Our Guide To Enrichment For Your Dog
What is enrichment for dogs?
Enrichment is finding ways to improve your dog's quality of life through their toys, treats, food, activities, training and even their social interactions. By having various types of enrichment present for your dog, you’re challenging them to think more and use problem solving skills, thus resulting in their improved mental state. This is especially helpful for older dogs who are showing early signs of dementia or confusion. Providing enrichment to your dog at a young age will also help them gain confidence to develop new skills and to be trained.
Why do dogs need enrichment, & why is it beneficial?
Dogs can also suffer the effects of a poor mental state, like we do. Separation anxiety, depression, general anxiety & boredom are all mental health issues that can be found in dogs. These afflictions can be combatted though through enrichment and mental stimulation. A dog that lacks their required mental stimulation may have trouble settling down at home, which may lead to excessive barking, chewing, urinating in the house, or overall destruction. Dogs struggling from separation or general anxiety may act out by causing destruction or making a mess when their two-legged parents are away at work or out for the day. Dogs suffering from depression may not want to eat or drink, will lose interest in walks and will spend most of their time sulking. A bored dog will chew on everything, dig holes, run around the house aimlessly, and behave overall restlessly. None of these are good.
This is where enrichment comes in. Your dog will begin to gain some of their own confidence, they’ll be more relaxed and less likely to create destruction.
What are the different methods to give your dog the enrichment they need?
The first thing you could do to provide better enrichment for your dog is take them on longer walks along different paths. If the walk is too short and is the same routine each time, they might start getting bored or restless after walks. Longer walks are great for more active dogs as they’ll be more relaxed and tired out by the end of it. Studies have even shown that by taking your dog on longer or more frequent walks, you’re also improving your own mental health and fitness levels as well as your dogs’. With the whole desert at your disposal, you could take your dog out on a cool day, attach them to one of our retractable leashes, and let them run and play in the sand to their heart’s content! There are even pet friendly locations and beaches that both you and your dog could enjoy walking through together.
There are so many varieties of puzzle toys available on our website for your dogs’ enrichment benefit! Maybe some of these might be just what you need to aid your dog’s nervousness and anxiety:
These little cylinder shaped toys are great for keeping your fur babies busy. The object is for them to twist and shake it at just the right angles for their treats to fall out! This will help your dog to learn puzzle solving skills, and also keep them busy for a while.
This is a special kind of slow feeder that also acts as a puzzle for your dog while they’re enjoying their breakfast, lunch and dinner! Not only will your dog have to use their thinking skills to navigate their food around the maze, which is healthy for their mind, but using a slow feeder is healthy for them physically too! When eating slower, your dog is likely to gain less weight than they would by just gobbling up their food. Eating too fast can also cause serious health issues for them, like bloat, for example, which can be very dangerous for your dog. This maze can be adjusted in various positions so your dog will never get bored, and encourages them to use various methods of getting their food to their mouths.
This is enrichment for your dog and yourself! Take your dog to the park, beach or even just in your own backyard, and toss the frisbee around in your own game of fetch! This frisbee is not only durable but creates a fun game between pet and pet parent that allows both of you to get some exercise and bonding time!
This motion activated toy bone is great for encouraging your dog to run and play around on their own if you’re not able to. It also encourages your dog to use their natural hunting instincts to track and chase the bone. This provides enrichment through exercise and also through their tracking skills. This toy is guaranteed to keep your canine companion on its toes!
Spend some time every day giving your dog the play time they deserve. You could chase them around the garden, play fetch with them using any of our dog friendly tennis balls, or even a game of tug-of-war with a durable rope toy. Any physical stimulation and attention from your end can help benefit your dog’s enrichment and give them a positive mental state.
Training your dog to do tricks or learn obedience is a wonderful way to provide them with enrichment. They not only learn new skills, which mentally stimulates them, but also they get to work on activities as well, thus providing physical enrichment too! Using dog treats as a reward is a great way to further encourage your dog to pick up new skills and continue working hard to learn through their training. Whenever your dog does something that positively progresses their training, reward them with a treat. Teaching your dog the basic tricks like sit, stay, follow, or even shake can have a positive impact on their mental health & enrichment.
Dogs are pack animals, making them very social creatures. Whilst some dogs lack the necessary social skills for interacting with other dogs or people, many dogs are more than happy to make new friends! You could introduce your dog to a friendly playgroup with other dog parents, and it makes for great training for if you decide to add another furry friend to your family. Taking your dog out to a pet friendly destination may be the ideal way to meet other pet parents and pet friendly dogs your dog can befriend and play with. Human and animal interactions from a young age are beneficial towards your dog’s mental health and can decrease the chances of your dog being aggressive later on in life.
Audio & Visual Enrichment:
Being cooped up in a house or apartment all day can have a negative impact on your dog’s mental health. Try to plan an outing every now and then that doesn’t include your dog’s usual walk routine. Going to dog friendly parks or beaches could help stimulate your dog’s sensory enrichment. When you are home, maybe try a dog-playlist filled with calming music for your pup to help boost their mood and auditory senses as well.
By using this guide you should have no problem creating a more enriched environment for your little pup. You’re a step in the right direction towards creating the best life for them! Be sure to browse the rest of our website to find many more products that can benefit your dog’s enrichment and positively impact their overall happiness!