ENRICHMENT- What is it?
Enrichment is a critical part of an animal’s daily life. It shouldn’t be thought of only as a “treat” or only to provide when you’re leaving them on their own. Their every day should be filled with enriching activities so they can live physically and emotionally healthy lives. Enrichment can help reduce undesirable behaviours that may develop as a result of boredom because the dog starts to entertain himself. Excessive barking, chewing or digging up the garden can be a result of boredom. By introducing enrichment into your dog’s life you can prevent these unwanted behaviours from developing in excess and strengthen that wonderful bond between you and your pet dog.
Sensory & Feeding enrichment
Scenting & Scatter Feeding:
A dog navigates the world through his nose, so you can imagine how important scenting is for him. Scatter some of your dog’s daily portion of pellets into the garden, so he needs to use his nose to find them. Did you know this scenting activity helps stimulate a part of your dog’s brain that helps promote calm? Ditch the food bowl and get your dog working for his mealtimes. When dogs have to forage (sniff, search) for their food rather than eat out of a bowl, we are stimulating and seeing to their natural instincts.
Hide treats or your dog’s favourite toys in the garden, encourage them to use their nose to find them.
Treats in a towel:
Take a towel and roll up the treats inside. Your dog needs to use his brain to figure how to get the treats out.
- A puzzle feeder: These can slow fast eaters down and stimulate the mind. These days there are so many options and difficulty levels available in stores.
Try freezing edible dog treats or chewies in giant ice cubes (use an empty 1kg yoghurt container, fill it up with a bit of water) a great summer treat!
Egg box ball feeder:
Put treats in an egg box and place tennis balls on top of the hidden treats. He’ll have to scent, push and paw to get them out.
A durable rubber feeding toy that can be filled with the dog’s daily food allowance. They are incredibly useful at relieving boredom, providing good mental stimulation and relieving stress or inappropriate chewing of other household items. Soak some of your dog’s pellets in warm water, fill the KONG, “plug” the top with something like plain yoghurt or liver paste and there you have it – a fun, challenging work-to-eat toy.
On a Budget?
Everyday objects like egg boxes, paper rolls (the cardboard tube from the kitchen paper towels or toilet paper cardboard) come in handy. Fill them up with dog pellets or treats and it will keep them stimulated for ages. Dogs enjoying chewing, shredding or tossing them about to get the pellets out.