lives active and interesting.
Is Your Dog Destructive?
Dogs do what is reinforcing for them – what makes them feel good. They are also opportunists. Pulling washing off the line and ripping it up is fun! Dogs will take advantage of their environment and what is available to them
Manage the Environment
Managing your dog’s environment is super important in preventing destructive behaviours. Prevent access to items that you don’t want destroyed and instead, redirect your pet to appropriate activities…
Cover All the Senses
Enrichment doesn’t just have to be using food. To enrich your dog’s lives, think of using all 5 of their senses. You will see how a lot of them overlap.
Dogs have millions more scent receptors than humans do, which makes smell one of the best ways to keep your dog busy.
Feed a variety of foods (including fresh)
Treat trails/hide and seek
Hiding food in boxes or cardboard tubes, milk bottles
Use food puzzle toys or food dispensing toys
Sensory gardens (planted with safe herbs)
Essential Oils (only when used safely)
Sniff walks (long leads are great for this) Snuffle mats
Frozen food (try freezing your dog’s food into an ice block)
Add safe fresh foods (blueberries, eggs for example)
Different raw bones (always raw and size appropriate for your dog)
Tasting platter (let your dog choose what they like)
Provide different surfaces to explore and different places to rest.
Involve sand, safe mulch, dirt, hard and soft surfaces.
Digging pit (with sand or leaves/bark)
Wading pool with ice and/or ball pit balls.
Dogs have excellent hearing, so it doesn’t need to be loud.
Radio (classical is best)
Pet Acoustics and iCalm Pet music boxes
If safe, allow your dog to see the world differently.
Access to a deck or veranda
An elevated sand or dirt mound TV (if it doesn’t cause your dog to bark)
Chase it toys (flirt poles) for your dog or cat to chase
Take your dog to different environments or let them choose their way on a walk.
PLAY with your dog!
Please be safe with your choices for your dog/s. Supervise your dog with any new toys or items before you leave them alone, buy size appropriate and non-toxic toys for your dog, make good choices in multi dog homes and please contact us if you need further advice.
Enrichment is not always about how long something takes or how busy you can keep your dog, but the satisfaction and enjoyment that your pet gets out of the activity.
Think outside the square (and the food bowl!); take all your dog’s senses into consideration and let your imagination run wild!