Canine enrichment …what is this

Canine enrichment is one of the latest buzzwords that is going around the lips of many dog owners. Before you jump onto the bandwagon, do you know exactly what canine enrichment is and why is it so important for your dog? Let us take a closer look into this.

What is canine enrichment

According to this website, canine enrichment means the active promotion of the dog’s physical, social and mental needs. By promotion, we mean growth! The ultimate outcome, after a dog has gone through canine enrichment, is having an intelligent dog that is healthy.

While it seems that canine enrichment activities may be something that is tough to conduct, it is actually pretty simple. One example of an activity that can help to promote canine enrichment is via the daily walks, and this is because the dog’s sense will be further developed when it starts to look around objects that are unfamiliar to them, hence horning their senses. Its something us at PAWS 4 A Break love to do on our group walks letting them feel different surfaces underfoot, have fun splashing in water and generally being a dog sniffing around. If you would like to know more about our group walks contact us on Facebook or via our website to  see what availability we have .

So indeed, canine enrichment is not as difficult as some people might think it is!

Why is canine enrichment important ?

For children, it will be important to assist in the development of their health as well as their mental needs. This goes the same for dogs too. Studies have shown that dogs who went through a great deal of canine enrichment activities turn out to be happier and less aggressive than other dogs. Much Calmer and have more confidence some of the concepts we teach here at Paws Positive Dog Training. If you would like to know more about real life dog training, please contact us on Facebook or via our website   Also, since the brain is properly developed, you can expect a smarter dog who will know how to react during behaviours.

How to conduct canine enrichment?

If you are looking for a point to start the entire canine enrichment process and  are unsure of where to start, here are some of the examples that you can employ to help develop your dog’s needs.

  1. Using food dispensing toys

Whenever it is time to feed your dog, you can opt to use food dispensing toys rather than just putting the food in the regular food bowl. Herr at Paws Positive Dog training we actually promote ditching the bowl altogether. You can make it harder for your dog to obtain their food by simply using food dispensing toys. They often require your dog to solve a certain puzzle before food is being dispensed. If they are made to think, they are forced to utilize their brain!

When you purchase an interactive food dispensing toy, do ensure that you start off with something simpler before working your way up to the toys that offers a challenge to your dog. This will ensure that your dog is not put off by the challenge quickly, and the dog has time to develop and stimulate its intelligence!

Should you want to use this method, then we will recommend you to use Kongs. Kong do have lots of interactive food dispensing toys that can help you to stimulate your dog through its various toys. Most of the toys made by Kong have different degrees of challenges, hence having the ability to keep the dog’s brain constantly stimulated.

  1. Licky mats

To stimulate your dog’s sense and again promote calmness, you can use the Licky. All you have to do is to spread one your dog’s favourite wet treat onto the surface of the licky mat, and let your dog lick the surface of the mat. The entire licking process can go on for minutes as your dog tries to dig up every remaining spread on the mat itself.

  1. Dog Training

There are some dog training sessions or workshops that you can bring your dog to attend. These activities are typically designed to have programs that help to stimulate the dog’s growth, be in mental capacity or its physical needs. Activities can range from the regular dog training program to fitness workshops or agility training, and all of the activities do help to promote canine enrichment too.

DIY ideas for canine enrichment

Of course, not all canine enrichment activities require you to buy items. Some of them can be done by yourself. Here are some of the DIY ideas for canine enrichment that you can try at home.

  1. DIY obstacle course

It is pretty easy to do up a DIY obstacle course in your own house. From placing stacks of books to putting a small horizontal pole on two stands, there are literally unlimited variations of DIY obstacle courses that we can do up for our dogs. Cardboard boxes for dogs to climb in and out off are brilliant for building your dogs confidence

  1. Scatter feeding

This is my favourite activity with my home boarding and day-care dogs at Paws 4 A Break as it does help to train the dog’s sense of smell as well as their nurturing their observation skills too. It also helps to lower the dog’s arousal levels too. I scatter feed on walks if my dog is a little anxious about seeing other dogs/joggers/vehicles or people. Its played in my garden especially if I have fence barkers staying and use it in the house as a hide and seek game.   I would first put my dog in another  room and proceed to leave them there. I will then scatter their favourite treats in spots around the living room. Some of the treats will be on the sofa, and some of them will be peppered in places like on the shoe rack, exercise bench, or even on the table top. Once I am satisfied with the placement, I would let the dog out, and she will frantically begin the treasure hunt. Initially, they may not be able to detect some of the treats in specific areas. After a few sessions of the scatter feeding process, the dog’s senses are sharpened, and it will become easier for her to locate the treats! This is a fun and enriching activity that can be implemented immediately.

  1. Treats in rolled up towels

This canine enriching activity requires you to put treats on a straight line in a towel, and you will need to roll the towel and let the dog figure out how to unroll it to get the treat that they wanted. This isn’t to promote their sense of smell, but rather horn they ability to think on their feet on how to obtain the treats that they want.

Again, this is an easy canine enrichment activity that you can do for your dog. The items can be readily found in your house too.

Wrapping up

As you can see, there are various ideas that you can employ when it comes to canine enrichment activities. The onus is on you to decide which of this is best for your dog. Typically, we will vary the activities from day to day to ensure that there is a variation of stimulation that we bring about to our dog!

Amanda Burton

Head trainer and owner (Paws Positive Dog Training Academy)

Co-owner (Paws 4 A Break pet services)

Yummy Food served at Paws 4 A Break today


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