Canine Enrichment

Did you know that Mental stimulation is a crucial for your dog and just like us your dog needs to keep his mind happy and healthy , This area of dog care can be overlooked and often not addressed and can lead to behavior issues in dogs if not nurtured and enrichment.

Canine enrichment encourages your dog to use their natural behaviors like sniffing, hunting, foraging and chewing, we often forget the purpose in which our dogs were breed for and take them into our homes and forget to give them a job to keep their minds stimulated.

Canine Enrichment

Social enrichment

Social enrichment is the practice of promoting contact with dogs and other species. This can be done by:

  • having supervised play groups

  • Using group housing for compatible dogs

  • Social living provides mental stimulation

Taking dogs on walks, and creating positive interactions including play, praise, and petting. A social dog will be less likely to become fearful, over stimulated when exposed to new people, dogs, places, or objects

Canine Enrichment

Nutritional enrichment

Nutritional enrichment encourages animals to use natural foraging/feeding behaviours to earn food. This can be done by:

  • Using puzzle feeders-

  • Hiding food to challenge the dog and encourage them to search for food

  • Alternating feeds, treats, and chewable items Increased foraging behaviour may decrease unwanted behaviours such as excessive barking. It may also help increase physical activity, benefiting the animal’s overall condition

Canine Enrichment

Occupational enrichment

Give them a job! Occupational enrichment challenges your dog and encourages physical and mental stimulation. This can be done by:

  • Playing sports, such as agility or fetch

  • Practicing positive training regularly

    Use treats to teach behaviours such as “sit” and walking on lead, or tricks like “shake”

  • Providing food puzzles

  • These require the dog to “work” to get the food/treat out Occupational enrichment helps keep dogs mentally stimulated, which combats boredom while also allowing them to release excess energy.

Canine Enrichment

Sensory enrichment

Sensory enrichment can be used to stimulate the different sense of dogs, such as sight, sound, or smell. This can be done  by:

  • Placing visually stimulating objects outside for dog to see

  • Allowing visual access to the environment

  • Including auditory enrichment, such as music

  • Select soothing music, keep the volume low, and the sound should not be on all the time

  • Adding interesting scents such as herbs  like  lavender, chamomile, spices (e.g vanilla, coconut, ginger). Place scents inside a piece of PVC pipe with additional drilled holes so that it can be easily added/ removed from the dog’s pen Effective sensory enrichment with herbs and spices can have a calming effect on animals, reducing barking and increasing resting

Canine Enrichment

Physical enrichment

Physical enrichment includes altering the quality and complexity of the dog’s living space. This can be done by:

  • Providing safe toys, and having a rotation to maintain the enriching effect of the toys.

  • Adding items such raised platform, ramp/steps or a door to allow access to the outside Physical enrichments should provide outlets for positive expression of natural behaviours such as free running if your dog has a reliable recall this provide  your dog with more control over their social and physical environment.